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June 21, 2015

Country Living Fair Road Trip

For three days in June, Country Living Magazine steps off the page and comes to life in Rhinebeck, NY. Over 200 dealers and makers of vintage, antiques, and handmade goods set up shop and hoards of Country Living fans show up for shopping, craft and cooking demos. I’ve always wanted to go, but haven’t made it yet. My friend, Linda Zucker took a spin around the grounds and reported back.  Linda was the Retail Director for The Griswold Inn’s Goods and Curiosities and is currently freelancing as a Retail Curator and Marketer for small business.

by Linda Zucker

I don’t usually march under a Country banner. When CT artist Kathleen Scranton offered me a weekend pass to visit her gorgeous repurposed book-bags Beez by Scranton at a Country Living Fair, it was time to reconsider…glad I did!

If you’re happiest entertaining on the porch and making your garden grow, you’ll find Country Living Editors and 200+ vendors with design ideas, crafts, vintage collectibles, gardener’s supply and good eats to fit all kinds of Country.

Décor personalities, antiques dealers and craft makers pop-up in airstreams and line long open-sided barns greeting visitors like friends, while selling their wares and promoting TV shows, books, or a next live appearance.

I entered at the main gate, right into a presentation of Sister’s on the Fly RV Living. Surprised by the appeal of these sweet tiny retro RVs, outfitted with all things miniature, vintage, portable, I envisioned myself on-the-road glamping, or with a backyard hideaway. My appetite was whet to collect the necessary accoutrements (minus actually owning a 1967 Rosie.)

Next stop, the Fabulous Beekman Boys had the crowd rolling and sampling out of their hands, literally, during a tale of how owning a neglected farmhouse became both lifestyle and business venture after expulsion from Manhattan. Their cookbooks, edibles, body care, and tabletop lines are nothing short of sophisticated. Clever, charming, useful too-I need a Pie Carrier from Beekman 1802.

Craftsmanship and ingenuity run high. Fair favorites: Ricky of Luna Parc’s edge-y recast charm jewelry, the elusive perfect sterling or rose-gold lockets at With You, and Wendy Schulz Wubbel’s brilliant silhouette art who, after years of traditional scissor-craft, decided to explore Mid Century Modern furniture and fashion in this medium. Ditching her milkmaid costume along the way.

A fly-by wee sample visit at Tuthilltown Distillery to consider the artisanal apple vodka, whiskey and baby bourbons (plan a future day trip and full tour) as I bee-lined to Hudson Valley Seed Library for late planting seeds. This first in the nation Seed Library offers an enormous variety of heirloom seeds -open pollinated, no hybrids or GMOS- in artist commissioned packaging, limited edition prints, and best garden tools. Every seed is a story to be shared. Wonderful website.

You couldn’t miss the buzz around Cash and Cari/Cari Cucksey and her Re-purpose Paint and Furniture (luscious colors, you want to drink them.) Side by side airstreams featured 2Chix and a Barn, with a mix of farmhouse style and demos (they will be in Salem, CT on June 27th) and an array of artisan goods, Columbian imports, and US Made printed burlap totes from Del Castillo Bag Company – hard to resist a handsome man with good accessories grinning at you from an airstream.

Crowd pleasers Earth Angels occupied a large 4H barn, featuring a curated group of artists and daily demos. I was pleased to scoop up $12 pincushion rings, while considering larger treasures of butterscotch Bakelite jewelry, contemporary folk paintings and some of the most spectacular paper Mache figures and holiday ornaments. Check their website for event schedule, they travel to many fairs and galleries.

I lingered in fascination over tie-dyed vintage gowns at Rough & Tumble talking myself out of the antique silk slips (and wish I had chosen a few for layering or sleepwear). That left time for a late lunch Lemon Grass Grill, with a side of live Blue Grass music.  Exiting via the Harvest Market, I found coffee and homemade fudge to go for the return drive – a perfect finish to a day at the Fair.

For more information about upcoming Country Living Fairs, click here. 

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