August 2010 was the season of huge yard sale events, and I went to two of them!
The first is the granddaddy of yard sales, The Route 127 World’s Longest Yard Sale. This sale is over 500 miles from Gadsen, Alabama in the south up to the Ohio/Michigan border in the north. My friend, Suzy and I, celebrating our mutual 50th birthdays this year, followed a 150 mile stretch of the route beginning in Crossville, TN and ending in Danville, KY. It took us 2 days.
The treasures along the way vary from a few high-priced antique dealers, to some moderately-priced antique/vintage dealers, to the very affordable yard sales. You get a heady mixture of used goods along the route as well as an interesting mix of sellers. The scenery is tranquil farms and rolling hills. Beautiful!
There were way too many yards full of clothes hanging from lines stretched between trees or spread out on tarps for my taste, but if we saw a yard where non-clothing stuff was the norm, we usually pulled over and took a look. We really had to search a lot to find vintage treasures. However, some of the towns had fields or fairgrounds where clusters of dealers had more interesting fare. In our 150 stretch of the route we hoped there would be more of these clusters of sellers instead of the single yard sales, but we did manage to fill the back of Suzy’s SUV! Our favorite clusters of sellers were in Crossville, TN and further north at the Cumberland General Store in TN where the grounds were full of dealers. The Ag Expo Center in Liberty, KY was a great place to stop too where there were lots of dealers under a huge roof.
Food along the route was anything from quaint and reasonably-priced bar-b-que places, cafes, fast food, and vendors with everything from fried pork skins to fried pies. Our favorite lunch was in the fellowship hall of a Methodist church in KY where BBQ brisket, fresh cornbread, and homemade pie was to die for!
It took us 9 hours to drive from our homes to the Route 127 sale. Would we do it again? Probably not. I do think, however, that junkers, pickers, and antiquers should do it at least once. Put in on your “bucket list.” It is always the first weekend in August, although dealers told us that they set and began selling the weekend before.
Closer to home (only an hour and 15 minutes west of my home) was the Route 11 Yard Crawl. This is the second Saturday in August. This 43 mile sale in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley of Virginia stretches north to south from Stephensville to New Market. Antebellum homes and Civil War battlefields are a big part of the scenery. This route is very doable during the one day event, although I hear vendors set up and sell the day before. As you approach each town on the route the traffic does come to a “crawl.” You need to put on your “patience pants” and crawl along until you find a place to pull off so you can search through larger clusters of sales in fields or large front yards. These clusters are where you will find the few antique dealers along the route.
In less congested areas, between towns, there are mostly single and small clusters of yard sales. Once again, like with the Route 127 sale, you have to pick and choose what sale to stop for a closer look. Many of the sales are practically right on the side of the road so looking is easy.
I found that the prices went from the ridiculously high-priced (only a very few dealers were like this) to the insanely cheap (quite a few dealers). There was this one couple who had a lot of wonderful old books and other goods and were selling everything at end of day for the rock bottom price of ten cents each! Insane! You have to willing to look and look for those special goodies at the sales. There is something for everyone on this sale and the scenery is truly breathtaking.
I will go to this sale again because it is so close to home, but if you have to drive more than 3 hours to get here, you may want to think twice. It really depends on what you are looking for. I actually found as much stuff on the one day of the Route 11 sale as I did during the 2 days we spent on Route 127 sale.
Good luck and enjoy the rest of yard sale season!
Elizabeth Holcombe Fedorko, aka Bethsbagz, began her checkered crafting career when at four she realized using paste on paper was better than eating it. Inspired by vintage dime store treasures, vintage fabric, and a no-fear attitude toward color, Beth crafts totes, pin cushions, wreaths, and corsages into her Dime Store Chic creations. Beth would love you to take a peek into her whimsical world at her blog.