“Would you like a bag for that?” – Rite Aid Guy
“Sure…just a little plastic one would be fine.” – Me
“In Portland? [judgy eyebrow deadpan look]” – Ride Aid Guy
“Doh!” – Me
And folks – that is when I learned that I appreciate Portland (Oregon, that is) for their greenness, and their boldness…and they use the $1 coins! This was my first trip to Oregon – minus going with my dad when I was a baby to one of his sailboat races…and crossing off another state on my “Visit 50 Bucket List” and as the first leg of our trip across the Wild Northwest it was a great way to spend an evening.
This trip also served as a test being my first long haul flight through pregnancy to (1) see how I managed sitting that long and (2) a more drastic time change before making our bigger trip this fall back to England & Spain to show the hubs some of my favorite spots from my time abroad in college. And let me preface this by saying I did well, but not all what I wanted. It was a solid gage though as to what could be accomplished, so this travel plan includes our best laid plans…and what actually happened.
We stayed in Downtown Portland at the new AC Hotel and the location was just perfect for us and knocking a few things off my list in the downtown area traveling by foot before we picked up our rental car for our road trip to Montana. Our hotel was just darling, with a wonderful gym, great artwork and a beautiful view of downtown with Mt. Hood showing her face in the distance.
After checking right around 5PM – first things first (well, after a nap and a workout because duh…pregnant, and it’s me) we set off looking for dinner. And – let me tell you, even on a Sunday night in this foodie city, you need a reservation – we had awesome recommendations from friends like Portland City Grill for a nice night out with great views of the city – to which we had to decline after finding out our “hipster chic” AKA flannel and jeans look was probably a little underdressed. We tried to check out Tasty n Sons, which we soon found was a brunch spot and closed for renovations so moved to their sister restaurant, Tasty n Alder which with a wait over an hour – preggo wasn’t havin’ it. Lesson learned, get reservations – right?
We settled on Imperial PDX which let me tell you – it was just like it was meant to be. The food was delicious, locally sourced and farm fresh with an abundance of veggies. Most impressive, for me, was the selection of mocktails on the drink menu (because water get sooo boring) and the friendliness of the staff. Definitely check it out for a great bite in Portland.
After dinner – hubs and I planned to bar crawl so he could try some local Oregon Wines, and I could well..drool over it, but come 9PM Pacific Time, that Jet Lag hit us hard and we walked back to the hotel and curled up in bed.
The next day – we let ourselves sleep in, to a whopping 7am Pacific Time (perks of going back in time!) and after workouts in the gym got an early start to quickly negate said workout – the famed Voodoo Doughnuts. Starting in Portland, it’s made it’s way to LA, Denver, Austin and even Universal Orlando Resort for its unique donut flavors, weird shapes and vegan offerings – because Portland, right? We were prepared to wait in line for at least half an hour, but were pleasantly surprised arriving there at 10am on a Monday, we walked right up to the counter! We tried their signature Voodoo Doll, Bacon Maple Bar, Vicious Hibiscus & Chocolate Coconut Cake – all very delicious, but both of our favorites was the maple. Pro tip: They do take cards here, however the line moves faster if you pay cash.
doughnuts (donuts?) CARBS in our bellies we turned the corner and walked a few blocks to Powell’s Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore. And they aren’t kidding – with 4 floors and multiple color-coded zones it was huge. I loved walking through the stacks, adding to my Goodreads list (let’s be friends!) and anytime we visit a bookstore, we play “stump the store” where you have to find a book and if its not there you win – I lost but it took an obscure economics for the hubs to edge me out (grrrr) so pretty much if you want it, it’s there – new or used. It was here that we bought our first gift for our bun in the oven, The Little House on The Prairie complete series for a whopping $30 and change. I can just imagine reading it to our little girl at night like my mom did for us, learning how to make maple cakes and grits and life on the plains.
Our next stop downtown before starting our road trip North was Chinatown, Portland is known for being a melting pot of different cultures, and we chose to visit a traditional tea room – again, just a short walk away and a few hops over homeless people from the bookstore for some traditional Chineses food at the Red Robe Teahouse. Here, if you have a bit more time they will perform a traditional Chinese tea ceremony and serve multiple courses of delicious foods. Or – in a rush, like us, we settled for some soups that were both filling and reasonably priced under $10 per person.
With food in our bellies and a traffic delay in our schedule, we had to skip our last two planned stops, the Portland Rose Garden and Multnomah Falls – located just outside the city and began the drive to Seattle where we’d spend the evening with family.
As a city, Portland was a lot how I imagined how it would be (shoutout to Portlandia for being a great research tool). I was surprised by the amount of homeless, but also the walkability of the downtown. Make no mistake, we’ll be back – for wine and more of the Rose City on our next adventure.