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Troutdale General Store (Troutdale)
If you’re hankering for a little nostalgia, it’s time for a trip to The Troutdale General Store.
An easy half-hour drive east of Portland on the I-84 (full disclosure: It’s easy on the weekends when there’s little traffic), Troutdale offers a taste of Main Street USA on her Historic Columbia River Highway, with “The Troutdale General Store, Confectionery and Ice Cream Parlor” seated as the jewel in this particular crown.
Built in 2001 by owners Jodi and Terry Smoke, the shop’s 7,000 square feet are divided among three floors filled with antiques for ambiance and both contemporary and retro gifts that are as fun to browse as they are to buy. (I couldn’t resist The Betty Crocker Cookbook For Boys.)
On the main floor, an early 1900’s soda fountain beckons, and you can enjoy a cone, milkshake or fancy sundae for $2.50 to $6.95. There are only eight flavors of Cascade Glacier ice cream from which to choose, but the sundae selections are creative.
An espresso bar caters to more sophisticated palates, and the coffee goes nicely with one of the many pastries you can order at the café. If you’re hungry, a tasty selection of breakfasts and lunches are served and may be enjoyed in one of three dining areas—outside, indoors on the main level or upstairs where you can also spend a good deal of time poking around the home gift items. Children’s meals are budget friendly, though very limited in selection, at $3.95, and adults can order half sandwiches served with house-made salt-and-pepper chips for $4.95. Soups, salads, wraps and full sandwiches are $6.95 to $8. Both the breakfast and lunch menus are available on the General Store’s web site.
In the candy section, you can take a trip down memory lane, stocking up on goodies you may not have had since the sixties, if you were around then, or splurge on one of the animal-shaped truffles in the confectionery case.
On the basement level, the General Store has approximately 2,000 square feet devoted to Christmas year-round. You can stock up on ornaments and displays in the middle of summer. Halloween and Easter get more than a nod too, and the store upstairs is decorated to reflect the current holiday.
As charming as the General Store is, it’s not the only reason to make the trip to Troutdale. Along Historic Columbia River Highway you’ll find other interesting shops (Celebrate Me Home has a fabulous baby section upstairs), restaurants, bronze sculptures perfect for posing with and a park in which to picnic or enjoy the small water feature in the summer. On our most recent visit, an elegant hawk flew low enough to give us a great glimpse of its wingspan.
Don’t miss the Columbia Gorge Premium Outlets, either; you’ll pass right by on your way to Historic Columbia River Highway. The Outlet mall is located at 450 NW 257th Way.
The Troutdale General Store is on the corner of 289 E. Historic Columbia River Hwy and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. –5 p.m. You can get more info at www.troutdalegeneralstore.com.
Wendy Warren lives in Portland with her adventure-loving family. She writes romance novels for Harlequin and Entangled Indulgence and is one half of the popular blog Too Hot Mamas.
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