We are finally catching up a little bit from our annual pilgrimage to the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, Massachusetts. Our trailer, SUV, and truck have been unloaded into the barn and we are beginning the time consuming process of pricing and vignetting our vintage and new finds for our upcoming Fall Barn Sale this September 18th, 20th, 21st & 22nd. Integrating all of the new merchandise that we ordered, dreaming up and planning all of the displays that we will be installing, and inviting our artisans that will be joining us is my second favorite time of the year… behind Christmas. The only thing putting a damper on all of this is the extreme heat that has been pervading our country and thus our barn. Otherwise, I would be doing handstands over some of the goodies we found on this trip. I SAVE up for this trip all year long. The Brimfield Antique Show is held three times a year in September, May and July. Given that both September and May are very busy months for us, the only time that we can sneak away for this 5-day buying trip is in July.
We hear over and over from the vendors we are buying from, “You should come in May or September for there are many more of us here selling better stuff and it is not so hot.” We always then answer that statement with, “How crowded is it?”. The response is almost always, “elbow to elbow… a lot more people vying for the same stuff. ” We shall keep our standing date of mid July to come to Brimfield… dirt, dust, heat and all! My first trips up here, now going on eight years, were with my friend Chris who cheered me on in many aspects of starting this little business. I took her cheering to heart, booked a room and a U-Haul to be picked up in Massachusetts and off she and I rode. We had no idea what to expect and muddled our way through the myriad of choices and selections.
As I have written before, you can find almost ANYTHING at Brimfield! If transportation is your thing, there are boats,
amusement park rides,
sleds, (of which I sent a photo of to Christopher and John who have the task of moving ours out of the garage every year for the Christmas sale, saying that I purchased another one! Just joking guys!)
people drawn taxi services,
including the one that we rented to get the rest of our finds back home… check out that packing job!
Our trip up here to Brimfield no longer is just the two of us making our way through this process but has expanded to at least three of us with typically a fourth friend joining in! Chris was able to join us again this year a day later than when Julie, Julie and I arrived but with the rented truck, which was a godsend! Having four of us enabled us to search the fields with a methodical system which allowed us to cover more ground than we ever have covered in the past.
With that process in place, I though you might want to follow along on what one of our days looked like:
7 am ~ Phone alarms went off in our dorm style room with all 4 of us together!
8 am ~ We got to the fields once at this time! After hitting the snooze button a few times, partaking in the free breakfast in the hotel lobby and using one bathroom, catching up on emails and families, our departure time suffered daily and our usual arrival time on the fields was 10 am after parking.
10 am ~ Meg finds treasures and either digs for them or asks for assistance from her fellow shoppers who’ve had their tetanus shots.
While Meg is going through the fields way too quickly and probably misses a thing or two, she has her eagle eyes on, trying to spy items that she either LOVES, treasures, or thinks she can’t get elsewhere. The girls suggest an item here or there but once items are decided on, the team piles them and Meg works out a deal with the vendor. Meg then moves on with a helper while the pair left behind close out the purchase. Julie N tags items that we will be picking up later with our LP tags, Julie G takes notes on all of our purchases and records prices paid and any pertinent info on who we bought from, where we need to pick up at end of day and other little antidotes and we join up together in the next tent.
We take it all in stride, finding aside from all the modes of transportation, items that tempt us in every field.
Wait until you see who we brought this set of doors home for and what he is going to do with them!
The selections are endless. Our decisions are as well. So many things to consider, how much space do we have to bring items home, prices, how items fit in with other inventory we already have, how will they be put together to create beautiful new vignettes in the barn and what items are things we are sourcing for other people?
How many do we want?
Which ones do we want?
Which ones are the perfect fit for the vignette in my head?
There are items we have to leave behind because we can’t strike a good enough deal to bring back to our barn sale at a price that we can feel good about.
And others that we joyously score and pick up at the end of the day.
2:00 pm~ All of the above takes up the majority of our day with a break mid afternoon for either lunch on the fields at one of the food stands or maybe its just ice cream to help cool us down… or maybe both.
Our breaks are short, for we always feel like we are missing something so we keep going.
Aside from tagging and being our prized mover, we bring Julie along for comic relief for she always brings her A game!
The days were super hot for we hit Brimfield during one of the many heat waves this summer. Unfortunately, most of the fans we find on the field are for sale and not plugged in, so it is each woman for herself on finding ways to cool off and most often it is just by sweating… a lot! Usually we just go with it for we know at the end of the day we will all imbibe in a nice cool drink! Okay, I’ll let you in on a little secret. We found a field that once it opens, has nice wine slushies and ice cold beer. I have never partaken in a wine slushie but they taste delightful on an 88 degree day! Enough options to satisfy our thirsty selves in the afternoon.
5:00 pm ~ 6:30 pm ~ We always seem to be the last car in the field when we go back to retrieve it so that we can make our rounds and pick up all of the large pieces that we found throughout the day. It is far too hard to pick up large items as you go for the walkways through the tents are too crowded and the fields too far from each other to do it then. So we follow our trusty notes from Julie G and make our way through the stops and load in all of the large items. We make runs back to the trailer throughout the day unloading our trusty wagon that the girls pull behind them as we go.
Luckily for us, because they weigh a ton, but to the detriment of all of you, while we fell in love with these refurbished ovens, we did not bring one home. I did manage to pick up the card of this gentleman who restores them so reach out to me if you are in the market for a refurbished vintage oven and would like his info.
I did however, fall in love with this gorgeous sign on the last afternoon we were there as well as the largest piece that we found while at Brimfield and after making a deal for the two items, I reluctantly told my girlfriends what I had just purchased. You see, part of the picking up at the end of the day, always ends up in a repacking of the trailer, a moving of objects for we never know what we will find on each day but we always have to add to the load which requires an adjustment. So, I thought long and hard about this purchase for I knew that it would require a major shift of what was already packed in the trailer from the prior days. The girls rock, for not one of them stated the obvious… are you crazy? How are we going to fit in the largest and longest two purchases of the trip on the last day?
We figured it out and with the help of the vendor, we unpacked and reloaded this beast into the trailer eliciting our new team name from another vendor… The Fab Four! You have to see it in person! Not us… the piece sillies! Although watching us load ANY of the objects into the trailer would most likely create a comedy skit or two.
7:30 pm ~ Around this time every evening we would arrive at a restaurant, (where if we were back home, we would never walk into in the state that we did with dirty smeared faces and hands) whose parking lot would accommodate our large trailer and toast the day. To friends, whose laughter and encouragement keep the flagging spirits buoyant. To friends, who will go to the end of the Earth for you… or at least to the end of the next hot and dirty field of Brimfield with you in July. To friends that you know you can just hang out and be you with. To friends…
that look you in the eye and see the beauty even with your cracks, patina, and crazy ideas.
I loose my marbles every year on the fields of Brimfield but gain oh-so-much more in this very large book of Life!
Please pardon the puns for I’m just reading back the notes that Julie G typed up for us from the trip and it creates a silliness that only can be recreated on this type of trip.
I hope that you all can pay us a visit this September when we open up our barn again, chock full of new and vintage treasures, for our Fall Barn Sale. This sale is our biggest of the year for vintage items, for we use the time the summer months allow to search for the best of what we would put in our own homes or give as gifts to our friends and family.
May your summer skies and the days that pass under them be full of beautiful true blue friends, beautiful moments that you make happen and can appreciate, and may your summer be unfolding as you hope it to!