Looking for a great day trip? Why not head out to the flea market?
The Alameda Flea Market is held on the first Sunday of every month (www.antiquesbybay.com) and really is a great one to visit. If you have a "hunt" mentality, then a flea market is the place for you. There are usually many people there anticipating the perfect find at the right price which adds to the excitement of the day. For the best finds arrive early. Gates open at 6 a.m.
Even if you arrive late and have to wait in a long line to get in, it will be well worth it. There are more than 800 vendors with everything from Paris Flea Market finds to linens, antiques and vintage refurbished furniture. There are some high-end vendors and you are likely to see interior designers there combing the aisles looking for the right piece for their clients.
This can be a family trip. Give each child an assignment, something to be on the lookout for. This not only keeps them busy and focused but gives them a purpose and makes them feel part of the experience. Then you can get excited about the treasures too.
Expect that you will want to have several hours to spend walking around all the vendors. Grab a homemade doughnut or some of the many good eats from one of the food vendors to recharge. There's a lot to see. Some of our favorite finds have been a vintage pail with a large clipper ship motif on the side from Germany, an old seltzer bottle to accessorize the bar and a large wood dough trough from Hungary that had been elusive on the last trip and obsessed about ever since.
The real find will be a set of matching giant clam shells. Those have been the "hunted" item for several months. There are always beautiful ones there but as of yet, the price has not been right. So the hunt for the clam shells will continue.
Visiting a flea market is a fabulous way to spend a day and get ideas about what's new, what's popular and what's a fresh way to accessorize your home. The prices are usually right and the people are fun and friendly. Plus, it's the ultimate "green" way to shop. Let us know about some of your favorite flea market finds and how you've put them to good use.
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