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Hartselle Enquirer

Sightseeing and savings

One of the retirement pleasures Geanell and I enjoy is spending a day in Nashville, Tenn., shopping for bargains at the Nashville Flea Market.

We began our visits in the company of a small group of friends more than 30 years ago, taking a vacation day from our jobs on the fourth Fridays of each March and October and spending the remainder of those weekends taking in the sights and sounds of the Music  City. 

The flea market was the focal point of our visit, since we all were antique enthusiasts, either adding to our personal collections or buying for resale. 

The experiences we had haggling over price with wholesalers or being fleeced by a crooked dealer often made the highlight reels of the nightly conversations in our motel rooms. Good laughs by everyone added greatly to the enjoyment of those parties. 

Getting around in Nashville safely and expeditiously was an adventure in itself. We usually traveled in two or more vehicles and quite often found ourselves separated when a driver failed to get off the interstate at the right exit. 

However, we more than made up for lost time by enjoying first-class food and entertainment.

Group trips fell by the wayside a few years ago for a variety of reasons, and it was left up to each individual to decide on future visits. 

We decided to go back last Friday after missing a couple of years. 

What a surprise it was when we got off Interstate 65 at the Wedgewood Avenue exit and found the flea market was no longer being held at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. It moved about 200 yards east, in a part of the fairgrounds that was previously reserved for parking. 

The new facility consists of a giant new concrete and metal building, about the size of three football fields, and an equal number of open metal sheds, each about the size of a football field. 

The main building is climate controlled, and the entire area has paved streets with curbs and gutters. 

The buildings and adjacent open areas were filled with dealers, many of whom offered jewelry, clothing and specialty food items.

The distance between parking and flea market was difficult for people with mobility problems, even though shuttle vehicles provided some help. 

Not knowing where dealers were located was another problem. 

We managed to find what we were looking for – paper dinnerware, toiletries, health aids 

and snacks – during our six-hour visit. 

However, the walking we did left us dead tired when we returned home. 

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