mid-century vintage items at Brimfield

Road Trip to the Brimfield Flea Market, the Ultimate Treasure Hunt

The wild, wonderful world of Brimfield does not disappoint.

Brimfield is the oldest flea market in the country, a tent city of antiques and vintage that springs up three times a year along a mile stretch of road in rural southern Massachusetts.

Treasure hunters, dealers, and designers descend on the tiny town of Brimfield and trudge up and down the side of the road, ducking into makeshift shops set up in tents.

Here’s a little highlights reel to give you a sense of it –

The show was canceled last year during the pandemic. Nice to see this sign at one of the first tents we visited.

Experienced shoppers come battle-ready, pulling wagons and wearing boots to combat the mud.

We had neither of those things – clearly total novices. 🙃

Next time, I will wear boots!

We braved the first two days of the show and a bit of “van drama”, spending a couple of mosquito-filled nights camping creekside at beautiful Wells State Park and part of an afternoon on the side of the road.

Can’t blame the old Westie on that one: we flat ran out of gas!

The pickins at Brimfield were great. The people, even better. We made it back to Philly with a couple of finds and some really good stories.

I met a colorful junkyard owner who gave me an interesting perspective on … junk things. He was a character! I took a little video:

Take a close look at this beauty!

The shade of green is popular again for camping gear.

vintage picnic kit
We saw lots of vintage nautical gear at Brimfield

I wanted to stick my arm deep into this bin of bracelets.

The quilt whisperer

I’d been searching for a quilt for our guest bedroom for years and spotted one for a good price. It had a few stains.

Wondering aloud if they would come out, the sweet seller at the booth whisked me away to another booth to meet Brimfield’s resident quilt expert.

She ran down the multi-step process for removing stains on quilts, which began with a salt soak in the bathtub and ended on a bed of green grass on a sunny day (apparently the chloroform in the grass whitens fabric when baked by the sun).

“It sounds like a lot of work, but it isn’t,” she promised.

I wondered if I could even remember the steps.

“Can I Google it?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “It’s not on the Internet.”

For $60, I decided to try my luck (and test my memory).

Some of the dealers seemed more interested in conversation than making a sale. Gotta love it.

One lamented that he would have made more money selling boots than antiques. He had a thick Maine accent. I could have listened to him complain all day.

I did spy a bucket of roller skates. Now that might be fun, skating around Brimfield.

I met a woman selling overalls and pretty dresses made from vintage fabrics and fancy trimmings. She caught me eyeing a floral pair.

“These are beautiful, but I don’t know if I can pull them off,” I admitted.

She gave me a quick once-over and seemed to agree: “They will make a statement,” she said.

Hmmmm….

The coolest booth was a vintage/collectible seller set up in a “schoolie” – an old school bus.

Toso and Holly were a hit

Our dogs seemed to be a tail-wagging, welcome diversion from the heat and crowds. So many people stopped to give them a pet.

They’d reminisce about collies they knew years ago and remark how you don’t see many of them these days.

Our collie pups, Holly on the left, Toso on the right.

In that way, they are a bit like our Vanagon: they leave a trail of smiles everywhere we go.

Marco said the next time we come to Brimfield, he will set up a collie booth and charge $5 per pet.

Way to wheel and deal, kid!!

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