Ever since I can remember, I’ve been rummaging yard sales, flea markets and thrift shops for finds that make my heart skip a beat. Everything from vintage clothing to furniture, jewelry to old silverware, books to old barn wood. Some of my fondest childhood memories are waking up early to scour the yard sale ads in the Saturday paper with my Dad. With careful precision, we’d plan our route for the day and then wind our way through the old back roads of Bucks County as we went from yard sale to yard sale.
Having always had a penchant for sifting through the “junk” in order to find the treasure, it seemed a natural transition for me when I became Brand Manager at Life’s Patina and learned that part of the job was helping Meg on her picking trips – first on her smaller Pennsylvania day trips then on her weekend Virginia trips and now most recently on her trip to the mecca of all flea markets… The Brimfield Antique Show. Being that I’m originally from Massachusetts and I still visit my family there often, Brimfield has long been on my bucket list. The show brags itself as the largest outdoor antique show in the world and covers over 20 fields down Route 20 in the small town of Brimfield, Massachusetts with vendors as far as the eye can see. When Meg asked me to join her for this year’s Life’s Patina trip to Brimfield, I was thrilled.
Meg is a solid Brimfield pro with six Brimfield trips under her belt. She knows when to go, where to go, and how to buy. Joining us on this year’s trip was also Julie Niness and Julie Gerber, dear friends of Meg who have joined her on this trip in the past and who I’ve had the privilege of becoming friends with as well from all of their time spent helping out at the Barn Sales over the past few years.
Meg and Julie G. arrived in New England late on Wednesday evening to hit the fields early on Thursday morning and then also to pick up our U-Haul nearby.
Julie N. and I drove up separately on Thursday evening and were eager to join in on the treasure hunting on Friday morning. As I first approached the hustle and bustle of the 20 plus fields full of everything your imagination can conjure, I felt my heart skip a beat and my stomach do a quick leap. Oh, the treasures we would find!
Despite the rainy weather on Friday, we trudged on under rain jackets with our little red wagon in tow.
Being the newbie of the group, for the next 3 days I watched and learned as Meg, Julie G. and Julie N. navigated finding the best new vendors……catching up with our favorite vendors from years past…… rummaging through the “junk” to score the perfect find…
…negotiating a good deal…
…packing the Uhaul……maneuvering our U-Haul through crowded fields and tight corners…
… spotting the oddest Brimfield finds..
and most importantly…finding the best lobster rolls.
For every great find we found, there were at least 2 laughs to be had. Meg, Julie G. and Julie N. were the best Brimfield partners a newbie could have and I’m oh so grateful! While our vintage and antique finds hold a special place in my heart, the absolute best part of the trip was spending time with our team and meeting all of the generous and talented vendors that Meg speaks so highly of year after year. It’s the relationships you make while doing what you love that matter the most.
And for any of you fellow vintage lovers out there considering doing a Brimfield trip of your own someday, my top three tips that I learned from my recent trip are:
- Come Prepared: Water, sunscreen, tote bags, furniture blankets, bubble wrap and wrapping paper, snacks, a rain jacket, cash, pen and paper for noting where you found your best finds, and sense of humor. Be practical with your dress – no sandals! Map out the fields you want to hit in advance to avoid overwhelm or getting lost. Have a glass of wine waiting for you back at your hotel room for some relaxation after a long day of walking the fields.
- Bring a “Little Red Wagon”: You may feel silly at first but once you start scoring some great finds, your arms and back will be thanking you. Besides, all the Brimfield pros bring them.
- Pick Up Your Big Purchases Later: If you’re purchasing big items such as furniture, most vendors will hold your purchases for you until you’re ready for pick-up. Do a full sweep of the fields you want to peruse and then pick up your buys later with your car nearby.
With sore legs, 2 full SUV’s and 1 full trailer, happy hearts and a ton of laughs, we left the tented fields of Brimfield, Massachusetts in the rearview mirror on Sunday afternoon. For one last hurrah, on our way home we stopped at The Maine Attraction, a cute little New England restaurant, where we filled up on delicious burgers, fish sandwiches and milkshakes.
While it’s practically impossible to see it all at Brimfield, with the help of Julie’s notes on our favorite fields and vendors from years past, we were able to cover a majority of the show and bring home some truly stunning finds. I can’t wait to share all of them with you at our upcoming Fall Barn Sale, September 22d – 24th. If you’d like to be the first to shop all of our new finds, be sure to join us for our Fall Preview Party on September 20th, 6:30pm – 9pm.
Until next year, Brimfield!