Creating & Collecting Memories In Historic Downtown Glendale

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Summertime is vacation time, no matter who you are or where you live, and exploring new places is a big part of summer activities for many families. As a result, Glendale, the 4th largest city in Arizona, attracts many new visitors in addition to area residents. 

Glendale can be a surprise to out of town guests who expect to find nothing but rock lawns and varieties of cacti alongside lawn ornaments featuring coyotes and quail. However, visitors to Historic Downtown Glendale will find brick lined sidewalks, flower gardens, picket fences and lawn after lawn of lush green grass in the Historic Catlin Court shopping district. And in Old Towne, they will enjoy more of those brick lined sidewalks, mature trees, gas lamps, benches, and historic storefronts that surround a city park.

Generally in my articles, I share fun and interesting facts about collecting so you may be wondering how that ties into this article. It’s about creating memories, which we all collect about the places we go and the things we see. And while I may be a little (technically, quite a bit) biased, I have often said that if I wasn’t a shop owner in Historic Downtown Glendale, I would become a frequent visitor even if I lived far away out of state. With all the unique shopping, dining, arts and culture, there are many opportunities to create wonderful memories! 

Where else can you eat nearly any kind of cuisine imaginable? I have to say that the chef salad with an accompanying homemade roll and cold glass of Mrs. Brewster’s iced tea at The Spicery in Our 1895 Home is the perfect summer lunch. I also quite enjoy the clubhouse sandwich with fries from Bitz-ee Mama where you always end up feeling like one of the family. To satisfy a sweet tooth, there are a myriad of choices, including those incredible oatmeal cookies from Coyote Oatie Cookies, where the flavor combinations of their secret-recipe cookies keep you coming back for more. The garden at Papa Ed’s Ice Cream Parlor is the spot to go for delicious small batch premium award-winning flavors, such as Habanero Peach or my nieces’ and nephews’ favorite Cappuccino Splatter. 

A major draw to Historic Downtown Glendale, of course, is the shopping. With all the locally owned independent stores there really is something for everyone and endless hours can be spent and lots of memories made while enjoying all the specially selected goods and products. For antique lovers, there’s a concentration of vintage and antique stores in a relatively small area that is walkable. Zola Bell’s Vintage is two floors of treasures, while Spinning Wheel Antiques and Gifts has an entire area dedicated year-round to Christmas. Located across from Murphy Park is ABD Antique Appraisers, a lovely store packed full of antique and vintage items along with offering appraisals and estate sale services.  

The Tole Shop specializes in tole and decorative painting and mixed-media art and offers classes nearly every day of the week that can be enjoyed while visiting family and friends. At Auntie Em’s Miniatures & Smilin’ Jack’s Pedal Cars, there’s a summer camp for kids to make their own dollhouse. It’s very popular and something that has ignited collectors’ passions and imaginations for generations.  

Family celebrations are among the most popular “memory makers” and there’s a brand-new venue in Catlin Court. Once a local church’s parsonage, a small home has been lovingly remodeled and now hosts weddings, showers, receptions and other small gatherings. Appropriately named The Parsonage on 58th, it will soon have a boutique on the property joining the ever-growing list of unique boutiques. 

Other boutiques on the “not to be missed” list include Pink House Boutique where rock-a-billy and pin-up styles are in the forefront and The Astrology Store, which offers a huge selection of books and angels plus hosts monthly medium nights. Both of these shops are in Old Towne. 

In Catlin Court is the not-to-be-missed perennial favorite Country Maiden, home to Gracie’s Marketplace for primitive home décor and repurposing tips and tricks. Glendale Flower’s and Gifts just recently moved a few doors down into a much larger space and has expanded their selection of whimsical gifts. Pardon the personal plug, but at Bears & More visitors take a walk down memory lane in the vintage rooms, kids enjoy finding a new friend in the toy rooms, and many childhood friends—teddy bears, bunnies and the occasional monkey and dog—get new leases on life with repairs and makeovers. One bear recently came all the way from Canada to have his arms reattached, making him the furthest travelled repair.

As the neighborhood changes from time to time, there are new shops opening and waiting to be explored. For example, before the next issue of The Antique Register goes to print, another new shop, Memory Lane Trinkets and Treasures will be joining this incredible business community.  

You may ask again, what does any of this have to do with collecting? In one word – Everything. Collect memories with family at gatherings and celebrations, enjoy meals together at restaurants that encourage you to linger just a little while longer, find new additions to your existing collections or start a new one at any of the wonderful boutiques, take classes with friends and family creating things together all while making yet another set of memories to add to your collections, be it scrapbooks, boxes of photos or those memories that live forever in our hearts and minds. Let a little whimsy into your life and surround yourself with the things you love.

Valerie Burner married into a family of collectors over 25 years ago. The first piece she and her husband purchased together was a drop leaf table that has had many uses over the years. In addition to rubber-faced animals, their current collections include pink depression glass, vintage Santa Claus and Christmas, Snoopy and, of course, teddy bears. They have owned Bears & More in the Historic Catlin Court district of Downtown Glendale for over 25 years.

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