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By Rusty Rae

Associate Editor

Old Stuff

Vernonia was once known as that logging town in the lush upper Nehalem Valley of Northwest Oregon. Situated midway between highways 26 and 30 on route 47 its reputation has morphed from the rough-and-tumble logger burg to more of an everyday RFD Mayberry with a large dose of the Cheers ethos — “where everybody knows your name”. That’s self-evident when you visit the cluster of antique and vintage shops on its Main Street,  where it seems everyone does know your name.
     These three antique emporiums plus the local senior center’s thrift shop offer quality collectibles, antiques, and vintage items.Visitors have the opportunity to find that special item to complete a collection or perhaps to start a new collection, but also to develop a relationship with shop owners and the community in general.
     While the town still retains much of its logging heritage and charm — the high school’s mascot is the Logger  — Vernonia  has become a regular stop for many day trippers looking for a respite from their city environs. Surrounded by a forest of Douglas Firs, Vernonia stands like a lone oak, offering a bevy of first class eateries, an abundance of hiking and biking trails, a wonderful museum that tells the area’s story, and the Nehalem River, which bisects the town of some 2,000 souls. The Nehalem River affords fishing and in the summer an old fashioned swimming hole, complete with lifeguard. 
     The Rusty Nail is our first stop in our Vernonia exploration. It was originally owned by Bob and Darlene Davis, longtime Vernonia residents. They owned several different antique shops in Vernonia and were the first antique entrepreneurs of the area. 
     Today, the Rusty Nail features more 4,400 square feet inside and additional outside area of 1,400 square feet. Owners Jerry Kordell  and Elmer Rizan, describe their store as a traditional establishment of antiques, collectibles and vintage items.
They offer a wide range of vintage and collectible items for the guys in their Man Cave room, but you’ll also find a great selection of general antiques throughout their store. 
     In addition to their antiques and collectibles, in their covered outside room they offer a selection of garden items, which while they don’t fall into the collectible or antique slot are sure to brighten any backyard oasis of flowers and vegetables. Further they have sourced a wide range of precious stones and jewelry. This collection includes silver, diamonds, rubies, and other baubles. Perhaps not an item from your normal antique shop, but these items offer that extra bit of pizazz you might not expect from a small town vintage emporium.
     A couple of doors up Bridge Street — Vernonia’s main drag which runs through the center of downtown — you’ll find Penney Lane Antiques where veteran antique proprietors Joe and Nina Versaw really do seem to know everyone’s name.
The Versaws escaped from Division Street in Portland, bringing both their inventory and their clientele of more than 30 years to their shop in Vernonia. The couple 

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By Rusty Rae

Associate Editor

Lincoln City may not be the official Queen City of the Central Oregon Coast, but when it comes to antique, vintage, and collectible shops, it’s easily the number one city for connoisseurs of all such items. The city celebrates its leadership in this realm with an annual Antique & Collectibles Week each February, this year for the 31st time, from the 12th through the 21st. However you may slice the seven-anda-half mile stretch of Highway 101 that encompasses the city’s boundaries, Lincoln City is not only a haven for seekers of all things vintage and collectible, but offers visitors a cornucopia of activities, making it easy to plan a weekend or a week of hunting for that special item. Because of the number of shops it is not possible for us to bring you news of every one, but herein lies some of the highlights of a day trip to Lincoln City, as well as some of the activities one can enjoy during a visit to the central Oregon coast. On the far north end of Lincoln City — okay it’s not really Lincoln City — lies the small burg of Otis, near where Highway 18 and Highway 101 intersect. In Otis you’ll find Sue Bear’s Antiques, which is well worth the trip off the beaten path. Owner Linda Mock offers, “I’d like to think we have something for everyone. It’s difficult to be more definitive, but you’ll find a broad range of items — sewing items, toys, guy stuff and dishes to name a few.” Mock says Sue Bear’s Antiques is more of a vintage and collectible shop, adding, “Antiques — something 100 years old or more — are really difficult to find.” She’s had the online store since 2016. In 2018, she opened the shop in Otis. Most of the items she has sourced herself, but she notes there are some which are there on consignment. If you’re looking for a good beach to relax after of shopping, she recommends the Road’s End State Recreation Area at the north end of Lincoln City. “It has good access to a quiet beach and its great for a quiet getaway,” she said. As for breakfast or lunch, Mock says the new Otis Café, now located in the Taft section of Lincoln

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Story and photos by

Rusty Rae

If, as poet William Cowper wrote, “Variety is the spice of life,” then Aurora, Oregon, represents a zestful opportunity for vintage collectors of all flavors.

Located midway between Portland and Salem, a short drive off I-5, the city brings together a slice of Oregon state history and an eclectic group of classic collectable stores which many antique collectors find is a slice of antique heaven.

Originally known as the Aurora Colony, or Aurora Mills, it was one of the most successful religious communes west of the Rockies. Founded in 1856 on the Pudding River by Wilhelmina Keil, a German immigrant, the Aurora Colony at one time was home to more than 600 souls who followed the basic Christian ideals of Kiel that were driven by the Christian Reformation that swept the country at the time.

Named after Keil’s daughter (who died as the result of a smallpox epidemic in 1862), Aurora became known for its music, orchards, textiles, orchards, furniture, food, and its communal lifestyle with its German traditions.

With the death of Keil’s only remaining daughter in 1870, Keil, who had purchased the land on which the Aurora Colony was built, began transfer of the land to a group of trustees. In 1877 Keil died suddenly before he completed the further transfer of land. At that point the trustees decided to disband the colony.

A decade after its dissolution in 1883, the City of Aurora incorporated with many of the colony descendants continuing to reside in the area.

The city of Aurora is now more than 125 years old, and continues to thrive. To many it’s a shining jewel for vintage collectors and history buffs alike. While both the variety and number of vintage enterprises is enough to draw those looking for that special item, Aurora offers the opportunity for a day — or more — searching for that special item, and at the same time offers a variety of other activities to keep the entire family happy.

There’s more to the vintage haven than meets the eye. It’s a community that appears to have been infused by the DNA from the original commune. Store owners and staff are customer-focused and go out of their way to help patrons find what they’re looking, even if it means sending them to a store up the street.

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