I have mentioned several times in this blog about my husband's being a “keeper”. Never was this more evident, than when he surprised me with the idea of taking me to Replacements in North Carolina for my birthday this year. What a gift!
We actually left for North Carolina on my birthday and stopped in Charlotte for a couple of days, before traveling to McLeansville, where Replacements is located. To all of you lucky people who get to live in Charlotte, let me say that I am jealous with a capital “J”!
What an incredible city.
We stayed downtown, which was full of beautiful buildings and tree-lined streets.
The Green, a park with huge art installations, is a great place for families and visitors to enjoy. It is across the street from the some of the downtown museums.
I loved the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, especially the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibit. Next door is The Mint Museum, which is dedicated to crafts and design.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is, also, downtown. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did, but it really is a fun place to visit with lots of hands-on exhibits for the young and old alike.
One of the former racers, Ned Jarrett, was there the day we were. He was giving an informal talk and signing autographs.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Replacements (if there are any who are not!), it is the holy grail of replacement pieces for your china, crystal, silver and collectibles. It was begun officially in 1981 by Bob Page, although he had been collecting and helping friends find replacements pieces for years. I have been ordering from the company for a very long time, even before they had an online website. The first occasion I had to discover its existence was reading a small ad in the “Southern Living” magazine. I was thrilled to know that there was such a place and have been so happy with my dealings with them throughout the years.
We arrived at the showroom early on a Monday morning and were met by a friendly greeter. I chose not to take the very informative tour, because I wanted time to look around on my own.
The first gorgeous things that we saw were pieces of silver – silver, silver and more silver.
An Unger sterling silver dresser set.
My heart skipped at least a couple of beats as I wandered through the beautiful old display cabinets filled with unique serving pieces of flatware, stunning tea and coffee services, and every other kinds of sterling tableware that you can imagine (or cannot begin to imagine!!). Everything was for sale!!
I caught a brief glimpse of the famous “Wall of China”, before workmen covered up the doorway to work on the floor in that room. The wall of china holds 500 patterns of china side by side.
Some of the different items for sale in the showroom
One of the display tables decorated for July 4th.
The showroom displays some of the china that is for sale. Of course, they cannot put everything out at once, so if you go, be sure to take a list of what you want to buy!
After looking at everything for sale, we moved on to the Replacements Museum, which is located at the rear of the showroom. Here you will find pieces from Bob Page’s personal collection.
Some of the many pieces of Chintzware in the collection
Royal Copenhagen’s “Flora Danica”, supposedly the most expensive china in the world.
A display of how Lenox china is made
I had read that Bob Page had a collection of crystal clarets, but nothing prepared me for how many there were!
Some of the clarets
Here is the largest soup tureen that I have ever seen. It is so large that it has two openings for soup ladles, one on each end.
My favorite part of the Museum was the display of Wedgwood. I have been collecting and admiring Wedgwood Jasperware for a long time, but I have never before seen any shoes with Jasperware heels! The buttery leather sandals were gorgeous by themselves, but who would think of making the heels from Jasperware? I would love to meet the woman who owned these – I think that I could definitely be her friend!
Another wonderful part of Replacements is the overstock room. I found some unbelievable bargains in there. Shopping in that one section is well worth the cost of the trip!
After visiting some of the other rooms with wares for sale, I finally produced the list of wishes that I had brought with me. This photo shows the wonderful, Peggy, who helped me with everything. She could not have been nicer and I found out that her mother-in-law originally had been from the town in which I live!
Everything on the list was produced and sometimes I was encouraged to look at several of the same pieces that I wanted, so that I could choose the best of the bunch. After everything was bought and wrapped, my sweet husband surprised me, again, by buying 6 forks in a very old pattern that I have been slowly collecting. I will show them to you in a future blog.
What a birthday this one was, but you know the best gift of all? Having a husband who understands my passion for these beautiful old things – priceless!!!