Most long-time locals think of Sellwood, Oregon as a seperate city from Portland but in fact it is now actually a Portland neighborhood. I guess I am one of those older Oregonians. It can be confusing because Portland combines Sellwood, Westmoreland, and Eastmoreland into one neighborhood called Sellwood-Moreland.
Sellwood has always had a flavor of its own, a bit different from Portland. There was a time when it was a bit rundown and many of the middle-class homes on the shady tree-lined streets were not kept up. Then gradually people discovered that these old homes had a lot of charm and were a bargain to buy and refurbish. Plus the area has an abundance of beautiful parks and places to be outdoors enjoying nature. Just a good all around place for families. Westmoreland is similar. As one writer put it, "In Westmoreland, people mow their own lawns. In Eastmoreland, they have a gardener."
There are some unique shops in Sellwood where you can find things out of the ordinary. The Portland Homestead Supply Company has canning, preserving, and pickling supplies. They have everything you need to make your own cheese, yogurt, wine, beer, soap, candles, and every kind of food grinder you can possibly thing of.
At the Savory Spice Shop you can get freshly ground herbs and spices, salts, and extracts plus dehydrated mushrooms, specialty sugars and more. A good place to get a gift for that gourmet cook on your Christmas list.
The Silver Lining sells top-brand resale women's clothing and accessories. A great place to save some money on expensive clothing.
Tilde is an unusual shop carrying accessories for the body and home - paper goods, handbags, jewelry, tableware, and art. The shop has been featured on MSNBC for its professional window displays.
If you have been buying socks from Sock Dreams online you will be pleased to find out they actually have a bricks and mortar store and it is in Sellwood. As the name suggests, you can purchase any kind of sock your heart desires at this store. If you are not already familiar with Sock Dreams take a look at their website.
Stars and Spendid
When I think about spending a day "antiquing", my term for going antique shopping, Sellwood is always first on my list of places to visit. For years and years it has been my favorite place to go in Portland for architectual salvage. You can spend hours combing through the stuff in 1874 House Antiques if you are refurbishing an older home. I will never forget the day I found the perfect old door knobs that I had been wanting for ages.
Here is a list of antique and collectibles shops you can visit. There are more. You can't help but see them when you are there.
You won't have to go without your coffee fix in Sellwood. Besides the usual Starbucks there is Blue Kangaroo Coffee Roasters or you can visit Grand Central Bakery and have a delicious pastry along with that coffee and take a fresh-baked loaf of bread home for later.
If you prefer tea, visit Jade Bistro Teahouse and Patisserie for a cup of classic black tea, ginger peach tea or lemon hibiscus tea. At lunch and dinner time you can also enjoy Vietnamese-Thai dishes prepared by Lucy Eklund, a native of Viet Nam.
If it is pizza you are hungry for, try Pizzicato for the usual favorite combinations or try Salsiccia Roma with fennel sausage, red onions and roasted peppers. Or the Puttanesca with fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and feta on garlic/olive oil base. If pizza is not your thing have one of their delicious Paninis and a salad.
Some say Gino's is the best Italian Restaurant outside of San Francisco. Cioppino is a favorite as is the Vongole, a classic sauce of fish broth and manila clams on spaghetti. Try the Walnut Tart Coconut Cream Pie for dessert.
Sellwood Riverfront Park is just a nice place to be on a sunny day but there are plenty of shady areas if that is what you want. You have good views of the Willamette River and depending on the river level, a nice sandy beach along the water's edge.
There are picnic tables, a playground for the kids, an off-leash area for dogs, restrooms, a boat dock, and plenty of walking/biking trails. In fact, you can walk/bike all the way to Portland following the Willamette River ending just past the Ross Island Bridge on the paved Springwater Corridor. On your way you will pass Oak Park Amusement Park, Sellwood Park swimming pool, and Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.
During the summer months there are free concerts on Monday evenings. This year the schdule is:
Concerts begin at 6:30 pm.
Westmoreland Park is a good sized park with lots of grassy areas. There are picnic tables, diamonds for baseball, areas good for informal soccer play, and playgrounds for the kids. There are two shallow ponds one of which is popular with RC boat enthusiasts. The park is heavily populated with ducks and Canadian Geese which can be fun to watch and feed but be sure you check the bottom of your shoes before you get back in your car.
The rhododendron garden is a fantastic place to visit in the spring and summer months when the rhodies are in bloom but it is also nice other times of the year as well. You will find small streams and lakes, paved and unpaved paths, little waterfalls, and thousands of rhododendrons and azaleas. This is a popular venue for outdoor weddings. There is an entry charge April to Labor Day of $4 except on Monday and Tuesday. Dogs on leash are welcome.
Oaks Pioneer Church isn't really a park but it has park-like gardens. The church is a poplular place for both weddings and funerals. The church was built in 1851 and was first located downriver in the city of Milwaukie. It was moved to this location in 1960.
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