Today is "National Plan for Vacation Day". If you're like me, you believe vacations that include shopping -- especially vintage/antique shopping -- are the best vacations. We have planned trips around vintage shopping (business trips) and we have stumbled upon vintage shopping on vacations that were supposed to be strictly recreational. Once in Colorado we found ourselves lined up to enter a rummage sale at the local senior center. I love the mountains, but I love a good sale even more!
Here are three of the biggest and best destinations in the US if you are looking to plan a trip centered around shopping for antiques and vintage treasures. The websites shown have good what/when/where information, tips, and even details on where to stay and eat.
WORLD'S LONGEST YARD SALE (aka the 127 Yard Sale)
This sale is held annually in early August and runs from Michigan to Alabama.
Lodging info is included in the above guides. The hardest part may be deciding how far you want to travel each day. That will depend on how many days you want to spend on the trail and how fast you want to go. Once you decide that you can use a hotel search engine to find a place near your stopping point each day. Most people don't do the whole thing in one trip.
We spent two full days shopping through parts of Kentucky and Tennessee in 2014. If I remember right we went around 100 miles per day. I would have liked a third day. You really can't go wrong -- just find a place to start and roll with it. You can shop all day and drive to your hotel after the sales close for the day. Wherever you start from the next morning will have just as many sales as the places you had to bypass the day before (this is important, because if you're like me with severe FOMO, you can drive yourself crazy worrying about what you might have missed). You have to let that go and just have fun on this route. There are church stands, concession trucks and little cafes all along the way (like a horse churning homemade ice cream via treadmill) and you'll enjoy the scenery.
ROUND TOP/WARRENTON (Texas Antiques Week)
This one was top on my bucket list from the first time the Junk Gypsies appeared on my television. The atmosphere, the Texas scenery, and the sheer scale of this event make me giddy. It's held twice a year, in the spring and fall, over a period of a couple weeks. We went as shoppers for the spring 2015 show and are going to be vendors this spring at the Marburger Farm Antique Show. The guides linked below lay out the different shows' schedules. If you stay only a few days you may miss one or two, but there's so much to see you won't even notice. Make sure to plan for a stop at the Junk Gypsy store.
Choose your favorite travel booking site and search Airbnb and VRBO.com for other options. In 2015 we rented one room with a private bath in a house right in the center of Warrenton. We had to park in a pay lot and walk a couple blocks to the house because all the backyard parking spaces were rented to vendors. On the plus side, we didn't have to go far to start shopping! We are introverts so this whole "people everywhere" thing took a minute to get adjusted to, and it was above-average on the weird lodging scale (we couldn't find anyone to check us in, and on our last day the owner had an episode in the yard and had to be taken by ambulance). In hindsight a hotel room in LaGrange, Giddings or Brenham might have been a better choice. ;) When we go this year we have an Airbnb reservation; fingers crossed for a less eventful stay.
If you've watched Flea Market Flip you've seen Brimfield. We haven't been there yet but hope to soon. It really seems like the "Granddaddy of Them All" and is held three times a year.
Where to stay: search "Where to stay near Brimfield" and the top travel booking sites will come up; pick your favorite and go from there. (Pro tip: we use the same booking site for all our travel scheduling. Then if we ever need to change a reservation --or need to check dates/location/did we book a place for this show yet?-- we can log on and see all our reservations in one place.) Airbnb.com or VRBO.com may also have some good options for the Brimfield area.
There are countless options for shorter one-day or weekend road trips. Pick a show/event you'd like to attend, then visit that area's antique and thrift shops. Junk Bonanza (Minneapolis metro) and Junk Jubilee (Des Moines) are good choices. There's also Kansas City and the West Bottoms' First Friday weekends. If you come to one of our monthly markets there are stores and barns around Cass County to shop, plus Lincoln and Omaha are 30-45 minutes away and offer lots of choices.
Antiquing is a great way to get a feel for an area and meet fun and interesting "real" people. If you have any suggestions for other great vintage/antique shopping destinations we should check out please let us know in the comments. Happy planning!