Hey guys – happy Friday! In theory both JT and I are off on Fridays thanks to our 4-10 schedule but I have a project that waits until Friday to need me. The joy. Oh well, what do you do? Relive an earlier vacation? Okay!
So we had never been anywhere in the Pacific Northwest before and we decided that early August would be a perfect time to escape the desert and break up the looooong summer we get here in Phoenix. We landed at PDX (with the new carpet, boo) and learned that everything you’ve ever heard about Portland is true.
I’ll just give you a quick, non-linear recap because we saw and did and drank so much on our trip that there’s not enough internet or pictures to really go through it all. So.
Nature – they have that in spades. Everything was SO GREEN! We mainly stayed downtown but on the last day we rented a car and drove out to see some of the sights.
They have nature in town too – we visited the (free) International Rose Test Garden as it was in full bloom. Amazing. Roses for miles and they all have a slightly different scent but I thought the overall base smell was kind of lemon-y. We lucked out and got the most beautiful weather while we were vacationing. It was sunny and a little hot (not Phoenix hot) during the day and cool and perfect in the evening.
Beer. Portland is the micro-brewery capital of the world or something. We visited a few places – Deschutes, Widmer Brothers (did the brewery tour) and McMenamins (the one in the Pearl District).
We did AirBnB for our lodgings and while we had a little hiccup at the beginning, it worked out okay and was a great location and view – we were in a historic building on the 8th floor near Madison and 6th Avenue downtown. The photo below on the left is a view from the balcony looking west-ish and the other photo is JT after a grueling afternoon beer tasting – that’s hard work. We loved the space, especially all the plants. It was a little urban jungle and we slept with those doors open every night. It let in all the awesome cool fresh air and the yells from the hobos fighting. (Portland has A LOT of homeless people.)
The apartment was within walking distance of a few metro stops and especially close to the Art Museum. We saw the Ai Weiwei exhibit that is now set to open in Phoenix in about a month. The space they used in Portland was well suited to the installation, I might have to check it out here as well to compare.
What else? Shopping – did that. Everything was delightfully Portland-esque, made of real wood or leather and artisanally handcrafted by a hipster and displayed on a live edge tree slice. We visited Powell’s Books twice and got nice and lost. I also had my first visit to a brick and mortar Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams store only to learn they are soon opening one in Scottsdale.
We saw a lot of the iconic Portland things (besides the hipsters, but they were everywhere). There is a convenience chain called the “Plaid Pantry” – awesome. We stumbled under the “Portlandia” statue on our way home from too much dining and drinking one night (see blurry night photo below). We visited the food shacks (like food trucks but not actually driveable) a few too many times and the “Wolf + Bear” one below was quintessential Portland down to the font of the sign. While there we saw a guy riding a unicycle playing the bagpipe and wearing a Darth Vader helmet – all in the name of keeping Portland weird.
We partied with the liberals at a free Bernie Sanders rally (There was more beer there too) and rode the metro back over one of Portland’s many bridges.
We dined and dined – visiting Clyde Common in the Ace Hotel and taking in a Portland sunset at Departures on the top of the Meiers + Frank building.
They had the best Asian noodle dish there (it was a pasta strand that was as thick as my pinky with a good spicy sauce on it) and a separate “special” menu just for vegans. It was hard to pick when I had a whole menu to peruse!
We rode the tram, we walked around some more, drank lots of coffee and we took it all in. Portland was amazing – beautiful and hand crafted and full of beer. Four days wasn’t enough but we crammed a lot in. We plan on going back to visit the Oregon countryside and all of the wineries. Cheers to (maybe) next summer! CT
P.S. – JT also has a post coming up today about one of his guitar projects and his online “Thompson Guitar and Thrift” store. This has been a way better option for him than the crazy fees of eBay and maybe we’re one step closer to a brick and mortar “Thompson Guitar and Thrift” …. I’d better start on my estate sale-ing and Goodwill searching so I can be ready to keep up with him!
I love this recap! Amazing vacay;)
Thanks Jess – it was a really great trip. Portland kind of felt like the NYC of the west coast – lots of new, tall buildings, so many restaurants and people walking and using public transportation everywhere all in this woodsy, laid back left coast sort of way. Cheers – CT
I’ve never been to Portland, even though I have family there. It looks like a great city and sounds like you had a fantastic time.