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By Rusty Rae
The late great newspaper columnist and humorist Art Buchwald once wrote an amusing tongue-in-cheek column, Breaking The Four-Minute Louvre, about the quickest visit ever to Paris’ massive and impressive museum. When it comes to the Snohomish, Washington’s antique and collecting community, like the Louvre, there’s simply too much to see and do to consider a visit of only four hours. This vibrant community northeast of Seattle on the banks of the Snohomish River offers collectors of antiques so much to do and see you may as well make it a weekend from the very start of this adventure in collectibles.
Located a stone’s throw for the mammoth Boeing plant in Everett, and a hop, skip and jump from the Eastside technology corridor, where the massive Microsoft campus is located, Snohomish’s small town charm has continued to thrive. It remains one of the most appealing aspects for many who visit, how the town provides a pleasant getaway from the hustle and bustle of a big city.
While Native Americans were the first to live in the area, by the time settlers began moving into the area in the late 1850s, most had moved to one of four reservations nearby.
Snohomish, which was earlier called Cadyville after founder Edson Cady, was initially developed to support the local agricultural economy. But it wasn’t long before it became a logging town thanks in part to the area’s lush forests of Douglas fir. In 1871, Cadyville became Snohomish.
While Snohomish is the largest antique community in Washington, it is still known as an agricultural center and on any given day one can find a bounty of plants, flowers and vegetables grown in the lush soil that surrounds the area.
The first tip to consider when visiting Snohomish is to arrive early. Parking is at a premium and on-street slots fill up quickly, particularly on the weekends. The city downtown association is working with city officials to alleviate this issue. There is a parking lot at the west end of the city that includes four EV charging stations. Another possibility is to park at the lot at the historic Carnegie Library, now the Snohomish Education Center. The lot is posted, but locals tell us as long as there isn’t a formal event going on its safe to park there. Use your judgement.
It’s unlikely our story will cover every single antique, vintage and collectible outlet, but enough to give you a flavor of this Washington heartland city.
Where you park will likely give you your first stopping off point. The Snohomish Exchange was a first stop since it was close by. This is a large building that comes with its own history dating back to 1950. Jim McGinty is the proprietor. Retired from construction work, McGinty said the building has been in the family since the 1970s.
“We are unique — kinda a second hand store that deals in just about anything that folks might be interested in. We really have a wide range of second hand stuff,” he said.
You’ll also find a good selection of furniture, glassware and dolls, and probably the kitchen sink, too, if you’re looking for one.
Away from the downtown core sits the largest antique and collectible store in Western Washington, the Star Center Mall. The former Snohomish Armory, it dates back to 1928 and collectors will find more than 150 vendors across five floors. Visiting the multi-tiered Star Center Mall not only is a great way to achieve your daily steps goal, but also gives you several flights of stairs to add to your routine.
Holly Regan, along with her husband, manages the multitude of vendors. Her father-in-law purchased the building in 1982, and she notes it’s been a destination for antique community for many years.
By Rusty Rae
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
By Rusty Rae
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