By Julie Henning

It’s hard not to draw parallels between Mayberry, North Carolina — the idyllic, fictitious town made famous by the popular 1960s television series The Andy Griffith Show — and modern-day Coburg. Megan Dompe, director of Coburg Main Street, the rebranded Coburg Chamber of Commerce, says “it’s very Mayberry out there.” Dompe is driven by a mission to support commerce, preserve history, and celebrate the arts.

With promoting tourism high on her list of job responsibilities, Dompe talks to a lot of people, and she says pretty much anyone you talk to will wax nostalgic about the community. “If you engage with someone who lives in Coburg, they will talk about Coburg for 45 minutes with you,” she explains. “Because if they live there, they’ve invested themselves in it, and it’s really sweet.”

Coburb holds tightly to a wholesome, small town atmosphere that beckons a person back to simpler and less complicated times, so it’s easy to understand why residents are in no hurry to leave the past behind. With more than 187 sites and structures on the National Register of Historic Places, the town itself is an official National Historic District.

Renowned locally and nationally for the annual Coburg Antique and Vintage Fair — a flagship event that draws in 20,000 to 30,000 antique enthusiasts and collectors to hundreds of vendor booths on a single Saturday in September — Coburg also supports permanent brick-and-mortar antique and vintage businesses that, unsurprisingly, dominate the town’s tourism scene all year long.

Each store holds a slightly different spot on the antique and vintage spectrum, but collectively they present visitors with a wonderfully fun way to hunt and peck for the perfect memorabilia, gift, tchotchke, or collectable. And for many visitors, a highlight of the downtown Coburg shopping experience is that it is compact enough to deposit your treasures in your vehicle as you find them.

There’s no right or wrong way to start your Coburg antiquing adventure. Find authentic antiques and vintage collectibles at The Old Shed or head to The Blingy Barn in search of eclectic signs, vintage lawn art, or industrial chic decor. Looking for something old and something new? Farm Fancy specializes in country crafts and doubles as a florist shop. There’s a treasure to be found at every turn at Farm Fancy, from body care to plants and flowers of all sorts, to dishware and all sorts of rustic chic decor. A collective of knowledgeable antique dealers occupies Coburg Antique Malls; each stall offers something different. As the saying goes, check back often for new — make that old — inventory.

If vintage is your vibe, Retro Rejuvenation is not to be missed. Lyndsey Denton, the proprietress, describes the store’s niche as mid-century and the vibe like a trip down Memory Lane. “We specialize in 1940s to 1970s housewares, furniture, art, and clothing,” Denton says. “A lot of people comment on how our shop reminds them of their grandparents’ house. I love finding beautiful dresses and bringing them back to life to find another home where they will be loved.”

During the Coburg Antique and Vintage Fair, Denton packs the parking lot full of additional items and brings out clothing priced under $20 for the bargain hunters. Dompe says even the businesses that are not true antique stores have that old-towny feel to them. “The unique thing about Coburg is that most of the historic buildings still standing are active businesses even though they are over 100 years old,” she explains.

Vicki Bell is the owner of Reflections Salon, operated out of the Mendenhall House, a home that was built in 1905 by town physician Dr. Mendenhall — doctor, dentist, veterinarian — and is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Bell and her husband purchased the downtown Coburg property and moved their staff of eight there in 2006 from their Eugene location. They have been there ever since. “It’s been unbelievable to be in Coburg,” Bell said. “It’s such a charming town.” She notes you don’t have to be a client to come in and check out the space, which operates as both a salon and a gift shop. “People come in to purchase gift items like jewelry and scarves all the time,” she says.

Johnsons Brothers Garden Market is a second-generation family-owned and operated business and one of the oldest garden center’s in Lane County — since 1985. Head there for annuals, perennials, garden plants, vegetable starts, houseplants, shrubs, and even trees. During the holidays, they have a huge selection of poinsettias. Armitage County Park (requires a day pass) is a 64-acre oasis in Coburg that offers a paved boat ramp and swimming. Take a tranquil walk with your dog, or take your furry friend to the dog park.

If you grow hungry while in Coburg, the town’s restaurant scene offers something for every appetite. Coburg Candy Company is a delight for locals and visitors alike with its mouthwatering confections. This family-owned business alone is a sweet reason to visit Coburg, offering an array of chocolates, gummies, old-fashioned candy, and other treats, along with beautiful gift baskets and candy assortments. Another sweet treat is the Known throughout Lane County for award-winning thick crust pizza with exotic toppings, Coburg Pizza Company lists 57 different gourmet pizzas on the menu — along with the classics of cheese and pepperoni, of course. Blue Valley Bistro is a popular breakfast and sandwich spot with a pedestrian-friendly location right across the street from a park. Enjoy their great patio, amazing matcha, coffees, and sandwiches. The lox bagels salads and crepes are spectacular. For barbecue, brisket, burgers and beer, you can’t go wrong at Chiefs Brew House. Or wind the day down at Hayworth Wine Bar, where you can enjoy a glass of local wine paired with a cheese or charcuterie platter by one of the outdoor fire pits.

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