After years of wishing and wanting to go, I finally made it to the Brimfield Antique Extravaganza! The timing was perfect–a cannot-be-missed wedding weekend in the Adirondack Mountains was on the calendar, and after a lengthy bit of research and study of Google Maps, I realized that Brimfield’s September dates lined up right after the wedding date. After flying into Albany, New York and spending the weekend at a family wedding, Matt & I got in our rental and drove the four hour trek from the mountains to western Massachusetts. The views were gorgeous and the weather couldn’t have been better. Not knowing what to expect, I reread two blog posts I had Jenn of Bellflower Bay and the sisters of Maejean Vintage put together describing their experience, along with some helpful tips! Those are some good blog posts, by the way! Everything was totally true and helped me out.
Of course, there’s always room for more tips…so here are my hints to conquering Brimfield in one piece:
1. Although warned about the heat, it truly was incredibly HOT! Like, so sweaty, let’s just leave type of hot! You don’t want the heat and the sun to get the best of you. Make sure to wear shorts and a tank top, sunglasses are a must! At times, the dirt paths can get picked up by the wind and that’s when your sunglasses serve a dual purpose! I got dirt in my eye once, and it ruined at least a half hour of my day! (time is super limited)
2. Don’t carry too many things in your purse–you may not end up even using them! This was a mistake I made on day one. I brought with me way too many things in my purse that were heavy–like a large camera, a back up phone charger, etc. I realized that I didn’t need really anything except for money, hand sanitizer, my phone and a few rings to trade. An empty purse is a happy purse! And there’s more room for things you pick up along the way.
3. Don’t wear rings of your own! Another day one mistake–the heat was so bad, my fingers swelled at least two sizes larger than normal. At one point, my engagement ring would not come off my finger. I learned on the second day to go completely ring-free (crazy, I know) and as you buy rings throughout the day, wear those!
4. The food and port-a-potties ended up being a highlight of the experience. Although I was dreading having to go to the bathroom and heard bad reviews about the food, both aspects were fine by me! I found a mini food truck which offered solely lemonade and mac and cheese. I thought for sure someone read my mind, but yes the two best things in life were all in one place. Matt’s food was really good too. And peeing in a port-a-potty just brought back memories of Girl Scouts, and I found one that was more off the beaten path and not in a high traffic area.
5. There is now a Brimfield app which one MUST download before going! This is a life-saver because the two vital and somewhat mysterious aspects of Brimfield are laid out in this app, one being the map of the fields, including the names of each field, and two being a show schedule which tells you when each field is open. Not every field is open Tuesday through Sunday! This was news to me! And there are a few fields that charge money upon entering! Also news to me, but it also seemed that the better finds came from fields that charged you to enter.
6. Tuesday is not a very good day to go if only interested in jewelry! Not sure if it was just me, but Tuesday was a bust! We saw mostly trinkets, knick knacks and furniture–only maybe two jewelry dealers.
7. Bring ca$h! We ran into lots of dealers who only take cash or checks, no credit cards! So the more the merrier…and better deals can be made with cash. I actually left with more cash than I spent, which is crazy, but it was better than wishing I had more money if my dream ring was sitting right in front of me and I was $200 short. I brought rings of my own to trade–not too many dealers were into trading, but one that I talked to was! I traded two rings that I hardly wear anymore for one amazing one!
Although my first day at Brimfield was a bust, I got to spend it with Matt, Alexis Kletjian and her husband. You must check out her blog to read more about her experience at Brimfield. Our meetup was so much fun and I only wish we lived closer because we would seriously have the best double date nights ever! And I tried on one of Alexis’ bangles from her soon-to-debut fine jewelry collection, and it is actually the first modern bangle to ever fit me (we are both petite).
If you’re looking for the best getaway, where you can relax and unwind after a long day of treasure hunting, I found the Lord Jefferey Inn to be the perfect spot! After lots of hotel research, stumbling upon this jewel was very fitting for the occasion. The hotel opened in 1926 and although it is historic through and through, the amenities have all recently been updated–with great bathrooms, wifi, and a delicious restaurant. If you don’t mind driving about 50 mintues from the hotel to Brimfield like we did, I highly recommend it.
After a restful evening, day two of Brimfield was off to a great start. I downloaded the app, had a game plan based on the times different fields opened, and wore an outfit that showed so much skin I would never be caught dead in it elsewhere! All in all, I brought back four rings for my personal collection, and one to sell for those who wish they could have gone but still would like something from the show!
Details of the rings I purchased:
14k two-tone diamond ring from a dealer in New England Motel field
14k yellow gold vertical trio of round opals from a dealer in New England Motel field
10k yellow gold garnet heart ring from dealer in Heart-O-The-Mart field
10k yellow gold antique baby ring with M initial from dealer in Heart-O-The-Mart field
*Matt bought a 10k yellow gold Indian head ring as well (pictured above)
14k yellow gold bypass diamond ring circa late 1800s, with 0.15 ctw diamonds, Price $450
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