Vintage Treasure Hunting Adventure – Part 11: The Flea Market… That Wasn’t 1

If you have been following this series of articles, I hope you’ve enjoyed our previous stories (see links below). These stories are all about the shopping adventures that my family and I have had while out sourcing vintage treasures for our shop.

Join us on yet another vintage treasure hunting adventure in Part 11 of this series of articles…

The Flea Market… That Wasn’t

When I first started my vintage business, I had never been to a flea market before (nor a yard sale, or an auction, or a thrift store). I was very new to the vintage “treasure hunt”.

It was an early Saturday morning on a beautiful sunny day, and I decided I would do a search on the internet to see if I could find any flea markets in our area. Through Google search, I found a website that listed flea markets throughout the United States. In that listing, I found only one flea market that was close to us – and it was still 90 minutes away. The website listed the hours of operation, the directions, and it even included a phone number. We were all in!

My husband and I, and our three boys climbed into the truck and we set off on a new adventure!

The drive was really nice, and we had fun playing the license plate game on the way. We drove through several small towns, and along back country roads while we enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

When we were getting close to the destination, we spotted a big “Flea Market” sign with an arrow pointing down a road – we were excited to have finally arrived!

As we pulled into the parking lot, we stopped and looked around… There wasn’t anyone there! It was ghost-town empty. The parking lot of pea gravel was growing weeds like it hadn’t been used in years. The red painted buildings and posts that defined the area of the flea market space were faded almost to a light pink. The buildings looked like they were about to collapse in on themselves. My husband looked at me and asked if I was sure we had the right place? Yep. According to Google Maps, this was the place. As we looked around, I spotted a sign that confirmed we were indeed at the correct location.

The website I had found earlier listed a phone number of the flea market. I called that number and woke up what sounded like an elderly man. He told me the flea market had been closed for several years. UGH!

This isn’t how I pictured our first adventure to a flea market to go! We were so disappointed that we had made this long drive for nothing. I don’t think my husband was very pleased either, as I am sure he would have preferred to have gone fishing instead. In a desperate attempt to save the day, I got on my phone and started looking for other nearby flea markets. I ended up finding another one that was about another hour away. By this time, it was already close to 10 am. I called the number of this other flea market and was told they close at 11 am. With it being another hour away, it was obvious we couldn’t go to that flea market either.

Our boys were getting restless in the truck, so we stopped at a park to let them stretch their legs. While my husband and the boys were having fun, I used my phone to see if I could at least find any areas of interest in the area we were in – something to at least salvage the trip. I couldn’t find any places that I thought our kids would enjoy, but I did end up finding two antique stores and an old-fashioned diner.

We all got back in the truck and went to the two antique stores. My husband stayed in the truck with our kids while I went into the stores to see what I could find. I did end up finding several old hardsided black suitcases and a couple of pieces of interesting antique architectural finials, so I was happy with these few “treasures”. We went to the diner for lunch and had burgers and malts. Our boys loved their malts, and we all thought the diner was pretty cool.

All in all, we had a fun time together, enjoyed a wonderful scenic drive as a family, and had a great lunch at the diner. And we certainly learned a good lesson!

The Lesson? Don’t trust everything you read on the internet  – shocker, I know! Make that phone call before you leave home to ensure the sale that was advertised is still running. Before you take that road trip, you might also want to check for other interesting places to stop and visit along the way. Pack a lunch and find a unique park for a picnic, or search for an old-fashioned diner that serves old-fashioned malts!

If you’re in Minnesota, and you want a reliable list of some of the awesome flea markets around, make sure to check out the article I wrote “12 Must-Shop Flea Markets in Minnesota” – I can guarantee that these flea markets are all still up and running!

There you have it! Another shopping adventure with my family.
Check back for more stories coming up in this series of articles, or click these links for the previous stories – Part 1: The Collector, Part 2: The Dead-End Road, Part 3: The Collapsing Barn, Part 4: The Cat Lady House, Part 5: The Garage Sale, Part 6: The Root Cellar, Part 7: The Parade of Chairs, Part 8: The Followers, Part 9: The Cabinet Card, and Part 10: The Over-Crowded Estate Sale.


Do you have a favorite vintage shopping adventure story? We’d love to hear it! Share the details in a comment below.


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One thought on “Vintage Treasure Hunting Adventure – Part 11: The Flea Market… That Wasn’t

  • Pam

    That’s a bummer first experience, but you salvaged the day by having some awesome malts and a few great finds at the antique stores. Good advice to check before venturing! Love the signs in your shop!