If you live in New England we’re willing to bet you’ve heard of or shopped at the famous Brimfield Antiques Show. Brimfield, as it’s called, is the largest outdoor antiques show in New England and happens three times a year - May, July, and September - and has been running since 1959.
All that said - Brimfield is intimidating, especially for first timers. Among a sea of more than 200,000 visitors sit 6,000 dealers selling antique furniture, clothes, rugs, maps, lamps, art, and more. You will find midcentury furniture, mannequin legs, old doorknobs, leather jackets, and a million other unique (and odd!) things.
Here are Caitlin and Elizabeth’s insider tips for shopping the grand antique market. Make sure to read all the way to the end to find out what they actually came home with (spoiler alert - the greenhouse has a new Brimfield piece as well!).
Caitlin & Elizabeth’s Brimfiled Tips:
-Eat a large meal beforehand (they especially recommend the cinnamon swirl pancake from Breakfast at Stephanie’s) and pack plenty of water to stay hydrated.
-Bring a big car or truck to haul your goods home. Even if you don’t expect to purchase a large piece, it’s better to have an appropriate vehicle then to faced with your dream dining table and no way to get it home!
-Know what you’re after. Arrive with a clear budget, list, and pictures of your space.
-Measure the dimensions of your space and bring a measuring tape. It’s important to know the exact dimensions of a space you are trying to fill and while many vendors will lend our measuring tapes it’s best to have your own to quickly measure items and make comparisons.
-The girls found the best deals on the last day as the sellers are more flexible.
-If you’re going for just one day, don’t plan to do anything else on your Brimfield day. It is ideal to experience Brimfield over two days.
-Don’t make impulse buys because there is a lot to compare! That said, if you find the thing - grab it ;)
-When you do pass on something but are considering coming back to it, snap a photo of the item so you can keep a visual list to return to.
-Go with a friend who likes to walk and shop as much as you do and who will help you make tough decisions.
-Most booths take cards now but the really old school bargain booths are cash only.
-Wear comfortable walking shoes and watch the forecast closely as you may need sunscreen, raincoats, hats, or light sweaters.
After hours of walking and debating, Elizabeth brought home:
-An old Kentucky general store desk to use as an art desk or kitchen workbench.
-Vintage and reasonably priced floral dresses, a polkadot jumpsuit, shirt, and wool sweater.
-Beautiful botanical print of farm eggs.
After hours of walking and debating, Caitlin brought home:
- Three vintage dresses including her wedding rehearsal dress that is handmade and fits perfectly.
-The perfect enamel top kitchen table.
Together they picked out a beautiful new greenhouse table that was an old cheese curd vat from Vermont. Don’t you love it?!