Every year I ask Zach what he wants to do for his birthday. This year was a no-brainer for him [and I was totally ok with it, obviously.] We decided to take a trip to Portland over Labor Day. We left Thursday night with our luggage stuffed to full capacity. It was the same drill as last year: snowboards, snowboarding gear, and this year…a skateboard.
Zach somehow convinced me that I needed to strap his skateboard on my carry-on. True love, is carrying your husband’s skateboard through airport security.
Since we left Thursday night, I thought Zach would be disappointed that he was missing the very first Utah football game of the season, but technically…we didn’t miss it. Our flight was delayed so Zach was watching live footage until we had to board the plane. Even then, he was checking updates on his phone until the last possible second…
It was bittersweet to hear that my Aggies lost, but Zach was elated about the Utah victory.
Because of our flight delay, we arrived in Portland a little later than we had anticipated. After grabbing our baggage and loading up our rental car, we set off to the city for our dinner reservation at Bamboo Sushi. It definitely lived up to its reviews. Yes, I am one of those weirdos that read reviews of a restaurant before dining.
We are pretty easy to please when it comes to sushi, but Bamboo was really delicious. Probably the best prepared and the freshest fish I have ever had at a Japanese restaurant. After dinner we left for Mt. Hood. The only stop we made was at Voodoo Doughnuts on the way out for a few treats.
We had a little “doughnut tasting” on our drive up there and we both agreed that the “Captain my Captain” and Cocoa Puff chocolate cake doughnuts were our favorite. We didn’t get up the mountain to Timberline Lodge until after midnight and both of us completely passed out as soon as we got our bags inside of our room.
The next morning Zach got me up bright and early. He is not much of a morning person, but when snowboarding is involved he is as chipper as can be! We geared up and made our way up the Magic Mile to the Palmer lift to ride Mt. Hood.
Zach and I also tried a new trick. If that’s what you want to call it. While riding up the lift, he asked me…”Can I grind you?” I promise you that this is not what I had in mind…
We stayed up on the mountain until the lift closed in the afternoon and then showered up to drive back to Portland for the rest of the day.
Zach already had our afternoon planned: he wanted to go to Burnside. Burnside Skatepark is located in the city and is built underneath the overpass of Burnside Bridge. It started with one wall ride and then grew into the park it is now. The most interesting part is that it was built by the skateboard community without permission by the city. Another crazy fact about Burnside is that most of it is built on garbage. Piles of trash and refuge make up the structure of this place – there is even a Volkswagen Beetle beneath the hump of concrete in the middle. Since it was built by locals, there are a lot of parts of the park that are…sketchy. It is one of the most infamous skateparks in the country, and Zach wanted to ride it for himself. So that’s exactly what we did.
We were both nervous because of all the rumors we had heard about the locals that dwell there. We were warned that they were very territorial and often harassed visitors, so we weren’t surprised one bit when we showed up and immediately were told to “get lost”. There were quite a few people there; mostly heshers and junkies, but they definitely let us know that we were not welcome. Zach skated it any way and loved every second.
He claims it was the most difficult park he has ever ridden. Because the park wasn’t sanctioned by the city until AFTER it was built, a lot of parts [maybe no parts at all?] are not up to code. We stayed there until things got really uncomfortable for us and we bounced. I am just glad we made it out of there without getting shanked by a broken beer bottle, to be honest.
After Burnside we decided to kill some time before our dinner reservation and do some shopping at Pioneer Place and some other stores down town.
We then drove to the Alberta area to have dinner at DOC. It is this tiny restaurant on a bustling strip of one of my favorite neighborhoods.
You have to walk through the kitchen [which consists of one gas range] to actually get into the restaurant. Zach ordered the beef and I ordered the pasta.
We both were really pleased with everything we tried: including the imported English Curiosity Cola. We grabbed some ice cream on our way out of the city for our drive back up to Timberline.
The next morning was round 2 on the mountain. It was also our last day spent at Mt. Hood.
We got in as many runs as we could before the lift closed again and then got ready for another drive back into Portland. We decided to stop at the Portland Saturday Market for a few hours before it closed that evening.
I imagined it to be a lot like our Salt Lake City Farmers’ Market, but I was completely wrong. There were hoards of people shopping through tents and tents of interesting things. Tie-died shirts, pottery, food carts, wooden instruments, artisan soap, and so on. Not to mention the craziest concoction of people I have ever seen in one location. A lot of shirtless pot heads, scantily clad hippie chicks, and numerous amounts of homeless folk. One thing that the Portland Saturday Market didn’t sell? Deodorant. Zach was enthralled with the people-watching.
After our “experience” at the market we made our way over to Cool Moon Ice Cream for a treat. We walked our cream over to an adjacent park and relaxed until we could check in to our Portland hotel.
We later walked to the Nines Hotel for our dinner reservation at Urban Farmer. It was really busy, but for some reason the hostess placed us in a dining room all to ourselves.
The decor of the restaurant was amazing: shelves lining the walls of canned vegetables, cowhide benches, and reclaimed wood everywhere. We both loved our hot cornbread [in a can] and our amazing entrees. Usually “grass fed beef” and “free range chicken” don’t do it for me, but we both loved our meals.
We decided to grab a treat on our walk back to our hotel at a nearby Walgreens. Reese’s Pumpkins are officially on the shelves. Enough said.
I know I’m not supposed to have favorites…but Sunday was my favorite day by far of the entire trip. Sunday morning I was the one up bright and early to get Zach pumped for a tiny hike through Forest Park. We didn’t make it to the park our last trip and I had been dying to go since last year. I planned a little route for us along Lower Macleay Trail. We parked our rental car under the Thurman Bridge and made our way through the park.
It was incredible. Everything is so green and the temperature was so cool. All the trees and rocks were covered in this gorgeous moss and looked like something from a dream. There were tons of trail runners, hikers, and dog walkers. Side note: running is hard enough as it is…why did people have to have super-human powers and invent TRAIL running?
We passed over a few small bridges and walked along the river until we came to Stone House. These ruins were originally built as a rest stop, but were later abandoned. The stone structure is located right where the Macleay Trail and the Wildwood Trail meet. This made for an easy morning adventure for us and it was one of the highlights of our trip.
We then made our way over to the Waffle Window. It’s kind of a tradition in my little family that if you go on a hike, you deserve a great breakfast afterwards. So no explanation needed. Zach got a plain waffle topped in bacon with a side of maple syrup and orange juice and I got the peach waffle with lemon syrup.
They called it “syrup”, but it was more like lemon custard. I could eat that every day for breakfast and never get sick of it. I would be too large to fit through the waffle window, but I would be so so very happy.
We went back to our hotel to shower up and check out so we could make the drive to Cannon Beach. The drive from the city to the shore is just under two hours, but one of the most beautiful scenic drives so it goes by pretty quickly. Once we arrived on the Oregon Coast we went straight to our hotel. Unfortunately, a trainee had accidentally canceled our reservation the night before. I was really worried where we would stay considering it was Labor Day weekend and just about everywhere was completely booked. Instead of freaking out like I secretly wanted to, we set off to find another place to stay. While on the hunt we were distracted by some outlet stores and stopped at a little joint called Bruce’s Candy Kitchen. Like a scary dream mixed of Willy Wanka’s Chocolate Factory and Circus Circus in Las Vegas.
While exploring candy land, we got a call from our original hotel we had booked our reservation through informing us that they had a room available: a suite at no additional cost. They also gave us free Wifi, so Zach was cheering all the way back to the hotel.
After we were all settled in, we hopped back in the car to drive down to Hug Point State Park.
It is not so much a park, really…but more of a beach. The amazing thing about Hug Point, however, is that there is so much to see. There were caves, tide pools, and even a little waterfall. Out of the beaches I have been to on the Oregon Coast, this is now my favorite. We saw a family that had made a little camp up on the rock ledge where the waterfall was. It made me so excited to take my family here one day.
We spent a couple of hours exploring until it was time to drive back to Cannon for our dinner reservation. We ate at Newman’s at 988. It is a restaurant that was originally a tiny yellow house. Last time we visited Cannon they were completely booked so I made it a priority to have dinner here this trip. The fresh [hot] bread and the Lobster Ravioli were to die for. Seriously. Worth the year wait, if you ask us.
After our meal we made our way down to the beach. Zach had a romantic night planned for us: a bonfire on the beach with s’mores. He found a nearby hotel that provided bonfire and s’mores kits that you could purchase and take down to the shore. Yes, our kit was meant for a family of six…but we didn’t mind. It just meant more s’mores to share between us. Thankfully I married an Eagle Scout…
Once we got our fire going strong we started toasting our mallows. S’mores taste a little better on the beach, if that is even possible.
Like I said, my favorite day of the trip. We let our fire burn out and then turned in for the night. I won’t tell you how many s’mores we had between the two of us…but we gave that family of six a run for their money, I betcha.
Monday was our last day. I woke up early to go on a run along the beach. People that live on a beach don’t know how good they’ve got it. I swear it makes running bearable…for the most part. After getting ready and packing up all our bags we decided to spend our last hours in Oregon back in the city. We made the drive back to Portland with enough time to spare to walk around the Pearl District and do some shopping.
Shopping makes me hungry. Who am I kidding…everything makes me hungry. We had worked up quite the appetite and decided to hit up the food trucks before making our way to the airport. We stopped at a big pod on SW 10th and Alder.
Then it was time to head back to PDX and come home. Yes, Portland is weird. But we love it. It’s a place where flannel is always in season and where people save tons of money every year because they don’t buy antiperspirant. But seriously. I could live there. There is just something about the Pacific Northwest. Portland, be it strange, is always a fantastic time and we have made some amazing memories there. Maybe that’s why we like this place so much…because WE are weird? Either way, I’ll take it. I’d rather be weird than boring any day, right?
Stay weird, Portland…