Elephant’s Trunk is a huge and well known flea market in New Milford, CT. As a person who likes modern design, I don’t usually seek out antiques or vintage stuff. But as an activity blogger living in CT, I knew I must check this spot out.
Elephant’s Trunk is open only on Sunday mornings from early April until early December. The flea market started in 1976 with just a handful of vendors, but these days around 500 vendors and food trucks greet huge crowds each Sunday.
The tiered admission levels at Elephant’s Trunk tells you a lot about the diversity of its visitors - at Elephant’s Trunk, the VERY early birds get the worms. The gates to Elephant’s Trunk open VERY bright and early at 4:15am, and those first folks in (coined “Super-Early Buyers” by the market), pay a whopping $40 admission for their first priority access to the goods. “Early Buyers” are those who enter the market between 5:45am and 7am at a $20 admission price. Those who enter after 7am are deemed “Regular Buyers”, and they pay just $2 to enter (children under 10 free). Elephant’s Trunk closes each Sunday by 3:30pm.
We arrived at Elephant’s Trunk around 10am along with all the other lazy folks and casual shoppers. It’s difficult to say what we missed by being over 5 hours late to the party, but even at our “late” arrival time, the parking lot and field were packed with visitors. I’m sure the die-hard antiquers and professionals that arrive in the early morning bring some high drama haggling to the scene, but I’m happy we got our sleep.
It was a bit too hot and the kids are still a bit too young to allow us to really take our time shopping the many, many aisles of vendors, but we had fun strolling through the booths and stopping at a few here and there. Our girls liked any toys they could spot and a particular favorite for them and for me was a booth selling all kinds of single LEGO figures (3 for $10).
Mixed in with the many vintage, antique and generally “old stuff” booths were some artisan, hand-made products for sale (Goatboy Soaps of New Milford was really cute). There were also a couple of vendors selling flowers and plants and a few selling gourmet food products like Awesome Slow Food (herbs and spices made in New Milford). I admittedly paid the most attention to those booths, since I’m definitely more of a farmers’ market than an antique market gal.
Along the edge of all the flea vendors, a bunch of food trucks are stationed. We got a baker’s dozen of mini donuts at one of those trucks to nosh on as we walked. We also spotted some live music near the entrance.
For the very low $4 admission price, Elephant’s Trunk was a very fun way to spend the morning. I think coming on a cooler spring or fall day would be more enjoyable than summer and certainly there are people who like flea markets way more than I do who would probably therefore enjoy this more. FWIW I think I prefer the Brooklyn Flea because the stuff there leans a tad more edgy, while this felt more country.