flea market

Five on Friday: Thrift Shops

TGIF! Fridays are great for so many reasons - the end of a (traditional) work week, the beginning of two days to spend with family and friends, the day to finalize those weekend plans, and more. For Valerie and I, though, one thing we look forward to on Fridays is the potential for what the next morning might bring - thrifting! Now, it's unfortunately not something we get to do every weekend (hey, we're busy, people!), and generally by this time of year it's getting a little cooler and, therefore, we don't go as often (especially to those outdoor flea markets). But, the weather is still unseasonably warm and the opportunity for thrifting, whether at a thrift store, flea market, yard sale, antiques market, etc., is always on our radar. So, for today's edition of Five on Friday, I thought I'd share my Top 5 Thrift Shops in the Central PA region! As mentioned above, thrifting doesn't have to happen at just traditional thrift shops, like Salvation Army or Goodwill, so stay tuned for some other variations too.

With that said, here are my...

Top 5 Picks for Thrift Shops!

  1. Blue Mountain Thrift Store. This thrift store is located in Annville, PA. Don't be turned off by its unassuming location and building, however. Once inside, this place is bigger than it appears from the outside, carries an assorted, ever-changing inventory of furniture, household goods, clothes, books, and more, and I cannot remember a time when we've left here empty-handed!

Furniture at Blue Mountain Thrift Store.


  1. Williams Grove Farmers' Flea Market. You may have seen this flea market surface in one of Valerie's previous posts, so it'll come as no surprise that this is one of our favorite local thrifting spots. However, since that post, some things have changed - the lower portion of the flea market, which was held at the former amusement park, is no longer in operation. You can read more about this here. As sad as this is, the upper portion, maintained by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association, is still in operation and has taken on many of the vendors that previously sold at the lower area. Therefore, while some of the amazing atmosphere is no more, the finds are still there! Bonus: as its name suggests, there's a Farmer's market there as well!

A stand at the Williams Grove Flea Market.


  1. Hampden Center Goodwill. Located in the Hampden Shopping Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, this is your typical Goodwill store. What sets this location apart, however, is its collection of home goods and housewares. Located in the back of the store (which is great because you have to pass by all of the clothes, where you're sure to find a gem as well, to get there), these items are neatly (well, neat for a thrift store!) organized by color, which makes any thrifting adventure even more fun :)

Hampden Center Goodwill.


  1. Antique Marketplace of Lemoyne. Valerie and I love, love, love this place. Located just over the river from us, it's a convenient trip to make, especially since they're open everyday! From the beautiful building to the many independent vendors, shopping here always proves to be a good time. There's always a variety of items to ogle, and even with this being an antiques shop, we've found many affordable items during our various shopping trips here. The photo below happens to be a shot of one of our favorite vendors located inside. If you get a chance to stop by this gem, be sure to check out Architecturally Speaking!

A vendor space from the Antique Marketplace of Lemoyne.


  1. Root's Old Mill Flea Market. This is another favorite and a place I grew up going to. Situated in a huge field, which allots for many vendors (and with many vendors, usually comes many great finds!), Root's (pronounced "Ruutz") is near Manheim, PA. Make sure you take time to go inside the barn too; there are more vendors inside! Located across the street from the Root's Country Market & Auction, you can literally spend the whole day here.. just make sure it's a Tuesday since that's the only day it's open :)

A table at the Root's Old Mill Flea Market.


Well, now I'm in the mood to thrift! The good new is today is Friday and we've got a pretty open weekend ahead of us.. I think I know what might find its way onto our agenda!

Have a thrifting gem you want to share? Tell us about it in the comments!

Even if I Leave Empty Handed..

So, I wrote a blog post quite a while back on flea market finds.. but today's post is less about the finds and more about the journey. In talking with my aunt and uncle recently about flea marketing, I simply asked my uncle, "Well, what are you looking for at the flea market?" And his response, "I don't know yet". While my question was more curious of what his interests were, his answer quite simply explained the joy in flea marketing. My aunt went on to add to the answer, "Yea, I don't know what I'm looking for until I see it." I just love that statement, and I couldn't agree more!

Most flea market enthusiasts would answer the same way, because unlike shopping at the grocery store or the mall, you don't necessarily head to the flea market with a list or even an idea of what your looking to buy. Instead, you head there with the excitement that you never know what you might find and often leave with something you didn't know you needed, ha!

Male dress form at a flea market stand.

Garlic press bird.

Turquise owl necklace.

Anyway, though there are times I do head to the flea market with a "mission", as I like to call it, to find something I just haven't been able to locate, most often it's more about the journey - what will I come across today? who will I meet? what will I just have to buy? and sometimes even, what will I learn today? And, that's just one of the reasons I love stopping by the flea market, a yard sale or even thrift stores.

So, summer is coming to an end, and as the chilly weather begins, most flea markets start to dwindle. So, before that happens, I wanted to make sure I got out there. This time, I went to the Williams Grove Flea Market that I had mentioned in that old post, for a lovely day of "flea-ing" (that's a good term for it, right?) and also, finally took a few photos of the interesting old amusement park grounds to share with you.

Oh, and for the record, though some part of me really wanted each of the items in the above images, I didn't buy any of them.

Shot of the mid-way.

Shot of the wooden roller coaster.

The old basketball shooting game.

Shot of the old train tracks.

Showing the old bumper car pavilion.

The bingo building.

The old water slides..

Used furniture under the old concession stand.

Another thing of beauty at flea markets is the retail merchandising, or lack there of, hehe. I'm always a fan of collections (or piles) of items. Not sure why, but my eye always goes toward them, and so does my camera!

Collection of antique skeleton keys.

Collection of antique boxes.

At the end of the afternoon, though my belly was full with the yummy homemade soft pretzel stick you see in the photo below.. my hands were empty. I didn't buy one single thing, but I was still leaving with some new ideas, lots of inspiration, and of course, having had a nice journey!

Me with my soft pretzel stick!

Flea Market Season

Between StudioVB work and projects around the house, I have been trying to get time to get out and enjoy the summer. I know I've said it many times before, but I am definitely a warm weather kinda girl. And, along with warm weather comes a ton of things that I just can't get enough of - the breeze through open windows (both in the car and at home), ice cream (yep, i'm a total sweet tooth), being outdoors (the park, the lake, the backyard, wherever), and one of my faves.. flea markets! Luckily, we have a few pretty good ones here in the Harrisburg area. Two of which are the Annual Shipoke Flea Market, where we went this past weekend, and the Williams Grove Flea Market that I am planning to pop by this coming weekend. The Williams Grove Flea Market is probably the largest and maybe one of the coolest. It's held at the old Williams Grove Amusement Park grounds, and the setting is totally cute and really quite cool. It has these great little shaded walkways strolling past some of the park's old buildings and old rides and attractions that remain, dilapidated but wonderfully aesthetic. It definitely shows the history of the place. Anyway, I will hopefully take some photos while I'm there to post in the near future.

But as for the Annual Shipoke Flea Market - it is very cute and nice as well. This flea market is set along the Susquehanna River in the quaint Shipoke neighborhood of Harrisburg and is only held once a year (hence the "annual" part). So, I always make sure to go because the people are nice, the setting is beautiful and the finds are often pretty good! This time, we went a little later in the day than I hoped, so you know some of the good stuff was already gone. Lots of stands had mostly glassware and ceramic chotchkies/tchotchke/chachka (I'm not sure I know how to spell that - I don't think I've ever written it out), and you know that stuff rarely sells! Anyway, here are a few photos from our day!

Shot of the flea market.

Another shot of the flea market.

Here are a few items we thought could be good finds!

A shot of a folding luggage rack and cute magazine holder.

A photo of a cool antique trunk.

A photo of Logan with an owl art print.

So, sidenote - here's the owl story! We had come to the Shipoke Flea Market last year, and had seen a piece of art with a really quirky little owl that we really liked, but we passed it up hoping on the way back through we could offer less than what it was marked! Well, that was a rookie mistake (even for these veteran flea marketers) because obviously someone else thought it was cool and snatched it up before we made it back through. We were so bummed - Logan especially, because of course it was my suggestion to wait it out. I can't help it, I guess I am too thrifty for our own good! But I learned that lesson well - if you are going to be heart broken if it's gone, bite the bullet and buy it when you see it! So anyway, as you can imagine, I haven't heard the end of it about the 'lost' owl print over the past year. So, when we came across this unique little print (I'm slightly convinced it's the same one), we snagged it right away! I hope I've redeemed myself. Now we just need to find a spot for it.

Back to our afternoon at the flea market! Well, of course, you always find some really strange or weird stuff at flea markets too, but that's part of the fun of it. So here are a few of those finds!

A photo of baskets full of barbies.

A shot of a van seat.

A photo of a motorcycle with toliet paper bungeed onto it.

Ahh.. nothing better than an afternoon at the flea market!