Portland has been on my must see list for years. It was one of those places that friends said if I ever went… I wouldn’t come back. Apparently they didn’t know me too well. Granted, Portland is a cool city. It has a lot to offer from outdoors sports to arts. There are tons of great food options and there always seems to be something to do.
However, I couldn’t help but feel that there was an underlying feeling of pretentiousness to the whole place. It felt like people were trying too hard to be in your face with their individuality. Where Austin was a fun wacky weird, Portland is a snobby weird. Like, “HI LOOK AT ME!!! I KNOW I’M WEIRD I DON’T CARE!!! (but I really, really do.)
Despite trying too hard to be cool, Portland was an interesting city and a fun visit. I flew in on a Saturday to meet up with one of my friends who was in Portland for work. The city is small enough that Uber and Lyft is easy and cheap to use. Other than those transportation options, there seemed to be a monorail that only serviced the downtown area only and some vague form of a bus system.
We stayed in Northeast Portland in an area called Woodlawn. The area is currently going through re-gentrification and what once was a rough neighborhood is now seeing a resurgence. I didn’t exactly feel comfortable walking through the area at night but it was a pretty during the day and easy to get around.
We immediately went to eat at a place in our neighborhood called the Breakside Brewery. I was starving, it was 3pm but the place was packed and the staff was fantastic. We sampled many of their brews made in-house before settling on an amber. Their food was great with interesting variations on pub classics and their fries were waffle fries, which you could have doused in blue cheese sauce! Who wouldn’t be in heaven?
One of the items on my to do list was to visit Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. So we set out on Sunday morning. After a huge breakfast at the Screen Door we took the 30 minute drive out of Portland to see the Falls. It was well worth the trip and the hike. There is a paved path that you can take all the way to the top of the falls, it says it’s a mile but really it felt more like 3! Well worth it.
The first picture is a view from the base of the falls and the second is from the top. The falls is over 400 feet tall and the first established National Scenic Attraction in the United States. We were at the falls for a little over an hour. So we decided we could fit something else into our day.
I’m a sucker for architecture. For three years of my former life I worked as a Program Coordinator for Sotheby’s in their American Fine and Decorative Arts Graduate program. It was my job to arrange tours and talks with experts. Many of these tours were historic house tours, so of course I convinced Carly to go the one historic house in Portland, which you can tour. (I’m sure there are more but this was the one my research spit out.) Pictured below is the Pittock Mansion.
The Pittock mansion, built-in 1914 is modeled after Victorian and French Renaissance architecture. Upon your approach to the mansion I felt for a moment that I was about to tour a house in Newport, RI. As you walk around the house though you realize that is pales in comparison to the great houses in Newport. This is a modest mansion that house a multi-generational family and has one of the greatest vantage points over the city of Portland. There are a few places where you can spread a blanket and have a picnic with friends on their grounds as well as many hiking trails you can explore.
We finished out second day at Ava Gene’s, an upscale Italian restaurant on Division Street. If you have the opportunity dine at the kitchen table. The chef’s are wonderful and answer any questions you have about what they are preparing. If you’re dining alone you definitely won’t feel like you’re going solo. The staff is fantastic and the food is equally stunning.
We finished out trip at Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry. Had to have a cup of Portland’s coffee, it’s one of the things this city is known for, and a tasty Quiche to start my morning. Portland is definitely a great city to visit for a weekend getaway. Everyone we interacted with were kind and helpful, our Uber drivers were awesome! Portland is the type of city where you can be as wacky as you want to be. So take the trip. Life is short, travel now! Until next time.
List of places we visited:
Breakside Brewery: 820 NE Dekum St. (503) 719-6475
Multnomah Falls: 50000E Historic Columbia River HWY (503) 695-2372
Ava Gene’s: 3377 SE Division St. (971) 229-0571
Woodlawn Coffee & Pastry: 808 NE Dekum St. (503) 954-2412