Recently, Giselle and I took a break from our normal routine at Rare Device. We’d been itching for an inspiration trip and Portland seemed like an ideal destination. Many of our vendors, some of them former Bay area artists, are located there so it seemed like a no-brainer to take a quick trip north. It turned out to be the perfect choice for us. We gained a fresh perspective, saw some fantastic shops and visited both RD vendors and artists.
We arrived full of enthusiasm with a mile long list of shops, restaurants, and the prerequisite coffee purveyors, essential since we needed to fuel up for our daunting agenda. The weather was perfect, the flowers were blooming and we had just the right amount of stops planned for our 3-day tour. I’ve made a list below of just a few of the highlights of the trip, with links for you to check out the various places we saw and dined in.
I don’t want to forget to thank everyone who passed on tips and must-see Portland destinations. We couldn’t hit them all this time around but we are dreaming of another visit filled with blooming dogwoods, sunny skies, and unique shops.
- Seaworthy PDX studio visit with the lovely Marisa (stay tuned for a special blog post about that!)
- Hood Strawberry and Banana Pudding Ice Cream at Fifty Licks. There may have been and an emergency mid-day drop-in to satisfy a craving.
- A stop at Palace, a shop with just about everything. They stock lots of basics from prints to socks to kitchen essentials. Their tag line is ‘stuff that makes you happy!’ and we couldn’t agree more.
- A visit to The Ones Shop, where we just so happened to catch Teresa Robinson of Tiro Tiro (an RD favorite jewelry brand) minding the store. The Ones Shop design collective is the conception of longtime Portland apparel designer Liza Rietz. Because it’s run directly by the designers, they benefit in getting 90% profit from the sales of their products.
- The last-minute behind-the-scenes tour of Betsy & Iya’s sparkling new workshop. We were shown the many steps involved in hand-making the jewelry pieces that we carry in our store.
- Drop-dead beautiful plants in the gorgeous Pistils. How many plants in your carry-on is too many?
- Morning walks among the trees and flowers in Laurelhurst Park and environs. ‘Spot the most beautiful Dogwood’ turned into our favorite game.
- Swapping tips with former RD owner Lisa Congdon in her sparkling new sunlit retail store/studio. A must visit for any fans of Lisa’s work, she’s got a selection of her original art as well as her stationery, prints and other products available here.
- All the saturated color and variety of products in longtime downtown favorite, Woonwinkel
- Noticing goods by Bay area makers Luvhaus Ceramics and Abacus Row at the lovely Beam and Anchor.
- The over-the-top Cargo for the sheer joy of it. The store is filled to the brim with all kinds of treasures from around the world. It’s easy to get lost in all there is to see here.
- The minimalist vibe and beautiful curation at Spartan Shop.
- All the delicious food and relaxing atmosphere at Tusk. I’m still dreaming about the baked cheese with potatoes and spicy tomato.
- The almost decadent amount of plants and flowers filling the Solabee stores. It was impossible not to stick our faces into the gigantic bouquets of cut flowers, allergies be damned! Solabee is a full-service floral studio and curated plant shop and there are two locations in Portland.
- Fresh Mex at Guero, an ideal spot for a quick lunch in between shopping stops.
- Canoe with its impeccably clean presentation and a delightful selection of Japanese products