Today I treated myself to a very nice solo road trip and headed to Brimfield, Massachusetts. Three times a year, Brimfield hosts the largest outdoor antique show in the country, and I was able to scurry on over there for the last day of their September sale.
Now, lots and lots and lots of people from our area go to Brimfield, but I couldn’t actually find out too much about it when I was searching online. It is so overwhelming – 21 fields, 5,000 dealers, 5 acres – that I thought it would help to keep track of my first-timers guide. Just in case anyone else is headed there for the first time. And, helpful for me to remember for next year!
First things first: Preparation! You’ll need:
- Shorts (it is HOT and you are on pavement/dirt)
- Tote bags to carry your goodies
- YOUR PATIENCE
There is so much to do and see at Brimfield, you won’t be able to do it all. I recommend making a list of what you’d like to walk away with, and just have all of the measurements of your space handy just in case you see a treasure you really need. I came on Day 5 of this show, so I felt like I missed out on some of the larger pieces and sets (one of the things on my list was a set of chairs for our kitchen – I came away empty handed on that front). The more serious buyers are definitely there earlier in the week scooping up gems – lessons learned for next time. That’s what PTO is for, right? Shopping at antiques fairs instead of being with family?
So, when you get there, park as close as you can to the center – past the bank and church. Having your car centrally located is worth the $10 – I ran back and forth a few times so I didn’t need to carry everything with me.
This is like the largest tag sale plus estate sale plus gems of the ocean you are ever going to see. So you will see some of what you might consider junk + priceless antiques, all jimble jambled up together. That’s where your patience comes in. I thought everything was super cool (this was my birthday present to myself – I was seriously geeking out the entire time and left the house so early on a Saturday morning to be there when it opened), but my FAVORITE was Brimfield Barn. I could have stayed in there forever. Outside the barn was THE COOLEST DOLLHOUSE I HAVE EVER SEEN – it had A SWOOPING STAIRCASE AND A FOYER. I’ve probably written about this before, but when I was little I used to make “dream houses” (dollhouses) out of leftover fabric and paint. For about 8 – 10 hours at a time. This house is SCREAMING for some paint, plants, and a very tiny electrical system. I restrained myself, but when I saw her going to a good home later that day I did tell the buyer what a lucky duck they were!
For all of your school bus needs.
This is the kind of thing Chris would not like me to come home with. So another thing about Brimfield that I thought was kind of weird (but good! You do you!) was that there were a lot of BABIES and DOGS everywhere. Everyone brought one with them. Not a lot of ladies tag teaming the sales together, just a lot of families with their pets. I mean, sure!I’m comfortable saying I am a food truck snob (Have A Ball plug here) and this sausage and pepper situation was THE BEST SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS (other than Grandma’s!) I HAVE EVER HAD. Hard to tell if it was because I was so hungry I could eat my foot, or if it was culinary genius. Regardless, amazing. The food at Brimfield is bananas – tons and tons of trucks. Christopher, guess where you are getting a temporary permit next year?
A section for those with specific interests. Elliot stuff was EVERYWHERE – I think because the name is so popular in Massachusetts. Took as many pics as I could, but it was pretty cool. TONS of blue and white china. EVERYWHERE. Hard to find a complete set, but I attribute that to coming so late in the week. Next time! This is the scariest thing I have ever seen in my whole life. I just. WHY WOULD YOU BRING THAT TO THE JOY THAT IS BRIMFIELD. (You know when you stick a knife into the pit of an avocado to take it out, like a sharp smack of your knife? Yep, did that to my finger. Ignore the gross wound) I wish I had gotten some of those gold knick knacks – definitely one of the things I was kicking myself for on the drive home. There was a sign that says “Skipper” that I wish I had gotten for my dad! Chris had no need for this on the truck, but it was an option nonetheless. Aaaand, now for what I got. After this recap, I feel like I should have gotten TONS! I only found a few things that I wanted to bring back with me, but I really love the pieces I did score.
I see these blue and white double happiness jars on One Kings Lane all the time (here they are, similar but the pattern is slightly different). The guy gave it to me for a very reasonable $20, which felt like a great deal since they usually retail for $100+. And I did discover my favorite blue and white pattern of all time! The name of the pattern is Ridgway Oriental China, and it is a soft blue and white with a gold rim. I bought them to go with my gold Limoges china, which was a gift from Chris’ mom. I played around with it and a few of my other plates; I really love them and feel great about finding them in a sea of blue and white! There is a spirit to Brimfield that is absolutely contagious. Everyone is in a great mood, everyone is game to play, and the dealers are – at least when I was there – incredibly generous. Everyone wanted to negotiate (and not pack breakables on their truck on the last day! I felt giddy from the time I got out of the car to when I threw my tired bag of bones back into the drivers seat. I cannot wait for next year – I’m planning to do all three shows! It was so much fun. Absolutely, absolutely recommend.