Springtime! It's coming – despite Mother Nature's apparent recurring April Fool's joke – I feel certain of it.
And with Spring comes the lure of the open road. Windows down. Radio up. Winter in the rear-view mirror. It's time to hitch up the ol' Serro Scotty travel trailer, turn off the GPS and head for new places to find old stuff.
While it's still a tad early for yard sales and outdoor flea markets here in Southeastern Pennsylvania, down in Round Top, Texas, folks are just wrapping up the annual Antique Fair. This is one of my favorite places to go for original Texas-style antique and vintage goods. As with all things Texas, this show is big. The circus-sized vendor tents go on for miles. You literally cannot see everything in a weekend so try to spend the whole week if you can. From bluebonnets to longhorn steer, you'll find all sorts of great stuff that you'll never find here at home. The event is held every Spring and Fall, so the next one is just a few months from now. If you're lucky, maybe you'll run into Joanna Gaines or the Junk Gypsies, both of whom are known to frequent the show.
Of course, if you drive to Texas (which you absolutely should!), the antiques shops, thrift stores and flea markets between here and there are too numerous to count. To make sure you don't miss any, visit www.antiquemalls.comor www.antiquestorefinder.comfor a list of every antiques store on your route. My daughter lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, and there are 211 shops on the route between her house and mine (not counting thrifts and fleas). Since I've been traveling there for about 10 years, I've made a pretty good dent in the list.
Last summer I really caught the travel bug and managed to log nearly 8,000 miles with my little trailer, going all the way to the Pacific Ocean and back. For Western memorabilia, there's nothing like a trip through Montana. You can experience the history of the American West just by haunting the antiques stores. Who needs a museum (even though I highly recommend the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Medora, North Dakota)!
Closer to home, there are some great yard-sale road trips. One of my favorites is a 50-mile stretch through New York's Finger Lakes, from Cayuga Lake to Homer, along scenic Route 90. You can check www.iloveny.comfor more details. This year's adventure is set for July 28-29.
Not to be outdone, Pennsylvania has its own annual 100-mile yard sale during the third week of July. It runs through parts of Elk County along Route 879. Information is available at www.visitpa.com/pa-events/100-miles-yard-sales. This year the dates are July 20-21.
If a beach get-away is more to your liking, the quaint seaside town of Ocean Grove, New Jersey, is the perfect yard sail destination. Every year, on the weekends immediately following Memorial Day and Labor Day, there is a town-wide yard sale with an antiques-and-vintage flea market on the town square (www.oceangrovenj.com). Run next door to Asbury Park and stop in at the Stone Pony while you're there. Maybe The Boss will be in town.
I'm not sure if there's an official Opening Day for yard sale season, but I figure it's never too soon to get started. It's been a long winter and I'm ready to rumble. Next week the little Scotty and I are off to Cape Charles, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, to see what we can find.