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Behind The Scenes

Erica Weiner's Maine Favorites

Though Erica Weiner’s a New Yorker through and through, she has a soft spot for Maine, where her parents now live and where she does a lot of sourcing for her  jewelry line, which is full of antique trinkets (that she somehow makes very cool). “Growing up, I spent every summer going to camp there, like a good Jewish kid,” Erica explains. These are the places that fit her food- and accessory-consumption needs.Orphan Annie’s“It’s mostly Victorian stuff—mostly jewelry. But the owner is, I think, the only gay guy for miles around, so he has things like beefcake postcards, too. It’s really weird.”(96 Court St., Auburn, 207-782-0638) Erica outside of Elmer’s Barn in 2007. “That place is insane—but a goldmine.”Elmer’s Barn“It’s like a mile from where my parents live. It has cachet now—I think Martha Stewart discovered him, and he was told by his daughter or something that he needed to raise his prices. So now his upstairs is exorbitantly expensive, but the basement is still cheap. He also has a giant, pot-bellied stove in the middle of the barn, and in the winter he just sits there and heaves logs into it. So it’s really warm and cozy.”(Route 17, Coopers Mills, 207-549-7671)A1 Diner“The owners are Brooklyn people who moved up there like five years ago and bought this old dining car of a train. It’s Park Sloped out—in the middle of, really, nowhere—and it’s always full. They do an amazing chicken marsala from the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook, and they have fantastic desserts—delicious gingerbread, lots of pies.”(3 Bridge St., Gardiner, 207-582-4804; a1diner.com)Liberty Tool Company“It’s a rural tool-and-parts barn, and it’s incredible. Also, it’s like a three-story firetrap.”(57 Main St., Liberty, 207-589-4771) Erica eating oysters at Red’s Eats. Red’s Eats“It’s a shack at the side of the road—with two-hour waits. They serve lobster rolls, steamed lobsters, fried clams, fried shrimp—simple stuff like that.”(Main St. & Water St., Wiscasset, 207-882-6128)Morse’s Sauerkraut“A lot of German people moved to Maine in the 1910s and 1920s. Someone opened this place called Morse’s, with sauerkraut, pickles, and German meats. It’s a roadhouse kind of space that’s half beer hall, half deli/grocery. They serve completely amazing food—some of the best German food I’ve ever had.”(3856 Washington Rd., Waldoboro, 207-832-5569; morsessauerkraut.com) Nobleboro Antique Exchange“I just bought a whole lot of stuff there. There’s this lady, Miss Helen, who I didn’t meet this time but whom I have an appointment with. She’s 90 years old and a collector of Victorian antiques—I bought a lot of stuff from her booth. You tell her what you want—say, you’re looking for Civil War-era diamond solitaires—and she’ll make you a little package of what she finds and mail it to you. You keep what you like and send the rest back with a check written for what you kept.”(104 U.S. 1, Nobleboro, 207-563-6800; nobleboroantiqueexchange.com) Some of the specialties at Hussey’s General Store. Hussey’s General Store“I think it’s mostly for Mennonites, but they have everything: chain, hardware, snacks, animal feed, and, yes, wedding dresses.”(510 Ridge Rd., Whitefield, 207-445-2511; husseysgeneralstore.com) Erica Weiner’s latest Of a Kind exclusive incorporates some found treasures. Click here to scoop up the turquoise-and-brass necklace while you can.
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Meet Erica Weiner

The first piece I ever made was an ugly pair of earrings with a bird, a gun, and a heart,” says the charmingly dry jewelry designer Erica Weiner. “People still ask for them. I signed up for a craft fair in Philadelphia­. I had like 20 pairs of earrings. I sold them all and made $600. I was so psyched. I thought, ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’” After that first earring design, things took off quickly for Erica, but it was a long road to get to that point—one filled with up-all-night dress-making gigs and apartments in Bushwick, Brooklyn, when the neighborhood was more starving artist than artisanal pizza. Having grown up in Nansa, New Jersey—“a small, commuter town with all white people”—she was dying to get to New York. As a teenager, she would train it into the city and hang out on St. Marks Place, smoking cigarettes, getting piercings, and wearing JNCO jeans. She went off to Vassar for college and got into art history and took classes that sparked her interest in the history of ruins and souvenirs—a curiosity she incorporates into her trinket-flecked collection. “I like to buy something and know exactly how old it is and exactly what it was for,” she explains. Her really big break came in 2005 when she scored a market appointment out of her Ludlow Street apartment with an Anthropologie buyer. “She placed a giant order—like 10,000 necklaces at once. I remember she asked, ‘If we get this P.O. to you now, can you deliver in four weeks?’ I said yes. Then I had to google what a P.O. was.” Score Erica’s special Alumni Sunday edition right over here! These guys will go fast.
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