Category Archives: Unique Shopping (stores with some personality)

Boys Fort, Portland, OR

So a group of us are traveling through downtown Portland, looking for a place to eat and some light shopping when my friend spies Boys Fort (902 SW Morrison St, # 97205
Portland, OR 97205
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. We have to go she says! Well OK. Sounds like camping supplies to me, but I’m up for it. But no camping supplies, it was an eccentric gift store…really it was several gift stores under one roof and they were all full of interesting things.  Their website says “Boys Fort is a carefully curated collection of local, handmade products and vintage one of a kind finds. With over one hundred local and regional makers represented at Boys Fort, the product mix presented ranges from grooming products like mustache wax and beard oil to hand forged jewelry and leather goods to beautifully crafted furniture. Many local artists are incorporated into the mix, with a wide variety of styles for every taste and point of view”.

 

The Hobbit Hole and Year 7

The Hobbit Hole in Port Orchard

I was pretty delighted to hear there is a Hobbit Hole in Port Orchard and I finally got to see it at the Brother’s Greenhouse. It is really well made and I actually got into it. The rest of the nursery was pretty great too, plenty of stock and helpful employees. They even had free cookies! We picked up some charming plants for the front porch.

And oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’ve been working on this one time impulsive blog project for going on seven years now! It began in 2010.

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The Cultured Cup – Dallas

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My dear friend and her daughter took me to a magical tea tasting room called The Cultured Cup at 13714 Gamma Rd. #104, Dallas, TX 75244 and it was a delightful experience. I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into when we entered a nondescript building with minimal signage and walked through an office work area to fine a tasting room. There were nine of us tasting teas while we were there, three young couples and the three of us. The tasting room is open on the weekends and features different selections each time. Our guide, Kyle, was also happy to brew other teas that we were interested in. What struck me the most was just how welcoming and knowledgeable Kyle, one of the co-owners, was as he spent almost an hour introducing us to tea. He obviously has a passion about the history and process of making tea. To see him in action, go here.   Anyway, I was so enchanted by the whole experience that I forgot to take a good photo, but their website has many lovely pictures and is an education unto itself.

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The Tardis at the Little Road Said Go

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While strolling through Tacoma’s Antique Row, I noticed this little store named The Little Road Said Go at 739 Broadway. Today’s the last full day of operation, but the owner assured me it was a good move for her and she was happy.

My eye was caught by a full side Police Call Box on the stairs going up. And of course we all know that a Police Call Box  is really a Tardis, a time/space mechanism for Dr. Who. I did peek inside, but sadly it did not appear larger on the inside. Probably a clever disguise.

The other interesting part of the store was the stairs that had at one point lead up to a second floor, but now they lead up to the roof. That second floor can readily be seen on the photo at Tacoma Public Library.  The upper level wasn’t usable after an earthquake and the seismic upgrading was expensive so the space was left unused. And then a fire made it beyond repair and the building became as it is today. The structure was constructed in 1904 and designed by the architect Frederick Heath. It has been a sheet metal facilities, a Buick, then Cadillac place (dealership or repair place), various other auto repair sites, a sports center/bowling alley, a novelty shop, a coffee shop, storage center, car rental, a military center, a BBQ restaurant and retail.

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Purple Geranium Greenhouse

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When I went on the University Place Garden Tour one of the volunteers gave me a list of some of the local gardening centers. One of these centers was the Purple Geranium Greenhouse at 12615 47th Ave E, Tacoma, proximate to Canyon Road and 120th Street. Although it is close to my house (about 20 minutes away) it felt like a drive in the country. I was pleased to see that it was a well stocked professionally run gardening center on a lovely site. Their prices were righteous and my IMG_7391questions were answered right away.  Of course it is less extensive than the big centers (Watson’s, Molbak’s, etc.) and there is almost none of the decorative items, but really that just makes it easier. I toured the place, took some photos, got some advice and purchased some plants in about 30 minutes. When I stopped for an iced coffee afterward the cashier asked me what I was up to today and I told her I went to the Purple Geranium. She gushed that it was the best place around to buy plants!

Do be aware that they have a limited season (April 1st to August 1st) and limited hours, so check out their Facebook Page before going.

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Downtown Moscow, Idaho

MoscowEvery time I visit dear daughter at WSU, I pop across state lines to visit Downtown Moscow, home of the University of Idaho’s Vandels. It really is a charming downtown with a selection of restaurants and shops. I love the bookstore, Book People of Moscow, and Cafe Artista. This time I also tried Moscow Bagel and Deli and it was yum. The Moscow Downtown Historic District includes 60 buildings and was placed on the National Historic Register in 2005.

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Amazon Books and the art at University Village, Seattle

imageAmazon.com went online selling books in 2005, a brief 10 years ago. This past Tuesday, November 3, 2015, they opened their first bricks and mortar bookstore. It has several unique features.

  1. All of the books face cover out.
  2. Each book has a little card in front of it that says a little something about it’s Amazon reviews.
  3. The prices fluctuate as they do online. To find out the price, the customer uses the Amazon app to scan the book’s barcode.
  4. The store also sells other Amazon technology which customers can use.
  5. The record of the sale has appeared on my amazon account.
  6. And there was a line to get in!

There is currently only this one Amazon Books location in University Village in Seattle.

While I was there I strolled around the entire shopping area, which was very busy! Aooarently dogs of all size and shapes are allowed in all of the stores, but not restaurants or the grocery store. I snapped a couple of shots of the outside art.

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Fremont Sunday Market, Seattle, WA

image1(4)Dear husband and I had a quick day trip up to Seattle and we stumbled upon the Fremont Sunday Market which operates every Sunday from 10 to 4 (5 in the summer). It had a great selection of crafts, vintage goods and clothes and some wonderful food trucks all at one end. It even had a dinosaur eating a meatball! I walked away with the scarf for myself and a holiday present for my friend Susan. Of course since I was there I snapped some other Fremont photos 🙂

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The plethora of pot stores on Pacific Avenue

imagePer the News Tribune Tacoma has 60+ medical marijuana stores. It’s always seemed to me that Pacific Avenue has more than its share, so today I drove by and counted them. There are 13 retail locations between I-5 and Highway 512. In comparison, there are two dedicated liquor stores, though of course other places to buy liquor both for on site drinking and take out. One mentioned by the News Tribune is no longer there, but I found two new ones. In one case the owner was actually hanging up his open sign for the first time.

So, just for the record, no it isn’t my vice and I didn’t go inside. But I do think there is a place for medical marijuana. It just seems like like 13 is a great many. The article said that most will be asked to close their doors, so I thought if I was going to take their photos that now was the time. Maybe I’ll revisit next year and see what remains.

My favorites were Pacific Rush which has flames and the drive through (yes, drive through, my mind boggles). My favorite name was Ancient Medicine Collective.

Starting at the north end near I5:

  • 3421 Ashley’s Medicinal Garden
  • 3716 Ancient Medicine Collective
  • 3833 Natural Resources
  • 3837 Elements Sunshine
  • 4300 block Pacific Rush
  • 6532 Tacoma Cannabis Collective
  • 8223 The Green Warehoue
  • 8236 SMC (Seattle Medical Clinic)
  • 8808 TMC
  • 9027 Northwest Natural Medicine and Services
  • 9050 Drive Thru (that’s probably not it’s name)
  • 10018 Green Collar Club
  • 10625 Tacoma Healing Collective

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Dusty Country Store

20137027672_e27b05bbec_kEach time I drive dear daughter to college I drive by the Dusty Country Store and wonder what it is like inside. I don’t think I had ever been in a Quonset Hut before and that alone was reason to stop. I purchased a nice cold bottle of water at a reasonable price and was on my way.

Dusty is a community in unincorporated Whitman County and Wikipedia tells me that it has a population of 11 or 12 and is the home of Wylie Gustafson, leader of the musical group Wylie & The Wild West.

I’m also including two other photos. The first is from a nearby rest stop where a man on a motorcycle was pulling a homemade dog RV. The dog seemed happy. And the second photo is of a barn that I’ve often admired, but never stopped to capture.

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