The week after my graduation, Drew and I headed out to Portland, Oregon as a graduation getaway and first anniversary trip. (We went to Portland, Maine on our honeymoon, why not try out Portland, Oregon next?) It was cool and rainy the entire time, but we still had a great time. One of our top favorite cities actually.
Shall we recap? (warning, this is a long, photo-heavy post!)
Neither there nor on the way back did we have non-stop flights, so we had several flight legs and a few delays (we logged quite a bit of time traveling and in airports on this trip). Imagine this (x4):
But once we got there, we did some pretty cool things. One of the first things we did (and one of our favorites) was to check out Multnomah Falls. It was seriously amazing.
Drew and I both agreed that this was one of the most amazing things that we had ever seen. It is so “WOAH” to be standing next to something so powerful.
There were lots of little streams around and a hiking path that led all the way to the top of the waterfall. It was cold and rainy and the path was steep and slick, so we didn’t go all the way to the top, but we did go up to the little bridge in the pictures above.
From up there, if you turned around and looked the other way, you could see the Columbia River and those mountain/hills are in the state of Washington:
The drive there and back along the Columbia River Scenic Highway was pretty too:
Almost everything we saw in Oregon was pretty. After we went there, we headed out to a little island called Sauvie’s Island. Someone recommended it to us and it had cute little farms and areas for fresh farmer’s markets, but we must have gone on a bad day (it was a weekday and raining) so not much was going on. It was a nice little drive through the countryside though. This was the only day we had a car while in Portland, so we saw the stuff that was a little out of the way. Once we were back in the city, we were driving to the restaurant we had picked out and while driving through this cute little neighborhood, we stumbled upon a random little neighborhood rose garden! How sweet! (We were headed to Screen Door restaurant, soooo good!!!)
The rest of our time there we took the public transportation everywhere. Portland has a really awesome public transportation system that is super efficient. It was really awesome to use while we were there to avoid having to rent a car everyday. It did take some getting used to though. It definitely isn’t like popping in the car and being where you want to be in a few minutes. Taking the MAX lightrail and the bus system involved a whole lot of walking around from bus stop to bus stop and waiting on the MAX or buses to show up. We spent a lot of our day figuring out how to get where we wanted to go!
The next day we headed to the Pittock Mansion. It was really awesome, except for the fact that it is situated at the top of a huge mountainous hill. The public transportation only went to the bottom of the hill, so Drew and I were left to hike 30 minutes straight up a huge hill on this tiny winding road in the middle of the woods. It was exhausting!
The view from there was pretty cool though!
The inside was gorgeous (plus it had a lot of original pretty modern amenities)! I took a ton of pictures of the inside but I’ll spare you from showing them all, you can learn more about it here. You can also take a video tour of it, here.
We headed to Deschutes Brewery for lunch and for Drew to try their craft beer. Then later on that same day we also checked out the Portland Art Museum, which was neat (and awesome that they had free admission on Friday evenings!), but we were so exhausted from that hike to the Pittock Mansion that we really couldn’t stand to walk around the museum very long.
The next day, we headed out to the Portland Saturday Crafts Market:
It was neat that it was right next to the Willamette River that runs through Portland, but overall I was a little disappointed with the arts and crafts at the market. It wasn’t much different than the French Market in New Orleans. I felt like a lot of the stuff was a little “cheap” (as in cheaply made, not cheap prices). I guess I expected something more like a real-life Etsy.
After that, we headed to the International Rose Test Garden. It was so neat! There were all kinds of roses everywhere! There were roses everywhere all over Portland, actually. It’s like the city of roses.
This was actually the closest we got (the whole time we were there) to a view of Mt. Hood. I guess when it is really clear you can see it from the city? I’m not sure if Portland ever has a day clear enough for that! This day was the only pretty day the whole trip (it was a little warmer with sunshine and no rain!), but the rest of the time it was cool and rainy. I’ve heard Portland is always that way.
These roses were huge! The blooms were about 10 inches wide.
Not all the roses were in bloom, but a lot of them were. The grounds of the park were just gorgeous. Plus it was totally free! Such an awesome place to wonder around and it smelled so good! It would be an awesome place for picnics!
After that, we headed up to the Portland Japanese Garden, right next to the rose garden.
The grounds of the Japanese garden were really pretty, but overall we weren’t that impressed with it. It was kind-of expensive, it was around $20 for Drew and I to get in, which seems pricey just to walk around for a few minutes. I got the feeling that it was created to be a tranquil place to sit and meditate, which would have been nice, but the day we went it was packed! There are only tiny little paths throughout the entire thing, so there was no room to stop and meditate, since there was a whole line of people behind you waiting on you to move along. The streams and waterfalls were pretty, but after visiting Multnomah Falls and all of its natural beauty, the man-made features here lost their sparkle. The water was also really cloudy/yucky looking and in a lot of places it was still, so it was a breeding grounds for mosquitoes. We didn’t stay too long. I would recommend going perhaps on a weekday to lose some of the crowd and perhaps get to enjoy it a little more.
We ate a lot of really great food while in Portland, and it was one of the features that impressed me the most. At every single restaurant we went to, the menu was clearly labeled with foods that were vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. Most places also prided themselves on serving organic and local options as well. It was so amazing to be able to go out to eat and have awesome healthy gluten-free options! It is nearly impossible to eat out gluten-free in New Orleans! For lunch/dinner with savory options it is usually easier, but in Portland, even the breakfast places served gluten-free bread, pancakes, french toast, etc.
One of my absolute favorite places we went was to Tula, a completely gluten-free bakery:
My absolute favorite was the Lemon Ricotta muffin. Oh my goodness. Amazing. (I had to try making my own as soon as I got back to New Orleans!) They also had a really awesome lemon loaf, banana flaxseed bread, chocolate chip cookies, fruit tarts, scones, chocolate muffins, coffee cakes, cupcakes, savory meat/cheese croissants, paninis, etc. Everything I tasted was delicious. I insisted we visit this place multiple times while we were there! I so wish I lived close to this all the time!
Other than that we checked out Stumptown Coffee:
We also checked out Voodoo Doughnuts, which is supposedly pretty famous, but I thought it tasted just like any other doughnut (plus I couldn’t eat much since they weren’t gluten-free).
We also visited several other craft breweries, brewpubs and tap rooms per Drew’s request. There is apparently quite the craft beer selection there that isn’t available in New Orleans. One place we stopped was even a beer truck: (the food truck scene was pretty hopping in Portland)
Per my request, we ventured out to Schoolhouse Electric, which provided some nice home decor inspiration:
I also found a fabric store to score some cool fabric finds. I love getting a little bit of fabric on trips as a souvenir so that when I use it I can reminisce about where it came from. I picked up a couple fabrics in Portsmouth, New Hampshire when we were there on our honeymoon that I ended up using in my BA Art Exhibition.
We also stopped in at IKEA while we were there (there isn’t one in NOLA). We also enjoyed walking around and looking in shops downtown– Crafty Wonderland was a favorite of mine! I bought this print from there. We tried the famous Salt and Straw ice cream and had lots of other great foods, desserts, and beers (Drew). We really had an awesome and packed-full trip!
On our last day, we decided to rent a car and drive the couple hours up to Seattle, Washington and back for a day trip. It was overcast and rainy, so we couldn’t see much on our drive which was a bummer because we drove right past Mount St. Helens and couldn’t even see it. We didn’t have a lot of time in Seattle, mostly just ate and drove around a little before we needed to head back. We did check out the downtown market area:
We also stopped in to try out some of the famous Beecher’s cheddar mac-and-cheese:
It was good, but not the best I’ve ever had, plus it wasn’t gluten-free, so I could only eat a few bites.
I wish we could have seen a little more of Seattle, since we drove several hours to get there, but it wasn’t a nice day. Goodness, I wish it hadn’t been so grey and rainy the whole time! I really wanted to see mountains! Oh well, I’m glad we went, even if just to say that we had been there.
Overall, both Drew and I really loved Portland. I wish it wasn’t so far away from family (and didn’t rain every single day) or else we would totally move there in a heartbeat. I loved the mix of big city, but also country and natural attractions. I loved the awesome, healthy, gluten-free options and the fact that people there seemed to be really concerned and aware about what they were eating and actively involved in the discussion around it. Portland’s tap water doesn’t contain fluoride and there was a march against Monsanto while we were there. It seems to be a pretty healthy, creative, crafty city and just overall has a lot of great qualities, cool shops, pretty places and awesome parks and natural attractions.
I’m sure we’ll definitely be back sometime!