Trade Secrets

by Liz Dowling

I began my trip up to Sharon, CT early on the Saturday morning of Trade Secrets.  Fortified by three cups of coffee at home and another giant one in a to-go cup, I jumped in the car.  My daughter’s junior prom had been the night before.  I drew the short straw and got the 3am post-prom party pick-up and not a lot of sleep!


Trade Secrets Rare Plant and Garden Antiques Show is an annual event in the gorgeous Litchfield Hills.  It raises money for Women’s Support Services (WSS) in Northwest, CT that provides crucial services to women who have experienced domestic violence or abuse.  Trade Secrets is the foremost fundraiser for WSS, started by Bunny Williams in her backyard over ten years ago.

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Over 60 garden and antique dealers come to Trade Secrets, and it is hosted on an incredible piece of hilltop property.

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I have a long and special history with this part of Connecticut.  My parents started coming to Sharon in 1978 and now live here full-time.  My husband and I were married here on an 11 degree, snowy January day.  Our reception was held at the charming White Hart Inn in Salisbury, CT.  I always love coming up here.


I grabbed my mom at her home and headed over to Trade Secrets.  Get there early (I was running a little late) because the parking lot fills up fast.

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It was a beautiful day to wander from vendor to vendor.

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Rumor was that Martha Stewart had been there early and Christopher Walken was wandering around too.

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I didn’t see either of them, but I wasn’t moving too fast either.  Word to the wise, don’t wear flip flops to this event!

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There was a delicious lunch catered by The Farmer’s Wife, book signings and fabulous things for the home and the garden everywhere.

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My mom was running into all of her friends, so I took the opportunity to sit on a bench and rest in the sun for a bit.

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Four hours later, it was time to hit the road.  I had an armful of great things for my garden and patio.


My FAVORITE peony vendor was there too, so I bought four new varieties to plant in my garden!


I look forward to Trade Secrets every year, but it also a fabulous excuse to spend the day with my mom.  The 2015 dates are May 16 & 17, so put them in your book!

January 25, 1992 ~ Sharon, CT

Tim and I ~ January 25, 1992 ~ Sharon, CT

the wry home


Using, the giveaway winner popped up like a lottery number.  Congratulations!  Please send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I will get the poster out to you right away.

#11 Amy H. said, “Such great pics and sentiments SP! Planning on same – delish suppers w good pals and enjoying life’s simple pleasures – time on the beach and water – lot of laughs and enjoying all Newport has to offer after this rotten winter and our little house now recovered from flood of ’14 after burst pipe!

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1 comment

Peggy Peters June 1, 2014 - 10:50 am

Wonderful memories of a special place with your Mom. I miss our special outings.

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