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RI Archives: Rural Road Trips

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Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market Opens for Its 33rd Season

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The merchandise is eclectic at the Elephant's Trunk Flea Market

What can you find at the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market? The better question is What can’t you find? The Elephant’s Trunk in New Milford, CT, has been going strong for 33 years, and it’s low on the antiques food chain, a popular spot for “pickers” who sell to dealers who then re-sell to you.  Many of the vendors will tell you that they picked up a good portion of their merchandise 24 hours earlier. “I got these wooden games yesterday at a house in New Canaan, where everything was from Brooks Brothers, TIffany, and the old Abercrombie & Fitch,” said Michael DiMaria, a veteran of New York’s 26th Street flea market, who has been selling at the Elephant’s Trunk for 25 years.

Rural Intelligence Road TripsIf you are a super-serious buyer, you can arrive at 5:45 AM for the best selection (early admission is $20; regular admission is $2 and begins at 7 AM.)  If you need fuel to shop at that hour, there are stands selling coffee and a pretty decent, freshly-made bacon-and-egg sandwich for $2.50. (The noxious smell of kettle corn wafts over the fields later on.) By 9 AM. the parking lot is full, but spaces open up as the early shoppers are already heading home. Many people bring carts with them, but there are dollies you can borrow to get big pieces of furniture to your car. There are, of course, benefits to coming late when dealers are more eager to bargain and sell as much as possible so they don’t have to pack too much up in their vans and station wagons

Rural Intelligence Road TripsThe Elephant’s Trunk is an old-style country market (but no dogs allowed—not even in the parking lot), a survivor amongst exurban sprawl. To get there from the north or south you have to drive a couple of miles on the new-and-improved Route 7,  a not-so-long-ago rural roadway that is now a four-lane highway chockablock with national chain stores.  And, yes, there are a few dealers selling schlock at Elephant’s Trunk (new socks, can openers, and tool sets from China) but if you love the thrill of the hunt there are usually treasures to be found. “Some weeks are better than others,” says DiMaria who notes that committed buyers and sellers show up every week no matter the weather. “It’s like going to church.”

Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market
Route 7, New Milford, CT; 508.265.9911

Every Sunday: April - November
Early Buying: 5:45 AM ($20 admission)
Regular Buying: 7 AM - 2 PM ($2 per person)

Scenes From A Flea Market: April 5, 2009
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8:45 AM

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9:03 AM

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9:15 AM

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9:50 AM

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10:08 AM

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10:20 AM

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10:35 AM

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10:40 AM

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 04/08/09 at 05:52 AM • Permalink