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Many of you saw our news about our very own Mike Wolfe being one of three guest editors of the southern focused magazine, Good Grit, the Heirloom issue. What does that mean exactly? Let us explain.

As a guest editor, you get to hand select the content and stories. Between this issues’s 169 pages, Mike and his two friends Garlan Gudger and Nick Dryden have put together an assortment of small town destinations to visit, recipes to try, and artisans you outta know all found below the Mason Dixie Line.

But even more than the strawberry BBQ sauce recipe found on page 98, the intent of the issue is to bring the focus on the physical memories you can touch. Something Mike brings forward in his professional career daily. With each piece he pulls from a barn, he holds a tangible connection to the past in his hands. For those of you who hold tight to hand-me-downs, personal treasures, and tell their stories, this issue is for you!

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We’d love you to have a copy of this magazine. Here’s how:

  • Order a single Heirloom copy
  • Pick up a copy in a store near you
  • Subscribe to the magazine and when you sign up for a six-month subscription to Good Grit, you’ll get the Heirloom issue featuring Mike for FREE while supplies last!

Important thing to mention: If you use the PROMO CODE: smile17 $10 of your subscription cost goes towards a nonprofit close to Mike’s heart, Operation Smile.

Enjoy!

Team Antique Archaeology

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While you’re visiting our Nashville shop, be sure to check out our neighbors also located within Marathon Village – locally owned and all unique.

Bang Candy Company

The Bang Candy Company is a Nashville-based sugar-peddler specializing in whimsical confections. It is a magical, indulgent place where candy lovers bear no shame. Indulge yourself in the gourmet marshmallows half-dipped in Belgian chocolate, enliven drinks and desserts with delicious syrups.

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Vincent Peach

Vincent Peach aims to create a balance of casual elegance and sophisticated luxury through their handcrafted jewelry. Specializing in pearls, diamonds, and precious metals, they mix these elements with woven exotic leathers to give the collection a sense of captivating comfort. Don’t forget to get a glimpse of the in-house workshop where they design each piece by hand making yours exclusive to you.

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Jack Daniel’s General Store

The General Store offers customers a wide-ranging selection of specialty Jack Daniel’s products and gifts, including exclusive branded apparel and accessories and commemorative guitars. Being in Music City, they carry specialty products that connect the history of Jack Daniel to the music and culture of Nashville. No booze sold here, but plenty of watering holes around to quinch your thirst!

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Third Coast Comedy Club

Third Coast Comedy Club is the only comedy club in town for local comedy. And the only comedy club for all types of comedy (improv, sketch, stand-up, etc.). There’s comedy practically every night of the week with shows Wednesday-Sunday. Stop by the Green Room bar for food and drinks before, during, and after shows.

Grinder’s Switch Winery

5 family members. 7 acres of vineyards. 10 tons of grapes harvested and 10,000 gallons of wine produced last year alone. These folks are as serious about their wine as it sounds, yet they pair it with a ton of fun. Serving wine from Hickman County, Tennessee, ask Jodie and some of her fellow-winos to give you a taste of what Tennessee wine has to offer. Who doesn’t love a wine slushie after a long day of shopping?

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Boswell’s Music City Harley-Davidson Store

Boswell’s carries genuine Harley-Davidson apparel and accessories, as well as other official licensed products. Throughout the shop are personal photos that tell the story of the owners (they have had Harley dealerships since the 1950s!) and antique Harley memorabilia.

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Island Cowgirl

Island Cowgirl is a mix of unique, handmade, fun, and rustic things for everyone. The sign outside their door says “Cool Stuff Inside”… and the sign doesn’t lie. Much of their curated collection features local and regional artists and pieces like handmade metal animal sculptures, both funny and inspirational barn wood signs, birdhouse puzzles, metal laser cut city maps and state ornaments, as well as the Island Cowgirl brand of rugged and romantic inspirational jewelry.

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Safehouse Tattoo

Safehouse has six talented artists with styles ranging all over the tattoo spectrum. If you’re feeling wild, book an appointment ahead of time or you may have to settle for a t-shirt (designed by their artists naturally) as due to high demand, they are by appointment only.

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Screened Threads

A commercial screen printing business “in the back” with carefully selected vintage goods “in the front”, they have everything you need to bring home with you to remember Nashville. The hand-painted art is made by the owner’s daughter.

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D.Luxe Home 

Anytime we need a gift (or maybe just something for ourself… shhh!!) we love popping into D.Luxe. An industrial, glam, and kinda kooky home store you’ll find furniture, lighting, salvage finds, oddities, gifts, and art. And for all you Sun Record lovers, plenty of their licensed products too!

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Garage Coffee Company 

There’s something about Garage Coffee that invites you in and makes you want to stay a while. A down to earth spot to connect with your buddies and get your caffeine fix. Don’t miss their jalapeno corn muffins — we’re obsessed.

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Southern Engine Deli

A comfortable home-town deli with big city flavor — you won’t go home hungry. They serve hot and cold sandwiches including the famous SE Club… and yes we ate it after we photographed it! If you got your pooch with you, their outside seating is dog friendly!

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Brown Dog Market

Brown Dog is a family owned gift shop that carries many local artisan goods with a flair for the snarkier side of things. You never know what you’ll find as you treasure hunt in this little shop.

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Magnolia Goods 

Magnolia Goods is a curated space for children and their grown-ups. Specializing in small mom n’ pop brands from around the United States, they also have a few of the larger brands we all know and love from around the world. You will find everything from handmade children’s apparel to wooden hand crafted toys to small batch skincare items and locally crafted jewelry and leather goods. Community based events such as new baby classes, mom’s night out,  and hand dying workshops are also offered.

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Pure Nashville 
Pure Nashville is an all organic salon and spa. They have a team of creative people devoted to creating a toxin-free salon and spa experience. Their purpose is to spread awareness, educate and provide you with a space for self care. Several of us visit them regularly!

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Lorraine’s Boutique / Lorraine Frances Jewelry 

Full of women’s clothing ranging from fancy to subdued, the real gem – ok, pardon the pun, is the jewelry that is hand-crafted in the space. Many items, like bottle caps, watches, typewriter keys, guitar picks, and coins, are recycled and incorporated into their jewelry, proving that jewelry can be unique wearable art.

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Corsair Brewstillery

You might be asking yourself, “What’s a Brewstillery? Is it a brewery? Is it a distillery?” The answer is yes to both! Corsair’s original location focuses on high gravity beer within their malt whiskey program. Here’s what you’ll find: grain to glass story for beer and whiskey, paired tastings of experimental whiskey and unique beers, as well as beer cocktails and experimental whiskey shots. Tours are available.

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O Gallery

Across the street from us is O Galley – a fine art and gift shop that presents the artworks of Olga Alexeeva and other local artists, from paintings to wood to jewelry and photography. Whether you’re shopping for a big piece of art or a little souvenir – everyone can find something unique here, including painting classes!

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Greenbrier Distillery 

Take a stroll to the end of the street and go see the stunning Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery. After three years of research, planning and hard work, brothers Andy and Charlie Nelson re-formed the business that had closed exactly 100 years earlier in 1909 during Prohibition. With the spirit in their blood, Charlie and Andy followed their hearts and devoted their lives to resurrecting Nelson’s Green Brier Whiskey made the way their great-great-great grandfather did it. We love the story of this business and it’s history so don’t miss the tour.

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Marathon Music Works 

Originally built in the early 1900s, Marathon Music Works has been restored and adapted to produce a wide array of live music experiences and special events. The venue has hosted a wide range of artists from Garth Brooks to Chance The Rapper to EmmyLou Harris. Check out who’s playing on their website!

marathon-music-webPhotography by Meghan Aileen

 

Our water tower raglan is the exclusive shirt for our Nashville store. Inspired by the same water tower you’ll see beside our building when you visit. Pick one up!

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Because well-behaved women rarely make history.

When was the last time you were brave? Was it when you tried a new dish for dinner or when you jumped off that waterfall last weekend? If you’re on the down side of courage these days, let these six fearless females inspire you. Without the benefit of fancy high-tech gear and environment-tested apparel we have today, these women earned their immortality by walking on the wings of planes as they flew through the sky and crossing teetering tightropes. They defined bravery and showed the boys that girls have grit too, and here they are — the lion-hearted women who changed our perspective female power with death-defying stunts and unheard-of acts of strength.

Gladys Ingle, the only female member of Hollywood’s 13 Black Cats aerial daredevil stunt troop

Gladys could fly with the guys, all 13 of them. In 1924, at just 26, she was initiated into Hollywood’s aerial daredevil men-only stunt group The 13 Black Cats. She proved her worth when she walked blindfolded on the wings of a Curtis JN-4 biplane as it flew over Los Angeles, and mastered midair archery from these planes! And no parachute for Gladys either, not until several deadly accidents resulted in a new 1927 law requiring these fate-tempters to wear them. Picture her the next time you’re on a plane snapping a traditional photo of the wing.

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Photo credit of San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives

Maria Spelterini, the only woman to cross the Niagara River Gorge on a tightrope

Maria “Spelterina” Spelterini had perfect balance. To prove it, she donned an elaborate costume and showed up at the lower suspension bridge on the Niagara River Gorge on July 8th, 1876.   Stepping onto a two-and-a-quarter-inch wire, the 23-year-old Italian “Signorina of the Niagara” made the trip look easy. She completed the walk a second time with her feet strapped to peach baskets. Her third walk, five days later, was done blindfolded, and three days after that she walked the wire with her ankles and wrists tied.

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RIGHT: Photo credit George E. Curtis LEFT: Photo credit C. Bierstadt

Zazel, the first human cannonball

Rossa Matila Richter, aka Zazel, literally flew into the room with a big boom. At just 14, she became the first human cannonball when, in 1877, she was shot from a spring-loaded cannon created by The Great Farini at London’s Royal Aquarium. The big bang and cloud of smoke produced by a perfectly timed firecracker awed audiences and fooled them into thinking she really had been shot from an actual cannon. Zazel later toured with and became a star attraction of the PT Barnum Circus, entertaining crowds of thousands as she shot across the sky.

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LEFT: Photo credit Comtesse DeSpair. RIGHT: Wikimedia Commons

May Wirth, circus Hall of Famer and equestrian daredevil

Tiny but mighty comes to mind when we think of May. Standing a mere five feet tall, she was strong enough to balance herself on the backs of cantering horses while doing forward and backward somersaults, and performing backward flips from one horse to the next in the Australian circus. She once even danced the Charleston on top of a trotting white horse!  At the early age of 10, she was scouted by Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey and Hagenbeck’s Circuses with whom she toured for 15 years. Her craft and passion earned her an induction into the Circus Hall of Fame in 1963 where she is forever enshrined as the greatest bareback rider who ever lived. You can understand Mike’s excitement when he picked one of her touring trunks on an episode of American Pickers.

 

 

Helen Gibson, the first Hollywood stuntwoman

This woman had a 50-year love affair with danger. After years of riding in rodeos, Helen Gibson, born Rose August Wenger, had developed the agility and strength she needed to succeed as Hollywood’s first stuntwoman. She made her name as the stunt double in the adventure series The Hazards of Helenand that led to a career in the movies. Poorly paid and socially stigmatized for her decision to become a stuntwoman, Helen persisted, often creating her own routines, many involving speeding trains. One of her most dangerous stunts required her to jump from a building roof onto the top of a moving train. The momentum sent her rolling to the end of the train car, only to be saved by catching herself on an air vent. Another stunt involved chasing a runaway train on horseback, grabbing a dangling rope to swing herself from her horse onto the train just before it went under a bridge. All hail Helen.

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Photo credit godsey

Ethel Dare, the first woman to switch planes in the air

Revered as the “Queen of the Air” in the 1920s, Margi Hobbs, aka Ethel Dare, took the audience’s eyes to the sky. This former Barnum and Bailey Circus flying trapeze performer was known for her wing walker talents and for being the first woman to successfully walk from the wing of one plane to another in mid-air. Did we mention she was just a teenager when she did that? Her two signature moves included falling backwards off the wing of the plane with nothing but a rope tied to her to save her life, and a move called the “Iron Jaw Spin” where she was suspended in midair by a special harness placed between her teeth.

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LEFT: Photo credit George Dettling Collection via Rob Osborne via Holcomb’s Aerodrome RIGHT: Danes Homes Antiques, Waupaca WI via Holcomb’s Aerodrome

How many daring darlings do you know? Share what makes them brave with us in the comments below.

 

Daring women come in all styles and shapes, and our Main Street tee looks great on all of them.

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Who’s down for a sleepover in the clouds?

Sometimes you just gotta get away. You can retreat to a lakeside cottage, pitch a primitive tent in the woods, or hook up your fifth wheel in a fully-loaded campground. But if you’re looking for a more unique and rustic camping experience, head to Idaho where, scattered among the western white pine forests, an entire army of fire towers stands ready for your company. Originally built between the 1930s and the1960s to help spot forest fires, these towers have transitioned into historic hideaways for singles and families seeking rustic adventure.  No bigger than 14ftX14ft and priced around $40 a night, many offer basic amenities — bed, kitchen, heat — but you’re gonna have to brave the 50 yard –walk to the pit potty, and any other amenities are up to you!

While fire tower rentals are available all across the West, here are some of our favorites in Idaho. (Try to sample a few!) 

RIGHT: Arid Peak Lookout. LEFT: Trail back to camp. Photos by @run_robyn_run

Arid Peak Lookout

Location: Avery, Idaho

Fun Fact: Built in 1935, Arid Peak was built by the Milwaukee Railroad Line to help spot fires. Abandoned and vacant for 25 years, it was restored for rental to the public by the Forest Fire Lookout Association, the U.S. Forest Service, and a team of citizen volunteers. It’s also on the National Register of Historic Places!

What You’ll See: 360-degree views of the Bitterroot Mountains, the Loop Creek, and Idaho Panhandle National Forest

What to Do: Pack your bikes to take advantage of the seven trestles and ten tunnels on the Hiawatha Bike Trail that carves through the Bitterroot Mountains. Grab your poles and a cup of bait and head to the banks of the St. Joe River where the cutthroat trout swim in large numbers. If you feel like taking a hike over the miles of trails, keep an eye out for elk, eagles, and bears!

Hike It OR Drive It: Hike. Access to the cabin requires a moderately steep three-mile hike and availability depends on weather conditions.

Amenities:  This place has a wood stove, beds, propane, and cooking supplies. It’s perfect for an adventurous family of four! Just bring bedding, food, and a pair of shoes to wear to the outhouse back down on the ground. No running water, so prepare accordingly!

Make a Reservation

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LEFT: 4:00AM view from the lookout. RIGHT: Interior of the tower. Photos by @twilliams165

Deer Ridge Lookout

Location: Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Fun Fact: You enter this lookout through a trap door

What You’ll See: Unforgettable view of the Purcell Mountain Ranges of Canada, Montana, and North Idaho

What You’ll Do: You’ll find hiking trails along Ruby Ridge and Deer Ridge and wild huckleberries in August and September, and you can cook what you catch in the Moyie River.

Hike it OR Drive it: Drive. Kick it into four-wheel drive and save your strength for hiking 

Amenities: Sorry to say that the steep staircase, trap door, and rustic accommodations don’t give this lookout a kid-friendly rating. It sleeps two people in twin beds and has a pit toilet on the ground.  And while you are down there, you can do your cooking and water purifying.

LET: Interior of the tower. Photo by @twilliams165
LEFT: Waking up to Lone Tree Peak. RIGHT: Outhouse with a view. Photos by @jason_hershey_

Shorty Lookout

Location: Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Fun Fact: The closest convenience store is on the Canadian border– about 50 miles away!

What You’ll See: The Selkirk and Purcell Mountain Ranges give a beautiful performance, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.

What You’ll Do: If photography is your game, this is the lookout for you, with native elk, mountain bluebirds and the mountains themselves making spectacular portraits. And don’t forget to stargaze . . . unforgettable!

Hike it OR Drive it: Hike. Limber up for your 2.5-mile hike to camp!

Amenities: Inside, you’ll find a pair of twin beds, two tables, and a historic fire finder and district map.  Outside, a pit toilet – bring your own shoes for the 100-yard dash.  No water. No electric.

Make a Reservation

LEFT: Even the outhouse has a view. Photo by @Bendyfrog RIGHT: Hiker takes in the view of the Boise National Forest @griffon_steelheading
LEFT: Even the outhouse has a view. Photo by @Bendyfrog RIGHT: Hiker takes in the view of the Boise National Forest @griffon_steelheading

Dead Wood Lookout

Location: Emmett, Idaho

Fun Fact:  This fire tower was built in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, was on active duty until 1972. It has since become one of the most popular rental cabins in Idaho.

What You’ll See: A Dead Wood Mountain sky has colorful sunsets and the brightest stars. (No light pollution around this place!)  Be aware of the rattlesnakes and bull elk in these parts, y’all.

What You’ll Do: Scott Mountain, Julie Creek and Nellie’s Basin are great for hikers and bikers, while the Deadwood Ridge Trail is better for horses and Jeeps there to play in the mountain mud.

Hike it OR Drive it: Drive. You’re going to need a high clearance vehicle to tackle the terrain on the way up. (Deadwood Mountain is at an elevation of 8,200 feet!)

Amenities: The bare basics are provided: wood stove, two chairs, two single beds. You’ll spend a lot of time watching sunsets and sunrises on the wraparound porch.  Cooking and dining on the ground floor only, where a fire ring and picnic table await. This place is clean, with a vault toilet nearby.

Make a Reservation

LEFT: Bald Mountain Lookout. Photo by @msm98908 RIGHT:
LEFT: Bald Mountain Lookout. Photo by @msm98908 RIGHT: Room with a view. Photo by @abigail.georgia

Bald Mountain

Location: Potlatch, Idaho 

Fun Fact: This lookout is located on the White Pine Scenic Byway (aka Highway 6) — an 80-mile drive through historic small towns and thick forests.

What You’ll See: You’re in for a real deal birds eye view from Bald Mountain.  Not only is it one of the highest peaks in the Hoodoo Mountain Range, ( 5,334 feet above sea level), it’s thick with Douglas fir, hemlock and red cedar.  Wildlife watchers may see eagles soaring through the sky.  Bear, moose, elk and deer are frequently spotted in the area as well.

What You’ll Do: Advanced hikers and bikers can run around the 8.9-mile Beason Meadows Trail or the four miles of Strychnine Ridge Trail.

Hike it OR Drive it: Drive. Guests can drive to the lookout in vehicles with good ground clearance, but trailers are not recommended due to some rough spots on the road.

Amenities: This lookout sits 50 feet off the ground. A stairway leads to an exterior catwalk that surrounds the cabin, and can accommodate four people. A table and four chairs, a twin bed with foam pad and two cots are provided. Propane appliances include a cooking stove, heater and refrigerator. Cookware, dishes and utensils are provided. A pit toilet is located just below the lookout.

No water or electricity, so bring your own drinking water and lighting.  And don’t forget garbage bags to pack out the trash.  An added note: the propane fridge isn’t the most reliable, so for insurance, consider a well-iced cooler!Bedding and additional mattresses are not provided. The propane refrigerator may be unreliable, so guests may want to consider bringing a cooler with ice.

Make a Reservation

LEFT: It's a climb to the top! Photo by @arielamandah RIGHT: View from the lookout. Photo by @mountain_girl_fit
LEFT: It’s a climb to the top! Photo by @arielamandah RIGHT: View from the lookout. Photo by @mountain_girl_fit

Lookout Butte

Location: Kooskia, Idaho

Fun Fact:  There have been three different towers on this site over the past 80 years. The current one, now available for rent, was built in 1962.

What You’ll See: At an elevation of 5,869 feet, you’re breathing the fresh mountain air from three mountain ranges: the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area, Coolwater Ridge, the Seven Devils Mountain Range.  And there’s water everywhere, mainly flowing through the Selway River and Lochsa River Drainages.

What You’ll Do: Pick one of the many back roads that are perfect for off-roading or biking.

Hike it OR Drive it:  Drive. Bring a car with gritty tires to combat the incline, (add comma)  and ditch your trailer before the climb.

Amenities: With five steep flights of stairs up to the tower, this one isn’t recommended for families. (add period)  Parties of four are welcome to use the two twin beds, propane stove, and kitchen table. Down on the ground is a fire ring, and down the hill, a pit toilet.

Make a Reservation

A few final reminders about staying in these lookouts:

  • None of them have running water–pack plenty of H20 and appropriate tools to purify your supply
  • Cell phone coverage is unreliable, but snap all the photos you want!
  • To help prevent the spread of tree-killing pests only burn firewood near your destination

Happy Trails, out there!

End of the trail. #scouting #aridpeaklookout #lookouttower #idaho @jhartspencer

A post shared by Isaac Grauke (@igrauke) on

 

Our newest hat for Mike’s Two Lanes: for explorers of the back roads, this charcoal snapback hat is MADE IN THE USA.

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Vermont Army Major unites with fellow veterans to reunite Purple Hearts to military families across the nation

Imagine for a second that you’re seeing your brother, son, dad, or uncle off to war. That precious, fleeting goodbye is filled with tears, prayers, and the promise of returning home. You watch them walk down the driveway to catch the bus and just like that, they’re gone. Two weeks later, you get a knock on your door. You open it, your body tightens, and everything around you slows up. A man in uniform hands you a telegram saying that your loved one is never coming home. As your family and friends cope with the news, the telegram is later followed by a final piece of the person you’ll ever receive, a Purple Heart.

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Photo credit Zachariah Fike

Could you imagine losing or misplacing that piece of a loved one and having it returned 50 years later? A Purple Heart is family history at its most significant, and the oldest military award still given to those who have served.  Helping identify and locate the survivors of one who was awarded it, and then somehow parted from, a Purple Heart is a chance to reunite a family with a piece of a near or distant relative they may lovedor perhaps never have known. Something Mike has personal experience with.

“Neither my mother nor I ever knew my grandfather,” says Mike. “What we do know is that he was killed on 11 May 1945 while serving on the U.S.S. Evans (DD-552) during the Battle of Okinawa in WWII. When she presented me with his Purple Heart and told me his story, I was without words. Men like Zachariah Fike are making it possible to give other military families closure and peace through his Purple Hearts Reunited nonprofit as he works unfailingly to return these medals to their rightful owners.”

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Mike’s Grandfather

Zac, founder of Purple Hearts Reunited and active Army Major for the past 18 years, left war a changed man. Especially after his last tour to Afghanistan, where he was wounded and later awarded a Purple Heart for his service and sacrifice. Like many other veterans on the mend, Zac needed an outlet to help him cope with post-combat stress, and he developed an interest and immersed himself in the world of antiques. The first piece of his collection was a gift from his mother — a Purple Heart she had bought for $100.

“When I flipped the heart over and read the name ‘Pvt. Corrado Piccoli’ my first reaction was sadness,” says Zac. “Having recently been presented with my own Purple Heart, I was all too familiar with its significance. The precious medal in my hand represented a fellow soldier who gave his life for me, my family, and our country. Suddenly that sadness fled and excitement took over as I felt I had a new mission at that very moment. I had to find out everything about this veteran’s service and answer the mystery as to who his family was and why his medal was discovered in an antique shop. I feel that excitement each evening when I go into my basement to research the fallen heroes of history.” (See Zac at work in the video below.)

Knowing that there were more Purple Hearts to rescue, and certainly other veterans needing an outlet, Zac founded Purple Hearts Reunited in 2012. His nonprofit is currently the only one of its kind uniting Purple Hearts and their proper families, free of charge and with the help of other veterans, serving the cause of historical preservation and education. So far, this alliance has resulted in the successful return of more than 300 Purple Hearts to military families all across the country.  Last year alone, the organization brought home 70 medals, with its volunteer veterans logging more than 28,000 miles and touching the lives of more than 70,000 people in 18 states.

Purple Hearts Reunited opens its Valor Guard to veterans from all branches of the military and special services, like Sgt. Greg Haak, who served eight years in the U.S. Army with two tours in Iraq. During his last deployment, he was wounded by an IED and the resulting infection cost him his leg. He has since retired from the military, gradually adjusting to civilian life with the help of Purple Hearts Reunited.

“Participating in these returns fills me with a sense of pride that I haven’t experienced since my time in the military, while allowing me to feel like I’m part of a new family,” says Greg.

“For me,” says Zac, “watching Greg stand in front of a family at a return, looking sharp in his uniform again, and projecting confidence in the mission he was performing, was one of the proudest monuments I’ve experienced since starting this organization. It has become more than returning a medal or honoring a family, it has transformed into a process that also helps heal my fellow veterans.”

purple hearts medals
Photo courtesy of Zachariah Fike

Veterans across the country have been given a new purpose and drive to stay active and serve others in need. Even the Executive Director of Purple Hearts Reunited, Sarah Corry, the daughter of a veteran, has a personal connection to the organization.

“My father is a two-time Purple Heart recipient from his time in Vietnam. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I get to sit down with my kids and show them that tangible symbol of sacrifice their Grandpa made for our nation. Being able to give that moment back to another Mom or Dad isn’t work for me, it’s a gift and a privilege. Participating in return ceremonies has been life-changing for me.”

Zac’s family has served all the way back to the Revolutionary War, so he understands the emotional attachment people have towards these medals.

“They tell the story and give closure to so many people. I believe all medals should go home to their true owners or be preserved in a special place of honor. Medal returns have become more than just returning a medal. We’re providing a very valuable experience for each family that often leads to families reuniting, learning more about their family history, and in most cases, finding closure with their loss. I once had help returning a Purple Heart from a dog named Smuckers after she dug the medal up in Denver dirt! That was a memorable story for me.”

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Framed Purple Heart Photo Courtesy of Zachariah Fike

But there are so many more stories that still need to be told. In fact, Zac and his team have made a pretty amazing New Year’s resolution this year: to return at least 100 medals in 2017 to mark the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. To keep that resolution, they will have to return one medal just about every three days!

“I guess you could say I enjoy the thrill of finding an item and learning more about it, in much the same way that Mike does. It’s our vow that through returning these Purple Hearts  we’ll tell each veteran’s story, preserve their legacy, and solidify their contribution to history.”

If you’re a veteran looking to volunteerto donate, or help identify current Purple Hearts, visit PurpleHeartsReunited.org.

 

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My Two Lanes brand is all about authenticating small town USA, and the best way to do that is to offer products made by the crafty, resourceful people who live there. It didn’t take me long to discover the loving family behind Southern Firefly Company in Nashville. Their eco-friendly candle business does an amazing job of capturing and celebrating the charm of the south through their products, like “Mississippi” that smells like cotton fields and magnolia blooms, to “Georgia” that smells like, you guessed it. Peaches. The candles are hand-poured in Murfreesboro, Tennessee just outside Nashville by the hands of Brandon and Heather Ainsworth and their two children, who I am sure will carry on Southern Firefly as a family legacy. Their shop is in Leipers Fork and I am happy to have them as neighbors.

For a few months we tested different scents, like tobacco smoke and apple orchard, but nothing felt more right to me than the Balsam Fir. The sharp, woodsy scent triggers memories of going on walks in the woods while exploring both uncharted and familiar trails. It’s amazing to have the candle lit in the shop and have people walk through the door and start asking if we sell it. Proud to say, we do.

MW

The family behind Southern Firefly Candle Co. (left to right:
The family behind Southern Firefly Candle Co. (left to right:

The Two Lanes Balsam Fir candle is sold exclusively at both Antique Archaeology stores and on antiquearchaeology.com

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The date was New Year’s Eve, 1880, when Thomas Edison’s first electric street lamps illuminated the sidewalks of Menlo Park, New Jersey. Flash forward more than 100 years and well, Edison would be surprised to see the many ways electricity is created and used in the 21st century. From our refrigerators to our radios, electricity powers all our lives, minus those in the outpost community of Polebridge, Montana. While most of America generates power via natural gas, oil and fossil fuels, this small mountain town supports local businesses on a few simple generators.

Photo courtesy of Graham Styles via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Graham Styles via Flickr

“So,” you may be asking yourself, “what’s the appeal? Why visit or live somewhere without man’s common inventions like WIFI and toaster ovens?” The answer:  Because more than 90% of adult Americans own a cell phone, that’s why. That’s millions of people updating profile photos, watching TV, or Halloween costume shopping for Sparky on Amazon.com. Once you find yourself in Polebridge with zero cell service, your only option is to surrender to the wilderness that surrounds you. Press “disable notifications” on your phone, get out of your car, and begin connecting with the world from the other side of your windshield.

Located about 20 miles from Canada, a mile from Glacier National Park, and three hours north of Whitefish Range, Polebridge is a town of fewer than 50 people. They are tough, self-sufficient, and totally cool with mail arriving only twice a month. Polebridge residents reside in rustic cabins on dirt roads, some without running water! If they need supplies, human interaction, or a huckleberry bear claw, they pop into the local Polebridge Mercantile or the Northern Lights Saloon—both powered by generators.

 

 

Minus the propane that bakes the breads and pastries, the Mercantile leans lightly on the support of some solar panels and batteries to keep the lights on. Especially when they start rolling out pastry dough at 4:00AM! The entire town seems to be frozen in 1914, the date Polebridge Mercantile was established. (Only four years after Glacier Park was named a national park back in 1910!) The Mercantile has also been declared a National Register of Historic Places.

Photo courtesy of anniemullinsuk via Flickr
Photo courtesy of anniemullinsuk via Flickr

While some may consider these electric methods unreliable or unacceptable, more businesses like Polebridge Ranch and the North Fork Hostel remain booked and bustling with explorers looking to fully experience a rustic way of living and discovering a new-found respect for the sun. Polebridge is proving that you can still live well without damaging nature by digging holes for power line posts.

Photo courtesy of Meadowview via Flickr
Photo courtesy of Meadowview via Flickr

There’s no challenge that awaits you in Polebridge, but rather the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with nature and your human instinct to explore new territory. Just remember, take a right at the hand painted, wooden exit sign, and continue down the dirt road for about 30 miles until you see the red paneling of the Mercantile. Pack a rechargeable flashlight and leave your 4G hotspot at home. There’s no daylight to waste!

Photo courtesy of b-duss via Flickr
Photo courtesy of b-duss via Flickr

Does an electricity-free community sound like your kind of adventure? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Whether you’re in front of a rustic fireplace or spending the weekend in the Montana wilderness, our Antique Archaeology enamel camp mug is a must-have!

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Promotional Matchbook / Image by Wacky Stuff *Some Edits Were Made
Wigwam Village Promotional Matchbook / Image by Wacky Stuff
*Some edits were made to original image

With automobiles becoming more available, and roads better able to carry them, roadside attractions were all the rage for travelers in the 1940s and ’50s. And with the construction of intersecting highways, two being the Dixie Highway and Route 66, it was easier to chart a course. Families were packing up and setting off into the great yonder… not out of necessity, but in the spirit of the Great American Road Trip.

Vintage postcard advertising Wigwam Village #2 / Image from Clarence Melvin
Vintage postcard advertising Wigwam Village #2 (Front) / Image from Clarence Melvin’s Vintage Postcards
Vintage postcard advertising Wigwam Village #2 (Back) / Image from Clarence Melvin
Vintage postcard advertising Wigwam Village #2 (Back) / Image from Clarence Melvin’s Vintage Postcards

Americans seeing the country by car needed places to stay along the way, and creative hospitality entrepreneurs looked for ways to grab their attention. It was the heyday of novel roadside architecture. In New England you could stay in mock colonial houses and in the Southwest, you could spend the night in faux adobe huts. But among the most unique were the Wigwam Villages, built by Frank Redford. The first was set up in 1933 in Horse Cave, Kentucky, but through the ‘30s and ‘40s, the wigwams sprang up in five other states in the South and Southwest. They’re mostly gone now… but if you’ve got a hankerin’, you can still spend the night in a roadside teepee…

Image by Thomas Hawk
Image by Thomas Hawk: Holbrook, Arizona

And yes – you read correctly.  Three of the villages are still in business and waiting for you to check in. (Cheap too! You can stay at the Cave City location – and enjoy some of its original furnishings – for as little as $45/night during certain parts of the year!) Make your reservations now…

Image By Arthur T. LaBar
Image By Arthur T. LaBar: Cave City, Kenyucky

Who’s ready to hit the road? Pack your camera and an open mind for the most unique over-nighter ever. Anyone ever caught some shuteye in a wigwam?

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