Oh, what a whirlwind Brimfield was! During my last entry Brimfield Flea Part 1, I was planning my first-time visit to Brimfield Flea and Antique Markets. I arrived on Monday before opening day and had 2 days to peruse and shop. My Mother decided to tag along on the buying trip and with Mother's Day coming up I thought it'd be really fun to visit Boston with the woman who basically taught me how to find a bargain.
This is how you manage the 24 hours of Brimfield Opening Day:
4:30 AM wake up. It takes both my Mother an I an hour to get ready. We anticipated being out the door by 5:30 to arrive at 6 AM. According to my sources parking lots get full by 8 AM.
6 AM on the road toward Brimfield encountering bumper to bumper traffic as soon as Route 20 turned into Sturbridge Rd. Thank God for coffee and Siri. The fog is beautiful.
6:30 AM arrive at the heart of Brimfield and find the most perfect parking spot next to Hertan's Antique Show on Mill Ln. Brimfield Flea Market is composed of many different fields, all with different names. They didn't all open Tuesday at dawn. A few opened Wednesday at noon, Thursday morning and some even opened till Friday. The excitement is felt as we park in a privately owned home who organized a parking lot in the back of their home charging $10 for the day.
I park and assess our bag situation. I brought with me an empty tote and 2 empty carry-on suitcases. Bring one carry-on, leave the other. We discover to our pleasure there are porter potties on the same side road towards our car (we would later discover restrooms and clean ones were not the easiest to find and would return to these every time I dropped off purchased items to the car. )
10:30 AM Time for a refuel, bathroom and drop off to the car. Our early lunch was a Lamb Gyro wrap in a make shift food court of food trucks and food stands. The sun is coming out and crowds are just arriving. Route 20 is a busy street of parading cars and people along the road pulling carts, holding lamps, picture frames and tote bags of goodies. Our coats get tossed in the car along with the latest finds as they begin to weigh like bricks.
11 AM at this time I've noticed a few common characteristics among the vendors and the items for sale. The French shabby chic movement is strong in Brimfield, if you are looking for distressed wood anything, tin buckets or mason jars, Brimfield is your place. For some reason vintage glass insulators are really popular. I enjoyed seeing the most were the turn-of-the-century pantry boxes, measuring boxes and wooden spoons. Note: when in Rome look for Romans. For whatever you are looking for, always go to the source. New England is great for antiques from the 1800s.
1:30 PM I look at my phone wondering how late in the day it is, it's ONLY 1:30 PM. I've already purchased ceramic pitchers from the 70s, apothecary bottles, pottery with signatures on them I'll research later, French binoculars, brass bottle openers, a single tile piece with Art Nouveau motif and a set of 3 Art Deco alabaster boxes. It's coffee time and maybe time for lunch.. again.
2:30 PM My Mother is holding out like a trooper. Of course, I've had to keep her on track and make sure I don't loose her among the rows and rows of vendors. Typically I can back track a few vendors to find her looking at some costume jewelry or silverware. She tells me about a silverware set that she purchased many years ago that doesn't have any spoons as we slowly walk around several foldable tables with a mountain of silver forks, knives and spoons... it's overwhelming. Note: when you collect vintage silverware make sure the set is complete or go for the mix match look but make sure to have spoons. Lol
3:00 PM The Makers of the Brimfield Flea Finder were kind enough to give me some food recommendations prior to my arrival. At this time with hunger striking again for a second lunch we are headed to Say Cheese Food Trailer for a highly recommended grilled cheese. Yea, we were eating super healthy over here. Worth every calorie. While we ate we assessed what areas we had not yet visited and how much longer we could hold out. Sun was blazing hot and exhaustion was hitting us. People were starting to close up and head home.
4:30 PM As final purchases for the day I'm able to score a couple of *Redware pottery plates with coggled edges and a small pantry box that has a great smell of cedar inside. On our way back to the Comfort Inn in Auburn, Massachusetts we chatted about our finds, the experience, the best and the worst and key thoughts to make the next day even better. Definitely take breaks, use the restroom when you can, refuel if you need. Waking up early to get that parking spot was the best decision ever. Bring wrapping materials, not all vendors have them. I ended up using sweaters and sheets of bubble I just happen to have with me to make sure items didn't break. ATMs are not that common and they might run out of money so bring cash, some vendors have Square to take credit cards but not all of them. The best bargain chip is to group and purchase several items from the same dealer asking for the best price for all. The more the merrier. Till next time!
Some other important details about Brimfield: Porters are onsite ready to help you carry items back to your car and there's a UPS station ready to pack and ship your items home.
Have questions about Brimfield or want to join on the next flea market hunt? Email me at Lina@theemptyapartment.com
* Redware refers to a utilitarian style of earthenware pottery using clay with a high iron content, which turns reddish-brown when fired. Though mass-produced redware was made in Europe, the form became especially popular in the American colonies, as the clay was abundant and redware products were affordable. However, redware was also brittle and easily damaged, adding to its rarity today. Before the Revolutionary War, it was illegal for British colonists to make their own goods and offer them for sale, as they were obligated to send raw materials to England, thus generating taxed exports for big businesses like the East India Company. In fact, Americans supplied the Crown with clay, but they also surreptitiously produced their own redware pieces. John Pride, who lived in Salem, Massachusetts, during the mid-17th century, is the first American redware potter known by name. Because redware is very porous, it needs to be waterproofed to be useful for cooking and food storage, and since glazes were typically lead-based, redware vessels would have made any acidic food or beverages quite toxic. For potters who handled the glaze daily, it was frequently deadly. Redware was finally supplanted by stronger (and less hazardous) stoneware and whiteware during the mid-19th century. However, some regions in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia continued producing decorative redware pottery into the 20th century. -read more about it on Collectors Weekly