By Julia Decker.
As you probably know, Heritage Academy is located right in the middle of Downtown Mesa. This opens up countless opportunities for students to explore the area either during lunch (for seniors) or after school. Our most familiar neighbor may be the Mesa Arts Center, but there are dozens of other shops and restaurants to scout out.
Did you know there are five antique stores within two blocks of Heritage? All of them are easily found if you walk west down Main Street. The shop closest to the school is an antique bookstore called Book Gallery that has three floors of vintage books, ranging in topics from WWI and astronomy to children’s fiction and classic literature. It is open most days after school and usually has two or three carts of $1-3 books out in the front of the shop. I have found book prices that range from $1 paperbacks to $40 classics with gold binding. So far, my favorite finds have been a book on English ghost stories from the sixties and a book on fashion from 1943.
The biggest antique shop, Antique Plaza, is located a block away from Book Gallery. This is a massive store with two stories and a partner store next door that sells furniture deemed too large for the original building. They have a variety of objects including toys, postcards, radios, and clothing. My most exciting discoveries include a cat teapot, an entire box full of plastic clowns, a wide assortment of flowy lace nightgowns, and a Shirley Temple doll that was probably haunted. Antique Plaza also had an old electroshock therapy machine for a while which was cool (and a little creepy). It’s worth going over there just to check out the old radios and record players for a while.
Mezona Market is another shop neighboring Heritage. I personally only go there to get cookies, but they also sell clothing, air plants, stickers, and handmade crafts. They make new cookies fresh daily and they’re huge, especially the peanut butter cookies. They also have bars and cinnamon rolls (which sell out quickly!) and sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot our own Algebra teacher Mrs. Jarman there. If you are unlucky you will see me there buying the last cinnamon roll of the day.
Another cookie shop nearby is Smitholator’s Cookie Shop a block down the street from Heritage. This store specializes in cookies and also sells supplies to make cookies at your own house. They often have adorable frosted sugar cookies in shapes like easter eggs or llamas. You can also have a cookie-decorating party there if you reserve a spot online.
Main Street also contains other unique exhibits of street art. Right now there are two decorated pianos within two blocks of Heritage that pedestrians are encouraged to play, and in a grassy area by Milano’s Music, there is a wooden playground created by ASU students. Exciting things are always happening right here in our own community, and it is up to us to take advantage of them!