Antique chairs, vintage lamps, kitschy kitchen stuff and bric-a-brac are just some of the bargain hunter's finds on the Route 11 Yard Crawl in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Each August, shoppers come from across the country to prowl 40 miles of sales.
When It Starts, Where to Stay
The annual Shenandoah Valley Route 11 Yard Crawl takes place the first Saturday in August. If you want to start bright and early, book a hotel along the route for Friday night. The northern point of the Yard Crawl is in Strasburg, just south of the Interstate 81 and 66 intersection. Along the route are picturesque towns such as New Market, Mount Jackson, Edinburg, Middletown and Stephens City, each with at least one bed-and-breakfast establishment. Woodstock is a midway point that offers Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn and Suites, Econo Lodge and Holiday Inn and Suites, all of which provide breakfast and wake-up calls. Be sure to book early, as the area is a popular tourist attraction and especially crowded during the Yard Crawl.
What to Bring
Take bottled water and snacks to help fuel your expedition. Vendors, restaurants and fast-food stops are also available along the way. Bring sunscreen, shades and plenty of small bills and a variety of coins -- items less than a dollar are not uncommon -- in order to make the best deals.
Early Birds and Latecomers
Avid early birds cruise Route 11 on Friday evening, when some sellers invite advance sales. Look for signs or lights that indicate sellers are open for business. Some yard sale strategists prefer the latecomer approach based on the theory that sellers grow weary toward the end of the day. Although much of the great stuff is long gone, bargains and even free stuff can be found as the sun begins to set.
Hints and Cautions
Check Yard Crawl websites and the Facebook page for specific information about sellers and special offers. If you are looking for big items such as beds or dressers, be sure that you have a large enough vehicle for hauling your purchases home and enough rope and padding to keep them secure. Delivery is not generally an option. When driving, be sure to pay close attention to pedestrians. Excited shoppers and stray children can easily wander into your path.
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