Front of the ski lodge against brilliant foliage with a sidewalk sale of ski equipment.
You can always count on Ken and Susan Scott of Malone, New York, to set up a very attractive booth with classic country antiques. The ladder-back chair (left) was $795; the "silver" bird with the long beak was $950; and the small hanging cupboard was $995. You get the idea—affordable!
A ski lodge provides unexpected perks, such as these many shelves, a "free" showcase for the smalls of The Norwoods' Spirit of America, Timonium, Maryland.
The booth of dealer Gail Piatt of Contoocook, New Hampshire, included a charming portrait, Staffordshire, and a red and yellow miniature wooden village priced at $275.
by Fran Kramer
I cannot take the credit for this title, as it came from the show's founder, Mary Fraser, who, 35 years ago, with her husband, Bob, was a big part of the whole Vermont Antiques Week adventure. She told us just after the 8 a.m. opening of the two-day Bromley Mountain Antiques Show, held October 6 and 7, 2012, in Peru, Vermont, that it is a show where everyone supports each other, prices are affordable, people smile a lot and talk to each other and to patrons, and Vermont hospitality is foremost.
Sales, yes, but return clients, referrals, and happy buyers are the goals.
Two who returned were this author and her husband, Herb, who admit sadly that it has been too long since they attended the Vermont shows. It used to be an annual event to drive from Rochester, New York, in October to what were originally called the Vermont Triangle shows. (Then there were three shows, in Weston, Wallingford, and Ludlow, but now there are five—the Weston show; two in Ludlow; Wallingford moved to Bromley as the school could not accommodate the show any longer; and another show opened in Manchester.)
Years come and go; dealers come and go; managers come and go. One thing is permanent: Vermont antiques shows are in a category by themselves. They reflect the state in which they are held-honest, fair prices, unhurried, and never putting on airs.
Vermont is more than maple sugar and cheese. One patron said the Vermont antiques shows are like Ben & Jerry's flavors—quirky, with no single recipe. Vermont is an endangered-species environment, where cell phone service is unpredictable (but everyone adapts), and inhabitants are prepared in winter and even summer (think the hurricane flooding of 2011) with flashlights, extra bottled water, and alternative energy sources. And did I mention food, glorious food? Ten-dollar church suppers with homemade offerings are the norm.
The Bromley show, held in a ski lodge, keeps its loyal dealers and traditions, from the all-you-can-eat breakfast of scones, bagels, and muffins to the affordable merch with country flair. There are no frills, not even a program, but patrons know what they want and from whom, so they form a long line at the preview and scatter quickly.
Almost immediately, sold signs went up in Thomas Thompson's booth; then within a few minutes, David Proctor almost sold out. The momentum continued for at least an hour, and then the patrons attacked the food with equal vigor. An 8 a.m. opening means everyone grabs only a cup of something before getting on the road.
There were lots of sales—from a huge totem pole to a period Federal chest; several signs and many cupboards; and lots of blue and bittersweet orange paint, which rivaled the fall colors outside. Furniture does sell at Bromley. Enthusiasm, optimism, excitement, good humor, and good buys. Why weren't you there? Next year, meet us, and we'll show you.
Mark your calendars and book your rooms, as lodging is expensive and limited. The dates for the next Vermont Antiques Week are October 3-6.
For more information about the Bromley Mountain Antiques Show, call Jim Dunn at (802) 885-3705.
Barbara Boardman Johnson of Pewter & Wood, Enfield, New Hampshire, and Arizona, took pictures of her booth before the show opened-always a good idea for current and future reference. The two-door bittersweet orange cupboard ($2175) and the painted dome-top small trunk ($550) on it were eye-catchers.
The Goldsmith Maid trotting horse was $2195 from Mill Brook Antiques, Reading, Vermont.
Thomas Thompson of Pembroke, New Hampshire, known for his fast, early selling, had his usual array of the unusual. He quickly sold the wooden bowling pins (center); the apples sign (top) priced at $110; the "beehive" (lower right); and more. The black-and-white checkerboard (top), priced at $450, was still available when we took this picture.
A 6' harvest table with drawers was upended and sold, as we watched, by Mary and Bob Fraser of Chester, Vermont. It was priced at a reasonable $1500. The Frasers also sold two sets of chairs, a hanging cupboard, and lots of smalls. They reminded me that furniture does sell at Bromley, even in today's market.
Originally published in the January 2013 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2012 Maine Antique Digest