Monday, 10/28 and Tuesday, 10/29:
We were off to Portland from Cannon Beach. Portland has been a place we have both been very excited to check out for many reasons. Also, many of you have suggested places to eat, things to see and do and have shared your passion for this eclectic city.
After spending some time driving around and checking out a few different neighborhoods, it was time for our afternoon snack (daily occurrence). Donuts, why not? Voodoo Donuts. Wow. We felt like we were in a hard rock/heavy metal music video. Hot pink everything, loud metal music and rock and roll decor, felt like we had taken a step back in time. Blown away by the endless varieties of donuts, we settled on a chocolate and glazed. I know, so boring right?
We were also very much looking forward to our Portland visit as we were going to be staying with MaryRuth, her husband Michael and their son Jonas. MaryRuth was Michelle’s sister Angela’s best friend from their college days at UNC. Michelle had never met MaryRuth or her family, but was eager to spend some time with them and catch up on each other’s families and lives over the years.
We instantanously felt at home and welcomed. They were excited to show us around some of their favorite local spots and share a gastronomical feast with us. After settling in, we headed to Noble Rot for a pre-dinner cocktail. You would never know the restaurant/bar was there. A rooftop bar and restaurant with sweeping views of downtown Portland. Not to mention a huge wine selection and some delicious appetizers (we didn’t eat dinner here, but everything coming out of the kitchen looked divine). An amazing cuban feast followed, we are talking a feast people. Delicious.
Tuesday was spent exploring different neighborhoods, streets and Portland landmarks. North Mississippi, Alberta Street, Pioneer Square, Hawthorne Blvd, Mt. Tabor Park, NW 23rd Ave, Waterfront and Harbor Place, and the Washington Park Rose Garden and Japanese Rose Garden. To name just a few. Oh, and the food trucks. We couldn’t get over all the food trucks!
The Beautiful Rose Gardens:
Michael gave us an extensive and amazing list of things to do outside of town, including the Columbia Gorge and waterfalls, and, unfortunately there was just not enough time to do everything. We’re excited to come back and explore more.
We stopped for lunch at the Kennedy School which is a McMenamin establishment. For those of you that don’t know, the McMenamin family has purchased various buildings throughout Oregon and Washington and turned them into hotels, restaurants, spas, etc. Oh and they brew their own beer! The Kennedy School was an old elementary school dating back to 1915 and was running until 1974. After a renovation, the McMenamin’s opened the part hotel, part spa, part brewery, part restaurant, part movie theatre in 1997.
They have kept the school in tact and as you walk the hallways you see art and photographs from past students and depicting Kennedy’s students and teachers from past generations. Additionally, they have kept the “school theme” going throughout. The honors bar, the detention room, the principals office, the English wing, etc. Cool place, for sure check it out if you find yourself in Portland. Or any of their other McMenamin properties in Oregon and Washington.
After an adventured filled day in Portland, it was back to the house for an amazing home cooked dinner. Fresh homemade fried oysters, bread and broccoli carserole, chicken, asian slaw salad and faro.
One thing that has really stood out to us throughout the trip is meeting folks that are extremely passionate and love the city or town they live in. This could not be more true for MaryRuth, Michael and their family. We shared many many many stories over the two days we were with them, but one that really stuck out to us is how they moved to Portland over 20 years ago because of Michael’s job. Their plan was just to stay for a few years and then head back to the east coast. That never happened. They are so deeply inspired and in love with Portland and all it has to offer. It shone so brightly through, not just in their conversations but also with the time they spent putting lists together for us of what to see and do. The spark in their eyes when they were talking about their hometown.
Your hospitality, your generosity, your stories, your laughter, your joy in what you do and where you live, have left a lasting imprint in our hearts. We so look forward to coming back to explore more, see more and share more with you.