When the lovely folks at Country Living invited me to join them for a special peek into their Rhinebeck fair, I couldn't think of a better way to kick off my birthday weekend. I rose at an uncharacteristically early hour (Um. It's light outside at 5:45 am?!?), schlepped to the Amtrak station, and in less than two hours, exited the Maple Leaf and was on the free shuttle to the fair. The ride up was completely breathtaking, with sweeping views of the Hudson practically the entire way. Once in Rhinebeck, my insides were happily screaming "SPACE! FRESH AIR THAT SMELLS LIKE GRASS! BLUE SKIES & SUNSHINE!"
My impression of the day, in a nutshell:
The fair: brimming with handmade goods, antiques, vintage collections, & repurposed treasures.
The music: local acts like Grass Fed Bluegrass.
The food: local organic grass-fed cheeseburgers & shakes, dairy-fresh ice cream, fish tacos, pulled pork.
The setting: Dutchess Country fairgrounds in upstate NY, gorgeous sunny day, blue skies, and a light breeze.
The crowd: friendly, creative, passionate, thoughtful.
The Fair was on the Dutchess Country Fairgrounds, home to the local 4-H.
We started the day with a nice chat with Sarah Gray Miller, CL's editor-in-chief and also one of the coolest women I've ever met in magazine publishing. Sarah was rocking the Fair's 2013 t-shirt:
She regaled us with tales of her junior high rebellion, during which she insisted on being called 'Gray' (definitely would've done that). She also confided that she was going to try and refrain from buying too much stuff because, as an example, her coffee table is so full of knick-knacks there's no place to set down a cocktail. Sounds familiar...
Next, Cari Cucksey of HGTV's Cash & Cari led us around the grounds. She was incredibly friendly and easygoing. It was so fun to listen to her opinions on vintage & antique items, their original uses (she's incredibly knowledgeable), and what she'd use them for now.
This pair of chairs was secured together & turned into a loveseat with the addition of a single cushion made from a grain sack.
There was an audible gasp in the group as we happened upon this 1940s patio furniture set. Really, this fabric is just too, too good. There was also a sofa, and I'm pretty sure it all got snapped up at the beginning of the day.
I also loved the beautiful, almost Art Nouveau feel & bright orange hue of this 1940s coffee tin.
I took approximately 87,000 more photos - enjoy!
Below, vintage milk caps were converted to colorful magnets. How cool are the ones that say 'This is your usual product. We are out of our regular printed caps' ? I get a strange thrill from these fun little peeks into the past.
One of my two purchases: a vintage Knott's Berry Farm pennant (tucked below the Canada one seen below). This shop's proprietress, Jane Cantelmo, was really sweet and told a rather sad tale of how half of her stock of vintage items had been lost in Hurricane Sandy. Still, she had plenty left to sell and felt lucky nothing worse happened. Her lovely daughter popped over to direct me to their Facebook page and we commiserated about parents' general lack of social media fluency (not you, Mom!).
This is Karen Pearson, who runs a leather goods business called Lark Practical. Every item she sells is made in Rhinebeck using only American leather, and the handstiched goods are carefully saddle stitched with waxed linen thread. Karen uses a vintage Consew to construct the larger items like bags.
Also pretty cool: these Stately Tables, also handcrafted upstate.
These vintage billiard balls, cozy coat (made from a Hudson Bay point blanket), and old match boxes were some of my favorite colorful finds.
These vintage blue bottles would be so eye-catching sitting on a windowsill with sunlight filtering through them.
Pretty groovy wooden spoons handcrafted from local hardwoods - you can buy them over at Riverwood Trading Co.:
Cari had her own booth of treasures - I loved this mid-century wire chair. I'd make my own canvas cushions for it.
Below, a wall of seed packets from the Landreth Seed Co. booth. It's the oldest seed company in America - it's been around since 1784. Since they've been doing it for so long, they see no need to use any GMOs, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or synthetic treatments of any kind. Two thumbs up.
I learned the difference between these Adirondack guideboats (made by the Adirondack Guideboat Co.) and canoes: they're rowing vs. paddling boats, much less likely to tip even in messy water, extremely lightweight, and allow rowers to face each other. They were just exquisitely crafted.
My favorite vintage/antique booth was this one full of the most random finds, like the matchboxes a few photos up, these reflective letters, deadstock Converse sneakers, vintage train & movie theater signage, shell collections, you name it.