Antique Shopping, Anyone? Portland’s Historic Sellwood

“How much for this gramophone?” I asked. The elderly gentleman behind the counter in Stars Antique Mall smiled at me, then peered expertly at the item I had had my eye on since I walked in 40 minutes ago.

His warbling, yet authoritative answer: “I can sell that to you for $300.”

Whew, too rich for my blood! (Yes, I’m cheap.) Hey, I did see a pristine-looking Beatles LP for $10 in the back. Think I’ll get that instead.

I simply love wandering around in any antique shop; the smells alone take me back to a simpler time. I can close my eyes and linger over the myriad display of early 20th century Time magazines and immediately I am brought back to the age of 3, sitting in my grandparents living room, my grandfather reading the national news. Or walk past a display of 100+ year old  furniture as the smell of Linseed oil permeates the air. Whether I’m in the market to buy or not, I always at least stick my nose in any antique store I come across in my travels.


A charming set-up.

Today I am in Portland’s antique mecca: the Sellwood/Eastmoreland Neighborhood. There are many antique stores all over Portland, but Sellwood has the largest concentration of them, six in all. Straddling the east side of the Willamette River, south of Powell Blvd, the town of Sellwood (named after Rev. John Sellwood, a pioneer Episcopal minister,) was incorporated in 1883, and annexed into the city of Portland ten years later. But antique lovers do not fret, you can drag along your non-antique-going friends and family, for there is much else to do in this lovely neighborhood.


Old-time pantry

There is ooldles of shopping and eats along SE Milwaukie Ave. and adjacent 13th Ave. Here is but a small sampling:

Unique Antique – The name says it all. – An awesome book store.

Columbia Sportswear Outlet Store – Get your discounted sportswear, where it all began.

Sock Dreams Shop (below) Explorersue’s Top Groovy Pick!

Sock Dreams Portland

Sock Dreams are made in here.

Years ago, there was a girl (Niqkita) whose feet were always cold. Fetishize Me (their original name) went live in 2000, and Niqkita’s dream of selling socks was born. The business became Sock Dreams in 2003 and is now a thriving retail store and successful e-shop. Happy toes make happy Sock Dreamers!! 

Oodles 4 Kids Fun-tastic shopping for the entire familia.

13 Virtues Brewing Co. – yes, they brew their own beer.

Fat Albert’s Breakfast Café – A diner-style hang-out that is a locals favorite.

Kahveology – THE place to go for coffee in Sellwood.

Reverend’s BBQ – ‘Nuff said. Just go there.

** See a full listing of what this wonderful, historic Portland neighborhood has to offer at


Drive north about two miles and you’ll run into Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. A peaceful respite from all that shopping and eating (that is, if you don’t want to take a nap, first). Take a stroll along the paved trail that winds its way south along the Willamette River. You’re bound to see a variety of birds, such as quail, woodpeckers, and a great blue heron or two.



Signage along the trailhead. Stay on the paths!



Portland Skyline with the Refuge in the foreground.

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