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After a week of fun I had to share my complete guide to the Brimfield Antiques Show. Here are all the things we wish we knew to bring, eat, and more in one post!

I had never heard of the Brimfield Antique Show until my dear friends Kat McCall and Brittany Johnston told me it was the place to go for all kinds of antique gems. I absolutely adore Scott’s Antique Market in Atlanta and Brimfield is like Scott’s times twenty! I had no idea how big Brimfield really was until our arrival last week. I admit it was very overwhelming, but I am so glad we went in the middle of July. The antique show happens three times a year with July being the slowest of the three. We all agreed we were glad we came on this scouting trip in July because we were told thousands more come in May and September. A lot of the vendors said the fields are even more packed with other vendors in May which hardly seems possible with the number of vendors who were already there. But May is the best time to go so it looks like we will be making another trip then! On our first day we just walked through one field at a time to get our bearings. The markets open at different times throughout the day, so it is important to know the schedule well! Below read all my tips, tricks, and recommendations on how best to navigate this antique paradise!

From left to right, Kat McCall, Brittany Johnson, and me, Carmen!

About Brimfield Antique Show

The Brimfield Antiques Show happens three times a year, May 14-19, July 9-14, and September 3-8. The city of Brimfield has been the antique and collectibles capital of the United States since 1959. The event boasts 21 independent shows and thousands of vendors set up across several fields. Over 200,000 visitors come for the event all searching for great finds and rare and exclusive items that cannot be found anywhere else. One of my favorite things was the large amount of silver that is sold by vendors. Here are some photos of some of the things I came across.

Accommodations and Transportation

We flew into Bradley International airport and rented a car there from Enterprise. The airport is small and super easy to navigate. We knew we would be shopping so we rented a large suv Armada but looking back now with the shipping options offered on site we didn’t even need a large vehicle. We stayed at the Hampton Inn (link) in Sturbridge and the location could not have been better! We were only 15 minutes from Brimfield and 45 from the airport. The location was perfect because some mornings we got up at 5:30 to show because some of the shows opened at 6. We wanted to be the first ones at the gate.

Accommodations and Transportation

We flew into Bradley International airport and rented a car there from Enterprise. The airport is small and super easy to navigate. We knew we would be shopping so we rented a large suv Armada but looking back now with the shipping options offered on site we didn’t even need a large vehicle. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Sturbridge and the location could not have been better! We were only 15 minutes from Brimfield and 45 from the airport. The location was perfect because some mornings we got up at 5:30 to show because some of the shows opened at 6. We wanted to be the first ones at the gate.

 

How to Shop

Before you start browsing at all, make sure you get a copy of the schedule! It will make you a seasoned expert even on your first visit. Unfortunately, we didn’t get ahold of this until Thursday, but it was truly a lifesaver.

Also, grab a map of the fields. Brimfield is massive and you will need help navigating all the fields and shows.

You will be walking around for several hours at a time so you want to make sure you have everything on you that you might need. I would recommend a small backpack like this one here. Be prepared for all sorts of weather with a small umbrella and light rain coat, Dermalogica sunscreen, and bug spray. Although not pictured (because I ate them all!), snacks will be your best friend! I love these EO wipes and after coming in contact with so many people and handling all kinds of antiques you will be glad to have these. Don’t forget a reusable water bottle! In the rose gold case is a rechargeable battery pack. It will be a lifesaver! I packed super comfortable clothes and shoes for all the walking I knew I would be doing.

My Brimfield essentials

When you arrive at Brimfield there is no welcome tent or place to start! You drive through the town of Brimfield and all of the sudden there are tents on both sides of the road. We were so overwhelmed at the sheer enormity of it all! As you enter the town you will see the town hall on the left. My recommendation to you is to drive down the main road and park at the very end. If you refer to the map above, we parked next to Brimfield Acres North. Then we worked our way down to the main end. This helped us to create goals of where to go and to make sure we saw everything!

You will no doubt find some incredible items that you just have to take home with you and there are a couple of ways to do so. First is a company called Navis that sets up a tent on the show’s premises. They are right off the main road and are super easy to work with. For just $10, they have porters who will come pick up your item from a vendor and take it back to their shipping tent. They pack everything and will deliver to your home in just a few weeks. We met the owner of Navis and are confident that everything will make it back safe and sound! Navis also rents wagons to help you carry your items around the show! Your second option is UPS who also have a tent at Brimfield. They are located on the food court isle in the second tent on the right. They are very helpful and even shipped items out of the country for me and helped me to fill out all of the customs forms. People from all over the world come to Brimfield to find treasures so UPS can be a lifesaver. We even heard that teams from Ralph Lauren and The Warner Brothers were there!

Kat McCall at the Navis tent

Navis tent

UPS tent

What to Eat

There is no shortage of places to eat at Brimfield or in the surrounding area. At the event there are a number of food trucks with fare ranging from Jamaican to Thai to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches! After walking around for 5-6 hours you sure build up an appetite. They also have a food court of carnival fair type food. Whenever I am in New England, I have to get a lobster roll and this was the perfect place to find one. It was delicious! If you need a break from the fields, Francesco’s Restaurant is within walking distance with great Italian food, restrooms, and air conditioning. We ate at Sturbridge Seafood on our first night and enjoyed their incredible oysters and cocktails. The Publick House is an inn that has been in operation since 1771. It is an oldie and a goodie with beautiful flowers and great food. One day after an exhausting afternoon, we stopped for a late lunch at Cedar Street Grill. They have a wonderful cocktail menu and great scallops!

I hope you are able to make a trip to Brimfield soon and experience all the show has to offer! Remember, the next weekend is in September so now is time to book your trip. It is a wonderful destination for garden and antique lovers alike and most definitely will have something for everyone.

Carmen Cooks: Your New Signature Cocktail

Carmen Cooks: Your New Signature Cocktail

A couple of weeks ago I got to share with you my favorite recipe from Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat (link) and this week I want to share my take on several great summer cocktails. These recipes are super easy to follow and many of the fresh ingredients are ones you may have growing in your garden or can purchase locally. The mint at my home is growing in full force and I just adore my phenomenal lavender plant so of course I had to use these in my creations! I chose three delicious and refreshing drinks that are easily customizable. The original recipes are accessible through links below, but the following instructions are my take on these classics. Cheers!

Tangerine Moscow Mule

(adapted from Blood Orange Moscow Mule)

Tangerine Moscow Mule

Ingredients

1 meyer lemon cut into 8 wedges
1 mint leaf
2 oz vodka
2 oz tangerine juice
4 oz ginger beer (here is a link to my favorite)
Crushed ice

Instructions

In the cup, muddle together a lemon wedge and the mint leaf to release juice and the mint’s flavor. I find a wooden reamer does the trick! Add the vodka and tangerine juice to the lemon and mint. I love this little bird-shaped juicer. Pour in the ginger beer and stir. Fill the glass with ice and garnish with lemon, mint, or both! Enjoy!

Tangerine Moscow Mule Tangerine Moscow Mule

Tangerine Moscow Mule Tangerine Moscow Mule


Peach Lavender Sangria

(adapted from Lavender Sangria)

Peach Lavender Sangria

Ingredients

1 750mL bottle of Prosecco
½ cup Altes Fasslager (this is an Austrian fruit brandy)
½ cup triple sec
2 cups of Pellegrino
½ cup lavender simple syrup (you can make this by bringing to a simmer ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and 2 tsp dried or fresh lavender and then cooking for 1 minute. Then strain the lavender buds out and let cool)
Fresh sliced peaches

Instructions

Add sliced peaches to the bottom of a pitcher and top with prosecco, brandy, triple sec, lavender syrup, and Pellegrino. Stir and chill. Cheers!


Blackberry Mojito

(adapted from Blueberry Mojito)

Blackberry Mojito

Ingredients

1 cup fresh blackberries
4 oz clear rum
10 fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons sugar
Juice of 2 limes
6 oz Pellegrino
Splash of Blackberry Manischewitz
Ice

Instructions

In a food processor, puree the blackberries. Add mint and sugar to a weck jar. I always use a weck jar instead of a cocktail shaker! Muddle the mint and sugar and add the lime juice, rum, and blackberry puree and shake it up! Pour ice and club soda into glasses and then pour in the blackberry rum mixture. Add a splash of Blackberry Manischewitz and stir. Garnish with blackberries, mint, and lime. Salud!

Blackberry Mojito Blackberry Mojito

Photos Courtesy of Gunner Robinson Photography

 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far! Whether you are relaxing at the beach, on your way home from vacation, or just trying to make it through this heat, it is time to give your plants some summer love! Following spring and the first chunk of summer weather, I like to call July the “third season”. It’s possible that your plants got fried during these warm days, so it is time to refresh your containers, window boxes, and flower beds. Adding colorstar fertilizer to any new plants will help extend their season. Succulents are also a great option if you don’t have a lot of time for your plants. Other than freezing temperatures, succulents can stay alive almost year-round! Go around and pull out dead or bloomed out plants and see some of my favorites below to add to your containers.

 

FULL SHADE: This plant needs a little more love and attention but does great on a front porch. Caladiums and Maiden Hair Ferns are just a perfect combination. Now I did not even plant these guys, I literally took them out of the pot and put them into a container with no holes. Both of these plants love water- they are what I like to call water hogs. I give them two cups of water once a week for them to thrive.

FULL SUN: If you follow me you know I just love succulents! They just keep getting prettier and prettier every year to me. Now of course in the south you have to replant them every year (unless you can bring them in every time there is a threat of freeze). But if you are just slap done with watering your containers this summer and you came back from vacation and everything looks fried, just stuff and shove some succulents. They love the full sun and take the dog days of summer.

FULL SHADE: Hydrangeas, tropicals, and any mix of ferns always dresses up any container. If you water your Hydrangeas well they will eventually fade and look antique like in this photo.

FULL SUN: White Mandevilla, succulents, pink Angelonia, and pink Trailing Vinca love the heat and will put on a show for days!

FULL SUN: Boxwood, purple fan flowers, cuban oregano, and diamond frost just love the summer heat and full intense sun.

Inquire About Your Next Event:

Email: carmen@carmenjohnstongardens.com

Phone: 762-822-7696