A Travellerspoint blog

Portland, Oregon

November 14th to 25th

After arriving late on Saturday the 14th on Sunday we headed downtown to visit a bookshop we had been told was worth seeing. Powell’s New & Used Books store, spanning an entire city block was our first stop. Powell's is not just a store – it’s an experience. This place is huge with multiple levels and rooms (red room, purple room, green room etc, etc, etc.). If you go with someone you need to have a strategy because just wandering will get you pondering whether you will both get out. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland when she fell down the rabbit hole – which room would I end up in. It is difficult to put into words what the attraction of this store is - its atmosphere, contents and service are all factors, but the result is much greater than the sum of its parts. This place is a landmark that every book lover should visit at least once.

portland-oregon-sign

portland-oregon-sign


Powell Street books

Powell Street books

Voodoo Doughnuts. What lead us to a doughnut shop? Well, whenever we asked anyone from Portland or who had been to Portland what they thought we should see/do, they all kind of said something like this: ‘There is some big bookstore’ (see above) and ‘there is supposed to be a really awesome doughnut shop’. Ohhh Emmm Geee! They weren’t wrong. The line was a street long when we arrived (and it was drizzling rain), don’t fear though, the line moved quickly and we were inside in no time at all. Voodoo Doughnuts has some of the wildest, craziest doughnuts you will ever see. Crazy shapes and tastes make this a place to visit when you're in the Pearl District in Portland. With names like: Voodoo Doll, Pothole, and Bacon Maple Bar, how could we not ingest? Sooo, doughnuts we purchased and we carried the pink box with, ‘good things come in pink boxes’ written on the outside, only to be approached by a local saying that the doughnut shop had single - handedly been responsible for the heart attacks of several tourists! Apparently something to do with the high fat, low nutrition and the effect the bacon fat has on the heart’s arteries. Little did he know that we don’t scare that easy!

Voodoo doughnuts1

Voodoo doughnuts1


Voodoo doughnuts2

Voodoo doughnuts2


Doughnuts

Doughnuts

Saturday (Sunday) Markets. After purchasing our doughnuts, we wandered down to the Saturday Markets (on Sunday). Their Saturday market is on Sunday too. It is right on the river which is cool and there is everything from craft and food to entertainment. We went on Sunday, so it was only half of everything there, but we found out that on Saturday there is a little more hustle and bustle and it includes a farmer’s market. There were some areas where there were beautiful crafters and pottery artisans which make it a great place to just wander around, look at the art and people watch.

Saturday markets

Saturday markets

With school finished for another week, we celebrate by heading downtown Friday afternoon. Portland -- the city that started the street food revolution! As you walk about 10 blocks through downtown you can visit up to a selection of more than 600 food carts, most grouped in what they call pods and you can sample anything from Belgian-style waffles and Portuguese and Spanish-inspired cuisine to Asian-fusion and Mexican. Too much of a good thing you might think, but the fact is, you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at one of these 600 food carts. So, why not embrace the delicious dilemma?

portland-pod-food-truck

portland-pod-food-truck

After grabbing the rental car we travelled to Portland's Central Eastside for its first ever Portland Night Market. This market was a blend of food, culture, music, drinks and retail in the Industrial District, showcasing many unique businesses in Portland. The market took place in a Pelett Properties warehouse that is often used for film and television shoots and made us feel a bit artsy-fartsy with all the organic products and upcycled objects on display. There was even an art studio on the mezzanine level where you could walk around with wine, beer or hot cup of apple cider. What added to our experience was the fact that we had to wait in line for 30 minutes in 8 degrees (wind chill factor made it a tad colder) before we could actually get inside the warehouse. Worth it though.

Mobile Brew van

Mobile Brew van

On Saturday 21st November we had a relatively early 8am departure for Eugene, a little over a 2 hour drive south. The first stop was the Eugene Holiday markets (in its 100th year) with vendors selling all types of home-made articles. They also had an elf hunt where you had to locate certain elves amongst the hundreds of stall holders. This was a great marketing idea as it ensured you saw every stall which often led to a discussion and purchase. Next was a quick trip to Hayward Field for a little Track and Field history. Located at the University of Oregon (Eugene is also known as Track town) Hayward Field is the Carnegie Hall from American track and field and plays host annually to the nation’s finest single day track and field contest, the Prefontaine Classic.

Next we drove North to the small town of Corvallis, home to the Oregon State University Beavers. We had organised tickets for their final home football game against the University of Washington Huskies. Our tickets were close to halfway and about 10 rows from the field, an ideal location to see and hear all the action ….. only problem was the action was lopsided in the Huskies favour … to the tune of 45-0 at the half. We stayed for the concussion which was a slightly more respectable 52 – 7.

Beavers game

Beavers game

On Sunday 22nd November we decided to find a local favourite for breakfast. After consulting Yelp we found the Broader Café with 4.5 stars from over 860 reviews, though the pictures showing Swedish pancakes was probably the clincher. Alyssa chose the pancakes (which were incredible) as was the ‘Lost Eggs’.

After breakfast we drove to Mt Hood to take THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. Yep! You read that right. Recreated to match all the sights and sounds of the beloved story, picture the excitement of children dressed in pyjamas with golden tickets clutched in their hands as they board a train and prepare to embark on their journey to the North Pole. And it all begins when the Conductor calls “All aboard” and punches children’s golden tickets.

Whilst on the train we hear the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack as the story reading begins and the book’s characters come to life, we see dancing chefs serve hot cocoa and cookies to all riders in a merry fashion, and even the doubting hobo wanders through the train. And of course, it wouldn’t be the Polar Express without Santa. The best part of this memorable ride is that every child is presented with the iconic silver sleigh bell (only believers can hear its ringing). This was probably the best way ever to end our short stay in Portland.

After what can only be described as a magical rail ride, we drive back to Portland via the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway. Any way you look at it, Scenic Byway is a marvel—for its visionary engineering, incredible scenery, and rich history. Internationally lauded for spectacular waterfalls, architectural gems, and magnificent overlooks of the Columbia River Gorge, it’s no wonder this Byway has been called “King of Roads.” Every twist and turn brings new vistas, from majestic waterfalls such as Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Horse Tail Falls and Multnomah Falls, (a waterfall more magnificent and memorable than I think I have ever seen), to astounding views of the mountain ranges, forestry growth and more. We also stopped at Crown Point Vista House, built in 1916, the Vista House was designed for travelers to stop, rest and enjoy the splendid views of the gorge and Columbia River below. It is a beautiful historic building laid out on an octagonal footprint, the stone is covered in a honey, gold and green ceramic tiled roof which makes it quite unique and ornate in its own way. We didn’t stay long for two reasons. Firstly, Vista House was closed for the day due to hazardous weather conditions. Secondly, if the hazardous weather condition sign didn’t quite give you a heads up, Alyssa almost got blown away and all three of us found it difficult to walk in any direction because the winds were so strong.

Horsetail falls

Horsetail falls


Mutnomah falls

Mutnomah falls


Vista house

Vista house

Next stop ...... Los Angeles

Posted by V3USA 09:47

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