IN Washington, country style is easy to find. The Smithsonian offers a great place to see the authentic objects. Small shops, especially in Georgetown, Alexandria, Annapolis and Middleburg offer everything from spurdles to rag rugs.
Appalachian Spring in Georgetown in 1968, and Appalachian in Bethesda in 1970, were the first to sell country in Washington and remain the two prime sources.
Appalachiana, 10400 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, carries 2,000 to 3,000 bolts of 45-inch-wide calicos ($2.50 to $4.50). Joan Farrell, the owner, figures only a fourth are sold for quilts, the others go for bedspreads, curtains and dresses. Appalachiana also carries finished quilts and rag rugs, 24 to 36 inches wide, three to six feet long, $10 to $40.
Appalachiana carries oak baskets from Arkansas and corn husk flowers, naturalgrasses and dried flowers to go in them; Georgia-made earthenware planters -- the strawberry pots are especially decorative -- $7 to $16; wood boxes and racks. Farrell doesn't carry furniture any longer because she's tired of delivering it in her car.
Appalachian Spring, 1655 Wisconsin Ave. NW,has a wide crafts collection. Mr. and Mrs. David Brooks, the owners, have paid special attention to wrought iron work. They carry wrought iron hooks for planters, door knobs andsemi-circular pot holders made by Peter O'Shaughnessy of Virginia. Their wood objects are especially diverse. Herman Hayes makes the country wood sculpture. The Shaker knobs ($5.50 to $14.50) work as hangers.
The spurtles from Vermont don't look like they have any utility, being shaped roughly like a baseball bat. "But after you have them in the kitchen for a while, you can't imagine how you get along withoutit," says Mr. Brooks. "You can use it for cracking nuts, beating bisscuits, all sorts of things." Besides, they're only $2. The Brooks also have potato mashers, lazy Susans, andwooden rolling pins. Their favorite doughboard has a lip that stabilizes it against the counter. It flips over to be a cutting board, to keep the dough side smooth. The Brooks'collection of quilts, patchwork pillows, placemats and pot holders is extensive.
Laura Ashley, the Welsh designer, was one of the first fabric designers to do a country look. Her small prints on cotton cloth caught on quickly for curtains and wallcoverings as well as milkmaid costumes. The Laura Ashley shop at 3213 M Street, NW, in Georgetown opened this year.
When Margaret Thatcher, the British prime minister, came to stay at the British Embassy recently, the guest bedroom was redone in Laura Ashley wallpaper and fabrics, primarily in blue and white.
Gear. Raymond Waites, creative vice president, has designed the new Country Gear collections at Woodward & Lothrop -- bed and bath linens for Spring Mills, Inc., pillows for Riverdale Pillow, shower curtains for Jakson and fabrics for Cohama/Riverdale, among other things.
Marimekko, who poineered the whole big design, primary-color look in the '60s has started making fabics and sheets in small country prints. Marimekko is carried locally by,among others, The Design Store, Georgetown, Springfield andGaithersburg, and Design 2, 5420 Wisconsin Ave. NW. Conran's, on Grace Street, (behind the Rive Gauche, just over the canal) in Georgetown carries Marimekko linens.
Conran's in Georgetown also carries calicos, the small prints fabric, as well as wallcoverings to match. The store has soft foam furniture covered in the fabrics, (as does the Door Store inGeorgetown). Conran's is importing Welsh antique country pieces, all well scrubbed down to a clotted cream color.
The American Hand, 2904 M Street, NW, in Georgetown carries hand-made pottery that fits right in to the country thing, though they also carry more sophisticated wares.
Seraph, 1132 29th St., NW, along with contemporary crafts, also carries handmade brooms, $20-$35; wood spoons, $8; walking sticks;wood bowls and the delightful sculpture by the Reve. HermanHayes ($25-$50).
Auctions. The Washington auction houses, Sloan's and Adam A. Weschler & Son's, often have country objects, including weathervanes, in their sales.
Sotheby's, Christie's and Phillips in New York often have country, usually called Americana, in their auctions. Sotheby's has abig one devoted to Americans, coming up July 10-11.
Shops in Alexandria, Middleburg, Frederick and Potomac carry Country trimmings. In Annapolis, there's a good selection of antique furniture and old tools on Maryland Avenue's antique now.
Out and about. Country has always been big in certain sections of the country. Gatlinburg, Tenn., and the whole tri-state area around the Smoky Mountains has always encouraged the local makers of cane-bottom chairs and straw brooms. The first crafts festival in the country likely was one in Maryville, Tenn., a good 30-odd years ago. The Southern Highland Handicraft Guild was a busy organization of crafts people before the American Crafts Council ever got themselves together up north.
On the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, baskets and other grass crafts have kept their ancient popularity. No one was ever too proud to bring a beautifully made basket full of pine cones for the fire into a drawing room to exquisitely carved furniture. In northern Georgia and the mountains of the Carolinas, pottery has remained a strong craft, under the influence of Jugtown pottery and the Meaders family.
The Guild this year is holding a workshop Aug. 4-8 at the Folk Art Center, Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville, N.C.Classes include stitchery, basketry, quilting, vegetable dyeing and weaving. Inquiries should go to the Guild, P.O. Box 9545.
Exhibitions. The Smithsonian Museum of Hisotry and Technology has extensive exhibits of Country style including these rooms in the Hall of Everyday Life of the American Past: a California kitchen, 1807; Dole-Littlechamber (a combined kitchen, bedroom, sitting room), 1725 of Newberry, Mass.; Crowell parlor from Edgartown, Mass., 1808; Martha's Vineyard room, Seth Story chamber of Essex Mass,1684.
The History and Technology collections include pewter, brass, copper, weathervanes, quilts, painted furniture,household utensils, ironware, stoneware and earthenware, lighting devices, Staffordshire printed ceramics, also in the Hall of Everyday Life on the second floor. The Nation of Nations exhibit also has a 17th-century kitchen and decorativeobjects. Ceramics are on the third floor. The Carousel animal collection is especially charming.
A self-guided tour leaflet locates the needlework collections. A behind-the-scenes tour of textile collections is possible if you make reservations at least two months in advance.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art's American Wing has just opened with a vast collection of Americana, beginning with the Colonial period. Eighteen period rooms and 11 decorative arts galleries are already open as well as nine galleries of 18th- and 19th-century sculpture. "The American Wing -- a Guide" by Marshall B. Davidson, published by the Metropolitan, is a necessity for anyone interested in the genre. The book is also available by mail, $9.95 plus $1.25 postage, from the Metropolitan Museum, P.O. Box 255 Gracie Station, New York, 10028.
In Virginia, many period homes offer carefully researched period rooms in the Country style. Even the great mansions have Country kitchens and other dependancies. Mount Vernon and Woodlawn Plantation, both on Route 1, just outside Alexandria, are two handsome houses that despite their elegance, keep some country touches. The largest number is at Williamsburg and the plantations nearby. Information is available from the Williamsburg tour office. Robert E. Lee's birthplace, Stratford, is by far the most interesting of the early houses and plantations, with extensive farm buildings, still used.