Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back from Brimfield ... Boston, too!

Miles upon Mile of white caps in the foothills of the Massachusetts country side ... it wasn't snow, it was a tent - no, 1,000 tents, wait - 5,599 tents!? Yes, as far as the eye could see, it was tent after tent of the most delicious, the most interesting, the most funky, and (sorry vendors) the most ridiculous!

People festooned backpacks and pushed carts, little boys and girls, grown men and women walked around with shirts that read: "PORTER FOR HIRE" and at times the street felt like a parking lot ... car after car after truck after rented van waiting to get in and out of the field parking, each driver and passenger surveying the bargains others had collected walking down the street.
It was the most interesting thing I've done in a long while, and I had tons of fun. Not only did the weather hold out to make it one of the nicest Spring days the city has had in a few years - the tent after tent after tent filled with treasures for everyone had my design mind doing cartwheels, and my credit cards holding on for dear life.

They had carts, lots and lots of carts. These were $950, but they had broken carts for the handy Andy available for $450, yes, that's four hundred and fifty dollars. Good thing I already have one, and even better mine was free. Crates of Chinese import Buddhas and carved wood - sea fare and nautical accessories ... you could have bought anything here, anything!

Yes, even a screen door! The tents wrapped in and around fields that must lay abandoned except for the 3 weeks in May, July, and September when Brimfield Show takes place. Some were paved with pebbles, others just dirt and even more just grass. Oriental rugs made boundaries for many booths who had furniture in every style you could imagine. I saw 3' tall chess pieces made from marble, tiger maple dining room furniture - period - and about $17,600, and baskets offered at 1/$30e., 3/$22e.

There were few tents or grassy areas that were decorated like a store, or set up with beautiful vignettes to admire and photograph ... but those who tried, did a great job. Like this garden statuary vendor. I presume they're available all year round - as this was actually linked to a home on the property. Their statuary, fountains, and other garden items were unique and fairly priced. I bought something from this booth, and am so glad I did ... stay tuned for what!

Other vendors had container furniture as far as the eye can see. I suppose this probably came from GJStyles, now Halostyles - a supplier of Swedish furniture (among other things) to the trade only. I also saw some trunks that I know came from GJStyles, and I know were marked up 200%. In such a frail economy I can't imagine why they thought they'd get that price ... but I suppose it doesn't hurt to ask.

The more interesting booths, I found, were those that didn't sell container furniture or things easily found on the net. Like this metal stretcher, without its top just begging to be used for whatever you can think of. A piece of reclaimed wood about 5' long and this narrow do-dah stretched out completely would make one fantastic sofa table. Zinc covered side and dining tables also were available from this particular booth - and even though they were much more than I wanted to pay - I found them very, very nice.
But perhaps the nicest part of Brimfield was it's location - situated perfectly in the valley. Blue skies and hills filled with every shade of green were open for view - perfect rest for the scattered eyes. And I'll be darned if there wasn't a little stream running right through one field ...

Puddling, eventually into a beautiful river on the other side.

A great place to catch a nap, a picnic, or count your fading cash supply, and question just how exactly you'd explain to your partner that you'd spent the money you'd saved for that cruise on the most perfect barkcloth pillows ... that didn't happen to me ... I don't think ... just an example, reminder: ask Scott what he bought...
Now, this all took place Tuesday, and by the time Wednesday rolled around - Brimfield seemed a little less fantastic than the day before. Perhaps it was my tired, aching feet (I brought cute shoes instead of reasonable ones) or the fact that it all seemed to be the same after a while? You see - Brimfield seems like the kind of place that you come with your mind set on the particular something. It's the fun of searching from booth to booth for the best deal, or the perfect item ... we went looking for nothing other than a good time, and we had that - on Tuesday. Wednesday, I was ready to go home. But instead of home we went to another waterfront ...
where stone boulders allowed the water to bath them slightly on the banks and sailboats, docked and at bay, were as far as the eye could see. A different white than the tents - but with the same idea - people, under the sun, having fun.

And sun there was. I picked myself up quite the tan. er. burn. (BUT IT WILL BE A TAN!!) It was the most perfect day to explore Boston, and with the perfect tour guide: Scott. Scott grew up in Wayland, a chi-chi suburb outside of Boston in the ... um, well --- it was a while ago. He spent a lot of time in Boston, and thankfully (for me) it hadn't changed much in the last 20 or so years.

Much smaller than I had imagined it - this was my first trip to Boston, and I can't wait to go back again. The main road there separates the city from a lovely park right on the water - where you can rent sailboats, listen to the philharmonic, lay in the sun, enjoy a picnic, or run til your hearts content. I have to say that Boston, is probably one of the most beautiful cities, if not the most beautiful city, I've ever been to. This was taken of the Boston skyline from Back Bay, the mirrored building is one of Boston's tallest - the John Hancock Tower.

A thriving downtown - where modern architecture pays a mirrored compliment to the antique architecture of yester-year. Here, the Trinity Church is mirrored in the John Hancock Tower. The church was completed in 1877. Such a beautiful building in the center of Copley Square, it's been on the top 10 list of "significant buildings" for more than 100 years.

Here, at street view - Boston traffic. What a disaster!? Though we're only 6 hours away, it was getting out of the city that seemed the longest part of the trip. But well worth it for the experience we had. In just 7 hours, we covered Boston on foot - most of it anyway, and road the subway system back to the Italian North End (edited; thank you Boston anon!), where we parked. One last stroll down the waterway at dusk proved that Boston was a town I'd have to visit again, with days instead of hours to explore every crevice of it's antique and beautiful brick facade. Add also to the list: Whale Watching, Museum hopping, Shopping, Theatre, Dining and more dining ... we've tentatively planned for a labor day respite. Oh Boston, how I miss thee.
So there you have it - my very small collection of images of our whirlwind Brimfield/Boston trip. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did taking them. Look for more as time passes and I go over the many cards worth of footage, and also for the few items I bought at Brimfield ... and how they "fit" here at Casa de la Vanderdogan.


  1. Artie, My eyes spotted so many things and my feet are aching for you in sympathy. I can only imagine the fun that you guys had those few days. Boston sounds like a city that Jacob would be enamored with. He loves anything old and historic. The picture of the shore would have me tempted to stick my feet in that icy cold water. :) ~ Robyn

  2. What a perfect getaway trip for the two of you. I am wanting to go to one of these great sales..flea market..whatever. The nearest to me would be Round Top, Tx or Canton..ONE OF THESE DAYS!!

  3. Good times! Shopping, exploring, soaking up the sun. I'm glad y'all had a successful trip.

  4. Ah...the first lesson of Brimfield ~ comfortable clothing and shoes are a must! My first trip about twenty-five years ago, I went in flip flops! Can you imagine? I went all three times last year and headed again tomorrow. It gets in your blood!
    Boston is one of America's greatest cities and you got a taste of it. Explore Beacon Hill!!!
    Welcome back and glad you both returned safely with great life-time memories!
    G in CT

  5. Ah, Artie! I needed this little break from reality! Many thanks! I have been wrestling with computer issues (bad ones) all week!!!

  6. So many neat things! Your pictures are lovely. And you should know that you wear SENSIBLE shoes when you go to an outside fair -- not pretty ones (LOL)

  7. I love your music while reading your blog post...right now Jesse Cook is tearing up his it!
    Boston is indeed a fun place, the architecture is amazing. Glad you enjoyed your trip!
    I miss the yuppie puppies...

  8. comfortable shoes...plenty of cash LOL...and a cart on wheels!

    The basic necessities of any good shopping trip!

    Looks like great fun!

  9. I've never been but it sounds like an amazing adventure.

    Tricia - Avolli

  10. Ooh, I'm TOTALLY jealous! That looks like such a fun day, strolling through all those tents, never knowing what you were gonna find. Of course, I'd probably lose my shirt in a place like that (figuratively speaking) because I wouldn't know a good deal from a bad one.
    I cannot wait to see what you bought. Don't leave us waiting too long. You know how that makes me grumpy.

    Justine :o )

  11. WOW!!! That is what I call Heaven on earth!!!! I would loose sleep a week before going to something like that because I would be so excited!
    Have a wonderful weekend,

  12. Wow! It looks like it was an amazing time. I see lots of goodies in your pics. I dream of going some day.

  13. ... forgot to tell you how great your blog looks and as always the music is fantastic!

  14. Oh Artie! What an event! What did you bring home. Please don't tell me "nothing"!

    Closer to you, smaller, but still amazing is the Bouckville one (outside of Syracuse) It usually happens in far as I remember!

  15. Why oh why did I not know about Brimfield when I lived in Boston? Amazing! Thank you for sharing.

    And not to nitpick, but since I did live in Boston -- the Italian part is the North End, not the West. No biggie. I hope you had a chance to eat there. It's one of the things I miss most.

  16. That was quite a trip you took us on! With your pictures and explanations, I felt like I need to unpack.

    I have never been there--and I appreciate the mind vacation.

    Can't wait to see your treasures!

  17. awesome journal of le road!

    yes - we can't wait to see
    what you brought home and
    how it plays in Chez Artie!


  18. Happy to hear that your shopping expedition was a success and you had a great trip without any incident.

    Escaping from Boston, LOL sounds like exiting Montreal (...and I can read French). To avoid aching feet/back; comfortable shoes is a necessity but next time you may want to consider taking an extra pair with you so you can switch back 'n forth during your outing. The extra pair just have to be comfortable. Flip flops will even do. A change of gait is as good as a rest. Trust me Artie, from my own experience your body parts will thank you. :)

  19. Looks like a very wonderful adventure!

    I've never been to Boston and really liked your photos of the city.

    Becky K.

  20. Hey! I didn't realize you had a blog until I found your link on my sister's profile. I would love to visit you at Niagra Falls! It's been too long since I've been up North-and I think I need to refresh the memories. I love your yard and your house--would you like to come do mine? Ha! Keep in touch!

  21. Artie, so cool. And I did a post on the factory carts today!

  22. Hi Artie, I was living vicariously through you, hope it was a great time. Looks like it was and the area is pretty.
    What did you get?
    I have talked to several folks lately and we all say we want to go to it one day, dream dream!!
    Have a good week in the garden, bet it will be gorgeous when you get done.
    Hugs, Linda

  23. That shopping looks DIVINE! Oooooh my heart beats for Boston... I miss it soooooooooooooo much... almost as much as I miss Paris!

  24. I hope you read old posts.
    Thanks for the memories. I lived in the city 30yrs ago for 1yr and loved it. Kind of wish I had stayed. I walked these streets everyday. It has not changed in your pictures.