Beyond Somerville: A Trip to the Brimfield Antique Show

If you’ve never been to, or even heard of, the Brimfield Antique Show, you’re in for a treat. This mile-long collection of antiques, vintage wares, junk, odds and ends, knick-knacks, bric-a-brac and bits is sure to dazzle and provide a feast for the eyes.

I’ve been to Brimfield several times on the hunt for various objects and just to browse. The market is open three times a year in May, July and September with hundreds descending on this tiny town to see what treasures they can find amidst the heaps of stuff. With the final Brimfield Antique Show of the season opening tomorrow, it seemed fitting to reprise our guide to big event.

BF Table

How to do Brimfield Like a Pro:

  • Accept that there is too much to see. You can’t possibly visit all of the booths (unless maybe you come every day), so it’s better to accept that right away and enjoy what you can get to. The more times you attend the market, the better you get at scanning booths and deciding whether they’re worth actually going into. But don’t rush, sometimes the best finds are unearthed when you least expect it.
  • Come prepared. The weather at Brimfield tends to be different than it is in Boston, so be sure to check it before you leave. Wear comfortable sneakers, bring lots of cash (though some places do take credit cards), hydrate and bring reusable bags to carry your purchases.
  • Treasure hunt. Brimfield is especially fun if you have something you really want to find. Once we were on the hunt for a quilt, so we spent most of the time hopping from booth to booth looking for one. It was like we were on a scavenger hunt. We eventually found the perfect one and still love it.
  • Haggle. Pretty much all of the vendors are willing to adjust their prices, especially if you’re buying multiple items. Sunday is the best day to get a deal because most of the people want to unload as much as possible so they don’t have to pack it back up. But also be aware that in my experience, Brimfield is not the place to get the deal of the century. The people who show and go there are well-versed in antiques and you’re unlikely to find something really special that’s price way too low.
  • Find something good to eat. As with most fairs, Brimfield is teeming with fried food stands hawking dough, French fries, hot dogs and the like. But there are also some really good places to eat, if you seek them out. My favorite spot is the Bistro Box, which is usually set up in the bigger food court area about halfway down the road. They have great soups, salads and warm sandwiches (plus delicious ginger molasses cookies)! There’s even a grass lawn behind the Bistro Box that’s perfect for a picnic.

Brimfield is something I look forward to all year and I hope my tips will entice you to make your way out on I-90 to do some treasure hunting of your own!

P.S. If you’re wondering what you can expect to find at Brimfield, check out our photo galleries from September 2012 and May 2013.