Nancy Roman

Flea Marketing

This weekend my husband and I traveled to Brimfield Massachusetts to the huge Brimfield Antique Flea Market.

Brimfield is held three times a year, and it’s always a crazy event. For more than 50 years, the nuttiest folks from all over the globe collect junk and come together to see if they can fleece the public. It’s like the whole town becomes a junkyard. In fact, Brimfield is actually a group of 20 individual shows (each one big in its own right) all vying for a piece of the junkyard pie.

Oh sure, there’s some real antiques. But mostly it is the stuff that your husband has in the cellar that you have been begging him to throw away.

We woke to rain, but the sky was bright and the forecast called for clearing. So we dressed in warm clothes that we could peel off in layers, and comfortable shoes, and filled our travel mugs with coffee for the 75 mile drive. Naturally, we already had coffee at home, and so we required a pit stop before too long. And I was gratified that it was Hubby and not me that needed the stop (for a change).

After the nature break, I enjoyed the nature ride. We came upon four horses in a pasture. These guys were all wearing blankets. Granted it was a cool day, but a cool day in May. Those horses were wimps. I don’t see cows wearing sweaters. One horse was sporting a zebra-striped blanket. He may have thought he had a great disguise. But he didn’t fool me.

Once we got to Brimfield, we were encouraged in the most friendly way to park in everyone’s yards for $7.00.  One guy with a really big yard had a fistful of dollars in his hand. We gave him a few more.  His yard was more of a field, but it was dry enough, and we had taken the truck, just in case we found something great – and big.

So another pit stop at the port-a-potties. Those things are the worst part of any outdoor event, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t really, really grateful.

Finally we were ready to shop. There were thousands of vendors. You could buy broken dolls and buckled paintings. You could buy ancient scythes and dusty beer bottles.  Clocks that stopped running in 1945 and old 45 records that had a definite curve to their bodies. Costume jewelry that even my great-aunt Lil would have thought too gaudy.

Oh, there was some nice stuff. I saw a beautiful opal and amethyst ring, But since I already have an opal and ruby ring, I didn’t succumb. My husband found an ugly old coca-cola cooler – which reminded him of his childhood so naturally he wanted to buy it and turn it into a shrine with his toy trains and Hardy Boys books. I pointed out nicely that this cooler was extremely rusty, weighs 77 pounds empty, and costs more than an opal and amethyst ring. I was subtle and congenial though. I said, “That’s friggin’ hideous!”

We had to search to find something relatively healthy to eat. All the vendors from every carnival and country fair you ever went to were there. This would have delighted us five years ago, but we don’t eat that shit anymore – we finally found a deli sandwich stand. Not exactly health food, but a considerable step up from deep-fried oreos.

The best part was the dogs. Brimfield is a dog-friendly event. There were almost as many dogs there as people. And they were all adorable (The dogs, not the people. The people are mostly your regular homely folk.) One vendor had a pug puppy asleep in an old urn. The guy let me wake the puppy so I could see her smile. She didn’t smile. But she gave me an excellent dirty look.

Lately, I want a dog quite badly. But so far, I have recovered my sanity just in time, before I commit to a chewing, pooping, barking little friend. Maybe when I fully retire. I’d like a curly-haired dog to lie at my feet when I write my next novel. Doesn’t that sound nice?

We ended up at the Ben and Jerry’s booth for frozen yogurt, which was okay, even though neither of us got what we ordered. We would have been better off switching cups, as that would have put us a little closer to what we had actually asked for, but then we would have had to forego all the enjoyable bitching.

And that was our day –  $7.00 for parking and $16.00 for lunch and I think about $27.00 for two child-size incorrect frozen yogurts.

Oh, and one more expense. Hubby was very sleepy as we started home, and our coffee was gone, so he stopped at a convenience store/gas station for more. I never go into those places. Because mostly what is convenient is potato chips. Which is about my favorite thing in the world, after puppies.

Only Hubby didn’t come out with coffee. He decided on the beef jerky.

“You’re going to open that in the car?” I asked.

“Yeah, he answered already ripping the bag open. “It’s healthier than some of the other stuff in there. What’s the problem?”

“Because it smells like dog food! Don’t you think it smells exactly like dog food?”

“Not until right this minute.”

And it was a quiet ride home.

But a nice day overall.

And I woke up the next day to poison ivy on my foot. From parking in the field, I suppose.


The one piece my husband and I both loved. Not in the budget though. Not in anyone’s budget, I suspect.


  1. Oh, we’re gonna have to hit the Brimfield event. We have a weekly flea market out here (seasonal of course) in Hubbardston Mass. It is a less overwhelming but equally fun/funny/funhouse place to spend a Sunday.


    • It really was fun, though we came home with no treasures – only half a bag of beef jerky.


  2. Oh the pleasure, the excitement of rummaging and finding nothing suitable at a flea market. I’m right there with ya. I’m a sucker for a good flea market. My husband….not so much. He’s not even crazy about the foot long heartburn hot dogs. I think he goes to make sure I don’t bring too much home. Love the wrought iron bench though. Those things have become truly expensive.


    • We both stopped in our tracks when we saw that bench. But way way way out of our price range.


  3. That bench has me intrigued. Too bad I can’t afford it either. Interesting piece.
    Fun post, Nancy.


    • There was a matching one too – from the lobby of a hotel in Florida. Can you imagine how pretty they would be fixed up?


      • Indeed. So unique. I am drawn to one-offs or things you’d will probably never see again. 🙂


  4. I’ve always wanted to go to that flea market that extends for miles and miles somewhere in the Midwest. Not sure I’d buy anything either but it would be fun to experience… and good exercise.


    • I’ll have to look that up… not that I am ever in the midwest… but you never know.


      • Chris

        I think it’s Tennessee


  5. Susan

    Jewelry to gaudy for Aunt Lil…was there such a thing? You should have taken pictures of that, would have loved to see it. Loved her dearly, but…….


    • The junk jewelry was plentiful – that’s for sure.


  6. Adopt an adult dog. They’re past the chewing/peeing-on-the-floor stage. I love puppies, but mostly when they’re someone else’s puppy. So much work!


    • I think that would be perfect. I am trying not to look right now, because we have 3 cats who are not dog lovers. Especially our tiny old one – and she is so frail right now, we would never want to upset her.


  7. Definitely sounds like it was a nice day. And think of how much money you saved! 🙂 Sometimes when I go to vendor shows and the like, I buy something just to buy something. And of course it’s usually something that will never get used.


  8. We have a similar event near where I here in Southern Ontario; its held at a conservation area and there are over 10 acres of ‘antique vendors’. Parking is $10 but they offer shuttle buses to get you to the sales area and back (which is really when you need that service). There’s lots of REAL antiques (i.e., not exactly affordable and way too big to fit in the trunk of my sporty car), some ‘junque’ (including stuff from my childhood I try NOT to buy), and same kind of greasy over-priced food and potta-potties. I try to go if the weather’s good just for the exercise and nostalgia factor (my husband would only come with me if there was an old car stuff section, though).


  9. I’ve heard of Brimfield flea market but have never been. Sounds like fun…except the port a john. Being a runner I’ve had to use them many, many times before races and still think they’re the worst part of running (I, too, am grateful though). I’d love a dog, too but my beau keeps telling me we’re too busy and not home enough. We’ll settle for dog sitting his daughter’s Corgi puppy for now. Your stories always make me smile/laugh. Thanks for that!


  10. sassycoupleok

    Not into this or garage sales but did enjoy reading about your experience !! 🙂


  11. Your day sounds nice. As far as a dog, I’m the worst person to talk about that. Our Simon is 13 and incontinent and I’m going out of my mind. Still, in between cute puppy stage (they have to be house-trained) and feeble old dog stage (who have to go out every ten minutes), dogs can be fun. Lots of work, but fun.


  12. Sounds like a fabulous day, you had me all the way to the jerky. Love the bench!


  13. What an exciting day. Just the prospect of finding some hidden treasure would keep me going – and maybe some of that beef jerky. Love the bench, but I wish you had gone home with a puppy! Think of all the blogging adventures a puppy would provide. 🙂


  14. Dana

    OMG, an Elvis pocketknife, for only 4 dollars!!!



  15. What a great day. (Dogs love beef jerky….a start in that dog ownership direction!)
    I like this phrase “old 45 records that had a definite curve to their bodies.” solid image.
    (We have an old yellow metal coke-cola cooler – small dent but no rust. Grabbed it a loooong time ago. Never knew it was worth so much.)
    (Here horses that are going to a horse show are the only ones that wear blankets to protect their glossy coats….but you knew sooner or later the other animals were going to make demands now that dogs have such extensive wardrobes)


  16. This is the future speaking: in six months you will have a puppy who chews, poohs, and does everything you said you’re not ready for.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: