Tag Archives: trinkets

Discovering Hidden Gems: Flea Markets

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-Emily Fraysse

Right there, displayed in front of me, was a perfect, authentic pair of ruby red Chanel pumps for twenty bucks. They were exactly two shoes sizes too small for me.

Every time a new month began, I looked forward to one thing: the flea market in Alameda, California. Around six a.m. of the first Sunday of every month, I would drive with friends and family to an island located next to Oakland and across the way from the fog-ridden city of San Francisco. The sunrise loomed above us as we walked towards to entrance, each of us holding a cup of coffee in our hand.

Flea markets can be overwhelming. Different vendors displaying vintage items from clothing to taxidermy to just about anything and everything imaginable. But, it’s worth it. Through a careful scope of each row of vendors, you have the ability to find hidden gems that are unique and cheap. It’s amazing how time and money can disappear so fast while getting lost in the market.

The craziest thing that I have ever bought was a vintage, white bed frame and headboard, two white side tables, a giant white mirror, and a vintage seafoam green dresser for a total of $500. The vendor had used Ralph Lauren paints on all of the items and sanded them down a bit to make them look older. It was a steal.

There are a variety of flea markets along the west coast that are definitely worth checking out. The Alameda Flea Market, which is where I always went, is the second largest flea market in California. There are many in California, Washington, and Oregon.

A bit of advice for going to flea markets: sometimes there is a fee to get in, so the earlier you go, the more you’ll have to pay since you are looking at the vendors first. Bring a piece of paper or take notes on your phone of vendors that you might want to go back to.

Although sifting through each of the vendors wares can seem daunting, running across those unique finds is worth it.