This Thanksgiving, we decided to pack up the Westy, drop off the dog, and head to Portland, Oregon over the four-day holiday weekend. What a fantastic idea!
We've been to Portland before, but only as a stop through on the way up to Washington. The most time we've spent there previously was a couple of hours for breakfast. We like our food. So, this trip was a real chance to get to know the city and boy did we fall in love!
Sure, it rained the entire time we were there, but we prepared in advanced. Having the right shoes, jackets, hats and gloves makes all the difference. If we weren't prepared, we would've been miserable. And I can see how that much rain might get to you which is why I think if you live in a city that rains a lot or even snows a lot, you have to force yourself to go out and do to beat the blues...but I digress. Despite the rain, we had fun.
When we set out, we had no actual plan. Thanks to another blogger, we did have a list of places she, a local, recommended, but everything was completely up in the air. And we had no idea where we would be eating turkey dinner or if we would be eating turkey for dinner. Fortunately for us, friends of Steve and his family saw his Facebook post and invited us to dinner. They are great people, with a great loving family, who made us very welcome. We could not have hoped for anything better. Plus, as an added bonus, the matriarch of the family, a quilter, gave us a beautiful quilt that matches our Westy interior almost perfectly. Thanks for everything Levine's!
We also had no plan in place as far as where to stay. We had checked out *Oxbow Regional Park; really pretty location about 30 minutes east of Portland that has toilets and showers. This was going to be a great place to stay. Unfortunately, they close the gates when the sun sets. Fortunately, we didn't prepay so when we returned after turkey dinner to pull in for the night and found ourselves locked out we stayed the night at a TA truck stop in Troutdale, OR. Two things to keep in mind when guerrilla camping: one, always have a back up plan and two, be flexible. Truck stops turn out to be very quiet and have good showers with extreme water pressure...or at least this one did.
As we set out to explore the city on Friday, it was all about food. We started in an artsy neighborhood in North Portland to wait in line at Pine State Biscuits on NE Alberta. OMG! Best. Biscuits. Ever. Dense yet fluffy with so many great choices to spread on or eat in between the biscuit. I kept it classic with butter and honey and Steve had his with jam...and another with gravy. Locally sourced honey and jam and homemade gravy with a little spice to it, I'm salivating as I write this. Next we walked down the street to a small food truck for mac-n-cheese. I'll be honest...we've had better. But both were definitely "Portland"
We spent most of the afternoon downtown. If you don't know, Portland is divided into five different quadrants, each with a different feel and very easy to get around by foot, bike, and/or public transportation. Because we wanted to see the tree lighting ceremony in Pioneer Courthouse Square that evening (which to our surprise also included vocals from third generation von Trapps), exploring downtown made sense. Downtown is where most of the shopping retail is located as well as the blocks of food trucks. However, we are not strangers to food trucks here in Sacramento, so we ate dinner after at a cute little restaurant called Mother's Bistro & Bar on SW Stark ST. Good wine selection, (may I suggest Ponzi 2013 pinot gris), good comfort food, and good service.
On Saturday, we started out the day at Cadillac Cafe on Broadway. I recommend the french toast, the loaded potatoes, and the breakfast burrito. A true carb fest, I know, but...yummy! Later that day, we strolled through thePortland Saturday Market (held both Saturday and Sunday) on the waterfront, (near the famous Voodoo Doughnuts), and then finished the day in the Pearl District. Probably my favorite part of Portland. It's where I would want to live if I were moving there. It has the largest bookstore ever! You will need to pick up a map when you walk into Powell's City Books. It houses both new and used, as well as out-of-print and hard-to-find books in 68,000 square-feet. A true book lover will never want to leave.
Like I stated earlier, we fell in love with Portland and look forward to going back to continue exploring the neighborhoods and as I understand it, the hiking is good too; something we'll have to try when the weather is nicer.
Until next time Portland...
*TIP: Oxbow Regional Park in Gresham, OR sits alongside the Sandy River and gets uber crowded in the summer when all the rafters come off the river to camp.