vintage = green and Cajun = fun

vintage = green
Cajun = fun

blogging and selling vintage home decor in my 2 online shops:
The Home Repeated by menzo and milkglassandmetal

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Part I - the world's longest yard sale...

Have you ever been to The World's Longest Yard Sale?   

And I don't mean the many copycat sales that have sprung up around the country in recent years....although I'm sure those offer great vintage shopping, too.

I'm talking about the original World's Longest Yard Sale that got its start in Tennessee years ago.  The one that now stretches from Gadsden, Alabama to Hudson, Michigan - 675 miles.  The one that always takes place the 1st weekend in August for 4 whole days - Thurs. thru Sun. 

This year's dates are August 5-8.  It has lots of everything - antiques & & shiny......old, crusty & rusty......homemade pickles, jams, etc......soaps, lotions & potions - individual sellers in their front yard......groups of sellers in grassy fields, buildings & barns......regular folk & professional dealers.  Sheer volumes of stuff.  

That's the one I'm talking about.  The one that is...

Vintage. Bargain. Shopping. Nirvana

The one my sister and I went to in 2008....which *only* went as far as Ohio at the time.

This post is about our adventures at that one.  Actually, I'll have to serialize the story because there's just too much to tell.  This is the 1st installment. Parts II & III will be about the goods we took home.  They'll take a bit to explain because almost every one has a story behind it.

So here goes....

I flew into New Orleans on the Wed. before the sale.  Met my sister, who lives in Louisiana, at the car rental place to pick up our van.  The van whose windshield whistled at us almost the entire trip, like fingernails on a blackboard.  The one I backed into a tree when I got so excited over finding an 87-piece set of Blue Heaven dinnerware.  Luckily, no damage....but it was sweet revenge for that d*** whistling.

So anyway...  Here's the van's storage compartment at the start of our trip.

Yes, that's just our luggage. "Our"...meaning my sister's luggage. My bag is down there somewhere.  But I will freely admit that the small ice cooler was the best thing to have during the trip.

Our home base was the Bluff View Inn in The Bluff View Art District of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The District overlooks the Tennessee River, and the Inn consists of 3 buildings - we stayed in The Thompson Inn.  Just gorgeous.  We definitely splurged on accommodations, and it was well worth it.  We had our own private porch(!)...the same one you see on the website and our photo below.

Now on to the most important info....The Shopping! We had 2 full days of shopping the sale.  We started on Signal Mountain, just north of Chattanooga.  We had the intention of covering 135 miles (the entire Tennessee route) during those 2 days.  

Yeah....right.  The reality was 9 miles in 8 hours on Day 1.  And we almost did the same on Day 2.  Thank goodness for that ice cooler.  When it became apparent that we weren't even going to make it the 15 miles or so from Walden to Dunlap over the course of 2 days, we decided late in the day to look straight ahead and drive without stopping to Dunlap and then to Pikeville.  We figured it would be too embarrassing to tell the non-vintage-loving people we know that we covered less than 20 miles in 2 days....saying 35 miles sounds so much better.    

And that slow pace was not due to traffic along the route since we did only Thurs. and Fri. shopping.  The slow pace was due entirely to our stopping at sale after sale along the way.   And buying something at almost every sale.  I'm told that traffic does jam up quite a bit on Sat. and Sun.

So here are some photos of the actual Sale.   There were many individual sellers in their front yards, as well as lots of multi-seller spots.  We soon decided to focus on those larger sales to save time.  Otherwise, we would have driven 3 miles in 8 hours. 

One of my favorite photos of the trip.

This is the yard and parking lot of the Firehouse stop on Signal Mountain.  It was the best stop along our route.    More on the Firehouse location in Part III of the story. 

Vendors of our 1st booth on our 1st stop where I made my 1st purchase.  

I think this was the stop where I backed the van into the tree.  Not the tree in the photo, though - that's just representative of the tree I hit.  In my defense, it had started to drizzle, and I had to hurry and get my amazing set of Blue Heaven dinnerware safely tucked away in a warm, dry spot. 

I mean, who wouldn't back into a tree for this?   87 pieces!!  I'm still hoarding the entire set, but I will select some pieces to sell in my vintage store in the near future.  I guess I don't really need 18 berry bowls... 

I'm pretty sure this is Pitchfork Guy.   

As in, the guy my sister and I bought 3 old pitchforks from for $20 total.  We never planned to buy pitchforks...even when we saw them.  We had no idea what we were going to do with 3 pitchforks...even after we bought them.  But they were 20 bucks!!  So that was a purchase known by vintage lovers everywhere as The Thing That I Will Never Have Any Use For Whatsoever, But I Absolutely Must Have It Now.

Or so we thought.  I have to tell ya....those pitchforks have been used by us many times over since then.  Hands down, they are among the handiest and sturdiest tools that were ever made.  So buy one if you see one!

Those photos should give you an idea of what is in store for you if you ever go there.  We absolutely loved the route on top of Signal Mountain and wouldn't hesitate to shop that area again when we make it back to the Sale.  Sadly, that won't be this year. 

Here's some Signal Mountain scenery along the way.

Driving up the mountain to start our shopping!

A gas station in Walden, TN.

Beautiful, clear skies.

There was even a red barn!

I'll continue the story in Part II...


  1. So how much do you think I should take ?? Next year this will be part of my 60th year bucket list

  2. Hi Soniad:

    Thanks for reading about my adventures!

    Do you mean dollar-wise?

    I was just looking at the list of things I bought. Almost everything I bought was $10 or less. And I bought alot! My total spent was about $500. Some examples:

    Toys were an absolute bargain - 25 cents to $1.50.

    Those old aluminum glasses: Set of 10 for $8, so 80 cents a glass.

    Handcrafted bird house: $5 (some handcrafted items were priced at what you'd normally find at craft fairs)

    Blue Heaven dinnerware set - works out to $1.60 apiece (I almost bought another set of dinnerware for $1 apiece).

    Child's Radio Flyer wagon: $12

    large jars of homemade pickles: $5 each

    vintage hand-embroidered tea towel: $4

    Handmade goat milk soap: $2 a bar!

    A few old pots and kettles: $1 to 2 each

    The metal dollhouse like the one I had as a kid: $12 (those are usually sold for at least $60).

    An old 30s/40s dial phone: $15 (bargained down from $25 on the 1st DO bargain with every seller).

    Lots of clothes at the individual sellers for 25 cents apiece. Linens a bit more, but less than you'd normally pay if bought elsewhere.

    The individual sellers in their front yards were almost giving away their stuff.

    And these prices I paid were on Thurs. and Fri. All the vendors said they lower prices quite a bit on Sat. and Sun., but we didn't shop those days.

    I recommend taking cash, and ATMs were few and far between. Probably less of a problem on routes with more towns along the way. And these are prices on Signal Mountain, TN. Might be higher prices in larger towns. Pikeville (off the mountain) was a bit higher in price than what we got accustomed to on the mountain.

    And if the treasure hunt of shopping is what you love, you will love this sale.

    Feel free to ask any other questions!

    Some state routes (like Ohio) have their separate website geared toward the sales in that state, so do read up on it online.