Switching jobs in January left me with little vacation time accrued, and even less seniority to request time off, however, we’re not one to let little facts like that deter us from vacationing. Instead, we decided to maximize the Memorial Day weekend for a trip to Portland.
Nearly everyone who heard we were going asked, “why?”. It befuddled many that we’d plan a trip without a specific reason or person to visit in that city. What? Doesn’t everyone keep a running list of places they’d like to visit?! (We *may* even have a spread sheet for such purposes) We’ve heard cool things about the city- and knew it would be small enough for us to cover a lot of ground in a long weekend- so we went for it. Also – since I’ve been consistently earning miles on my work travels- we had a free plane ticket (and drink coupons) too!
It seems any trip to Portland quickly turns into a food tour. Our trip was no exception, and with the high concentration of great restaurants and food carts- it was hard NOT to taste everything!
In fact- our first stop (after taking the train into downtown to our hotel)- was to hit up the Big Ass Sandwiches cart. Yep- that’s a boat load of fries worked into the which.
Bellies full we walked to the waterfront- there was a huge market, and carnival going on in the park along the river. Portland is know for the many bridges criss crossing the river.
I especially loved all the giant neon signs around town.
Just a little before our trip- we found out Spring Awakening was playing in town. We quickly purchased tickets, and were very excited to get the coveted ON-STAGE seats. Having seen the musical already- we knew the best way to see it again would be from the stage. It’s amazing how much more energy you can feel being up there right next to the actors. The singing & dancing swept us away, and you’re so engaged in the performance – it prevents any anxiety from being on view to the whole audience yourself!
We explored several of the many distinct neighborhoods in Portland- including the popular Pearl district. We loved seeing how they integrated the new developments into the historic fabric of the city. SO many great brick buildings left over from more industrial uses. We even managed a self guided tour of the local breweries- sampling the brews, and enjoying the perks of the Establishments (connect-4 anyone!?).
Also, I cracked up when I looked at the street names and immediately recognized they were all Simpsons characters!
Covering the city on foot, we browsed unique shops and even hiked our way up to the historic rose garden (yes there was a paved path, but we didnt’ realize that till after
we climbed a muddy slope). Sunday evening we crossed the bridge into another neighborhood and had dinner & drinks at the Doug Fir Lounge
. It’s a bar & restaurant, attached to a Hotel with a below grade concert venue. Talk about mixed use. It was chock full of woodsy mid century goodness, and the menu was scrumptious comfort food.
Our hotel was a stones throw from VooDoo Donuts– but the line was discouraging each time we passed. On our last day- Steve actually woke up really early to pop over when it was empty to pick up our treats! Mine- Cap’n Crunch, and Steves’ Maple Bacon. We had saved them for our final treat before heading to the airport. A prefect (if possible overly sweet) ending to a fab, food filled weekend.