Brimfield Antiques Fair

Guess what’s coming up soon! One of my most favorite times of the year: Brimfield! What is Brimfield you say? Well, only just the treasure-hunter’s, antique-lover’s, junk-picker’s paradise! 14 acres chock full of weird and wonderful stuff! Brimfield Antiques Fair is held three times a year in Brimfield, Massachusetts, and it is always worth a trip. You literally never know what you will find there! Some years I’ve gone all three times, and some years just once, but I don’t think I’ve skipped a summer since finding out about it in 2012. While a bit more crowded (and a bit more pricey!) than it used to be, it is still very fun to poke around, even if you go just to look.

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Back when I was newly married, and first setting up house, I used to buy lots of things at Brimfield, to fill in the gaps for things we needed, and replace “boring” things with antique or prettier versions, such as intricate silverware or fun little juice glasses. Then I went on a bit of a Marie Kondo-inspired minimalism/tiny house/wanting to live in a yurt kick and went a couple years without buying ANYTHING at Brimfield- just going to look around (which was still wicked fun!) And now, this year, some of the practical little things I purchased for our home back in 2012 need replacing – our cloth napkins are stained, our dish cloths ragged, our juice glasses and all but 1 of our water glasses have broken. So I will once again be shopping for practical things at Brimfield. I love holding out for the treasure hunt. I will gladly wait a year until I find the perfect, old antique thing before I drive out to a box store or order something online. Finding the perfect little thing for your home at Brimfield is just so fun! And it feels better to re-use something and give it a new life, especially knowing that it was made during a time period where quality was prized over quantity and profit.

 It can be overwhelming the amount of stuff there is. I find if you LOVE something and it is totally unique and a cheap price – just buy it then and there. If you hesitate at all, take a photo of it (ask the dealer first! sometimes they get mad about photos) and then at lunch, scroll through the photos of things and see which things you forgot about already and which you are still thinking about. The things you forgot about should probably not go home with you.

In terms of practicality, there are a few things to consider. Brimfield is HUGE. There is no way to see it all in one day (believe me I’ve tried, as I’m sure my mother and friends will attest!) If you try to see it all in one day, it is exhausting and I think you end up seeing less in a weird way, cause you are only just skimming the surface. The tents line both sides of Route 20 in Massachusetts. The traffic from Highway 90 is AWFUL. If you can go any other route (such as coming in from the North on route 19/Warren Road – do it! I’ve sat in traffic on 20 for 2 hours before). I’ve tried all manner of parking arrangements- park in the beginning, drive to the very end and park, park in the middle- either way, it does not matter- you will never be able to see it all in one day. Just make sure you wear very comfortable shoes! If you go in July or September, it can be very hot! May is my favorite time to go- what a way to kick off the summer time! No matter what month you go, the earlier you arrive, the better and the more you will get to see.

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Yes, dogs are allowed! This was such a cute pup we met 🙂

If you end up buying a really big, bulky piece, the dealer will generally be kind enough to hold it for you until the end of the day (most dealers pack up between 4 and 6 pm) at which point, you can somehow navigate your car through the maze to get to them and pack up your find! If you plan to buy a lot of little things, carry a tote bag, or even better, a backpack to keep yourself hands free. Bring snacks and water with you – believe me, you will not want to walk all the way back to your car. I’ve even stashed my lunch by a tree somewhere so I didn’t have to walk all the way back to my car, but I’m not going to “officially” recommend that – hehe it was a good idea though. Of course, there is food to purchase in the middle of it all, but it is expensive and there are not too many healthy options (although that changes every year!) – think “Fair Food”.

I’ve gone in rain or shine, and though I prefer shine, rain isn’t so bad. All the dealers are under tents, and it is less crowded in the rain. Just make sure you wear the right jacket and footwear for moisture or you will be miserable. The fairs run from Tuesdays to Sundays, although some dealers (and entire fields!) do not open until Wednesday, and some do not stay all the way until Sunday. I’ve generally gone on a Friday. It’s not too picked over at that point, and it’s close enough to the end of the week where you can sometimes haggle a deal. Most dealers don’t mind you making a reasonably lower offer (especially if you are buying multiple things from them or a bigger piece). Some dealers are not super friendly- just telling the truth. You will quickly figure out their attitude 🙂

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Taken  from the official Brimfield Antiques Show Website, the dates for the 2019 shows are: May 14th through 19th, July 9th through 14th, and September 3rd through 8th. Mark your calendar for the dates now, so you can plan on getting there. Have fun!!!

Tuesday’s Inspiration: Mary Oliver

Picking Blueberries, Austerlitz, New York,1957
Once, in summer,
in the blueberries,
I fell asleep, and woke
when a deer stumbled against me.

I guess
she was so busy with her own happiness
she had grown careless
and was just wandering along

listening
to the wind as she leaned down
to lip up the sweetness.
So, there we were

with nothing between us
but a few leaves, and wind’s
glossy voice
shouting instructions.

The deer
backed away finally
and flung up her white tail
and went floating off toward the trees –

but the moment before she did that
was so wide and so deep
it has lasted to this day;
I have only to think of her –

the flower of her amazement
and the stalled breath of her curiosity,
and even the damp touch of her solicitude
before she took flight –

to be absent again from this world
and alive, again, in another
for thirty years
sleepy and amazed,

rising out of the rough weeds
listening and looking.
Beautiful girl,
where are you?

-Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems
Volume One

So Long, Sweet Summer

Did summer go by fast or what? (And this post is really really late!! Because fall flew by as well!)  I think it’s because we didn’t have much of a spring time transition this year. All of a sudden, it was summer. Though it feels like it slipped away so quickly, looking back on the photos and memories, we really lived in many beautiful summer moments this year. More and more I am trying to inhabit the present, to really SEE what is around me, to notice the small details, and the big connections between everyone and everything. Here are a few of my favorite summer moments captured~

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Elysian Hills Tree Farm ~ Dummerston, Vermont
Sunset in the Harbor ~ Newport, Rhode Island
Tomatoes at Moulton’s Farm ~ Meredith, New Hampshire x Sunset ~ Center Harbor, New Hampshire 

Sunflower Field
On the way to the Basin ~ Franconia, New Hampshire
Field of Sunflowers at Colby Farm ~ Newbury, New Hampshire
Gregg Lake ~ Antrim, NH x Lobster Roll at Sunset ~ Rye, NH
The docks ~ Center Harbor, NH x Mornings ~ Center Harbor, NH
Green Tomatoes ~ Home x Incoming Storm ~ Greenville, NH
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Pony in the Field at Kroka ~ Acworth, NH 
Twilight Time ~ Center Harbor, NH x Wild Blueberries ~ Pitcher Mountain, Stoddard, NH
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Summer Fields ~ Sugar Hill, NH
Flora de Passion ~ Home x Favorite Walking Place ~ Temple, NH
White Mountains Waterfall ~ Woodstock, NH

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Canoeing with the Pup ~ Greenfield, NH x Delphinium Bouquet ~ Home
Sunday Blooms ~ Peterborough, NH
Walk Around MacDowell Lake ~ Peterborough, NH
Mid-Summer’s Bounty ~ Home x Blooms and Breakfast ~ Home
Red Nasturtiums ~ Home x July Bouquet ~ Home

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Garden Textures Late Summer ~ Home
Just Floating ~ Hancock, NH x Coneflowers and Zinnias ~ Wilton, NH

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Sunset at the Beach Plum ~ Rye, NH
Freshly Picked ~ Milford, NH x Sunflowers Outside of the Bakery ~ Alstead, NH
Fly Fishing ~ Center Harbor, NH x Little Friend ~ Temple, NH
Skies Over White Mountains ~ Woodstock, NH x Wild Blueberries ~ Stoddard, NH

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Sunflowers ~ Newbury, MA
My Garden ~ Home

Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music

Tucked away down a winding dirt road in Nelson, New Hampshire, you will find the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, a center for musical education for students from around the world. I had read that they offered classical concerts for the public on Tuesday nights in the summer, so one hot August evening Ethan and I made our way up to Nelson, not knowing at all what to expect.

What we found was delightful. As we wound our way up the dirt road, suddenly we came upon a big colonial house and barn that was humming with people. The front porch had a large buffet of food and the lovely yard was lined with picnic tables filled with happy, friendly neighbors. Looking closer, you could see a yurt or a small house in the woods, which presumably house the students who go to Apple Hill. After dinner, a bell was rung and (most) everyone filed into the big barn to hear the concert. img_9586 img_9582We sat outside of the barn and it was so peaceful to watch the sunset over the distant mountains and just listen to the beautiful music. If I were to do it again (which I will!) I would definitely bring bug spray and a sweater- once the sun goes down it got buggy and chilly fast. I would also bring my own picnic dinner! It’s free to sit outside and it costs $15 to get into the barn. Watching in the barn would also be a neat experience someday so we would actually get to view the concert too. But it was relaxing to just listen.img_9596img_9587img_9600After a little while, when we looked up, the lights came on in the tree above us. What a nice (and free!) night out. Not only is Apple Hill Center a place for musical education, it is also a charming and unexpected venue for concerts in the summer time. Keep it in mind.img_9601