GREENFIELD – As staycationers know, a daytrip can begin as a trek to one specific destination and include numerous stops along the way. For those seeking such an adventure and who enjoy rustic treasures, head to Rustic Romance at Bayer Farm in Greenfield this weekend.
The family owned business has limited “barn sales” and this weekend they will open Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 246 Leyden Road. Along the way, or on the way home, there are many places to eat and explore in the Greenfield area.
Less than an hour from Westfield, Rustic Romance at Bayer Farm is a light-pickers paradise. Outside the barn, you don’t have to dig too deep to find rusty, crusty treasures such as galvanized metal buckets, wood-framed windows, barn wood and more.
A greenhouse is home to all sorts of finds if you’re not afraid of getting a little bit dirty and are cautious of protruding nails in some of the found wood pieces.
Architectural salvage and parts from old farm equipment can be turned into beautiful home décor and conversation pieces. Shoppers have scored artwork, vintage kitchen tables and even library card catalogues.
Inside the barn the pieces are a bit more polished. There are many “giftware” items, but they are not things you would find at your local store. Many pieces have a rustic or vintage look with the advantage of not needing a good cleaning. There are places to pick in the barn, however, including a section of art, books, kitchen wares and more. There is usually an abundance of wooden ladders of various sizes, perfect to hold throw blankets or towels. Candles and an interesting variety of plants round-out the gems to be found in the barn.
Owner Cindy Bayer recounts the story of the barn sale on rusticromanceatbayerfarm.com and says she had no intention of running her family farm and opening the barn for sales.
According to her website, Bayer came into possession of a barn full of mysterious stuff by chance. She didn’t know what was in it before she broke the lock, but before setting eyes on the barn’s contents, she was sure of one thing: the barn was now hers, and she would have to deal with whatever she found inside. “I never set out to conduct barn sales; my intention was to cleanup my farm and return to Chicago to care for my parents after my bitter divorce,” Bayer says.
When she and her best friend cut the lock off the barn one night, they discovered it was so full that things came tumbling out as soon as the doors opened. Bayer says on her page that they had no idea how to clean up everything left behind, so they opened a bottle of wine and had a good cry. It quickly became apparent that the only way to tackle the behemoth pile of who-knew-what was to “eat the elephant one bite at a time.”
Bayer started to notice that whatever she piled on the curb each morning would get picked up quickly. And then she started seeing pickers selling her barn items on Facebook. After a practice run helping a friend clean out her mother’s home and sell the contents, Bayer felt like she was ready to make that same strategy work for her. And thus, the Barn Sales were born.
The land that Bayer Farm now sits on was originally established in 1850 as a dairy farm. Before purchasing the farm in 1997, Bayer and her family rented a house up the street. “I needed more space for my three growing boys who love to hunt, fish, ride horses, and play in the woods,” Bayer states. While Bayer herself is not exactly a farmer (unless you count the cultivation of a romantic farmhouse aesthetic), she has two tenant farmers on the property. One raises goats and the other organic veggies.
For someone really looking to pick, get there early to get the best finds. If you are a casual picker, looking for unique but not authentically vintage or antique décor or just like to look, the line is shorter in late morning.
There is no line to shop outside, but there is a line to get into the barn. Masks are required and social distance rules are in place. Bayer Farm accepts cash and credit cards and there are no pets and no restrooms.
The barn sale is open July 31 and Aug. 1 from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.