03 October 2007

Road Trip: Country Living Fair

As promised, here is our writeup on the Country Living Fair. I couldn't have been more excited to hit the road this past weekend with my dear friend Rebecca for what promised to be a three-hour drive filled with girl talk, shenanigans, and the turning of the leaves toward all their radiant autumnal glory (wow, someone thinks she's Robert Burns today!). What is it about Autumn that just begs for a road trip? Must be the slightly cooler temps, the gorgeous reds and sunset hues whizzing by, and the bluest of blue skies. And the fact that you can usually drive for hours without getting a sunburn through the windshield. :)

Last Sunday, we set off for the Country Living Fair, hosted this year at The Workshops of David T. Smith in Morrow, Ohio (that's southwestern Ohio, for anyone who's not familiar with the state). With fall-inspired flavored coffee drinks in hand, we set out not knowing what to expect.

As a retailer, embarking on an event like this one, sponsored by CL (one of the leading home magazines on newsstands), comes with much excitement and a sense of possibility. You look forward to seeing what's new, who's there, what vestiges of the actual magazine have been translated tangibly into the trappings of the weekend. I was hoping to spot the editors, but no such luck!

So excited when we saw this sign! The word is the Fair got triple the expected attendance.

When you drive down the lane toward The Workshops, this house beckons at the end. While this may look like fairly humble country accomodations to some, this place is a version of my dreamhouse: a century home with a wraparound front porch or one spanning the length of the front, like this house has. I could also go for a few eaves and gables...and maybe even a widow's walk and one of those covered areas where a carriage would pass under. What's the architectural word for that?

Sorry...didn't mean to feature the Port-a-Johns (or as I called them, the outhouses) so prominently. I just wanted to get a shot of the big orange banner. This lovely girl is unintentionally a model.

Here you go. Haybales and all, it must be fall.

And here we are. Notice Rebecca's adorable ruffly collar? After a few hours in the sun, she had to change into her equally adorable new McMaster & Storm tee. It may have been September 30th, but it felt like July 30th. I noticed after a while that everyone walking around looked dazed and hot. You'll have that.

Now this is a ride with style. I have always said to myself that if I ever bought a vintage pickup, it would be robin's egg blue. And here it is. Of course, mine would have to say The Blissful on the side.

A prodigious pile of pumpkins and gourds, flanked by chrysanthemums in fall colors. Does anyone out there remember the scene in Anne of Green Gables when Anne wins the class spelling bee after trumping her would-be paramour Gilbert Blythe by spelling the name of this flower? "Ch-rys-an-the-M-u-m." Emphasis on the M.

We both loved this pewter tableware. What fun to drink a cool glass of water out of one of their tumblers. The chargers alone would look great on a table mixed with other pieces.

An abundance of enamelware.

I have a thing for hands. This funny sign caught my attention.

In my opinion, the crowning glory of the Fair was the booth run by our friends Darcy and Kara of McMaster & Storm in Greenville, Ohio. Delightful, French-y wonders everywhere. I love seeing a fellow retailer pull out all the stops and really go for it, and these ladies clearly did. Although we arrived on Sunday and in Kara's words the booth looked "picked over," that sooooo wasn't the case, as you can see here. Read more about the Fair from their perspective on their blog.

This is the last shot I captured in the McMaster & Storm booth before my camera batteries ran out of juice. Why, oh why, do the batteries always seem to know when it's a crucial moment?

These guys were so cool and had such a fun, twangy, bluegrass-y sound. The true bluegrass or banjo-music afficionados out there will have to excuse my lack of correct terminology! I wanted to take a video/audio clip on my camera and post it here on the blog for your listening pleasure, but I didn't want to hold up the traffic flow.

I've always been obsessed with old letter organizers such as this one. I could think of so many ways to use one of these in the shop. This slot holds a stack of cartes postales tins, this one holds mittens, this one candy bars. Just a cache for some of our novelties.

This handcrafted birdhouse found its way into my heart. I love all the detail work on the "front door."

Will The Blissful put down stakes at next year's CL Fair? We'll let you know... And the next time we take a road trip, we'll be sure to take you along with us!


Jill Flory said...

Hey Abby, looks like you enjoyed the fair! I took a friend and went on Friday, you can be VERY glad you went on Sunday!! I was glad to see your pic of the port-a-johns because on Friday those were not there! They only had one in each spot they set them up and the lines were horendous! It took us one and a half hours to get from the interstate (71) to our parking spot! A lot of the food was sold out too! The turnout for this fair was just phenomenal! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the stuff that was there.
I totally agree with you about McMaster and Storm! they were the best! Their booth was packed and I didn't buy anything because I can go to the store any time, but I loved looking at their display. They really outdid themselves.
I hope you go to the next one and I hope I get to go to it to see you and your stuff!
I'm working on a plan to come up for a shopping trip! Maybe for Christmas shopping!
Can't wait to see pics of your Christmas products!!!
God Bless,
Jill Flory

a la mode designs said...

Hi, Abby!

I so loved indulging in your photo and detailed recap of our delightful trip to the Fair. We shared the most enjoyable of days! An unseasonably hot day, but SO wonderful none the less. The tee from McMaster & Storm sure was a saving grace, not to mention adorably stylin'! I love your reference to Anne of Green Gables. I, for one, know exactly which scene you are referring to. :)

Can't wait for all the other road trips to come!


melissa @ the inspired room said...

Oh, Abby, I am so envious of you girls who got to go to the fair! What fun you had!

Thanks for sharing it, porta potties and all! Makes me almost feel like I was there!

Secret Leaves said...

Hi Abby. I really enjoyed reading this post. It is so well-written --I DO think you were channeling Robert Burns when you wrote it! I enjoyed the photos. It looks like it was a beautiful day, even if it was a bit warm. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

Sharon and Ann