Finding Antique Archaeology’s store location in Nashville ended up being much easier than I’d anticipated. My wife and I were returning to Florida from a trip to the Chicago area where we’d watched our son graduate from Navy boot camp. I’d originally thought it’d be fun to visit the popular Picker’s Iowa store, but after a quick Google map search revealed a significant detour — of both time and distance — I set my sights on a city that we’d be passing right through: Nashville, TN!
Our route took us south on Interstate 65, which ended up running near the Clinton Street store location. (Google Maps Link). As we approached Clinton Street, a rusty water tower rose above an elongated brick building. I pointed my Nikon telephoto at it, creating a poor man’s monocular, and hoped to spot the familiar “rooster” logo of Antique Archaeology. But it was not to be. The size of the building initially got me jazzed at the idea of tons of spaces to explore, artifacts to find, and, of course, items from the show to recognize. That was my hope, at least. The reality is that Mike and Frank’s Nashville shop is only one small shop in the midst of many other shops; the main large building holds many other types of shops, restaurants and stores.
We parked in a grass lot across from the store (free parking, by the way), then crossed the street for some quick exterior shots of the store’s sign and door. We then walked inside to a moderately packed store. I immediately recognized a 10′ red arrow that I recall Mike digging from the weeds of one show. A pig head and bicycle parts were nearby with motorcycles, signs, hub caps, pieces-and-parts hanging from the exposed overhead rafters. The walls were covered too, various items connecting vaguely to my memories of the show. Nearly everything I saw had a price tag on it. I’d hoped to spot something particular from the awesome Bushkill Amusement Park episode, but nothing jumped out at me.
T-shirts and hats – things that diehard fans just have to have – well, those were found in the far back of the store. I tried on a couple of the tees, and settled on one with a dark green rooster logo.
At the register we chatted with the friendly dark haired cashier and then bravely asked if she was Danielle. She laughed and said, “No. Frank and Danielle are still at the Iowa location. But since Mike has relocated to Nashville, he occasionally surprises folks by showing up here around twice a month.”
“Have you met them both?” I asked.
“Sure have. And they’re just like you see them on the show – except they cuss more,” she said laughing.
With my T-shirt bought (Yeah, just had to get one!) my wife and I headed next door to a small sandwich shop where we grabbed a high top table for two in front of the windows overlooking the front sidewalk. We’d just finished sharing a sandwich and chips when a flash of white caught my eye. I turned, and spotted the show’s familiar white Antique Archaeology van pulling into a short driveway.
“Was that Mike?” my wife asked wide-eye.
“Let’s find out!” I said, grabbing my camera.
In twenty steps we were at the van’s side, the dual front seats though — empty. I took a few exterior van photos before asking a nearby person if we were in for a special visit from an American Picker.
“No, that wasn’t Frank or Mike,” he explained. “Just a delivery of more T-shirts.”
My wife and I posed next to the van’s prominent logo and within an hour of stopping, were back on the road once more.
Even though I’d wanted the store to be larger (and have Mike Wolfe make an appearance!) I still felt we’d “picked” a good time to visit. If you’re a fan of the show, and in the Nashville area, mark this spot on the map as “The Honey Hole”. Stop on in for an up-close look, and maybe you’ll end up taking home some of Mike and Frank’s “Rusty Gold”!