(Editor’s note: DeeDee Wood is the owner of Black Cat Curiosities, an online antiques research and sales venue.)

Owner Carol Meekins and her son Robert take pride in Country Treasures Antique Store and how it’s filled with some of the early American antiques visitors will find. (Photo by DeeDee Wood)

Early American, hand-painted furniture, decoys, paintings and portraits, stoneware, early iron, antique signs and more, are just waiting to be discovered on Main St. in Preston, Md.
The Meekins family has been operating Country Treasures in Preston since 1979. They specialize in 18th and 19th century Early American, original paint cupboards, furniture and antiques.
The building itself also has historic significance to the Caroline County town, and stepping through the front doors of the store is like being transported back in time, to an age when furniture was proudly made completely by hand, and there was pride in the details of the multitude of antiques that fill this unique shop.
Country Treasures is a truly unique store, filled with some of the best antiques and examples of Early American antiques you will find.
Normally found in a museum-like setting, the items for sale are often rare, unique and important parts of Early American history. Cupboards with original paint were pointed out to me by the owner, Carol Meekins.
She showed me an orange cabinet, for example, whose bright orange paint job was completely derived from pumpkins to get that brilliant colorant. Blues, reds, greens, aqua and more amazing original painted items surrounded the walls and brilliant displays in this tidy, nicely displayed store.
“When you look at our inventory, you see fine details like crafted crown molding,” Meekins shows on a cabinet behind her, “as well as dovetailed drawers, mortise and pegged joints, and pit-saw marks on the back of the pieces, showing how the wood was cut by hand with a pit saw, a large saw that required two people to operate, one above ground and one person standing down in a pit to operate at its full length, to cut large pieces of wood.”
This Early American furniture was handmade, hand painted, and crafted with attention to detail and care. No machines were used, and that is the true detail and interest in Early American furniture-it is truly one-of-a-kind.
The store also houses an impressive collection of duck and fowl decoys, many from local, well-known carvers who lived in the area, considered Upper Bay Maryland Decoys.
Carol’s son, Robert Meekins, showed me a few from their collection, many kept in glass cases along the back wall of the store, showcased and documented for sale in proper manner.
Names such as carvers and artists like Charles Benard, George Washbarnes, Charlie Joiner, Madison Mitchell and John Holly, among others, are available for sale, and show the skill and ingenuity of decoy carvers and their craft.
The store also contains stoneware from the 18th and 19th century, from crafters and artists like Peter Herman, a Baltimore stoneware artist from the 1870s, original, authentic signs of all types, such as advertising and store signs, (many from the local area), old game boards, original iron works like candleholders and lights, bird trees, which are hand-carved little original birds adorning wooden branches, cases of all sorts of treasures like seasonal paper mache Halloween candy containers, Easter rabbit decorations, carved items and more antiques that will keep you looking in awe for hours.
A hand-hewn dollhouse, sitting high above a case, caught my eye at one point, a tiny portrait of the creator affixed to the front of the house, eyes looking back into yours.
When you look down in the store you also see treasures. There are original rugs, smaller chests sitting below eye level, and more.
When you look up, you notice antique lighting, hanging objects and the building itself. On one of my gazes upward, I noticed an original sign to the store, touting the “Oldsmobile Six” store that once was housed in this building, selling automobile and farm machinery parts.
Below on the sign, it indicated “William B. Hollis and Sons,” funeral directors, embalmers and undertakers had been in the building as well, upstairs, many, many years ago. I was told I could also head upstairs to the second level of more antiques, so I ventured up the back stairs.
The second level of the store also contained “country treasures” that were amazing. Old spinning wheels, more signs, beds, toys, decorations and more awaited me, all still original, all uniquely handcrafter and many hand painted.
The variety of inventory, and the care and time that was taken to assemble and arrange all of this shows the pride in the family business. Carol Meekins told me they sell items on their website, and ship all over the world. “A couple of carved swans recently went to Australia,” she told me with pride, “as well as we have recently shipped items to Germany, Israel and more.” Meekins points out that they keep a very organized, up-to-date website and email newsletter that reaches out to customers.
Carol and Robert Meekins both told me that their late husband and father, George Meekins, was the heart of Country Treasures. The senior member of the Meekins family passed away a little over a year ago, and Carol said, “He was an expert in his field and is sorely missed in the Early American antique community.”
Country Treasures can be found in Preston, Maryland at 208 Main Street. The shop hours are 9:00am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Their website is www.mycountrytreasures.com and they can be reached via email at antiques@mycountrytreasures.com. They also have very informative descriptions of their products on their website, explaining the history of the pieces they sell, and details, and Carol Meekins sends out a special recipe with her newsletter, monthly, if you sign up for their emails.
The entire establishment and operation is truly a unique, beautiful family affair, selling important Early Americana items that are often times hard to find in the antiques market.