Without much time to explore due to the crush of schoolwork, I wanted an adventure that would offer instant gratification in the form of something I could take home with me, rather than a lazy exploration through a park or other Salem attraction.
This week’s escape took me in search of sweets in the Salem area, with a visit to both the locally owned Sugar. Sugar. in downtown Salem, and Candy Tyme, an Oregon-Washington chain located in the Lancaster Mall.
Sugar. Sugar. is a tiny blue and white storefront with a layout straight out of a Pinterest dreamscape. Color-organized glass jars of sweets line the pale blue walls, and a display case at the front counter offers cupcakes and baked goods. Unfortunately, there were only a few cupcakes on display the day I went.
Operated by people who clearly care about details, every aspect of the shop was carefully organized and color coordinated, right down to the blue and white display cakes in the front window.
The candy selection is full of familiar favorites: orange slices, gumballs, Jordan almonds and gummy sharks among others. The candy is also fresh, which is not always the case when sweets are offered in bulk.
Reasonably priced and wrapped in quirky packaging, a selection from Sugar. Sugar. would make a great gift for deserving sugar-requiring people, or simply for yourself.
The atmosphere and decor in Candy Tyme, on the other hand, is louder and more geared toward children. With a wider array of candy, trinkets and daily samples, it is an equally technicolor experience that will give you mild nostalgia for the middle school mall experience.
Lollipops with (dried) scorpions inside and a small selection of trash-themed candies definitely set it apart from Sugar. Sugar.
Candy Tyme also offers a dazzling array of jellybeans, chocolates and other bulk candies, as well as fudge and a massive Pez collection. Novelty items include a sour powder mixing station and a Jurassic Park-themed set of candies in test tubes.
Bright, fun and less expensive than its counterpart, Candy Tyme is a nostalgic visit to the early 2000s, just as Sugar. Sugar. is a nostalgic, slightly hipstery visit to the 1950s classic candy shop.
Either way, you will enjoy a brief and presumably much-needed sweet respite from school.