by Brigitte Carucci Mesa
Looking for the ultimate antique adventure? A nice weekend getaway?
A one-mile stretch of dusty road, 20 open spacious fields, vendor after
vendor (there's 5,000 of them), a bargaining spirit in the air, money
changing hands, shouts of glee as you stumble upon something you've been
long searching for, negotiating a great deal, the sweet exhaustion of a
whole day antiquing, the fatigued but happy collapse on your hotel room
bed at the end of the day ... where can all this be found?
At the Brimfield Antique Show, the country's largest outdoor antique
show, in Brimfield, Massachusetts (central Massachusetts). Brimfield is
a small town (population about 2,000), but swells in size three times a
year to accommodate the Brimfield Antique Show. About 30,000 people
attend the show each year, but because the show spreads over a one-mile
distance, it is more than manageable! There is a heavy police presence
(to assist with parking, questions and crossing the street), but the
atmosphere of the show remains very lively, family-oriented, safe and
most of all, fun!
More than 5,000 vendors hawking an astounding variety of items ...
everything from lobster traps, wooden signs, silver, watches, pottery,
football memorabilia and vintage clothing to militia collectibles,
jewelry, glass, textiles, huge pieces of furniture, and much more ...
whether you're a serious collector or just looking to browse, the
Brimfield Antique Show is worth the trip.
If you collect something specific, are just an antique shopper or just
want to browse, you will most certainly find what you're looking for
here, and possibly things you weren't looking for! An easy four hours
from New York/New Jersey, Brimfield is host to the Brimfield Antique
Show three times a year (May, July and September). The show is open for
a six-day period starting on a Tuesday and ending on a Sunday; each
field opens at different times, with most opening around 5 a.m. and
closing around 5 p.m. - 12 full hours of treasure hunting!
The serious antique shoppers can be seen at the crack of dawn scoping
out the fields with flashlights in hand or maybe miner's hat on their
heads. An antique show that boasts annual visits from Barbra Streisand,
Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart, Brimfield has long been a popular place
for vendors to display their wares. For nearly 40 years, the show has
attracted antique dealers, buyers, browsers and curiosity seekers from
all over the world. Bargains galore with vendors willing to haggle,
prices range from the paltry $1 items and on up.
It's been said that if you've never been to the Brimfield Antique Show
before, there's no real way to prepare for it. This is true. No matter
how well you prepare for your first trip to Brimfield, you will be blown
away by the experience. I have included some planning tips and tricks
below to help you get the most out of your Brimfield excursion.
Book your overnight accommodations early - nearby lodging books up
quickly! Some places will take reservations a year in advance, and most
people make the following years' reservations when they check out. If
you are unable to find lodging in Brimfield, you can also look in the
Worcester, Sturbridge, Holland and Springfield areas of Massachusetts,
and Hartford, CT, which is just a half-hour drive. Bed &
Breakfast-type establishments are popular in this area. Check with your
local AAA office for more lodging suggestions, but the following might
be helpful to you:
River's Edge Bed & Breakfast (413-245-7310)
1880 Inn (413-967-7847)
Misty Meadows Bed & Breakfast (413-245-7466)
Bittersweet Farm Bed & Breakfast (413-245-6524)
Elias Carter House on the Common (413-245-3267)
Pynchon House Bed & Breakfast (413-245-4300)
Tamarack Farm Bed & Breakfast (413-283-8664)
Cooper Lantern Motor Lodge (508-867-6441)
New England Motel (413-245-3348)
Wildwood Inn Bed & Breakfast (413-967-7798)
Sheraton Springfield Hotel (413-781-1010)
Publick House (508-347-3313)
Tips From the Road:
The antique show is presented in several open fields with no benches or
shade to speak of. Because of this, it gets hot. Go in the morning, and
then take a break and go somewhere else for lunch to get out of the
heat. Then return to the market in the afternoon. You'll feel more
Drink plenty of fluids. There are food courts that serve a variety of
food (outstanding lobster roll sandwiches and lobster bisque) and
drinks, and you'll find many food stands lining the street. Once in the
middle of the market though, cold water is harder to come by. Don't get
so carried away with the market that you neglect cooling your body.
You'll miss too many great pieces and deals if you've passed out from
Invest in a wagon or something similar to carry your purchases. The
fields are big and wide; when you find a few worthy purchases in the
beginning of the market, by the end of the day, you'll be tired of
carrying around all your stuff. Buy a silver metal pull-type cart that
you often see people using when walking home from the grocery store with
groceries. This will prove to be a worthwhile investment. Each day, we
made several trips to the car just to empty the cart and refill it. If
you're a collector of smaller items, consider bringing a tote, backpack
or something similar to carry your newly purchased treasures. Also toss
in a few necessary essentials, including sunscreen and a plastic poncho
or small umbrella. Don't be caught unprepared, as it takes valuable time
away from doing the most important thing ... shopping!
Arrive early for good parking. There is plenty of parking, but it fills
up fast, and the closer you get to the show, the better. Parking lots
charge between $3-$6 and some will give you a pass if you leave and come
back the same day (so you avoid paying twice).
The show is held rain or shine, so dress appropriately. And above all
else, wear comfortable shoes!
The Quaboag Valley Chamber of Commerce offers a 32-page Visitors Guide
to the antique show. Call their office at 413-283-2418 to order the
guide or mail $5 to QVCC, 1429 Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069. The guide
has useful information about the antique show, starting times for each
field, hotel/lodging information, local restaurant information and more.
Also check out this web site: www.brimfield-antiqueshow.com for more
Besides the antique show, if you're looking for other things to do in
the area, check out the following:
* Old Sturbridge Village - a variety of shopping and dining
possibilities; it is also considered to be largest "living"
history museum in the North. You'll find recreations of daily and
community celebrations of a rural 19th century town.
* The nearby small town of Warren - the town's biggest treasures are the
old railroad station and an absolutely beautiful stone library. Also in
Warren you'll find Tucker's Hobbies, a popular model railroad shop.
* In the town of Ware you'll find many stores and outlets for your
* In North Brookfield, you'll find a great apple orchard - Brookfield
Orchards. Brookfield residents hold a flea market on Sundays during the
year. You can also have fresh apple dumplings with ice cream at their
on-site snack bar, pick your own apples or go shopping in their large
store filled with everything from antiques and used paperback books to
fresh apple pies, honey, jams and dumplings.
BRIMFIELD ANTIQUE SHOW
BRIMFIELD ANTIQUE SHOW