Posted by: deadmousediaries | September 29, 2012

News from the Path Valley Hotel, Episode #39 – Second-Hand Finds

When Dollar General opened a store in our little hamlet two years ago –just before Thanksgiving– it was a bright yellow beacon in the dark November sky. If you have never lived in tiny town America, you can’t imagine how a store like that can rock your rural world.

When I was growing up here, we had two mom-and-pop markets and a full-fledged grocery store with six aisles, grocery carts and all. One of them had a Coca-Cola machine outside that dispensed those great refundable bottles. Over the years as the world got smaller, people got more comfortable driving 10 miles to save on soup or to buy exotic items like fresh fruit that wasn’t even in season. As we all migrated to the big grocery chains, the family-owned stores faded into the sunset. And then there were none.

When those doors closed, not only did tiny town not have a local source for soup, we also did not have easy access to any extra TP on the night before the threat of a big Nor’easter. We couldn’t do a quick home repair run for duct tape or WD-40 to fix the things that wouldn’t stay in place or those that wouldn’t budge. There wasn’t even a nearby place to buy a loaf of bread that could be transformed into PB&Js and served with the soup for an amazing gourmet meal.

If you’ve never lived in tiny town, you can’t really imagine how a big department store like Dollar General can change your life if you can walk there after a snow storm. Department store?? Yes. Our DG sells name brand products in the grocery department, the pet department, the cosmetics department, the lawn and garden department, the clothing department — and that’s just to name a few. (They also have an As Seen On TV section where I met my new BFF, Snuggie!) Best of all, nearly every week your receipt includes a $5 off coupon for the next weekend visit. Beat that, Wally World!

I love our little town in large part because it is small but I also like a few conveniences. With the opening of our beautiful, big Dollar General, I really thought our little community had become one with the universe and would never be more complete. But I was wrong. In August, I drove past our old sewing factory to see a new banner hanging above the doorway. I remember my jaw actually dropped as I read the words: Better Days Animal League Thrift Store Coming Soon. A thrift store so close to the PVH? inconceivable!

If you haven’t read PVH News Episode #8 – Second-Hand Savvy and Chic, you might need that  primer to understand the thrill of the hunt because now, within a five-minute drive of the Hotel  (or a twenty-minute walk if you follow our hiking trails map), you can find the kinds of bargains that will make stories worth telling your grandchildren.

Tomorrow’s blog will reveal one of the latest conundrums presented at the second-hand store but tonight I’d like to show you my very first purchase. It called my name the moment I spied it and it is now hanging on the bedroom wall. I think it is quite a classy accent in our hotel decor and it speaks volumes about our frugal and “green” philosophies here. And whether you like it or not, it was quite a find and has made more fodder for the chronicles of the Path Valley Hotel!



  1. Another one to make me smile. :o)

  2. Dollar General has the BEST jar candles…only five dollars, and excellent scent saturation….alas, our little town couldn’t hold on to it’s dollar general, so I have to drive 30 miles to find one….

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