In 2012 and then again in 2014 I was blessed to go to southern Indiana’s Covered Bridge Festival with my mom, aunt/godmother, mother in law and, in 2012, another of my aunts. It’s a tradition we probably wouldn’t have started had I not moved to Indiana, but I hope it’s one we continue for years to come.
The Covered Bridge Festival is actually a collection of festivals in small towns throughout southern Indiana. The common theme of these towns, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is that they all have these great old covered bridges. If you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend it. We always go on a Wednesday to Thursday to avoid the rumored crowding on the weekends. As I’ve never gone on a weekend, I can’t say whether it’s terrible, but I’ve heard horror stories. It features great food, arts, crafts, antiques and great food(did I mention that already?).
Both years we have spent our first day at Bridgeton. We like Bridgeton for it’s abundance of crafts and antiques. There are definitely many unique finds here and it’s a relatively large venue. We can spend the entire day walking around and not run out of things to see. All of the sites usually have a few venues selling what we usually refer to as “junk,” and by “junk” I mean inexpensive things ranging from bras in a bag to goofy T-shirts to toys to scarves to kitchen utensils. Junk really isn’t a fair misnomer, because you can’t beat the deals you can find on great gifts like scarves or blankets or things you may want for yourself. I bought myself a scarf with little blue anchors and this super cute headband. Grand total for both was about $15. Worth it! But Bridgeton seems to have a relatively low number of these and the antiques and arts definitely far outnumber them. We speculated that there may have been more mass produced stuff there this year, but all in all it was worth spending an entire day exploring this site.
My favorite finds are always the unique things you’ll never find anywhere else. I bought this cute little stepladder, perfect for holding plants that I’m rooting. This batch of airplane/spider plants is for a few of my cousins.
He and Tucker became fast friends. Who knew a little metal goat and a cheeky pit bull could be such a perfect match? (The little pincushion was a cute find at one of the flea markets at Rockville.)
In 2012 we went to Mansfield on the second day. This was also a very large venue, but we thought it had more in the way of inexpensive mass produced things and less of the arts, crafts and antiques. Or at least we felt that Bridgeton’s ratio of unique to mass produced was better.
This past year we decided to try Rockville on our second day. Rockville was nice because most everything is set up in one giant tent that goes around the courthouse, and the weather that day wasn’t gorgeous (actually, the weather was pretty terrible both days. Hooray for rain boots and ball caps!), so it was nice not going in and out. The square is super cute and features a lot of antique shops and flea markets, so they’re a natural addition to the festival. There’s also a cute little yarn shop on the square, although I will emphasize that it was little and yarn was definitely not their main focus. They sold a lot of looms and some fabric as well if I remember correctly. Rockville’s square would be a neat day trip even if the festival isn’t going on. An added bonus for me was that I could take Highway 36 all the way back into the city and enjoy the stunning fall foliage. Rockville felt much smaller than either Bridgeton or Mansfield, but for our second day that was nice. A little less walking, a little longer lunch and the day ended a little earlier, considering everyone else had to drive a few hours to get back.
We had lunch at the Thirty Six Saloon which was delicious. Their menu features a variety of things from whole roasted chickens to pulled pork to hamburgers. Aunt Ann and I both got a big sloppy Hot’N’Wild Burger with cheese and jalapenos and both agreed it was delicious. They’ve got an extensive outdoor seating area, so I imagine this is a great place to go in the spring and summer.
I’ve been daydreaming for, well, a long time about upgrading my dining room situation. I love this farmhouse table from World Market and I love the combination of seating in this Crate & Barrel photo.
In one of the antique shops around the square, I stumbled upon this lovely little set of farmhouse chairs.
Well loved and well used, they were the perfect combination. They match the blue already featured a few times in my great room, I needed three, they have that well loved character only years of use can provide and, while they are very similar, they are actually three completely different chairs. I fell in love pretty much instantly and, while there was absolutely zero intention of buying furniture when the trip began, I knew I’d regret not taking them. Even better, Aunt Ann overheard the owner say she had to vacate the store in a couple of weeks and was very negotiable. At the $12.50 apiece they were marked, they were already a steal, but I figured I’d try my hand at bargaining. I offered her $20 for the lot, fully expecting she’d come back with a counter and knowing I would willing pay full price if that was what she wanted. After a moment of thought, she agreed and they were mine! We got some odd looks walking down the street carrying dining room chairs (and a couple of comments about how we were really thinkers, bringing our own seating with us), but I gotta say I’m pretty thrilled with my purchase. My home is very much a reflection of me and my personality. It might seem random and eclectic, and it’s definitely a work in progress, but finds like this really bring that unique flair that I want.
They lived in the garage for a few months, then on a warm day in January I took them outside, brushed them off well and scrubbed them with some hot water and some Murphy’s Oil Soap. They will need a clear coat, as the paint is delicate and I know it will chip if it’s not sealed and who knows how old that paint is. That will have to wait until spring. I don’t have a new dining table yet, anyway, so they live in various places around the house for the time being.
I came home with a few treasures to be sure, but there was also a wealth of inspiration, from DIY projects I’ll actually do to daydreams that, let’s be honest, are unlikely to ever happen.
This was another find at the antique shop where I purchased my farmhouse chairs. No, this didn’t come home with me (but it did go home with someone else it would seem) but I definitely fell in love with it. For a long time I’ve daydreamed about having a “studio,” a little building in the backyard surrounded by garden where I keep all my knitting and sewing type things and that has space for doing projects, building things, etc. A sink in this space would be incredibly handy for dying, blocking knitting projects, washing hands after staining, cleaning paintbrushes, etc. The entire thing took shape in my mind when I saw this sink. (Hey, a girl can dream, right?)
This table also inspired me. It seemed like the perfect thing for keeping next to a favorite chair. Little drawers to hide away knitting tools, plenty of space to set a cup of coffee and materials, patterns, etc. But I’d probably want to paint it, and it was in gorgeous shape and I’m sure I couldn’t have brought myself to paint it. If I remember right, the price wasn’t perfect, either.
This might be a great DIY challenge, though. Can I find a set of drawers and a table that I can somehow marry? Can I build the lot? Maybe not drawers … All thoughts to keep in the back of my mind. Who knows, maybe some day I’ll find just the inspiration for recreating this little guy with my own flair.
I encourage everyone to just go with their gut feeling when choosing things for their home. At the end of the day, your home should reflect you, your interests, your personality. Just as we are all in progress, our homes constantly evolve.