Three Amazing Shops Worth Seeking Out in Salem
Last year, during the month of October, I discovered several local stores. After we realized the theater costume sale we were looking forward to was too far away, Just’In found a wonderful stuffed-to-the-brim costume/vintage shop for me called Lil’ Gypsy.
There, I got a pair of grey Arabian pants, of the belly-dancing or Aladdin variety and a florescent green, floor-length, swirling and sweeping skirt that just can’t help being polyester. Also, a pair of kelly green gloves to finish off my Halloween costume that year; I was an orange flowerpot while Toby was a bumblebee and Just’In was our gardener. And the finishing touches on my costume were thanks to this shop. Later, I went back and bought a pair of saddle shoes, a red dress with a tiny yellow flower print and built-in yellow corset, and a long hippy dress with medieval sleeves and a large velvet belt.
The store itself is kind of amazing; its stock is clearly and carefully considered and is chock full of quality. The proprietess is specific in her purchases for the shop, and the things there reflect that. For a girl who is used to wading through thrifty crap to find the good stuff, this is creamy, immediately deliciousness. The last thing I love? It’s clearly local because all the signs are handmade.
I also bought a desk at a wonderful furniture shop called Serendipity. They often have listings on Craigslist, which is where I discovered them. I’ve mentioned the store to two lived-here-for-twenty-years Oregonians, at different times & in different places, and neither never heard of it. Man, are they missing out. The store is an old house and every nook and cranny is filled with things to buy, things to look at, things to handle and admire. Things that are pretty, vintage, or just cool. And all of it is artfully arranged.
It’s a consignment shop originally owned by three sisters. They have lots of furniture, but everything on, around, and inside the furniture is also for sale. It’s also definitely a girley shop, but Just’In wouldn’t at all mind owning the house they use.
Our last shop stop is Engleberg Antiks. While my in-laws were in town, we breezed through their basement chock-full of furniture in the search of a toy box. That basement is stuffed, just stuffed, and all of it in excellent condition. I stopped, in our breezing action, many times, to admire and comment, but didn’t see anything that immediately fit the bill. We went back later and picked out something we had admired, but hadn’t seriously considered. That’s how furniture shopping goes sometimes.
Engleberg’s not only has furniture, but it’s also the largest antique mall here in Salem. It’s essentially a consignment shop and each of the businesses with a nook handles their merchandise differently; however, even if you find things that are questionably antique, you’ll also find something that fascinates you. Lately, I’ve felt attracted to the long kid-leather gloves, the fragile pillbox hats, and the vintage toys–for Toby, of course.
Then again, if you buy toys for yourself at Engleberg’s Antiks and you’re an adult, I wouldn’t think less of you at all.
Engleberg’s is at 148 Liberty St. Be wary: Liberty Street is a northbound one-way in the downtown area of Salem.
Serendipity is at 890 Saginaw Street; parking is shared with a restaurant called Kwan’s, which I’ve also heard is excellent.
Lil’ Gypsy is at 1389 N. Broadway; if parking in front of the store is taken, there’s plenty of parking behind the store. Take a look at their new and gorgeous mural on the side of the building.
Kate is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. As much as she’s learned to seek out the subtle colors of the desert, Kate has found that she really is a tree girl at heart. She posts on parents’ tips for kid-friendly traveling havens from a curious newcomer’s perspective; Kate is a very recent resident of Salem and thrilled to be here. Kate writes personally and with just as much enthusiasm here.