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Fourteen miles of memories for sale in the Eastern Panhandle


The Journal

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Consider it a 14-mile long candy store for yard sale bargain hunters.

Eastern Panhandle residents can literally rummage along a 14 mile line of “pre-owned” merchandise at the 10th annual 14-Mile Yard Sale on May 27.

One of the yard sale stops along the 14 Mile Yard Sale held May 26, 2016.
(Photo by Jim McConville)

The one-day event, which unofficially kicks off the Memorial Day Weekend in the Eastern Panhandle, starts and runs 14 miles down Route 45 West to the Virginia state line.

“It runs along Route 45 from house-to-house,” said Cathy Cole, co-coordinator of the 14-Mile Yard Sale along with Berkeley County resident Debbie Morgan.

Started in 2007, the yard sale was first thought of as an amateur affair for area residents.

“It originated as a community event for residents on the entire route,” Cole said. “Many residents are collecting items all year long just so they can participate in the 14-Mile Yard Sale.”

In years past, residents have placed makeshift signs along the route reading, “14 Mile Yard Sale Now!”

“We tell people, ‘Just follow the Route 45 signs,’” Cole said. “We’ll have a lot of people directing traffic.”

Reserves from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department have helped out in past years as well, Cole said.

Over the years, the yard sale has developed a national reputation, drawing a stream of visitors from New York, Washington, D.C. and other surrounding states, Cole said.

“They’ll rent a hotel room here on Friday night, so they’re at it the first thing Saturday morning,” Cole said.

While some yard sale house setups are within walking distance of each other, so can be reached by foot, Cole recommends visitors travel by car to get the full 14-mile effect.

“Many aren’t right next to each other — so you’ll have to get in your car and go to the next house,” Cole said.

Cole said the beauty of the yard sale is its unpredictability — you never know what you will come across. Cole recalls a few years back an elderly woman coming across a virtually brand new musical juke box, which she bought for her granddaughter for a song.

“She got this fantastic deal — you never know what you are going to find,” Cole said.

The overriding appeal of the yard sale comes from finding unexpected treasures along the way, Cole said.

“That’s why you don’t stop halfway through, because the gold mine might be waiting at the end of the route,” Cole said.

But why pick Memorial Day weekend to hold a long distance yard sale?

“Not as many people travel on Memorial Day as we think they do,” Cole said. “It’s just a fun-filled day. So far, we’ve yet to be disappointed.”

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