A friend of mine from Washington, DC was driving to Maine for her best friend’s wedding. En route, she called the bride-to-be to remind her to gather “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue,” as the saying goes. “Yikes!” the bride exclaimed. She had items that qualified as new, borrowed, and blue, but nothing old. She implored my friend to bring something old. The tricky part, though, was that she was driving through an unfamiliar area, with only 20 minutes to spare. It seemed an impossible task. And then a Eureka moment: She searched online for a flea market and found the Portland Flea-for-All, which happened to be nearby.
Redirecting the GPS, she sped to the Portland Flea-for-All and, directly inside the entrance, saw a vendor selling vintage charms and knickknacks.
She struck gold! Within minutes, she found a coin with a symbol that represented happiness and small enough to be tucked in a bridal outfit. With such an immediate score, my friend had time to spare to browse for other vintage items.
Hearing her story, I decided to check out the Portland Flea-for-All myself. Sure enough, as soon as I walked in, I found the stall filled with charms and French-themed items that had been my friend’s salvation. Located in the Bayside neighborhood of Portland, the Flea-for-All occupies a 3-story building and features about 50 different local artists and collectors. The market is heavy on vintage, antique, and handmade items.
Directly next door to the Flea-for-All is another great find: Portland Architectural Salvage. Spread across the building’s four floors, architectural antiques and decorative accessories are remarkably well organized.
High ceilings and well-worn wooden floors accommodate large salvage items.
About 10 years ago Alice Dunn moved her architectural salvage business from Munjoy Hill to this much larger location in Bayside. The prices are not inexpensive, but the selection is substantial: stained-glass windows, wooden tables, bathroom plumbing fixtures, statuary antiques, vintage suitcases, hardware fixtures, large doors with period trim, and Victorian lighting.
A customer hauling a pile of items including aluminum deer antlers said, “Half the stuff I’m buying I don’t know what I’ll be using it for, but I’ll find something.”
While browsing the flea market and salvage shop, I developed a ravenous hunger. I asked a man with a bundle of vinyl records for a recommendation nearby where I could grab a bite and then return for more shopping. He pointed across the street and suggested Bayside Bowl. A bowling alley? Really? Hard to imagine a bowling alley serving decent food. From the outside it didn’t look all that enticing, but once inside it far exceeded expectations.
Bayside Bowl has lanes for 10-pin, as well as a spacious lounge area serving freshly prepared food that’s remarkably good. The bar food menu includes burgers, macaroni & cheese with a variety of additions, veggie burritos, vegetarian chili, and crunchy pickled vegetables. Many customers were enjoying a game and a local beer while their partners were scavenging at the shops across the street. The place has a good vibe to it, and there are plans to add a roof deck.
Next time you’re in Portland, Maine, check out this neighborhood in Portland which is dense with great finds whether you’re looking for something new, old, borrowed, blue, or brewed!
125 Kennebec Street, Portland, ME. 04101
Open Friday 12pm-5 pm; Sat & Sun 10 am-5 pm
131 Preble St., Portland, ME. 04101
Open Monday to Friday 10 am-5 pm; Saturday 10 am-4 pm; closed Sunday
Located at 58 Alder St., Portland, ME 04101
Open Monday to Thursday 4 pm-11 pm; Friday 4 pm-midnight; Saturday noon to midnight; Sunday noon-11 pm
Eclectic line-up of music events most Friday and Saturday evenings