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…
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!