Shipping Up to Portland

No need to cross the pond this week! In New England, we have so many lovely coastal cities and towns on the Atlantic, so we decided to head Down Maine, as the saying goes (yes, it doesn’t make sense, since we were heading north, but click the link for the history). This past Saturday, husband (we call him Coach around here) and I drove to Portland, primarily to visit some shops we had seen at Brimfield a couple of months back. Just an hour+ ride away, Portland has loads to offer for a fun day-trip from Boston: a lovely seaport district, antique shops and restaurants, The Portland SeaDogs AA Baseball Team and of course, lobstah. First stop-My Sister’s Garage, an antique farmhouse on the side of Rte 302, filled with stunning displays, all sorts of antiques, textiles and

vintage, re-purposed furniture, restored and re-designed on the premises. How “country pretty” is this white lacy bedroom and dining room?!! Dreamy!!  Vintage vignettes throughout the shop… kitchy kitchen and wondrous wedding dress. 

Made my first purchase of the day, this cute throw pillow created from vintage tea towels, which now sits proudly on the porch.

Headed back down 302, stopping at The Ruby Slipper, an antiques co-op. Spotted this charming painted china hutch filled with pretty pink china.

After that came a yard sale or two, then on to Pendexters. Funky little building…no website…loving this sign…furniture and bric-a-brac stacked to the ceiling.

Next stop, Portland Architectural Salvage Company. Anything you could possibly need or want to refurbish an old home is stuffed into this 4 story warehouse.

Whether you’re searching for doors or windows, bathroom fixtures or just miscellaneous junk, you will find it here. Hmmm, this sign might be perfect for me…

Around the corner we stumbled upon an indoor flea market, where we purchased this giant pottery crock. Coach seems to think it will be a fine fire-wood holder for the long winter months.

On to Portland’s Seaport District, once a major commercial and shipping port, that is now home to dozens of shops and boutiques lining the cobblestone streets. 

Ranging from the funky t-shirt genre of Cool as a Moose to high end pottery and jewelry from

Edgecomb Potters, and stunning interiors from Simply Home and

Nicolas Homes, by Nicola Manganello, there is literally something for everyone, including a piece of the Berlin Wall! Of course, after all that driving and shopping, we needed a treat, so off we went to find Two Fat Cats Bakery, serving up scrumptious “made-from-scratch” sweets.

Had to try a chocolate/raspberry whoopie pie, and this Bourbon Pecan Pie was so beautiful, we couldn’t leave it on the shelf- and at $22.00- it was worth every sticky, crunchy, yummy bite!

So if you happen to live in the Boston area, and are looking for a fun way to spend a warm spring day, take a ride on Rte 1 North down to Portland.

Hope your Wednesday is full of wander…Susan

Antiquing Essex

Sunday was yet another glorious day here in the Bay State. Warm & sunny, not a cloud in the sky-not bad for March 18! Time to take the shrink-wrap off the porch. Huh?! Well, last fall we had our old deck enclosed and transformed into a screened-in porch. We didn’t have much time to enjoy it before the winter months were upon us, so rather than packing away all of the furniture and accessories that we had flea-marketed last fall, we decided to wrap the porch in plastic, creating a greenhouse effect while protecting the freshly painted wicker. They shrink-wrap boats, don’t they?! Turns out that since it was such a nice winter, we actually were able to use the porch for sitting and enjoying the outdoors, without actually being outdoors, all winter long.  Now that the plastic is gone it’s time to shop for some porch decor- going with the simple pretty country style- lots of red, white and blue, wicker and old wood and iron.

Our first stop was Essex, a pretty little Cape Ann town (pop. 3500) steeped in ship-building history- a go to destination for a leisurely afternoon drive. The town center is surrounded by marsh lands and the Essex River, which leads out to the Atlantic Ocean. Just 25 miles north of Boston, Essex is known for its art galleries, funky antique shops and delicious and plentiful seafood, especially lobster and fried clams. Legend has it the “Chubby” Woodman invented the fried clam back in the early 20th century. On any given summer day, you will find the long lines of hungry tourists and locals alike waiting patiently in lines that snake around the building and down the street for a taste of Woodmans fresh seafood.

Antiquing in Essex is an adventure, and the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” surely comes to mind. Most of the shops are housed in antique village homes -full of charm and character-each room stuffed to the rafters with junk/treasures. You never know what you might find as you make your way through the packed, narrow hallways and into the yards and sheds of the shops, most of which are within walking distance of one another. Because of its rich maritime history, there is an abundance of nautical art and artifacts available. Everything from buoys to boat models, lobstah traps, maps and brass are available, all prices negotiable.

We came to Essex searching for some hanging pieces to create lighting for the porch. Beyond excited to find these rusted old planters, soon to be transformed into hanging lights for the porch, that will add more of that vintage country style that we love. Pics to follow (once I figure out how to make them). Happy Spring, everyone!

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