Once again, we've had one of our stimulating misadventures! This time I'm chalking it up to a combination of mid-winter blues and cabin fever. I HAD to get out in the world!!!
So, for years, I've been hearing tales of a wondrous marketplace "up the road" in New Jersey. The Englishtown Auction combines a farmers market, outlet center shops, flea market, food vendors, arts, crafts, antiques, and, oh yeah, auctions, too. All this on just two days a week, Saturday and Sunday, year round. It's been happening there since 1929!!!! They have five large buildings and 40 acres of outdoor vendor space. It is the largest of its kind - anywhere. --- And, we had never been there before!!
With decent weather forecast for the day and nothing else on our schedule, it seemed a brilliant plan. Earlier in the week, I'd been online looking for a particular item and finding they don't sell it online but they do have a shop at Englishtown, I had that extra push I needed. It is about a 2 1/2 hour trip so I expected The Big Guy to shoot it down but he actually knows folks who have gone there frequently and I think I sparked a little curiosity in him.
So, not so bright, but early this morning, we set out for New Jersey. We hit almost no traffic so the trip was easy, until we got off the main highway. I had printed out the Mapquest directions but forgot to grab Samantha (our GPS) from the other car. I should know from experience, MQ sometimes has problems differentiating its right from left when it comes to turns. This was one of those occasions.
After proceeding an extra 1 1/2 miles down a country road looking for a specific intersecting road, we turned around and went back to the main highway and tried going the opposite direction. Aha!! There was the road we were looking for! Things got back on track until we came to the dreaded DETOUR. Seems the bridge was out! After some finagling and backtracking, we finally stumbled upon the Auction site. In good weather, it might be awesome!! (See pics.)
Today was cold, cloudy and windy (not in the forecast) and the parking lot was full of piles of snow with narrow driving paths and limited spaces available but we found a spot. The semi-paved and gravel surface was very muddy and a bit slippery to walk on but all that mess was on the parking lot. The sales area itself was plowed clean and the pavement there was dry.
I was shocked to see how many outdoor vendors were set up on this day. We were also disappointed to see how many indoor shops were closed. (I'd say half.) One vendor told me, "It's February. They go South." You really can find just about anything there. I saw garage-sale shoe rejects, brand new mink jackets, appliances and musical instruments, endless sock vendors, foods of all ethnic styles - both ready to eat and grocery supplies. Clothing, jewelry, audio equipment, car supplies and more. There was one great shop full of vintage toys. I'm talking 1960s era G I Joes and wooden Fisher Price. Just imagine what's there when they're all open.
I found the guy I was looking for but he didn't have what I wanted. After chatting a bit, he promised to send them to me later this week when the items come in and simply mail a bill with them. He told me he's still trying to develop a way to sell online through his website. We did manage to spend a whopping $47 (including a really tasty lunch) at the market plus the gas for the 3 hour drive each way and $9.70 in tolls. I should say $10.70 as we got shortchanged by a toll taker on the NJ Turnpike. I'd already started rolling when The Big Guy realized it. He says we probably won't go back - too far, too big, TOO EXHAUSTING!! (He's really getting grumpy in his old age!)
On the upside, we needed to pass his favorite casino on the way home. (I use the word "pass" loosely here.)
***Oh, we stopped at one of the rest stops on the Turnpike and I saw plain white T-shirts featuring the green Turnpike logo. You know, if the best souvenir you can find on vacation is a shirt featuring a turnpike logo (for ANY state), you need a better travel agent!!