On a sunny Spring day, a handful of white tents line the parameter of Stone Ridge Orchard. Between the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains, the orchard sits atop a hill on a nearly two hundred year old farm. An eclectic playlist hums in the background while visitors flow from tent to tent, perusing the offerings of each merchant. There’s hard cider made from local apples, good coffee, brick oven pizza and a variety of homemade treats for nibbling. Later in the evening, the smell of a bonfire will fill the air and folks will sprawl out on piles of blankets. It’s the Phoenicia Flea and it’s more than a place for shopping—it’s an all-day experience that has something for all of the senses. And that’s what founder James Anthony is aiming for.
Since July, 2014, James has been curating a band of merchants—jewelers, collectors, ceramicists, designers and craftspeople—to gather together and offer their wares to market goers. The merchants have a common thread of their base in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills (for the most part) and having been selected by James to join his nomadic tribe. To be invited to join Phoenicia Flea is no small compliment, as James has no specific criterion, but seems to function off an intuitive sense of what works with the aesthetic he’s nurturing and, quite simply, who he wants to hang out with.
“…it’s more than a place for shopping—it’s an all-day experience that has something for all of the senses.”
“I look for good work and a strong brand, but ultimately I like bringing people together who I enjoy spending time with.” Like the swap meets that James frequented as a kid growing up in Los Angeles, there’s a sense of comradery among the merchants, particularly among the “core group” of makers that have traveled with the market again and again, including The Brew & Compass, curators of outdoor gear, apparel and home goods; ceramicist Andrew Molleur; Hudson Made apothecary; White Pike Whiskey distillery; and Rebecca Peacock jewelry, among others.
What began as a standalone market inside Graham & Co., a boutique hotel in Phoenicia, has now become a moveable party. Phoenicia Flea sets up shop in various locations—Stone Ridge, Asbury Park, Brooklyn, to name a few. James chooses each location with a variety of factors in mind: space, views, history, even the (sometimes harrowing) journey to get there. “I love a destination. On the way people think ‘where am I going?’ and then they get there and it’s amazing,” says James.
Though the destination of the market may change, the vibe of the Phoenicia Flea and the core group of creators remains consistent. Check it out Father’s Day weekend at Stone Ridge Orchard, where you can pick up a gift for dad, or just spend the day treasure-hunting, eating and drinking with the makers.