It’s an unfair title, I can’t really put Portland in a nutshell. It’s got so many good things going for it, and we have way too much to say about it.
Last week, we were blessed enough to travel there for 5 nights and 6 days.
My sweet sister, Aurora, flew in from Texas and watched two of our three kiddos for us. Levi, the oldest, was away with Civil Air Patrol doing encampment. Imagine how blessed I feel to have someone in my life I can trust to keep my kids for that long. No way we would have gone with out her help. Thanks a bajillion sis!
If you have ever considered visiting Portland, summer time is the way to go. When you think of the North West cities, for good reason, rain instantly comes to mind. But the climate was outstanding this early July!
Mild cool mornings in the 50’s-60’s and mid to high 80’s in the afternoon. We were told that they hit the 90’s the previous week. But that mornings were still cool.
I was surprised by the low humidity. I would have guessed that with water all around Portland we would have been drug down by the humidity, but no! All the places we went to on the 4 days were near a large river or by the ocean. Willamette, Hood and Columbia River and of course the Pacific ocean. And very low non-oppressive humidity levels.
Our itinerary went something like this:
Tell me the view from the airplane of Hood Mountain was not incredible! (checked that off our list)
For our first night, Sunday, we arrived and our bodies were confused. It was 7 p.m. PDX time. Even a 3 hour time change can mess with ya!
At the airport we immediately grabbed some Peet’s Coffee, picked up our car from our awesome Avis agent and drove in to Downtown Portland. We got checked in to our ah-mazing hotel, the Nines, did a quick walk thru of our room and decided dinner at Departure was a must.
Departure is rated one of the best restaurants in PDX, by several Portland publishings.
Easy for us, it’s located on the rooftop of the Nines. The views are incredible!
By the time we got seated it was midnight in Atlanta, so we ordered lite.
Just kidding… It was impossible to contain ourselves.
Man was it good!
Woke up way early and plan-less. We had an idea of what we wanted to do pre-arrival, but the truth is we did not have too much time to make set plans.
So we headed downstairs to maul things over and have breakfast at the hotels other restaurant, Urban Farmer.
I got a vegetable frittata with seasonal vegetables, foraged mushrooms and aged cheddar. I also got a half order of brioche french toast, with peach jam, hazelnut butter and pure maple syrup on the side.
Ryan got a house made honey biscuit with a fried egg, sausage gravy crispy chicken leg and lemon marmalade on the side. He added a small side of chicken cherry sausage for good measure.
Needless to say we ate a colossal breakfast. Another hit!
I went to the room to digest (sleep). Ryan sat down with the amazing hotel concierge and got the scoop on what to do while in Portland and throughout Oregon.
I say amazing because Ryan came back to the room with a full-on plan! What we mentioned to the concierge we were looking to do, he expanded on. I never knew the power of a concierge. For the rest of the trip we harassed him constantly.
We hit the road, our route took us North into Washington State for brief bit, thru what seemed to be a large logging community, Longview, WA.
Soon enough we were back down into Oregon. We followed the scenic route, US-30, along the Historic Columbia River Hwy. The last half of the drive, we had views of the Columbia River and my thoughts went wild remembering all the stories I’ve read about The Lewis and Clark Expedition.
We made it to Astoria shy of lunch time. If you are a movie buff, Astoria is where Goonies was filmed. Apparently a lot of good movies were wholly or partially filmed in this area and throughout Oregon. Can you tell, I am not excited with this finding, I don’t consider myself a movie buff.
Our first stop was Ft. George Brewery and Public House.
Ryan got a tap brew taster tray, I had to pass. I’d taken something for nausea that was making feel not so great. First go at Oregon brews (Ft. George ended up being Ryan’s favorite) and I missed out. Oh well.
We shared the BEST wild Alaskan salmon fish and chips. The fresh salmon taste was distinct. We also threw in another dish in to the mix, a plate of chipotle hummus.
Also in Astoria and just a few minutes from the center, we stopped in at Ft. Clatsop (named after the Indians of that region), this was the winter encampment for the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery missions team.
I was curious, but admittedly I was quite gripped at the thought of the hardships, dangerous adventures and victories these brave souls experienced. I am really glad we stopped in.
Our main destination was Cannon Beach. It was a quintessential small beach town. Lots of people, traffic and shopping for a Monday afternoon.
Although the sun was out and the uv index was high, it was windy, and in the mid 60’s. People were laid out and kids were playing. Some were in sweaters, I was in a windbreaker and pants. Not the kind of beach weather I am used to. We were obviously not mentally prepared for it because it was short-lived. I like a little sizzle on the beach in July.
We packed it up and went over to one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks, Haystack Rock.
Signs letting visitors know that puffins are easily spotted were about, real bummed we never saw one. Apperantly, when the tide is out you can walk right up to Haystack.
Once we got our fix, we headed back towards Portland. We took a different route back, still we were back to the hotel in 2 hours.
We walked around looking for the Columbia Sportswear store (born and grown in Portland) to grab a vest for RYan because it was that chilly, he lost his earlier in the day. When Ryan told them he had lost his, they gave him a 20% off coupon. So thoughtful of them! Since he grabbed a $90 vest.
For dinner we hit up another Portland top restaurant, Imperial. It’s located a few blocks away from our hotel.
We ordered parker rolls and grilled flatbread to share. We also tried to order the half roasted chicken but they were out. We were recommended by our waitress to try the fried chicken instead. It was really good, flavorful, juicy, and boneless. More of a large tender.
I realized later, we were so tired and hungry from the drive (4hrs or so in the car that day), that I had no energy to look back thru the menu. They had a lot of tasty looking seafood and vegetable dishes we’ll have to try next time.
For dessert we had warm olive oil cake with pistachios, coconut crumble, strawberries and whipped cream cheese (no pic:-)). It was just the right amount of sweetness, fluff and portion.
I’ll update you on the next few days. I still have more on wines, dines, gorge and gardens.
Part 2 can be found here