The Alameda Flea

One of the many perks of living in San Francisco are the vintage stores/flea markets. I love anything vintage. I like that vintage items have stories and history behind them – who knows how many lives it has lived before it made its way to you. I especially have a love of vintage jewelry. My wedding  band is vintage – from 1906 and we got it from this great store in SF called Diane’s. I am not much of a shopper, but this is definitely one of those places that I could get lost in. Make sure to check it out if you ever find yourself in SF and looking for some eye candy.

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Another treasure trove of vintage goodness is the Alameda flea market – officially called the Alameda Point Antiques Faire (but that is a mouth full). Once a month vintage vendors from all over the Northwest converge on an abandoned naval air base that overlooks the SF skyline.  Here is more information on it - but it is basically the largest antiques fair in Northern California.  The fair has over 800 vendors and all items must be over 20 years old –  so it is a great resource for all things vintage. I try to go as often as I can – mainly to wander and see what is out there. But you have to be in the right mood for this flea market – it is intense - physically and mentally. It is literally thousands of people strolling, shopping, shoving,  and eating their way through hundreds of vendors.


The flea market has anything and everything that you could wish for. A lot of it is bizarre –  like these crazy dolls or vintage mannequins - but one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure – right? (For the record, both of these things scared me – those dolls are the stuff nightmares are made of)

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But I did find some great items –  there were a couple of themes from the day – Native American inspiration and vintage maps. Take a look at the pics below.

Native American Inspiration 

** The picture is not very good, but these prints were stunning. They would look great with a  new, more vibrant frame.

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**Vintage skull – yes a little morbid but would look great above a  fireplace

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**Love the beading and the fringe on this 
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** If I lived in a fab mid-century modern house, I might put these guys by the front door as the welcoming committee

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**Not sure what this was (some sort of bag/wall covering), but loved the print

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Map Lovin’

**Vintage map of San Francisco from 1909
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**Vintage pull down school maps from Germany (this was actually my only purchase of the day – I got a map of Europe from WWI – not sure what I am going to do with it, but it seemed cool at the time….)

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** I used to have one of these globes as a kid and loved spinning it and randomly putting my finger down is some far off land

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**Love the texture on this map. Needs to be cleaned up but could be great above a desk or in a little boys room

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If you are loving all things maps or find inspiration in Native American motifs – here are some good options you can get online:

I love this image from the great website, Society6:

Native American Headress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, Etsy is always a great resource for art, so if you are looking for some vintage maps, check out Knick of Time. This is my favorite from their store (biased because I grew up in Florida):

Florida vintage Map

Below are some more highlights from Alameda  - check out the full round-up in my Flickr account

**Great way to upcycle old skateboards. I can see these in a kids room or in a beach house

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** 1960′s barbecue grill. I loved this – if I had a house, I would have sprung the $400 for it. It still works – all it needs is some charcoal. How chic would I be grilling on this thing?

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**Mid-century madness

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**Bakelite!! If you don’t know, Bakelite is my new obsession – I blame Palm Springs

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**Loved these vintage pendants for $300. This is one of a pair. They would look great over a large kitchen island. Sadly I don’t have a large island and don’t envision a large one for many many years, but maybe one day I will find these again…

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Like I mentioned before, this flea market takes place on an abandoned naval air base that is huge – over 1,500  acres.  The fair only uses a tiny portion of it. The city of Alameda is trying to revive it but sadly most of it is still empty and abandoned. The buildings left on the base are beautiful, sad and almost haunting. The base had its heyday during the middle of the twentieth century and officially closed in 1997. Even though it is abandoned – it still has an incredible view.

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Comments

  1. says

    I’ve been wanting to go to this flea market but can never quite summon up the will to get up early on the weekend. But maybe if you’re not a serious antiquer it doesn’t matter so much when you get there…?

    That bakelite jewelry looks so cool. I had never heard of bakelite either until I was talking to the owner of Exclusive Buttons in Berkeley (one of my most favorite places on earth), who has vintage bakelite buttons.

    • says

      Hi Cari, you can def still go if you are not a serious antiquer. The serious people get there when the gates open at 6 or 7am which is way too early for me. It is just fun to wander. The next one is April 7- you should check it out!

  2. says

    I love going to flea markets too. You are right. One’s man trash is another man’s treasure. LOL. Sometimes I wonder why folks sell certain things. Yet there is someone who might find some worth in it. I love all the Native American items. How cool is that!! I’m like you, I would love to have a huge kitchen one day but those dreams are years away. One day I pray. I’m loving your blog.

  3. says

    Hi there, found your blog through BYW. Great post about the flea markets with so many awesome pictures. I love those maps and especially the turning globe :-) I envy you, san francisco must be so great! Good luck with your blog. Claudia

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