In order to help other newbies, I pulled together five Madison Bouckville shopping tips that we learned after making a few rookie mistakes:
1. Ignore the official start dates of each field
We arrived on Sunday afternoon and drove straight to the fields so that we could get a better idea of how we were going to tackle them on Monday morning. We didn't realize that you were allowed to shop while people were setting up - so we ended up buying a few things on Sunday. After talking to a few people, we learned that some dealers had been setup since Friday and were selling like crazy over the weekend.
2. Dealers don't like to wake up early
Chris and I arrived at the fields at 6am, which is a late start in Pennsylvania. It looked like the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse - NO ONE was around, except for a few weirdos who had just recently crawled out of their vans. Things didn't start jumping until 9am.
3. Re-visit fields that you saw the previous day
After we felt like we had seen everything, we went back and to the fields we already shopped and found lots of new dealers that had just arrived.
Adirondack pack baskets, snow shoes, skis and fishing gear were everywhere. We don't have an abundance of those items in my area (or they are super expensive). But you really had to shop around - we saw cool old snow shoes for $40 on the first day, and didn't buy them. We realized by the following day that $40 was really cheap - most of the snow shoes we saw were in the $65-125 range. We did find a couple of old pack baskets for a relatively low price.
5. If you can't book a hotel nearby, stay at one of the casinos
Our trip was planned too late to find a room really close to the flea markets, so we extended our search a bit north. We ended up staying at the Turning Stone Casino, and loved it. They have four different properties: The Inn, Hotel, Tower and Lodge, each with varying price ranges. We stayed at the Hotel. You also get ten dollars in free slot dollars, if you're into that sort of thing, which we are.
The 25-minute drive from the casino to Bouckville was so pretty that we actually took pictures from the car. We ended up deleting them because they were terrible, but we just didn't want to forget those green rolling hills and old barns.
So, was the five hour trip worth it? Definitely, yes. We bought lots of good stuff that we wouldn't have been able to easily find around here. I would say that the prices were comparable to Adamstown, PA flea markets: some dealers are super expensive, but most are reasonable enough for resale. Everyone was open to a little negotiating, too.
We had a great time hanging out with Gina & Paul from Vintage Junk in my Trunk (here's one of her many recaps of their trip). I'm still trying to remember what I ate for dinner, since I had too many glasses of chardonnay. We arrived a little late to meet them at Ye Olde Landmark Tavern, because Chris and I had just finished taking everything out of our van to squeeze in a vintage 60-drawer card catalog.
Chris promptly put it on Craigslist when we returned, and it sold within two days.
If you follow me on Facebook, you also saw the Fanny Farmer Candies sign. Chris doesn't look very excited in that photo - he was just annoyed that I took ten photos of him holding this heavy sign with the hot sun beating down on him. It didn't help that he had never heard of Fanny Farmer, and didn't believe me when I said that people on the East Coast would recognize the name.
The dealer who sold us the card catalog saw the sign in the back of our van. Her first job was as a line worker at the Fanny Farmer candy factory in Rochester, NY. She said that her job was just like the I Love Lucy episode - she and her co-workers spent most of their time eating candy and trying to catch up with the conveyor belt. It was such a sweet, sentimental story from a lovely lady. Until I caught her trying to steal the sign from the back of the van and I had to punch her square in the fanny.
Okay - that part's not true. But I think her candy factory story was true.
Anyway, I'm writing up another post with more photos of our finds, but here's a little taste...
A vintage fencing mask, pack basket #2, anatomical wall chart of the heart, metal "S", racetrack sign, old new stock of girly barrettes, antlers mounted on lime green velvet (a hipster just died and went to heaven), and a white beadboard cupboard on casters.
Guns don't kill people. Screwdrivers kill people.
For those of you in the Philadelphia area, freshvintage will be selling at two fabulous sales in September (in addition to our regular store hours). Come see me!