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Aurora, Ore.: 5 Things We Love

A magnet for antique hunters, Aurora is a perfect day trip from Portland.

interior of Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage, image
Photo caption
Find old treasures at Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage.

Visiting Aurora is like poking around your grandma’s attic—if your grandma was the coolest woman of her generation. Half an hour south of Portland, this small town makes a perfect day trip for travelers on the prowl for antiques. Area code is 503.

1  Experience the state’s first utopian community, established in 1856, at the Old Aurora Colony Museum. Learn about founder Dr. Wilhelm Keil, and the group’s impact on food, music, and culture.

2  Plunder the curiosities at Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage, where Hollywood set designers scout Americana. Take home a vintage apothecary jar, a Victorian door knocker, or 19thcentury carousel art.

3  Count the ceramic rabbits at White Rabbit Bakery, a stylish spot with a dessert case of gluten-free delights. Nosh on caramel apple scones or dig into a Gouda, ham, and apple sandwich topped with béchamel.

4  Cowboy up at Deer Creek Mercantile, a shop selling taxidermy, antique saddles and tack, and frontier art. You can even schedule a tintype photograph portrait here.

5  Back in the 21st century, sample an aromatic pinot grigio or bold cabernet in downtown’s Pheasant Run Winery, next door to Aurora Artisan, a fine place to peruse work made by local craftspeople.

Photography by Greg Vaughn

This article was first published in September 2014 and updated in February 2019. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.