Sunday, April 10, 2011

(Sort of) Special Trip: Washburn, WI Part I

As we initially conceived of Special Trips as documenting our thrifting adventures to places we have not explored in the past, I hesitate to suggest that the next few "Special Trip" posts I will be doing are, indeed, "special," as my friend Mary and I have been treating ourselves for several years to the joys that are thrifting on Lake Superior. Still, nothing quite beats traveling to the sleepy town of Washburn, WI during a cabin weekend to find deals, deals, deals! So...I present you with:


There is a magical place that resides in this town, called the ABC Thrift Shop. This is exactly the sort of store I imagined when I first envisioned Special Trips—a small, cramped space, filled with beyond cheap items that are a mix of true trash and true treasures, all overseen by the sweetest, strangest Northwoods elderly women you have ever met (in the past, we stumbled upon a bag sale, during which the volunteers were helping us bag up our treasures as we threw them across the room while instructing us to "not drop [our] ovaries on the floor!" We must have made quite the impression on them, because when we returned a year later, they remembered us*).

ABC Thrift Store

The sign outside ABC Thrift Store—notice the local, independent hardware and pharmacy signs? This town is hanging on!

On the Streets of Washburn

"Peace" signs that adorn the light poles along the main drag in Washburn. Keep in mind that we were there in March. This means that either the town is full of pacifists or that they are really lazy when it comes to removing holiday decorations. Either way, it is a good sign.

Every time I go to ABC Thrift Shop, I do not leave disappointed. In fact, I always leave with tons of items that cost so little, I may as well have stolen them (I did not). This trip was no exception. While our favorite ladies were not volunteering that day, the ones who were exclaimed that we found "some really good stuff!" (they seemed surprised that such things even existed in the shop). While we were shopping, they also had an extended conversation about how they could listen to John Denver "all day long."

Red Sweater
Red Sweater (detail)

I always find great tops at the ABC Thrift Shop. Priced at $1, you can come away with a ton of shirts that will come in handy someday, even if you only marginally like them(I speak from experience on this matter). This red knit sweater top is one that I was a bit "eh" about, but decided that the sweet coloring was worth it. Now I am glad I bought it—I know it will be one of those pieces I end up getting a lot of mileage out of.

Blue and White Top
Blue and White Top (tag)

I actually love this top. The color blocking, the buttons on the shoulders and the tag?! The tag/label "Colors That Fit" is so genius that I might have bought this for the tag alone. It was only fate that allowed me to have all the other things with it (though, really, I wouldn't expect anything less than pure awesomeness from a brand called that).

I find belts to be one of the most elusive things to thrift. There are always tons of them at thrift stores, but it's always hard to sift through them and most of them are usually crap. When you do find one you like, it is often hard to untangle them from the other belts, and even if you do find a good one and manage to free it from the jumble of belts, there is a very low likelihood of it fitting where you want it to fit on your body. So imagine my excitement when I found not one, but two, totally bitching belts that actually fit around my waist (not my hips, a la 2001)!

Little Brown Leather Belt

This skinny brown leather belt has seen better days, but it doesn't bother me in the least how beat up it is. I can never, ever find "go to" belts, the ones that are simple and can be the perfect subtle addition to an outfit. This one fits the bill (and, as an extra bonus, I am wearing it right now).

Cool Buckle Brown Belt

Isn't the buckling device on this belt amazing? Definitely a bit more hardcore than the skinny belt, but just as great of a find. The best part? Each of these only set me back 50¢!

Denim Tie Skirt
Denim Tie Skirt (top detail)

Testament to how there is not much thrifting competition in these parts, Mary remembered this skirt from the last time we were at the shop, six months ago. This time it really caught my eye. The tie, double snap and elastic combo at the top sealed the deal for me.

I ended up walking away with all of this, plus FOUR other tops for about $8. Nothing could beat that! Or so we thought...stay tuned for more Washburn deals!

*True story.


  1. Oh man I can hardly keep from spilling the beans about part 2!!

  2. MARY DON'T YOU DARE! (in the shrillest voice possible)

  3. are you making that scary chipmunk face too? Don't worry. I don't thrift and tell.