Shopping for Mementos Might Just Be the Most Fun Part of a Day Trip

Assemble a gallery wall of art and vintage mirrors to commemorate memorable weekend getaways.

Day trips have been around for a lot longer than you may think. In the late 19th century, the burgeoning middle class began taking “Sunday excursions.” And you can probably guess that, for those newly affluent tourists, part of the thrill of travel was finding mementos to remind them of their trip.

Practicing a little retail therapy is still fun. Wandering new neighborhoods and uncovering trendy shops can be a highlight of the day. Hunt down locally crafted decor accessories or eclectic antiques to find something tangible to remember your trip by. Then every time you light that hand-poured candle or serve something in the vintage ironstone bowl, a whiff of memory of that cluttered antiques shop or that cozy store tucked off the beaten path will arise.

If day trips are a regular part of your weekend plans, you can begin to build collections based on what you love. A gallery wall of vintage oil paintings from all over the Midwest or an assemblage of artisan-crafted wood boxes grouped together make a statement—and a memory.

Shop quirky flea markets and independent retailers for the best finds. Home in on pieces that tell a story about the trip. Seek out local artists and makers for one-of-a-kind creations. Chat up the locals. They may know about an artisan or shop you haven’t discovered yet. Skip the cheesy souvenirs and find the thing that speaks to you.

Keepsakes of your travels are a powerful reminder of fun times that make your home feel more personal and lived in. And displaying them in your home keeps those memories fresh.

Whether you’re a fine-antiques aficionado or a bargain shopper, bringing home the right souvenir can be a memorable event. Happy shopping!

Day Trip Shopping

Even the smallest burg has an antique store or flea market. And art galleries and eclectic shops abound in bigger towns. Here are a few ideas we found for you.

A moody photograph by Kirk Decker, who’s represented at Northland Artists’ Gallery, an artist-owned and managed fine-art gallery in historic downtown Weston.

If you’re looking for something a bit more unusual, stop into the science and nature store, Wild Territory. You’ll find everything from shark’s teeth to fossils to geodes and more

Cottonwood Falls
A weekend trip to the Flint Hills means a stop at Tallgrass Antiques. Wouldn’t this hand-painted porcelain bowl be pretty filled with fruit?

Road Trip!

We asked several area designers to share some of their most inspired finds while on a getaway. The consensus is: never stop looking.

“On a weekend trip several years ago to Hermann, Missouri, we visited the wineries, ate some excellent meals, and did some shopping. I found a pair of brass sculptures, similar to those classic C. Jere pieces that are so popular now, at the Hermann’s Attic Antique Mall.
Doug Wells
Doug Wells Design Studio

“A few years ago, while on a weekend trip to Arrow Rock with a few girlfriends, I found a tiny, exquisite, vintage oil painting done in the style of Thomas Hart Benton. It now hangs in my kitchen, and it’s a great reminder of a fun weekend that I see every day.”
Kathy Kelly

Every time I go to St. Louis, I try to make time to get to the Central West End. I’ve found some of my favorite things there: antique foo dogs that sat on the bedroom mantel in my last house; a gold-leafed torn-paper piece of art that’s over my living room fireplace; and numerous silver pieces, including a serving tray, a few great bowls, and a three-tiered dessert plate.”
Kurt Knapstein
Knapstein Design

“I have found some of my most cherished objects in some of the worst places. I never pass by a highway or small-town flea market. I just stop and go in. I have three treasures I found at roadside markets—a marbled urn, a terra-cotta sculpture of a reclining man, and an intricately carved folk-art goat. If my house were burning down, I would grab my dog and those three objects.”
Patrick Kappelmann
Arcadian Design

After visiting England and purchasing an antique wall clock, I wanted to do a wall grouping around it for our library. I found some wonderful vintage English reproductions at Legacy Antiques in Leavenworth and had them framed. They still add ambience to our English-inspired library.”
Arlene Ladegaard
Design Connection, Inc.