Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fabulous Finds & A New Friend at the St. James Fair, Woodstock VT

My daughter, who lives in Woodstock, Vermont, said I absolutely had to come. The St. James Fair there, now in its 92nd year, was something not to miss.

We live about an hour and a half away in New Hampshire, so it's not a long drive. And since it was a great excuse to spend the weekend with the family, we drove over Friday night for dinner.

But on Saturday morning, at 9 a.m., my daughter and I were there, scouting out what we wanted to make a mad dash for once the ribbons encircling the tents were cut precisely at 10 a.m.

She was after art work, but I was after vintage household items to sell in my Etsy shop. See that top picture--those white plates with the flowers? When the ribbons were cut, I planned to scoop all of them up as my first find. They were Portmeirion Botanic Garden plates, made in the 1970s.

But there was a woman standing next to me, staring at the same plates. She looked over at me. "Do you want those?"

"Yes," I said.

"Are you sure?"

I nodded.

She looked back at the plates. I began feeling guilty. Selfish.

"So...you want them, too?" I asked.

She nodded.

"Do you collect Portmeirion?" I asked

"I do," she said. "I have several pieces, but no plates yet."

"Then why don't we split them?" I suggested. "That way there won't be any blood spilled in the glass and china section." A cop stood several feet away. "And we won't have to bother him."

She laughed and looked at me gratefully. "Really?"

"Sure," I said. "There are six big plates, so each of us can take three, and there are four salad plates, so we'll each take two."

Now she was beaming. She extended a hand. "My name is Dorian," she said. "Thank you!"

As I told my new friend my name, the ribbons were being cut. Dorian wanted something else, too, on the table, so I picked up all the plates and divided them up. We paid the woman on duty taking money, took our plates, shook hands again, and wished each other luck on the rest of the hunt.

Which, for me, was pretty amazing. I kept filling my bags with items, paying for them and, when the bags became too heavy, taking them back to the car, which we'd parked about a block away. Back and forth I went for the next hour, finding treasures and hauling them back to the car.

Finally my daughter came up, her bags bulging. She, too, had been taking trips back and forth to the car. "I'm fading," she said. "How're you doing?"

"Since I only have $3 left," I said, "I think it's probably time to leave."

She sighed. "In an hour everything goes half price. Some real bargains then."

The heat of the day was rising and I was beginning to feel faint. "That's okay," I said. "I don't think I could last that long."

We shouldered our most recent purchases and headed back, one last time, to the car.

Later that day my husband and I drove by the Fair, which was wrapping up. A good amount of items were still there, and I felt the urge to stop and take a look at the leavings.

But I was too tired. Way too tired.

Back at home, I set my finds on a table to show my husband.

The next step was to do some research, figure out prices, photograph them, write up their descriptions, and list them in my Etsy shop.

Unless, of course, a few of them became too impossible to part with....


  1. Wow Kris, you found some fabulous items! Can't wait to see them displayed in your Etsy shop.

  2. I love Portmeirion. You were very fair to your new friend and all of the pieces were safe. lol You really got some wonderful treasures.

  3. My mom has Portmeirion and I'm a horticulturist by trade... thanks for sharing your hunt, Kris!

  4. When I got home and priced the Portmeirion online I wondered if I should have been so charitable! :)

  5. BTW, the red and white enamelware ice bucket has been listed:

    As well as the green parrot in a perch: