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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Shopping Report: The Shops at Artisans Alley

Following lunch at Earl Abel's, my wife and I were both pretty satisfied and ready to head home. We made our way to Loop 410 and by the time I got past Nacogdoches Road, it was pretty clear that traffic was backing up to the airport. We had misled ourselves into thinking that the construction only impacted the people going eastbound, but in fact, everyone was screwed.

I did a quick exit back onto Broadway and headed north adjacent to the airport and made my way to Wurzbach Parkway which turns into Bitters Road. It was my plan to take West Bitters out to 1604 and back home that way.

Things were running quite smoothly until we rounded the bin and saw 555 West Bitters which is the address of The Shops at Artisans Alley. I have wanted to stop in there for some time and just never did, so we figured it was worth a few minutes of our time.

I should caveat this with the fact that, I dress for comfort on weekends and usually avoid anyplace where I feel as though I might need to dress up. For example, I avoid North Star Mall and still have not set foot on the property of The Shoppes at La Cantera, for fear that some fashion security guard may apprehend me for failing to meet a minimum shoe style requirement or wearing shorts that come from a sporting goods store, and not a fancy online place.
So you can appreciate my relief when we walked up the ramp to enter the place, and there was a not so pretty, not so fashionable lady standing there smoking a cigarette. Thank God I thought, no pretentious people here!

The best way to describe it is, it appears that somebody pushed together a bunch of old buildings on piers, then built a corrugated aluminum and fiberglass roof over the combined structures and connected the separate shops with a wooden deck. In essence, they built a micro-version of Bussey's flea market on stilts, and filled it with real shoppes and very few drunk people. And the people at this place also bathe regularly.

The stores included an actual tea room, a few restaurants and some antiques and furniture places, and a nice gallery we looked in called Hacienda. We also looked in a place called Tuscany that contained lots of items that you would imagine in a place called, Tuscany. Our last stop was a huge Antiques shop called Back Alley Antiques. This place is not for the faint hearted. These people have some seriously nice furniture. Aside from the fact that most of the tables and beds I liked came with the price tag of a quality used car, I could easily understand how someone would pay to outfit their home with this really high quality, well cared for old stuff. If you have any interest in furniture or antiques, you owe it to yourself to visit.

Bring the Brinks truck with you.

In fairness, we didn't stay to look at all the shops, in fact, of about 20 different stores and restaurants, we only stopped in three or four, but if you enjoy nice, artsy sort of things or are simply looking for an idea or little something to perk up your house, I'd say it is worth a try.

We'll definitely go back and try to check out a few more stores and maybe try out Bin 555, which a freind tells me is a great place to eat.

Got any new places I can go without putting on a Tux? Tell me about it.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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