Out on the islands that poke their rocky shores about the waters of Penobscot Bay, you can watch the time of the world go by, from minute to minute, hour to hour, from day to day, season to season.
– Robert McCloskey, American writer and illustrator of children’s books, from Time of Wonder
I couldn’t leave Portland without exerting a herculean effort to visit the three vintage shops that I’ve had the pleasure of perusing in past summer trips. My efforts – in the form of frenzied cab rides from South Portland to downtown Portland and back to my work summit during my lunch break in record time – was totally worth it. (That was an appropriate mouthful!) I recommend not shooting through in the less than the two hours’ time that I did because you really need to leisurely look and enjoy. This is the requirement and beauty of all things vintage.
Proprietor Rita Prout-Farley opened Encore (521 Congress Street, Portland, 207.775.4275) in 1991 in Brunswick, Maine, but later moved to its current location, appropriately in a historic building built in 1856. Encore focuses on designer and select resale clothing, jewelry, and accessories from 1800 to the 1970s. A collector most of her life, Rita turned her love of fashion and collecting into her business. An apology to the wonderful sales woman who answered all of my questions – in my glee of being amidst vintage clothes and accessories, I forgot to ask for her name. Mille scuse! She graciously and patiently pulled out beautiful outfits for me to photograph. Encore is like a museum that you walk through in awe. Indeed, many outfits were used in films from yesteryear. Complete with tall wooden cabinets that house the antique and vintage jewelry, hats, purses, and shoes, Encore has been cited by Travel and Leisure Magazine as a one of its recommended vintage destinations in the country.
Material Objects (500 Congress Street, Portland, 207.774.1241) is just across the street from Encore and worth checking out the vintage dresses, especially from the 1960s era. This vintage and consignment shop also offers new goods such as jewelry.
My last stop was a street over and a few blocks down. Noah DeFilippis and Amy Teh silkscreen their original designs on t-shirts made from organic material, recycled paper greeting cards and journals, and other accessories. Two years ago this charming storefront opened up and Pinecone+Chickadee (6 Free Street, Portland, 207.772.9280) was born. Musician Noah and graphic designer and illustrator Amy, who are also married, have expanded their offerings with their own line of jewelry. They also have a great collection of vintage wares. Last summer I came across a green-plaid, plastic-covered cardboard carry-on in an oval shape with a strap. I had the same carry-on – though I called it my suitcase back then – when I was a girl. Thanks for the memories!