Penny Pinching in Portland

Portland is called the City of Roses

Portland is called the City of Roses

My sweetheart and I just got back from 4 days in Portland – the land of bicycles, parks, public transit and devotees of the “keep Portland weird” slogan. We didn’t drive our car once the whole time we were in town but used nearly every form of public transportation they have to offer: bus, train, trolley and tram (didn’t cycle.) A $5 day pass meant you could use transit all day long. We hiked 7 miles of urban forest and inhaled the heady scent of 650 varieties of roses in their test garden – free admission.

From a thrifting perspective, this was a mixed-bag holiday. With this post, I’ll share two successes: Powell’s Used and New Book Store (Portland) and Rag and Bone (Seaside).

powell's books signFor those who love to hold an actual, paper book and wonder of its future, Powell’s Bookstore is as much a comfort as it is a wonder. It is 65,000 square feet of book shelves – you need a map to navigate it. It was crawling with people, all of us inhaling the musty scent of used books as we sought out our treasures.

the bike rack outside Powell's - great way to marry bikes and books

the bike rack outside Powell’s – great way to marry bikes and books

I found two Agatha Christie’s that I still did not own (I have nearly all of them now). I couldn’t believe the sheer volume of her books – she has a shelving unit all to herself. That was awesome in itself.

powell's books agatha rack

powell's booksI also found a book on body prayer by Father Tom Ryan, which is one of those weird-topic books that makes it hard to find. Christopher Fowler’s Peculiar Crimes Unit series is both great mystery and great humour, so I’ve decided to collect them. And since we’re going back to Scotland next year, we have to keep up with Ian Rankin, that country’s most beloved mystery writer.

rag and bone signWhen we left Portland, we decided to avoid the I5 and headed to the coast instead. In the sleepy town of Seaside, we came across the Rag and Bone – a true thrift shop and army surplus store. Camouflage enthusiasts will find anything they want here but he also had a wonderfully eclectic mix of clothes, books, dishes, movies, knick knacks and furniture. Still, all we managed to bring back with us was this 100% silk tie for just $3.

silk tie front

Next week, I’ll share with you about a couple of unique shops I found in Portland itself that I don’t quite count as thrift. We’ll see if you agree with me or not!

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3 Responses to Penny Pinching in Portland

  1. Paradise! I also like the idea of using books/book authors in the bike rack. I was particularly interested in the mention of Eric Newby. Hallmark did a movie called “In Love & War”, based on a novel Newby wrote about how he met his wife in wartime Italy.

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