Southern Delaware has become known for many great things over the years, including its awesome beaches, incredibly low tax rates, a great selection of locally owned and operated eateries and a few more things that you’re probably already fully aware of.

But what you may not know, unless you’re an avid collector, is how much of a hot spot the area has become for antiques, especially among people who enjoy buying, selling and collecting items from years and decades, even centuries, gone by.

But take a drive around the area and keep your eyes open for these small, often eccentric little shops that specialize in old and in demand items from the past. Some you’ve probably seen before, but others you may have driven by dozens of times without even noticing.

And now that we’re in the middle of the winter season, or “off season,” if you will, it’s the perfect time to get out there and do some exploring. Even if you’re not a collector, or even interested in purchasing anything, browsing through these special stores is sure to spark an interesting conversation or two among you, your friends and/or your family members.

There are scores of antique shops in southern Delaware, from the beaches all the way to the western reaches of Sussex County. There’s no way we would possibly feature them all here in this blog, but we’ll give you a good selection that you can get out there and discover.

Here are 10 to get you started:

  • Heritage Antiques Market – Located just a couple of miles north of Five Points, this 9,500-square-foot antiques market features a great selection of antique and vintage furniture, desks, paintings, dolls, old books, chandeliers, garden statues, glassware and more.
  • Auntie M's Emporium - Located in the heart of the Lewes Historic District, the outside of Auntie M's truly looks the part of a classic southern Delaware antiques shop. In fact the building itself is a local antique (the former Lewes Firehouse and Jail) and is very popular on historical tours of the "First Town in the First State." Inside, you'll find a nice selection of Lewes memorabilia from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Lewes Mercantile Antiques - Located on historic Second Street in downtown Lewes, the more than two dozen dealers who provide inventory to this store allow for a larger than average inventory at all times. This includes antique, vintage, collectible, retro, modern and reproduction items, as well as furniture, lighting, art, glassware, jewelry and more.

  • Old Screen Door - Located on Monroe Avenue in Lewes, this classic shop features unique and quirky antiques, furniture, refurbished pieces, accessories, fine art, gifts, jewelry and more. They don't have a website but you can give them a ring at 302-827-2149.

  • Shabby Lady - This coastal antique shop is located on Atlantic Avenue in Ocean View, across from Lord Baltimore Elementary School. It features a warehouse filled with cottage furniture and accessories and bills itself as offering a "different twist on vintage items." They also don't have a website, but you can reach the shop via telephone at 302-539-9518.
  • Lavender & Lace Antiques & Gifts - Also located in Ocean View, Lavender & Lace is a unique shop filled with one-of-a-kind handmade items from local artisans. It also features vintage, shabby chic style furnishings, lighting, quilts, architectural pieces, vintage swimsuits, sand pails and more.

  • Jayne's Reliable - Located on Main Street in Dagsboro, Jayne's Reliable features a unique old store atmosphere with lots of local artists represented. For sale items include furniture and accessories for home and garden, as well as vintage, reclaimed, architectural salvage and local art. There is no website, but the owners can be reached by calling 302-927-0049.

  • Georgetown Antique Market - Located on Market Street in downtown Georgetown, this long-time antique market features a wide selection of furniture, glassware, jewelry, wicker, iron, outdoor furniture, art and more. Again, there is no website, but the store can be reached by calling 302-856-7118.

  • Millsboro Bazaar - Located on Main Street in downtown Millsboro, this classic antique shop features vintage clothing, buttons, sterling and costume jewelry, furniture, lamps, china, glass and collectibles from the 50s and 60s. As with many local antique shops, they don't have a website, but they can be reached via telephone at 302-934-7413.

  • Antique Alley - Located on Route 13 in Bridgeville, on the western side of Sussex County, Antique Alley is one of the largest antique stores on Delmarva and features stoneware, primitives, art glass, art pottery, Depression-era glass, antique furniture, books, collectibles and more over 20,000-square-feet.