A leisurely stroll through Princeton

Joe Schulz and Katherine Swapp sit underneath a pergola outside of Twister. submitted photo

by Joe Schulz

While many know Princeton for its famous flea market, it also hosts a wide variety of antique and souvenir marketplaces.

On a weekday in mid-July, my friend Katherine (Kat) Swapp and I went to Princeton to spend a day checking out the shops.

I previously had been to Princeton when for the flea market, but I didn’t check out any of the shops.

This time we went straight to Water Street.

The first store we went to was Twigs. Inside Kat purchased four glass bottles of soda.

We were pleasantly surprised to find soda in glass bottles because in today’s plastic world glass bottles are out of the ordinary.

After dropping the soda off at the car, we went into Twister. Inside we played with Chinese finger traps and a Chinese yo-yo before buying a couple of smoothies.

We enjoyed our fruity drinks beneath the pergola outside. We then continued our trek down Water Street.

Next, we visited Daiseye, where Kat tried on a few beach hats, before we went into the next room, where we admired an American Flag made of blue jeans.

After Daiseye, we went to the Levee Contemporary Art Gallery. Inside we looked at various abstract designs made by talented artists.

My favorite art piece was “Blowing, Desolated, Despoiled” by Mollie Oblinger, which depicted a desolated world. The piece made me think about what could happen if we continue to ignore major problems such as climate change.

Kat’s favorite piece of art was a digital pigment print by Caren Stansell called “Lake Lyman.” The piece was an abstract kaleidoscope image.

Now, I’m a pretty simple guy. So, looking at abstract art and deciphering some kind of meaning from it, doesn’t exactly come naturally.

But the experience did leave me feeling a bit more cultured, even if I do, generally, like things that are a bit more concrete.

After the art gallery, we left Water Street and went to the River City Antique Mall, where I nerded out over retro Pepsi and Coca-Cola signs.

Some of the coolest artifacts in the mall were the antique gas pumps. As soon as I saw one, I immediately picked up the handle as if I was about to pump gas.

Joe Schulz pretends to pump gas inside of River City Antique Mall. Katherine Swapp photo

After the River City Antique Mall, we went down the street to the MNM Antique Mall. As we walked inside, I noticed a box of records.

I flipped through the box and got excited when I found a few Styx albums. I would have bought them, if I owned a record player.

After that I fiddled with a retro phone. We strolled the aisles and a “John F. Kennedy for President” pin for $6 caught my eye. I don’t know why exactly, but that was the one item I bought.

I couldn’t turn down such a fine piece of Americana. I mean sure, the Bay of Pigs Invasion was a mess, but he averted nuclear catastrophe with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I had a blast in the antique malls, I really love the way things used to be designed; sleek curves and bright colors. I’ve always been a big fan of the kind of space age design of the 1960s.

After our visit to MNM Antique Mall, Kat and I went back to Water Street to visit The Pizza Factory. I’ve always been something of a pizza connoisseur (I blame the Ninja Turtles). I worked at Red’s Pizza & Catering in Oshkosh throughout high school and freshman year of college.

We ordered a chicken alfredo pizza, which was delicious.

As we left Princeton, I felt a bit nostalgic because it’s a town that embraces its history. Each building downtown has a plaque on it, explaining the history behind it, and the artifacts in the stores bring you back to a somewhat simpler time.

I’ve been a history nerd since high school, so for me it was cool to see a community that embraces its past as it works towards a better future.

I’d recommend anyone spend a day in Princeton, it’s time well spent.