Victoria Mansion is probably the best known of all the museums and landmarks in Portland, and there is likely no better time to see the mansion in all its opulent Italianate glory than at the holiday season. But what a lot of people – especially local people – don’t realize is that they have an absolutely fabulous gift shop.
The gift shop is located in what was the carriage house, and can be visited at any time the museum is open, without needing to actually enter the mansion. Just walk past the mansion entrance, up the cobblestone driveway, through the right-hand set of double doors, and you will enter one of the most unique and lovely shops in the entire city.
The shop is small, but there are surprises around every corner. They have a wonderful selection of holiday ornaments, a choice selection of books (mainly related to topics complementing the history of the mansion), a lovely selection of children’s toys and books, and wherever your eye falls the elegant displays strongly evoke the holiday spirit.
Near the back door (which is the door you enter when you enter from the mansion itself) is a small table filled with items “inspired by” the mansion and it’s decor. On this table I found two items that I highly recommend for anyone who is looking for a gift that truly evokes the spirit of historic Portland. The first is a set of 12 coasters (very reasonably priced at $7.95) with images drawn from the roundels in the mansion’s stained glass windows. The second is holiday ornaments bearing them images of the cherub-like putti who adorn the spectacular skylight that illuminates the mansion’s central hallway. While there are many other fabulous (and occasionally funky) items in the shop, these two, for me, stand out as being thoughtful and useful gifts which are particularly evocative of this important Portland landmark.