Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thrift Report: Get Your Kicks on Route...40?

It was an amazing thrifting weekend here at Tatter and Fray. You might even say epic. Possibly my best vintage-hunting experience ever.

A few weeks ago, I read about the upcoming 9th Annual Historic National Road Yard Sale. It's one of those "World's Longest Yard Sale" kind of events that have popped up across the country over the last 10 or 15 years. I've never attended one, though I've always wanted to. I had no idea there was one so close to where I live!
Historic Route 40 Sign

Also known as the Old National Road, this four lane highway runs from Maryland to Missouri, and passes right through the center of some of the prettiest little towns I've ever seen. For the last nine years, a woman in Dublin, Indiana has organized an epic yard sale on the weekend after Memorial Day that spans from Baltimore to St. Louis. For the last nine years, I've managed to miss any and all information about this sale. Until THIS YEAR, that is!  This year, I heard about it. I put it on my calendar. I decided that, weather permitting, I would check it out. My hopes weren't high...I envisioned a few clusters of sales here and there with miles and miles of bleak interstate in between. In short, I had no clue.

My mom graciously agreed to accompany me on this adventure. We set off bright and early Saturday morning, with near-perfect, cool and sunny June weather. We headed straight for Highway 40, which runs right through "Antique Alley" in central Indiana.  ( did I not know about this?)  We weren't three miles outside of Indianapolis when we ran into our first Highway 40 sale. And it only got better from there!

{That's my mom in the teal sweater, checking out some vintage milk glass.}

{The vibe along this stretch of Hwy. 40 is authentically retro. Not a chain store or a fast food place for hundreds of miles.}

{I didn't notice the pig statue in the background until right now. What a massive missed photo op!}
{This town rented booth space on the courthouse square to residents to set up yard sale tables!}

{Architectural salvage or be the judge.}
{Old school snacking.}

{Entrepreneurial spirit at its most charming}

It was, in a word, amazing. The perfect mix of junk and vintage; of vintage dealers and regular people selling their treasures; of rural and small-town. I loved every moment. Next year, I'm spending at least two days; maybe three. It basically goes on forever...hundreds, possibly thousands of tag sales stretching across the country. It's overwhelming and awesome at the same time.

And finally, here's what I picked up along the way:

There was so much out many sales we missed, so many things I passed over. I could do a whole separate post on the things I passed up....the golden yellow Dansk lidded casserole for $6; the huge box of antique glass-lidded canning jars (including at least four blue ones) for $5. When you're faced with SO much incredible vintage, you start to lose perspective. Your head starts to swim. Still...I'm happy with everything I bought. Here's the breakdown:

Vintage rose vase in a pale green slag glass, $1.

Two jadeite saucers in the Fire King "Alice" pattern and one lace-edged milk glass plate. $3 for all (I talked them down :).
Vintage water pitcher with ice lip and red bakelite handle. Marked $5; got it for $3.
I'm pretty much in love with these restaurantware plates ~ 4 for $1 ~ more on them later this week!

Early green stoneware pitcher -- McCoy I believe -- with a little chip in the spout. I won't sell it in this condition, but for 50 cents, I still had to save it. I'll clean it up and put it in my own collection.
This big aqua iced tea glass matches a set of three that I already have. I've been looking for a fourth to complete the set FOREVER! $1

Two gigantesque brass deer. The price? Brace yourselves....$1 each.

Vintage glass ice bucket with chrome handle. $2. The handle has some rust, but I think I know a trick to get rid of it.
Two vintage Leonard egrets or cranes. I've never seen a set before with the black enamel treatment. Love them....$4 for the set!

My first purchase of the day... mint condition marked McCoy planter or bowl with a grape pattern on its original 60s-era stand. $4

A bunch of silver barware. They will all be used to complete existing sets. $4 for all. find of the day, an art nouveau style brass fireplace screen. I spotted this one on a side-street sale as we were driving by, screamed, and made my mom go around the block so I could check it out. It was $20, which is more than I spent on anything all day. I intended to talk them down a bit, but this was the only seller all day who was unfriendly, so I just paid the sticker price.

Well worth it, don't you think? I don't have a fireplace, so it's going in the shop, though I'm enjoying gazing at it while it's here!

Well folks, there you have the highlights of my epic Highway 40 adventure. I can now confidently recommend partaking of any of these multi-state sales if you have the chance - what a blast. Thanks to my mom, who did all the driving; my job was to scope out the sales and yell things like, "for the love of God, stop!" when I saw something good. All in all, a fantastic way to spend a Saturday!

Linking up here:


  1. Ahhh! That's looks like so much fun! I need find out if there's one in this area...and then find someone to come along. How fun that you and your mom went together. Great stuff!

  2. Oh, I would love to go to a sale like this too! It's great that you were able to find pieces to items you already had.

  3. I'm absolutely swooning - Love the adventure of the hunt and all of your choices. The prices - I'm just stunned! The delicate Alice Fire King pieces, the water pitcher, the brass deer = all too wonderful.

  4. I am so very in love with your brass deer!!! AMAZING!

  5. Those deer are my favorites, too! What great finds! I think a sale like that may very well be my idea of Heaven :)

  6. Love the screen and the deer! How have I never heard of this either! What a fun adventure!

  7. How brilliant! Wish we had something like that here in England.

  8. Amazing adventure! Take me with you!!! Love that fireplace screen and little McCoy pitcher!

  9. What a great sale! I don't think we have anything like this in CA. You finds are beautiful, my favorites being the McCoy with stand and the screen. So great!

  10. Fantastic finds! But my favorite is the fireplace screen! What a beauty!

  11. This looks like SO much fun! I am super jealous!! I live in California, but I've always wanted to go antiquing in the midwest! Thanks so much for sharing this! Looks like you found some fabulous things and got them all for a steal!

    Thank you for the visit and your nice comment on my blog!

  12. I'm in love with that mint green vase! Sounds like a fantastic trip and your Mom must be a trooper.

  13. You are making me nostalgic and I've only been gone 9 months! I lived about a half mile south of The Old National Road in Ohio (at Phoneton) Rt 202 & US40. There is so much to see on Rt 40 even without sales! I love your slag pitcher, the green McCoy pitcher (50 cents!!!! Of COURSE you must have it!) and I have even bought that ice bucket before and sold it.

    1. Wow, Jeanne, that's so cool! The Old National Road is SO charming...I was blown away. And simultaneously ashamed that I had no idea it even existed until this weekend. I definitely want to go back and check out some of the cute little town squares!

  14. oh my goodness that must have been so exciting! lucky you! i would definitely put that sale on my calendar and make sure not to miss out ever again. how far did you have to travel to get to the start of the sales?

    1. The sales started popping up about 4 or 5 miles outside of Indianapolis proper. Just outside the city, yet it was 1,000 miles away in terms of atmosphere!

  15. That sounds AMAZING! What a fun day! And great finds, all of them. Love the deer.

  16. I have always wanted to do one of those type of garage sale journeys but never have yet. Your finds are amazing - I am especially drawn to the brass deer, egrets, and the fireplace fan (it is gorgeous). Also, the Mad Men style barware is delish! Thank you so much for taking us along!

  17. Oh my, you snagged some fabulous stuff. My mom has one of those rose vases. The cranes are stunning!

  18. OMG!! i just love your finds! especially the brass deers and the cranes! sooo lucky!

  19. I would love to do this someday....Yardsales are such fun and you never know what you'll find!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you'll visit often :)

  20. While you were on Hwy 40, I was doing the HWY 68 across KY which is the first weekend of June. We must try part of HWY 40 next year. We've also done the KY part of HWY 127 yd sale which begins in Cincy and goes down through GA somewhere & held the first weekend of August. That one is always hot! Thanks for sharing your experience. We love these ongoing yd sales. I've shared our adventure on my blog.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...