Brimfield: Tips and Observations

I’ve had the date on my calendar for months now-May 8th- opening day for Brimfield, one of the largest antique markets in the country! I went last year with little Vijay, and vowed to go it alone this year.  Trust me- a toddler with busy hands is not a good fit for Brimfield where the saying goes something like, “You break it, you buy it.”

So I lined up a sitter, and eagerly awaited the day. When I woke this morning to find rain and gray skies- I decided to make a go of it anyway.  Seriously- I had a sitter, and a whole free afternoon– there was no turning back.  I ended up a little cold and soaked, but I had a great time.  I’ll confess, I really don’t go to Brimfield with the intention to buy (I’ll tell you why in a minute), so capturing the treasures on camera ends up being my favorite part of the experience.  That and seeing what wacky, wonderful junk is out there!

I thought it would be fun to give you a few of my personal tips for shopping Brimfield, and give you a rundown of some of the items that caught my eye (and the few that came home with me).  This will be a long post…loaded with fun pictures…so bear with me!

Tip #1: Ignore the advice to ‘arrive early’- I stressed about my arrival time the first year, and then discovered that rolling in at 10am is just fine.  You can still find parking, which will cost you between $5-$8, and there is SO much stuff that I don’t think you have to worry about things being picked over.  Shopping on opening day has its advantages (first pick), but also keep in mind that no one is really up for bargaining on the first day- they are more likely to bargain on the last day, when they are wanting to clear out their booth for the trip home.

Tip #2: Dress comfortably and in layers.  I have been at Brimfield in rain, sun and even a hail storm.  Bring more layers than you think you will need- you can always take them off and stash them in your cart or bag.  Also, wear comfortable footwear.  I would suggest rain boots if you visit in May- the fields tend to turn to mud at the slightest hint of rain.

Tip #3- Be aware that the prices at Brimfield are high.  If you are used to antiquing at little shops in New Hampshire, Maine and other “under the radar” spots in New England, you will experience sticker shock here.  For example- the cute little vintage highchair in Vijay’s nursery was $15 at an antique/junk shop in Maine.  I saw almost the same exact highchair for $125 at Brimfield- I kid you not.  Even little items, like found paper, and old spools of thread (which you can get by the boatload around here for cheap) will go for $3-$5 a piece at Brimfield.  That is one of the main reasons that I don’t do a lot of buying- just browsing.  That being said, if you are going for a special, one-of-a-kind piece, and you know what you want- chances are you will find it at Brimfield, and fall in love- just be prepared to shell out some dough!

Tip #4: Though I have many more tips- I’ll leave you with just one more…don’t try to cover the whole of Brimfield.  You will be thoroughly exhausted and over-stimulated trying to process all that you saw.  The first year I made that mistake, and didn’t really enjoy my experience.  Now- I have a certain area that I have come to know- and I go straight there, weave through a few sections- and leave feeling satisfied.  The guide (with a handy map) can be helpful in picking out a prime area to browse. Take your time, enjoy, and trust me- don’t try to see it all.

Moving on…here are a few of the things that caught my eye!  I am really at a time in my life where I am trying not to bring more ‘stuff’ into my house- so I was very content just looking!  But these were tempting…

(adorable vintage beach toys- but at $35-$50 a pop, Vijay will just have to learn to love plastic pails!)
 (gorgeous, woven large buckets- perfect for storing towels in the guest bathroom, or toys in the nursery.  I just couldn’t pull the trigger for $140)
 (ridiculously cute baby dishes- also ridiculously breakable- and I wouldn’t want to worry about Vijay busting up his $125 baby plate!)
(so not my color scheme- but I did love the design of these planters)
(vintage kitchen tools would be fun for propping photo shoots and such!)
(cool herb planters made from recycled wooden boxes- I could totally do this myself!)
(great old yarns in beautiful hues)
(vintage buttons and girls clothes made from old linens- sigh- had to remind myself I am having another boy)

Now for the fun part…a few of the things that I did buy!

Purchase #1: a bunch of paper ephemera- old postcards, pages from old books, ticket stubs- just fun, pretty little odds and ends for my inspiration boards.  I love this vendor- – and always covet her paper goods!

Purchase #2: Five spools of gorgeous, pastel-colored threads.  I love how they look on the vintage spools, and really, who can resist a bowl of beautiful thread?

Purchase #3: This is the real reason I make the trip to Brimfield- an apple cider donut from Faddy’s, rolled in sugar, and warm from the donut maker.  It makes the entire trip just that much sweeter!

19 thoughts on “Brimfield: Tips and Observations

  1. Abby

    This looks amazing. I've been missing having a local antiques show ever since I left Ohio, but this sounds like just the ticket. And if they have apple cider donuts, well…

    Reply
  2. lauren

    this post is so awesome!! i've 'starred' it in my reader so that i'll always be able to come back to this eye candy!
    i planned to go brimfield last year, but never got around to it…this may just be the year i take my mom! what a place!
    *

    Reply
  3. Michael - Innkeeper

    Wow! I'm all excited just looking at your pictures! There is no way I could not buy,buy,buy. I give you mad credit! That is temptation.

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful shots! I so wish I could attend.

    Reply
  4. Tina in Boston

    Hi Christine! Thanks for this post. I was trying to come up with a day trip for my birthday weekend — done!! I have been wanting to go to Brimfield for years. DH is even on board. Gorgeous pictures!

    Reply
  5. Susanne

    Do you know the name of the woman with the lovely paper goods? If I should ever go, I would want to head straight to her.

    Thanks!
    Susanne

    Reply
  6. Christine Chitnis

    Hi Susanne- I absolutely should have given the names of my favorite stalls- thanks for the reminder!

    You can look up vendors in the Brimfield guide, and the map will lead you right to their stall.

    The paper goods vendor (they share a booth):
    -Linens and Lace (they have a store- 25 Walden Street, Concord, MA)
    -Nesting on Main (they have a store- 44 Main Street, Concord, MA- nestingonmain.com)

    Vintage textile vendor:
    -Angell Farm Linens (they have a store- 50615 Seven Mile Rd, Northville, MI)

    Those beautiful, woven blue baskets were from:
    -Darby Road (they have a store- 1395 Main Street, Waltham, MA- darbyroad.com)

    Reply
  7. lauren

    a random question: did you ask permission to take photos of the goods or did you just do it?! i am always SO tempted to photograph things i see at flea markets, etc., but am always too scared to get my camera out! LOL! you always have great shop photos and i've been curious about your technique! 😉
    *

    Reply
  8. Elyse

    omg, christine. your blog is such a visual treat. working on your article right now and doing a little research. 🙂

    xo
    elyse

    ps
    i like terrain, too!

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Christine,
    Thank you for lovely tour of brimfield. Could you post the field and shop(s)
    Where you found thread and probably other sewing things And vintage children's clothing. And do those vendors sell online?

    ela

    Reply
  10. Pingback: Brimfield: Here We Go Again | Christine Chitnis

  11. Pingback: Brimfield | Christine Chitnis

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