Here in California we dutifully recycle our leaves, lawn clippings and tree trimmings, our newspapers and magazines and even our food scraps. However, many of us don’t think about recycling clothing or shoes. Antiques are fashionable to collect, but recycled vintage fashion? This holiday season I tasked myself with giving recycled holiday gifts. I selected Morro Bay as my shopping destination because the coastal beach town has a high concentration of antique and vintage thrift shops clustered together in two areas.
Thrift store alley
My shopping spree started on Main Street and moved along to Morro Bay Blvd. The other area for antiques is located near Highway 41 and 2200 Main Street. I needed to purchase gifts for guys and gals, hard to please fashionistas, baby boomers and my 90 year old mother. Of course, I couldn’t help picking up a couple of items for myself. I’m pleased to say that I did find something for everyone and I kept under my $500 holiday shopping budget.
“I like thrift store shopping because it’s about being conscious about where you are buying things and who you are giving your money to,” says Kaya Moody of Castaways.
At the Summer Cottage, the store is like a treasure trove for all occasions. Owner Kay Crocker says the name Summer Cottage came from the fact that Morro Bay always has perfect California weather. “It’s an older community that has come full circle,” notes Crocker. We’re a throw back to the 50’s and 60’s. There’s a retro feel to the whole town.”
Vinyl Isle is a perfect example of retro. The funky Morro Bay music store is home to hundreds of vinyl records and has rock and roll promotional posters tacked to the ceiling. I could easily see The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia walking into this green-colored cottage to check out the record selection if he were alive today.
When I walked into Castaways thrift store, Bob Marley was playing on the radio and three fashionable young ladies were flipping through racks of clothes like line cooks slinging hash in the kitchen. They were quick, efficient and discerning in their intentions. As one held up an item of clothing for closer inspection, the two friends quickly weighed in with a yea or nay. It’s good to have girlfriends along on recycled shopping outings and these ladies were professional shoppers.
“I love this store!” said one of the girls with delight. “I always find something that is perfect for me.” And, indeed, she was rocking the sporty black leather and wool cap that she had plucked from a display table minutes earlier.
I was thrilled that I scored a brown leather jacket for my brother, a gorgeous pair of snake skin cowboy boots for my college student son and plenty of name brand work clothing items for my recently graduated daughter. The boots I brought home for my husband were claimed and on his feet before they made it under the Christmas tree and I couldn’t resist wearing my hand knit scarf on a recent trip cruising along the Danube River in Europe. No worries – I will be reclaiming and wrapping these presents (with recycled paper) and stashing them until the holidays.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Morro Bay besides antique and thrift store shopping. But when it Rome, right?
Article, photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Morro Bay Tourism Bureau, while researching this travel story.