So, Brimfield. I can sum it up in one word: WHOA.
I've been to the Rose Bowl market, the Brooklyn Flea and everything in between and trust: I've never seen anything like this shit in my whole entire life. Brimfield is truly its own animal...and that animal is sorta like Jabba the Hut. It's big, it's bloated, and if you let it, it will eat you alive.
I ventured up to this tiny Massachusetts town early on Tuesday morning with my House of Brinson travel buds, @studiobrinson and @williambrinson. We arrived mid-morning and the market was already in full-swing. As we pulled up to the parking field, we caught glimpses of what was to come, and before we even parked the car, some members of our party one member of our party (i.e. ME) was licking the window glass in anticipation. Brimfield is like a flea market on crack...or steroids. IT'S A JUICE HEAD FLEA MARKET, PPL.
You'll find much discussion online about how this is nottttt actually a flea market, and should instead be referred to as an "antiques market." And ok, here's the thing: while there was certainly a way higher caliber of stuff here than you would find at your average, run of the mill flea market, there was also quite a bit of crap. Also, if you want to get technical, I'm pretty sure that the definition of a true antique is something that is at least 100 years old, and there was a metric ton of stuff there that was not 100 years old. I guess also I don't really find the term "flea market" offensive, so I don't give a crap.
Brimfield is set up as a series of fields, each with their own name (usually) that open up on a rolling basis throughout the week. So if you arrive on Tuesday like we did, not all fields will be open to the public yet. With each new day during the show, additional fields open up, which does a good job of keeping things fresh and building anticipation amongst the shoppers. I'm not quite sure how they group things...some areas seemed totally random and I couldn't find any common thread amongst all the booths, and then in other spots, things seemed to be related to one another a bit more. They also have certain sections with an entrance fee. Again, these areas seemed to have a higher quality of merchandise BUT shit was also way more overpriced in these spots too. And just like a real trade show at the Javits Center, some booths were fancy shmancy and gigantic (we even went into a tent that had AC!), and some were side of the road ghetto.
Here's a shot from the fancy shmancy AC booth that was selling linen duvet covers for $3500 and up.
It was hot as fuck out that day, so needless to say, I just wanted to crawl into one of their beds and take a nap. Also they had signs everywhere that said, "try me out!" or "squeeze me" next to a pile of pillows, as opposed to most other booths that seemed to go out of their way to include "DO NOT TOUCH" signs.
There was another area of the market (Meadows, I think?) that I said should have been called "The Williamsburg Section." It was bursting at the seams with all that cool, industrial chic type stuff: metal baskets, workbenches, old lights, stools etc. My fave spot there was this gigantic booth for Eneby Antik. They are based out of Atlanta and their actual website sorta sucks, but I pretty much wanted to buy everything they had for sale:
Like these gigantic drum containers, gorgeous old pieces of furniture, perfectly worn leather chairs, etc. Will got some great old red storage boxes there, and I just sood by wiping the drool off of my chin.
I really love old jewelry and, shockingly, I didn't find a ton of it. There were quite a few booths with the costume crap that was like "all items for $1," but not a lot of great vintage stuff. I ended up getting a few vintage pins (including a rhinestoned Basset Hound!), but truth be told I kind of wanted this Basset weather vane:
Only, I don't have a lawn.
Uhm, here's one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen in my life: a human hair wreath. This shit was MADE OUT OF someone's hair. Actually, multiple people's hair. And it cost $250.
We shopped until 5:30 or so on Tuesday and then headed back to our hotel, The Publick House. We stayed in the motor lodge section of the property and it was pretty darn cute. We had a delish dinner there that night, AND on the way in, we ran into a Basset Hound (the type of dog I have), immediately followed by a Boxer (the type of dog the Brinsons have). This ridiculousness entertained me e-n-d-l-e-s-s-l-y.
Our plan was to wake up super early the next day to hit up the market again, however, when we woke up it was POURING. So we went to eat some bkfst at some local greasy spoon, and by the time we finished: BOOM. The rain was over. So we got in a few more hours of solid shopping, and then headed home with our treasures.
Here was our final take:
That gigantic basket on the left is mine, and everything else belongs to the Brinsons (they scored storage containers, rugs, and more!).
I hate to say it, but I was sort of held back by my ever growing fear of bedbugs. I pretty much refused to look at any vintage clothing (even though I saw a gorge coat I kind of wanted that was only $10), and was equally afraid of the linens and blankets. I wasn't really in the market for any furniture, as our space is fairly small and already pretty packed, but I was slightly bummed I didn't find any AMAZINGKILLERZOMG pieces. That giganto basket is going above our wall of closets in our bedroom, and will in fact hold a crapload of stuff. In truth, I would have loved to find 5 more of them.
It was mostly ridiculously hot while we were there, so I can't even begin to imagine what the market it like in July...I don't think I could handle it. The food was ohhhkay. I had heard that the food court was kind of amazing, but it really was just sort of meh for me.
As for prices, stuff was really all over the place. There were definitely some things that were way overpriced, and yet other things were super reasonable. My basket was priced at $75 and I got it for $60. It really is gigantic, but still, I wouldn't exactly call it a major bargain. And yet, if it were in a store in NYC, it would probably be $150, so who knows. We started to see price reductions on day two, so I'm sure by the end of the week there are some killer bargains. You just have to weigh that against the possibility that all the good shit will be gone by then.
So, to sum up: if you asked me if its worth it to go to Brimfield, I would say "yes, yes, a thousand times yes." For me, two days was the perfect amount of time, and I really did have a shitload of fun.