A few weeks ago, I ventured all the way to Oregon to celebrate the wedding of one of my nearest and dearest friends. Jeff and I arrived a few days early so we could enjoy some time in the beautiful 'City of Roses' before heading slightly south to Aurora for the wedding festivities.
Its been a second since I've spent time in Portland so I thought I might 'enlighten' y'all with what we did with our time in the city.
We arrived around 3:30, and took a Lyft to our hotel which was downtown, right on the Willamette River. We quickly dropped off our bags before running downtown to catch Madeline and Trevor for five minutes of hugs and happiness before they had to return to wedding preparations on the farm.
We conveniently met them outside of Oven and Shaker and took the bride to be's advice and stayed for some happy hour pizza and cocktails. Just FYI the Honey Basil Collins is very refreshing after a cross country journey!
Our next adventure took us on a walk through downtown on a hunt for Blue Star Donuts which, we were informed, is the best place to get a donut in this town (apparently Voodoo Donuts is only for tourists now).
We did some window shopping and then meandered to book mecca for a cappuccino and several hours of uninterrupted book bliss of perusing at Powell's. Sometimes I am grateful that there is a weight limit on luggage because otherwise I would have walked out with about 50 lbs of books! I did manage to pick up a few selections on the cheap that I had been eyeing for quite some time. We even stayed for a talk by Mario Livio, author of Why? It was not necessarily a talk I would have sought out, but the author was amusing and the book sounds pretty interesting:
In his new book, Why?, astrophysicist and author Mario Livio investigates perhaps the most human of all our characteristics – curiosity – as he explores our innate desire to know why. Livio interviewed scientists in several fields to explore the nature of curiosity. He examined the lives of two of history’s most curious geniuses, Leonardo da Vinci and Richard Feynman. He also talked to people with boundless curiosity: a superstar rock guitarist who is also an astrophysicist; an astronaut with degrees in computer science, biology, literature, and medicine. What drives these people to be curious about so many subjects? Livio explores this irresistible subject in a lucid, entertaining way that will captivate anyone who is curious about curiosity.
We worked up a real appetite during our epic shopping trip, and stumbled into the Thai Peacock for some curry and a(nother) cocktail. I can't recommend this place enough! It looks and feels so cozy and intimate and the food is just awesome. We are a little starved for good Thai food in Tulsa so we jumped at the chance to pad (thai) our diet with some curry...get it?
We decided to walk the mile or so back to the hotel and enjoyed a romantic evening stroll by the river.
We woke up pretty early and headed out for a run along the river. Four miles on a beautiful trail system that even skims the water and crosses The Tillicum Bridge.
We picked up a coffee for the walk downtown and headed directly to the Portland Art Museum where we caught the John Yeon exhibit (famous architect from the area) and some of the smaller exhibits as well.
We met one of Jeff's old friends from college in Minnesota for lunch at Elephant in the Park before wandering through downtown and finally making our way to the Japanese Garden.
I cannot get over the beauty of these gorgeous gardens! So many beautiful bonsais and around every corner a beautiful moment reveals itself.
We stopped for a tea and a treat in the Gardens before heading across the street to the Rose Garden. I could literally stop and smell the roses for hours in this place (I'm pretty sure I did)! Every time you think you've found the most beautiful or fragrant blooms you find another more beautiful, more sumptuous smelling rose just a few feet away.
We met some of my old band mates for dinner at Biwa and it is at this point in the evening that I stopped taking photos and just kept gabbing with old friends. I can definitely tell you that the food and cocktails were excellent as was the company which continued on to The Doug Fir Lounge.
We got back to the hotel late, but I was up and at 'em bright and early for bachelorette celebrations that began at 7am. Ouch! it was painful!
First of all, I cannot believe I made it to 7 am yoga after the late night I had on the town, but I am glad I did. Nothing like a little yoga, followed by a yummy hot sauna with some fun ladies at Yoga Union to get the juices flowing.
After yoga, we headed over to Petite Provence for brunch. OMG! I don't remember what I ate but I remember promising myself that I would save room for an almond croissant and that definitely did not happen. It was delicious! Must return to eat my unclaimed pastry.
Finally, the bachelorette celebration moved on to Barefoot Sage Spa for a foot treatment. No nail painting involved, just really delicious tea, chocolates, cozy arm chairs, and some serious foot scrubbing and rubbing. It is probably a good thing that I don't live in Portland or this would be a pretty regular addiction.
When we finished with all of these luxurious treatments, Jeff and I drove down to Canby to drop our stuff at our Airbnb before the rehearsal dinner. This Airbnb is a horse lovers dream. I'm not one who typically chooses an outhouse over an indoor toilet with plumbing, but if the opportunity to wake up next to a horse paddock with foals is the trade off, I'll take it! For the record, the cabin is a beautiful glamping experience with access to a pool and sauna, plus you can pet the horses whenever you want (aka all the time). Tom is a dressage rider gearing up for the next Olympics (I know who I'll be rooting for), and Steven is a Producer/Director/Writer who seems to cast William H. Macy in most things his name is attached to. The cabin was also the featured set on a recent Portlandia episode. Honestly, it was so peaceful and quiet; I would stay there again in a heartbeat!
The rehearsal dinner at Two Rivers Farms featured delicious home made Watermelon Margaritas and Enchiladas outdoors. It was pretty dreamy and something that most readers, unfortunately, won't have the opportunity to experience, and I'm sorry if it seems like I'm rubbing it in. We explored the farm, picked berries and ate them straight from the bush, hung out with some baby goats, and basked in the beauty of an Oregon summer.
I spent all day at the farm primping and prepping for the wedding and then celebrating the beautiful matrimony of my dear friend and her now husband. Carl, father of the bride, is a trained French Chef and he prepared everything from scratch. I still dream of the Moules a la Normande that were served as appetizers! It was a beautiful night outdoors and I was sad it had to come to an end.
I know this post is technically all about Portland, BUT I just couldn't resist sharing a few photos from my time in Coos Bay playing at the Oregon Coast Music Festival. The Oregon Coast is drop dead stunning, and while most people head to Cannon Beach and places further north on the coast, there really is something to be said for a botanical garden that is situated directly on the ocean.
I returned to Portland after the festival to spend some quality time with Madeline. I was having way too much fun chatting nonstop with my girlfriend to take any decent photos but I will say the best breves are made here:
The coolest workplace to hang out is A Gentle Beginning (it was 'Bring your BFF' to work day).
The best ice cream at Salt and Straw is hands down the Honey Lavender (and all the other flavors) - I am still dreaming of the flavor and color
And there's really nothing to complain about when spent in the company of Mad Dog, Trevor, and their delightful golden Carmen....on a small lake....in a gorgeous state....with delicious food.
I hope you enjoy!
Did I miss anything? What do I need to do the NEXT time I'm in Portland?