Preserving the Past
WHILE YOU’RE OUT // FRANKLY … PIZZA! This is the newest restaurant in Kensington and as its name implies, the menu is all pizza. Thanks to a small 150-square-foot kitchen, there’s not much room for anything but the house specialty – hearth-baked pizza with a dozen choices between red and white pies. Other than starters of olives and arugula or spinach salad and a seasonal dessert choice or two, diners come to Frankly … Pizza! for just one reason.
10417 Armory Ave., Kensington, MD 20895
Howard Avenue in Kensington has a secret – and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing because when you’re talking antiques, a hidden secret is always welcome. A one-time country retreat of the 1890s, Kensington is now an upscale, bedroom community of about 2,300 residents nestled just outside the Beltway between Chevy Chase, Rockville, Silver Spring and Wheaton. There aren’t any hotels or highrises and just a few restaurants, but there is an abundance of antique shops.
The small town feeling of Kensington is enhanced by its Antique Row, a string of antique and specialty shops that dot Howard Avenue on the east side of Connecticut Avenue. The Kensington Row Bookshop, a jewelry and watch repair shop and a couple of design and furnishings stores are mixed in with the main attractions – antique stores and galleries.
Adah Rose Gallery, G & G Antiques, Sally Shaffer and Sage Consignment are among the shops full of interesting and unique items. Antique Village provides a separate cluster of shops while the white brick Prevention of Blindness Thrift Shop offers antiques, curiosities and collectibles from a stock that changes weekly as freshly donated items are put up for sale.
The thrift shop sits at the back of Howard Park, a lovely open area that hosts Saturday morning concerts in the summer and sits across the street from the MARC Train Station where the vendors at the Kensington Farmers Market sell baked goods, meats, fresh produce and cheeses every Saturday morning.
The K-Town Bistro and The Tea Room offer different menus, but good food in a casual atmosphere along Howard Avenue while the side streets of Fawcett and Armory offer a few additional shopping opportunities.
Antique Row calls itself the "largest and oldest antiquing center" in the area. It’s a title that Kensington Mayor Peter C. Fosselman doesn’t dispute.
"I believe there’s no better place in the Washington area than Kensington for finding just the right antique, just the right piece of home décor," says Fosselman. "What visitors also discover is that we have other unique shops, features and attractions that make this town a very special place to live and visit."
Once you’ve covered the east side of Howard Avenue, it’s time to cross over Connecticut Avenue and visit the more secretive West Howard Antiques District, home to another dozen or so antique shops and galleries that are a bit harder to find in the more industrial and less pedestrian part of Kensington. Don’t give up as you descend down this portion of Howard; you’ll have to hunt and peck your way along this strip of auto repair, construction supply and rug shops.
Look up and to the left and you’ll find the Weisser Glass Studio and Gallery. Next to the Reliable Auto Service is Osuna Art Antiques.
You can’t miss the British Pine Mine with its blue awnings and red, white and blue signage, but places like Far East Antiques, Estates Gallery and Hollis & Knight are less visible but worth the effort.
Howard Avenue may have split personalities, but they’re united when it comes to antiques.