Do you know of this Portland treasure trove?
On Friday, I stopped by Monticello Antique Marketplace on the first day of the Fall Premiere Show, a show in which both regular and guest vendors bring out some of their favorite new finds.
Walking through the huge storefront of perhaps eighty different mini-booths, I was reminded why I love this place so much.
Whomever is picking the vendors here is doing a great job — each booth is unique and filled with treasures and to my mind, almost all of it is priced fairly.
Hands down, this is my favorite place to shop for antique treasures in Portland.
Let me show you why.
One of the first booths you will see faces the few steps down to the main market hall and it’s one of my favorites.
It’s filled with many European and 1920’s and 30’s antiques. In some ways it reminded me of a miniscule Marche aux Puces–the famous flea market in St. Ouen on the outskirts of Paris.
Look at the French enamel street sign and the old office supplies.
And take a gander at these produce labels, some almost a hundred years old and still in remarkably lively shape.
Man I love old fonts and graphics.
Witness also this creepy-lovely mannequin I saw there.
She looked like something out of a Henry Miller book — a courtesan that looks upon penniless expatriate writers with a good measure of skepticism and a tinch of interest.
I loved this French grocery sign. It was over two feet long and framed beautifully.
(Again with the beautiful fonts.)
There are so many things that caught my eye at Monticello, like this bookcase awash with turquoise pottery and glass jars.
Part of me just wanted to slap my credit card on the counter and just buy this whole bookshelf outright.
And I saw so many other enticing pieces I wanted to adopt, too.
What a darling little set of French enamel pots; if I didn’t already have about fifteen of my own, I would have asked for it as a Christmas present.
Some of the vendors had even pulled out some interesting vintage Halloween picks.
The main hall has the small booths, and the large sun-lit garden showroom in the back is where the larger displays filled with garden salvage and larger pieces of furniture reside.
This display with the vintage farmers market sign, striped chair and fluff-tinged plant was to die for.
There was so much to see in this giant room, each booth a carefully curated story.
This fountain was gorgeously mossy.
I adored the mixture of birdbath, wrought iron here and antlers here.
Gaze upon all that lovely white porcelain and look carefully for the French harvest basket and vintage mannequin in the background.
Whomever is doing these displays is a visual genius — each one is so transporting and evocative. Many times they even have whole rooms set up (sometimes inside homemade wood huts and one-room houses or with two story drapes to complete the illusion of seclusion).
Walking through Monticello is like walking on a movie set and I always walk away inspired by the dazzling tableaus.
There were so many things I was tempted to bring home, but I did end up with one purchase.
For fifteen dollars, I ended up with one setting of hard-to-find Bakelite flatware (atop a pretty sea foam colored linen I bought at a garage sale that day for another dollar).
Of late I’ve only been seeing the rare knife, so to find all three in roughly the same deep cherry (and not dark red) hue was a happy surprise for me.
I was so excited about my finds and how good they look together. This is what I will use when I am making breakfast or lunch just for me and I want to use something special.
Oh, and one last thing.
On weekends and during special shows such as this, a full-sized, stand-alone popcorn machine is in full drive, cranking out hot kernels of goodness for patrons to enjoy while they wander the hallways.
“Help yourself”, a sign beckons.
You know I will.
Vintage and free snacks?
Welcome to my