It’s fall and the weather is perfect, which means it’s outdoor market season– craft fairs, flea markets, barn sales, and harvest festivals abound. In our area, there’s about a million pop-up Oktoberfests due to the German heritage in the region. You can find fall festivals just about each town at some point this time of year (including the weekly Adamstown Flea market, which I looted with my mom this summer). But of them all, one seems to rise above the rest for me: Clover Market in Ardmore, PA. My friend Sarah and I had a blast browsing vintage and handmade finds at the most recent Clover, but if you don’t live in the area don’t despair– I’ve listed tips and resources for finding outdoor craft, farmers, and flea markets in your area at the bottom of the post. In the meantime, I hope you’ll play along with our fun Clover Market finds!
The first thing we found was a vintage milk pail that included the gorgeous (potted!) flowers. Sarah’s going to put this on her front porch, she has great taste. (she’s also literally dressed head to toe in Kate Spade. We’re not very good shopping influences on each other, we’re the ‘YES YOU NEED TO BUY THAT FOR YOURSELF, YOU DESERVE IT!’ type of shopping partners.)
We spotted and then spent 20 minutes digging through this box of vintage keys that were only .25 cents each. We’re hoping a little Rub N Buff or spray paint will have these babies looking like new, and would love to emulate the Tiffany style necklaces you see (minus the whole ‘Return to Tiffany’ part). As we paid with rust stained hands the vendor kindly offered us Wet Wipes. She also said there was a couple who had bought 130 keys that morning to use as part of their wedding– either with the place cards or favors. Isn’t that clever?!
Here is my favorite store for homemade items– Tadpole Creations. This year she had pirate on display alongside her typical (gorgoeous) motifs such as matryoshska dolls and lobsters. Thank goodness she has an Etsy store because I can never remember who I want to buy for when I see her wares at Clover, but seem to remember on the way home. I mean, really. That ship in a bottle pillow is BEYOND clever. I WANT ALL THE THINGS.
One thing I love about Clover are the displays and vignettes. They’re always clever and everything is for sale!
The Pillow Works offered a service where they put your child’s art of a pillow. GENIUS. Great way to preserve memories and also a great gift for grandma. She’s not online (WHAAAAT?) but if any local readers are interested I can try to find her business card with the details.
Another favorite vintage booth had two of these hexagon patterned cup holders for $4. WHY didn’t I get both? Ah, well. I’m currently displaying it next to my vintage beehive motifs. That way it goes with the collection but isn’t repeating the same thing or totally ‘matching’.
Perhaps it’s because my mom’s an artist, but I loved these paint brushes for $3 each. I didn’t buy any, but the wheels are turning for ways to use them. Any clever ideas?
And I think I’m the ONLY one who loves these, but I picked up a pair of antique wheels for $10. Currently they’re on display on my built-in bookcases but I have them on hand should I find a crate or cart in need of this ‘industrial style’ touch that’s so trendy right now.
Remember this antique cart from my Adamstown shopping trip? Those wheels are the same, albeit much huger. (is huger a word? it sounds appropriate here).
Also spotted at Clover Market: Jay McCarroll, who won the first season of Project Runway. He was selling his line of fashion clothing and accessories.
The last thing I bought was for a Christmas gift, so you’re going to have to wait to see those I’m afraid. 😉 All in all, I only spent $16 for my vintage finds and $25 for the gift. See, I DID restrain myself!
My tips for shopping at outdoor craft & flea markets:
- if you plan to buy something, stow a reusable bag in your purse. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
- many vendors nowadays accept credit and debit cards by using smartphones, but cash is always king.
- don’t be afraid to haggle, nicely. If you’re at a flea market and buying vintage items, suggest a lower price (especially if you are paying in cash). Everyone I asked at Clover Market said yes, and paying in cash was definitely key. When it comes to handmade items, you may get a discount if you are buying more than one of something (say, 2 prints at $40 instead of each print being $25 each).
- as always, you’ll get the pick of the best stuff early on but usually better deals at the end of the day so vendors don’t have to haul it back. Choose your time of day according to your needs and wants.
- it goes without saying, but if it’s a big market then you’ll want comfy shoes and some sunscreen. Also a bottle of water so you don’t have to buy it there.
- bring a friend. SO much more fun. Plus it’s nice to have a second opinion on things.
If you’re a lover of outdoor markets and festivals, here’s a few directories to help you find one in your area:
- Find a local Farmer’s Market (great for not just food but often locally sourced flowers, plants, herbs, wine, and handmade items)
- Find a Local Fair or Farmer’s Market— almost any category
- My buddy Cassie owns Sweet Clover Barn in MD, it looks phenomenal!
- Another dear friend owns Shade Mountain Winery, here’s a list of local PA wine festivals and their annual harvest festival
If you like seeing vintage and flea market scores and treasures, be sure to follow along on Instagram because I’m always scouting out fun finds. And usually begging someone to come buy them. 😉 There’s also my Thrift Store Makeover Pinterest board for inspiration on how to make old things new again.
Thanks for coming along for the ride and enjoying these vintage finds. What’s your favorite outdoor market or festival this time of year? Please share, I’ll gladly add the link to my list.
Hover your cursor over the image below to view the button pin this post so you’ll know how to find local flea markets, farmers markets, craft shows, and festivals in your area whenever you need them. 😉