National Road Yard Sale retraces America’s route to the West

National Road Yard Sale shoppers search for valuable items and bargains along historic U.S. Route 40. Courtesy of Connersville (Ind.) News-Examiner

DUBLIN, Ind. – The National Road, the main route for settlers streaming to the West in the early 1800s, was the first federally funded major road in the United States. Just as the National Road promoted commerce in the 19th century, the National Road Yard Sale boosts entrepreneurial activity along the 824-mile route, now known as U.S. Route 40, from Baltimore to St. Louis. The 16th annual event celebrating this historic byway will be held May 29 to June 2.

The main draw, of course, is the quest for hidden treasures – antiques, books, jewelry, furniture and housewares – offered by individuals and vendors setting up in yards, lots and fields along the way. The five-day event also affords communities the opportunity to welcome visitors and host various fundraising events. An added attraction is the lure of the open road through scenic rural America in late spring.

Patricia McDaniel, owner of Old Storefront Antiques in Dublin, Ind., founded the U.S. 40 Yard Sale in 2004 and has been promoting it ever since.

“I wanted to do something for the National Road Bicentennial of in 2006, an activity that was affordable for a family,” said McDaniel.

The first U.S. 40 Yard Sale was basically a local event, extending 35 miles westward from Richmond, Indiana, to Knightstown, Indiana, the small town named after Jonathan Knight, the surveyor of the National Road. By word of mouth and news coverage by local and national media, the event quickly grew to the present length from the East Coast to St. Louis.

“It’s like the movie Field of Dreams,” said McDaniel, “People will come.”

She noted that many of the towns along the National Road are only five to seven miles apart, which results in less driving and more shopping.

“It’s bumper-to-bumper yard sales,” said McDaniel. She advises yard sale shoppers to drive cautiously, anticipating frequent stops. To expedite transactions, she recommends buyers have the correct amount of cash in hand.

“People have fun. It’s the biggest event in Indiana that weekend,” said McDaniel. “It’s the thrill of the hunt. You never know what’s around the bend.” Or just beyond the next state line.

To get a taste of the National Road Yard Sale from the comfort of home, travelers may wish to read the Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook Vol. VI: Potluck Rapture, compiled and edited by McDaniel. For more information contact McDaniel at 765-541-2891 or 765-478-4809.

For more information on the National Road and to view maps, visit https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/byways/2278