I don’t remember how I first heard about Brimfield. I don’t remember who I first went there with. It is something I probably should remember. I assume I first went with my sister; it seems like something we would discover together. I know I’ve been there with her, with my ex-husband, with friends, but more often, by myself. I’ve been going for years and years, and it’s something I make sure to do every year, simply because I love it.
Brimfield is a town in Massachusetts, and it hosts a huge antiques fair three times a year. It is the nation’s largest of such shows, according to some sources. Whether or not there is a bigger antiques show somewhere else, all I know is that in all the years I’ve been going, I’ve never made it all the way to the end. The fair goes on for at least a mile, and it stretches through large fields on either side of the road. Vendors come from far and wide, hauling their wares great distances to the eager crowd, who travel far themselves to come to the place where you can find anything.
I introduced Newman to Brimfield several years ago. He’d never been, and on our first trip, I was nervous yet excited to show him something that, over the years, had become a favorite personal indulgence. I thought he’d do what my ex had done: come once, put a good face on the whole thing, and never go again. Frankly, I was fine with that. I love going by myself, setting my own pace as I pick a path through the tables and stalls, weaving back and forth with no apparent plan, slowing down in places while quickly moving through others. Having a day to myself with no agenda other than endless interesting stuff and people to look at? Frankly, it’s a perfect day.
I expected Newman to tire of one or another aspect of the day. Would it be too hot, too tiring, too much to see, too overwhelming in terms of the crowd? Would he want to forge his own path or pace and be reluctant to leave me or meet me when I wanted him to? Would he think it boring and prefer to be somewhere else? On the contrary, he loved it, and he’s come back with me several times since. He doesn’t seem to mind me leading the way, dilly-dallying at vintage clothing stalls, or deciding when to eat and when to leave. He doesn’t lose interest or enthusiasm, and he genuinely loves a lot of the same things I do. We’ve bought key pieces of furniture for our home at Brimfield, and now it’s becomes something personal for both of us.
This morning, our trip to Brimfield did not start out well. I’d come home a day earlier than Free just to go to the show with Newman. He was happy to be going with me, but he scheduled a tennis lesson at 7am to try to squeeze in time with his son first. He told me about it last night; I didn’t like it, but I didn’t say anything. Did I mention I like to be at the show early? By the time he arrived at the house at 8:30, I was already anxious that we were way behind schedule. My schedule, that is. The one in my head that had been set over the years of me attending this show alone, the one I was sure Newman knew about because he’d gone with me more than once. I didn’t like being out of control of the day, and we had to spend some time on the long car-ride working through the annoyance and stress that the issue triggered for us both.
We worked through it, and by the time we parked our car for $5 close to the center of town, we were able to walk hand in hand toward the fair, smiling at the attendant who told us to “go have fun now, you hear?” Our recent big fights have made little issues feel all the more significant, so it felt like a victory to be able to salvage the day at all, and all this happened before 10am. The day was sunny and hot, and with lemonade vendors all around us and the bulk of the summer ahead of us, we knew we had a good thing going and couldn’t let it go to waste.
Brimfield is hard to describe in words, so I want to give you some visuals. By the time we left, with nothing but a $12 wire basket as our sole purchase, we were satisfied with our day and with the progress we’d made toward understanding what we want and don’t want in our home. It takes a long time to build the perfect home, and Newman and I have agreed that when we buy a piece of furniture, we both must love it. We want our home to be filled with things that make us both happy. We know it will take us time to get the right stuff, but we also know it will be worth it. On past trips to Brimfield, we’ve found pieces that passed the test and now serve both functional and inspirational roles in our home. That is what continues to guide us in our search as we move through the fair…
I’ll leave you with some images and hope to see you there one day.