Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Browsing Brimfield


Our first trip to Brimfield can be summed up in just that one word.
We went the last day, Sunday, September 11. I'd heard comments online that great bargains were to be had the last day. I was hoping that was true....

The day dawned rainy in New Hampshire, and the nearly two-hour drive down Massachusetts Route 32 was not particularly encouraging, given the squalls of wind and occasional downpour blasts we encountered.

Fortunately the rain stopped just before we got there. But for the Brimfield dealers, having had five straight days of beautiful, sunny weather and great crowds, when thunderstorms rolled in a lot of havoc came along, too, with occasional collapsing tents and breakage of fragile or unsecured items. Some dealers just packed up and left. Most of the rest, even though the rain and wind ceased and sun came out again, seemed ready to go home.
"You must be exhausted," I asked several, and weary nods confirmed this to be true. "How was the week?"

"Great!" was the universal response. Well, except for the blast of wind and rain that morning.

One dealer pointed to a huge blue ceramic elephant in her shop and told me that several similar ones had crashed to the ground and smashed when a sudden wind whipped through her tent. In other areas, mud stained items were being trashed as the still good stuff was being packed up.

But most dealers seemed to be in it for the rest of the day, which would be about 5 p.m.
"I'll stay here until closing time," said one dealer. "Although typically Sunday folks are not serious buyers. They just wander around looking, not buying."

We were basically lookers, too. Unless we found a few bargains we couldn't live without, or that I could put into my shop. But I really did want to find something to bring home.  My husband and I stayed together, walking down aisles of tents--first in Quaker Acres, where we had happily snagged free parking, having passed by other offers of $5 or $6 to park--and then trekking along the main drag to get a feel for what was going on.
And what was going on was more of a carnival scene than we had imagined. More of our local antique flea markets, "only on Steroids," as my husband put it.
Steroids indeed. There was so much of everything, an eclectic mix for the most part of dishes and furniture and glass and smalls and clothing and rugs and on and on and on....
And on...and on...and on....
There was so much to see that it was hard to know where to begin, even though I thought I had scoped it out online by going to the Brimfield website and downloading the free app someone had made called Flea Finder.
But no. I had not prepared well enough. Online reports urged everyone to wear comfortable shoes (check) and bring along enough water (check) and lots of cash (check) and a cart for all your purchases (well, I just brought along a large cotton bag as I wasn't expecting to score big because I'm such an intrepid bargain hunter).
Anyway, I found that the Flea Finder wasn't really working for me and I made the mistake of thinking that other than Quaker Acres, which supposedly had a lot of primitive dealers, which we lean towards, we could find another area called Shelton's, which seemed to have dealers with the types of items we would be interested in. BUT, I forgot my printed map and instead of heading toward Shelton's after quickly browsing Quaker Acres, we were going in the opposite direction.

Which was okay, because by now everything was starting to look like everything else--rows and rows and rows of tents filled with tables and tables and jam packed with STUFF of all kinds. And prices on items that I liked were pretty much the prices you would expect to see in a nice antique shop. Bargains weren't exactly jumping out at us.

Finally I could see that my husband's energy and enthusiasm were waning. We needed to sit down and get something to eat and drink, quick. So we headed for the main concession area, where everything from burgers and fries to vegetarian paninis were being offered up. (Side note: the vegetarian tacos with beans, red onions, cukes, and yogurt sauce were really good!)

But I wanted to find something, and so far that hadn't happened. What we were looking at just seemed like things we saw everywhere, or else they were totally crazy, bizarre stuff that you just laughed at.
I was surprised we didn't see many really high end stuff. Not that we buy high end, it's just fun to look at. Obviously it was there and we just didn't find it. Well, we had been warned that there was no way to even begin to see everything in a day.

Finally, however, I spotted it: a red enamelware teapot with white polka dots!
I have a weakness for enamelware of all kinds, and especially if it comes in either red or blue, the colors of my kitchen. Since the dealers in that booth were beginning to pack up, I charged straight toward it while my husband thumbed through a rack of vintage jackets:
Coming up just in front of me, however, was another potential buyer, a woman who grabbed the teapot, held it up, and asked one of the dealers: "Would you take ten dollars?" Oh no, I thought, and it was only ten dollars? Fortunately the dealer shook her head. Once the woman was gone, I asked: "How much would you take?"

"Thirteen," she said. Wow. The other woman had been quibbling about three dollars?

"Sold!" I said, handing her the cash and happily stowing this terrific find in my cloth bag.

"What do you say--have you had enough?" asked my husband hopefully. Counting myself lucky with my teapot find, I nodded and we headed back toward Quaker Acres.

Then, just before reaching the car I spotted something I had remembered liking on the way over: a wonderfully rusty, green industrial tin drawer that would make a great planter. I hurried over and picked it up--and then saw another smaller one, and two more of the smaller sizes. All with that great shade of green and perfect for my shop.
"How much?" I asked hopefully. The dealer offered me a price I couldn't refuse. On the way back to the car I imagined how fantastic they would look filled with yellow marigolds or red petunias or as containers for office supplies or kitchen utensils...or hung on a wall as cabinets or....

Endless possibilities. And soon, fresh from the Brimfield Flea Market in Brimfield, Massachusetts, at Either/Or Finds!


  1. Adorable red teapot, Kris! I don't think I've seen one like it.

  2. Me, either, Anne--I'm delighted with this find!

  3. So glad you found something(s) and shared this adventured!