photos by mary preiser potts
Kalama Middle/High School was made famous in 2008 by scenes shot in the parking lot for the first Twilight movie. Looking up at the imposing brick building built around 1938, it’s not difficult to imagine vampires lurking about.
Long before Twilight, however, Kalama was a destination town for folks crazy about antiques. A short stroll down First Street reveals about half a dozen antiques and collectibles shops, each with a unique flavor.
Easy day trips from Kalama include Astoria, Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier National Park.
724 Northeast Frontage Road
This tiny coffee shop is located just off I-5. Not only is it convenient to get to, but the double-paned glass keeps out a surprising amount of highway noise. It is cozily decorated with antiques and an impressive floor mural that runs throughout the shop. We sipped delicious, local Chinook Coffee Roasters coffee while playing a relaxed (and long) game of chess that unfortunately ended in a stalemate. They also offer baked goodies and ice cream in addition to an exhaustive list of espresso drinks and coffee.
Marine Park and Louis Rasmussen Day Use Park
Port of Kalama
This park runs along the Columbia River where fishermen line the sandy, driftwood populated shore to fish for steelhead, chinook and sturgeon. This park boasts the tallest one-piece totem pole in the Pacific Northwest. At 140 feet, it’s a pretty impressive sight. What’s truly impressive, though, is the day use park. Five acres stretch out from the walking path along the river. Huge grassy fields, picnic tables, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, as well as a playground are all conveniently located right above the beach.
Antique Deli & Pastry Shoppe
413 North First Street
The Antique Deli and Pastry Shoppe was recommended to us several times by local shop owners. As evidenced by the steady stream of people coming and going, it’s a popular place to eat. We ordered sandwiches at the counter and found an empty table near the window. A tuna sandwich with homemade potato salad and a turkey breast sandwich with a side of homemade pasta salad came to us lightning quick and on the thickest homemade wheat bread I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I was a little daunted by those slabs of bread, but taking my first bite, it was clear that the bread was soft and housed the tuna salad inside just right. The women working there were friendly and efficient and, though it was busy, did not neglect to thank us when we left.
Lee’s Attic Antiques and Collectibles
413 North First Street
Lee’s Attic is located inside the Hendrickson Antique Mall, along with The Country Gentleman and the Antique Deli and Pastry Shoppe. Curated by owner Lee Bunn, the selection includes a variety of old tools and a case full of baseball memorabilia. You’ll also find vintage clothing, kitchen items, glass, linens and toys.
Old Tin Roof Antiques
175 North First Street
Old Tin Roof Antiques is a mix of creatively displayed used and new home décor items. Because scented candles are part of the mix, it smells surprisingly unlike an antique store. Signs, letterpress letters and small maps, as well as furniture, kitchen items and a phone booth were among the interesting finds. According to owner Craig Rogers, holiday décor like molded plastic santas, are some of the hottest items he sells during the holiday season.
135 North First Street
Judy’s Antiques is an iconic antique store – musty, filled with treasures of all kinds and wonderful! Judy’s offers a great variety of just about everything from furniture and glass to antique clocks, radios, toys, tapestries, clothing, postcards and more. Owner Judy Swain, has 28 years experience in the antique business. She got her start picking items from the area open dump and selling the treasures she found at garage sales. From there, she sold at flea markets, owned a store in Longview and, finally, opened this spacious location in Kalama two years ago.
Rivertown Antique Market
155 Elm Street
Located on the main floor of an enormous renovated church, the Rivertown Antique Market is well worth the short walk from First Street. If you’re looking for large furniture items or antiques from around the world, this is the place. Some impressive pieces included a Thai ‘King’s’ Throne, a painted Chinese room divider, several large, religious-themed stained glass windows, an oversized spinning wheel and an Egyptian triptych.
226 North First Street
And, because downtown Kalama has more to offer than antiques, I also stopped by Grace’s Place, a full service beauty salon run by Grace Harris, a Kalama High School graduate (class of 2001). Grace is a multi-creative woman who not only specializes in hair, but is a singer/songwriter as well. You can find Grace’s music at www.reverbnation.com/graceharris. Check out the sidebar for more of Kalama’s young entrepreneurs.
Don’t miss the rest of the antique stores on First Street: Lucky Penny Antiques and Collectibles, Drew and Davis Antiques, Memory Lane Antique Mall and The Country Gentleman. And be sure to visit the young entrepreneurs keeping Kalama vibrant: Jenn Davenport Photography (447 N. First Street, 360-431-3673), Angela Nicole’s Photography (175 North First Street, 360-673-2177) and Kalama Skin and Body Day Spa (150 Fir Street, 360-673-7546).
PS: Check out our theme story on page 11 for awesome antiquing opportunities in downtown Vancouver.