Lunch and Antique Shopping Between Portland and Seattle

When was the last time you made a stop on your ride between Portland and Seattle, or vice versa? Had you asked me this question a week ago my answer would be - never. I never thought to explore what is out there on this section of highway I-5.

This weekend I joined my friend Karen Maguire on a business trip to Portland. Karen is an antique dealer who is also a collector of old postcards. On our way back to Seattle Karen introduced me to two places that I’m very happy to share with you here.

First we stopped for lunch in Chehalis, WA at Jeremy’s Farm to Table restaurant. This place offers indoor seating in a big brick building, where the kitchen is part of the open space, or outdoor tables in the front-patio. The restaurant offers fresh food from local farms and also has a small grocery where you can buy fresh farm produce. 

After lunch we continued to the next town – Centralia. I have to admit that the only reason I ever heard about Centralia is because it is mentioned in the weather forecast on the news.  This weekend, thanks to Karen, I learned that Tower Avenue in Centralia is a big antique center.  To our surprise, even the local hardware store, on the corner of Tower Ave. and Magnolia St., had an antique corner. The theme of antiquity in Centralia was also visible in the street: there was a rusty vintage car in the parking lot, and an old blue bus was standing on the side of the street. 

In the Seattle area the city of Snohomish is considered to be the antique capital of the Northwest. House Beautiful magazine picked it to be one of the best towns for antiques in America. Karen told me that Tacoma also has many antique stores, and that Puyallup attracts many antique dealers from Japan who work with "Americana" (you might bump into them shopping locally in our small towns the week before large antique shows like the one held at Portland Expo July 16th and 17th). Because Centralia is not very well known as an antique center, the prices there are relatively low. We found a table and a small cabinet for $50 each. By the end of the day, after we had spent several hours walking from one store to another, Karen and I walked to the car carrying several findings to add to her collection.

Next time when you drive between the Emerald City to the City of Roses, take some time to explore what is between them. Even if you are not looking for Antiques, it’s still an interesting experience to visit the many stores and have a glimpse of the local history.

For those of you who are interested in antiques and want to know the prices Karen paid for her Centralia “pickers” (top photo):

-Vintage “Dixie Queen” tobacco tin in blue wicker design - $9.
-Vintage yellow coated wire egg gathering basket - $19.
-Unusual hand painted pitcher in the shape of a Duck, made in Portugal - $12.  Later Karen determined that these kind of pitchers were imported and sold by Gump’s.
Karen’s newly purchased antiques will be in her space at Pacific Antique Galleries in Seattle later this month.