After taking in all of the non-stop, slow moving crowd-filled, junk-packed, over-priced excitement that is the Brimfield Antiques Market on Sunday, (read my report on the day here!) I felt like I needed to go someplace free of crowds where I could just take in some fresh air and nature, and perhaps do a little casual beachcombing. One of my favorite places to take just such a ramble is on the grounds of Bristol, Rhode Island's Mount Hope Farm, which their website describes thusly:
Mount Hope Farm, overlooking Mount Hope and Narragansett Bays in Bristol, Rhode Island is the quintessential saltwater farm consisting of over 200 acres of fields, woods, streams, and ponds with expansive water views. The landscape abounds with wildlife, handcrafted stone walls, terraces, flowers, mature shrubs and indigenous trees. Walk the grounds that our forefathers walked before and after our nation declared its independence.
A perfect description, and just the thing I needed to clear my head and sooth my nerves! Except.... It seems Brimfield had worked its way into my brain. WAY into my brain! Was I out among flowers and wildlife, slowly making my way along handcrafted stone walls towards Narragansett Bay or was I back in Brimfield????????
The parking lot looked so invitingly open, and free!
Within moments of walking out of the parking lot, I found something I desperately needed, right out in the middle of a big field...
Turkey feathers! Dozens of them! And the price was quite reasonable!
With my feathers locked safely back in the car, my pulse quickened as I approached the gate. Immense crowds were gathered, waiting anxiously to storm the market and beat each other to the bargains!!!
Once inside, I overheard these old dealers bragging about how much money they had made selling reproduction Art-Deco feathers to "antiques-obsessed sickos" earlier in the week. Shameful!
When I asked if I could photograph one of the few remaining feathers, they barreled towards me and shouted "NO PICTURES!" Point taken. I was reminded of the Design*Sponge flea market tip: "Don't buy from mean people." Indeed!
I continued on, shaken by the bad attitude of those haughty dealers, but felt better as I approached the main selling area:
The day was hot, and the concessions stands were already busy... nectar-lime rickeys and kettle-popped pollen seemed to be the official refreshments of "Beachfield"!
Some of the earlier tables I saw had fairly pedestrian assortments: feathers, Quahog shells, taxidermy trophy mount (isn't anyone getting tired of that trend?)
But there was plenty more to take in! I was glad to see that this dealer of glassware and early American pottery was in attendance this year, and with a beautifully merchandised table, I might add!
The inventory at this booth was geared towards the fellas: sports memorbilia, architectural salvage, and another trophy mount...
And then, speaking of taxidermy and trophy mounts, I came upon this dealer who had clearly cornered the market:
I had to laugh when I saw that taxidermy horseshoe crab rear-end! A little lowbrow, but funny nevertheless! That will probably end up hanging over someone's bar, but the rest of it? Too much! Judging by the quantities still available, not too many people were buying that stuff this year:
Some dealers had the audacity to show up to Beachfield with contemporary items... ugh. Fortunately I didn't see too much of this junk.
Some common trends throughout the show included nautical items (old rope and lobster buoy pieces):
And industrial design/architectural salvage:
And the usual Beachfield humor/kitsch:
The visual merchandising teams from Ralph Lauren and Anthropologie were fighting over who would get this primitive painted sign; turquoise is the "it" color for 2010!
Meanwhile, the J. Crew visual team tagged this primitive wooden piece (look for it in a window display later in the year!):
Gothic Revival furnishings just weren't selling:
But shabby chic is still quite popular; this booth was mostly sold out:
I saw alot of people buying these spongey corals-- the neutral coloring goes well with the shabby chic/Scandinavian farmhouse/French country trends, and adds a nice touch of natural history/cabinet of curiosity flair:
One final taxidermy piece, not very well preserved at all, by the looks of it. Isn't it illegal to sell a stuffed Seal in the U.S.? One can never predict what strange things will turn up at Beachfield!
O.K. that was pretty disturbing. And scary. I thought it was a big dog taking a nap at first glance (yes, dogs scare me). Then I realized it was a big dog taking a permanent nap. Then I noticed that this dog had flippers and remembered that dogs don't have flippers. Yikes! It shook me right out of my sun and sea soaked reverie and sent me hoofing it back to the parking lot, pronto. But I scored some great items! Check out my haul from Beachfield 2010!:
Feathers (they look a little ratty but after a gentle washing they will look great), some of those spongey coral tufts, glass, Quahog shells. Ok, I'm a hypocrite, but that Horseshoe Crab was too good a deal to pass up... a steal, really. Thanks for joining me on this 2010 tour of "Beachfield"!!! I hope to see ya there next time!!!