After years of trying, I finally made it to the World's Longest Yard Sale, which stretches from southern Ohio down into Tennessee and below into Georgia.
My sister Signe and I tooled down 81 south from Alexandria, VA, down into Tennessee. Our goal was to hit Highway 127, the rural road where the yard sales are, just south of Jamestown and move north into that town for the night, which is the capital of the Highway 127 sale.
We stayed the first night in Knoxville, TN, and had dinner near the University of TN area. We sat in a charming outdoor cafe and watched the students, couples, and various cars of all makes and ages roll by,
Above: Signe standing on the street in Knoxville, TN, near where we stopped for dinner.
Left: a kind lady offered to take a pic of the two of us at the restaurant in Knoxville. It's a cliche, but it made us think about the adage that Southerners are friendlier than people in some other localities.
We got to bed early so we'd be up and cracking for the sale in the a.m.
When we got to the turnoff to 127 off 40 west, suddenly we hit the yard sale traffic. Cars came to a virtual stop as the line of cars on the exit merging into heavy traffic on 127 waited their turn. We decided to turn left and start our sales adventure just south of there, as the traffic going south was much lighter.
We parked in a furniture store parking lot, where there were several sales and tents set up all around in the adjacent fields and business lots. We headed into our very first sale!
Signe spied some nice striped sheets for only 25 cents. But she waited a bit to buy them, and they were gone later! You've got to strike while the iron is hot, I guess!
But..she did find this fab Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt, which said "Support Southern Rock" on the back. I was envious of her find until I learned she bought it from me..how nice! ;) (And did you know Lynyrd Skynrd was named for one of the band member's teachers, one Leonard Skinner?).
Signe proudly displays her World's Longest Yard Sale find.
Signe paying for her t-shirt find, her first World's Longest Yard Sale purchase.
It was Saturday, August 8, and did I mention it was HOT? It was already in the 90s in the morning, at the time of this photo, and it just kept getting (or feeling) hotter as the day went on. Vendors with tents were definitely at an advantage, as it became too unbearable not to be in the shade.
We had parked in front of this furniture store near Jamestown, where the lady inside gave us some hot tips on the famous sale people come from far and wide to see:
- Two must-see stops:
1) The old country store in Clarkrange, just after the stop for the town. It's on the right if you're heading north.
She said there was an old soda fountain where they had milkshakes and other treats, and vendors set up outside, too.
2) South Fentress Park, a large field/park with lots of vendors and tents, and where HGTV films.
(Check out my YouTube videos of both locations).
I picked up a couple of My Little Pony dolls for a quarter each at a sale close to where Signe got the t-shirt.
Next we went over to the other field where the vendors seemed more like professional dealers.
The lady in the furniture store had warned us about this -- that the 127 sale in its early days had been more like real "yard sales," with good deals and low prices..and now there were a lot of sellers asking close to store prices. I had also heard this from readers of my yardsalers.net newsletter and via word of mouth.
One of the first lots had a number of metal/tin sculptures in the classic Americana country style..things like a metal rooster, However, prices here were boutique style, around the $100 realm, so we didn't linger long. (I also saw some nice chunky turquoise and coral jewelry..priced around $175..I wasn't in the market for that kind of price even though no doubt it's a fair retail price. Hey, we're at a yard sale!).
One thing that was particularly fun was a huge long bin of nothing but collectible salt and pepper shakers: