Monroe holds a lot of sweet memories for Jessie and me. In our great-grandfather’s time, he owned a farm in the area. Our father now owns that land, and we grew up picking wild blackberries and darting through the woods there. While growing up, Monroe mostly meant family to me. We rarely spent time in the actual city, but rather cooked out by the pond and hosted family reunions. Now, living so close to the area, Jessie and I love spending days soaking up the small-town atmosphere.
If you live in Athens, you’ll have to come see all of the charm and beauty Monroe offers one day. I have attempted to compile the best of the town here. Of course, you can discover much more in the area, I’m certain, but these are a few of my favorite things.
Revolutionaries Market: 105 East Washington Street
The mother/ daughter team who created Revolutionaries works to inspire creativity in their customer base. Between the two of them, they fabricated or refinished most of the furniture and decor seen in the store. In addition, Revolutionaries carries products from other creative minds and hosts craft classes regularly throughout the week. If you need a new way to express yourself, they can definitely help! Aside from this, Revolutionaries also commits to supporting the community by offering 10% of their sales each month to a local non-profit organization. How kind!
*Note that Revolutionaries is scheduled to move locations this coming fall. Regardless, they will still be in Downtown Monroe!
The Story Shop: 124 North Broad Street
Upon entering this shop, it whirls you into a fairy tale land. With a hobbit hole and a peek through Narnia’s wardrobe to bring everything together, you will love seeing the originality of this store. Of course, The Story Shop naturally caters to children. They have readings regularly and host book clubs for middle schoolers. Regardless, I love the party room they have created. Used by adults and children alike, you can pick a theme for your celebration and watch it come to life. Try hosting your next bridal luncheon or baby shower here!
Rinse Bath & Body: 101B North Broad Street
From scrubs to masks, bug repellant to handmade soaps, Rinse sells everything bath and body! Although they have grown significantly since they began in 2002, they continue to make their products in small batches to preserve the quality of their work. They have a small workspace in their public location where you can view them creating soap and packaging their products. Once you walk into the store, trust me, the smell will leave you wanting more. Definitely a must visit!
*Note that Rinse Bath & Body is scheduled to move locations this coming fall. Regardless, they will still be in Downtown Monroe!
The Cotton Cafe: 136 North Broad Street
If you need a delicious local spot to eat, The Cotton Cafe should top your list. Not only do they serve delicious food, but they also provide Jittery Joe’s coffee. If you live in Athens, I know that caught your eye! My favorite menu item is the black bean burger, but they also serve breakfast until 3pm daily. Aside from their delicious food, The Cotton Cafe acts as a great local hang out spot. With open mic nights, trivia, and sip and paint classes all hosted regularly, you’ll always have something fun to do!
Scoops: 140 North Broad Street
Located right next to The Cotton Cafe, Scoops has all of your dessert needs! They have a beautiful case of chocolates and about every ice cream flavor you could want. Personally, I love the birthday cake ice cream. While Scoops only opened a few months ago, it has quickly won over the hearts of everyone in town. Every time I drive past, the seats are full and the patio is hopping!
So, I had a difficult time picking only a few antique shops for you. Instead, I decided to highlight two distinct areas for antique shopping in Monroe. While these two areas should keep you occupied for hours, Monroe has plenty other antique stores all around town! If you love antiques like me, I invite you to continue exploring!
Monroe Cotton Mills: 601 South Madison Avenue Suite 400
While two of my favorite antique shops are located at the Monroe Cotton Mills, my favorite part about this area is how well it supports community. The mills host outdoor movie showings and food truck days regularly. Amongst other things, you can find beer and wine, free kids activities, and live music at these events!
The Walton Cotton Mill: 600 South Broad Street
You can find Ian Henderson’s Antique Mall in The Walton Cotton Mill. This antique mall boasts 100,000 square feet of booths to wander through. Hodge Podge Anitiques is also located here, and it has something for everyone. Getting lost in these shops is one of my favorite Monroe activities!
Monroe has been so kind to me. I hope you find some time to experience all it has to offer! In addition to everything I have told you about, also check out the First Friday Concerts, the Monroe Farmers Market, and the city’s website.
(Pictured above: Monroe’s historic courthouse)