Three Blondes in Portland – Part 1

Late July I went on a girls trip to Portland and had so much to write/review, that I decided to break the post up in two sections, so I don’t bore anyone too quickly – hopefully!

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As I’ve mentioned before, I love to travel and when a friend told me “you’d love Portland, it has everything you enjoy – breweries, hiking and waterfalls,” It wasn’t long before I was planning my next girls trip!

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I have two girlfriends who I traveled to San Francisco with a couple years ago and asked them if they’d like to join me on this Portland adventure and they agreed. Kristin was a last minute decision because she’s a traveling nurse and couldn’t guarantee where she would be working – but Kasey and I are so glad she could make it happen!

One thing to note:  I am VERY much a planner and had a full 3 page itinerary set up for this trip complete with links and “just in case” ideas. And yes, I even went to the extreme of mapping out the distance to certain locations and if we could walk or if we would need to uber.  (I am happy to provide my “itinerary” to anyone who is planning a trip to this amazingly weird city.)

I like to think the girls enjoy my eagerness/willingness to plan. I asked them for suggestions on what they wanted to do and I always sent out the itinerary with a disclaimer stating “this is just mere suggestions, nothing set in stone”

The suggestions included:

  • Pip:  Breweries, Waterfalls
  • Kasey: Wine Tour, Brunch
  • Kristin: Wine Tour

 

First off, I don’t think it matters how much you plan, the trip will never go perfectly and there will always be a “do you think we should do this” or “are we missing out on something” type of feel.

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Kasey – left; Kristin – middle; Me – end

Here’s how the trip panned out:

DAY 1: Flight left out of Jacksonville at 5:30 AM (this involved waking up at 3:30AM EST/12:30AM Oregon time) and unfortunately I can’t sleep on planes, so it was a LONG day! We all arrived in Portland (around 10:30am PST) very tired, hungry and a bit cranky.  Jumped in an uber with a VERY talkative man who was eager to tell us all about his city (which he wasn’t too fond of) and let’s just say after traveling for five hours alone, all the Jaber and negativity was not very welcomed!

The room wasn’t ready, so three tired blondes freshened up in the hotel bathroom and met up with a long time friend of mine who I’ve known my entire life. She happened to be working in Portland that day, so I was very excited when she was able to catch up with us for lunch!

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HUB:  We went to HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery) – it was good, lots of beers on tap and I kept calling it very Portland-esque with bikes hanging from the ceilings as their decor.

There was nothing else to do around HUB, so we went back to hotel and room STILL WASN’T READY, so we starting walking around and exploring the city a bit.  Of course, the minute we sat down at a bar for a beer, I get a text alert saying our room was ready! GO FIGURE!

After cleaning up, we were advised by hotel staff to hit up Matador for dinner.

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MATADOR: A Mexican restaurant on the northwest side of town.  We  were NOT disappointed.  It was such a fun atmosphere, food was amazing and margaritas were fantastic!

After dinner/drinks, we headed back to the hotel – I got a beer to go from the hotel bar and we called it an early night, knowing we had a busy day ahead.

DAY 2: My planning was a bit ambitious as I had read a blog on someone who went to Cannon Beach and Multnomah falls in one day – they are in opposite directions from Portland and I knew it was going to be a long shot. We decided to change up the “itinerary” and do Multnomah Falls our last day so we could spend more time there and go to a decent happy hour on Friday. This was the right decision in terms of timing, but wrong decision because it was a long/hot hike and we didn’t have a place to shower before taking the red-eye home (hello hotel bathroom again!)

We rented a car and took a drive out to the coast. The crazy uber driver, told us we HAD to check out CAMP 18 – I researched it and it did not look like our kind of place, but driving out to the beach, we saw it and it looked cute and figured we might as well stop and have breakfast there.

CAMP 18:  Breakfast was nothing special, but then again – I don’t venture far from a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.  But I am really glad we stopped there because the views were extremely pleasant and overall it was a very nice experience.

CANNON BEACH:  Ok, if you’re a Goonies fan, you know all about this place.  I, on the other hand, have never seen Goonies and didn’t know anything about that “rock” until I was planning this trip. The town was very quaint and cute, parking was ridiculous, but once we found a spot, we hit up the beach and well, that’s about it.  Not much else – granted, we probably could’ve walked around to cute shops, but at this point, we were still thinking we were going to Multnomah Falls and trying to prioritize our time. In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to spend a day going out to Cannon Beach – it’s about 1 1/2 hours from Portland and I live 15 mins from the beach, but at least we were able to put our feet in the Pacific ocean and take a few pics!

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VOODOO DONUTS: Tourist destination and I read on many reviews and from locals that Blue Star is the place to get the better donuts, but we figured we are tourists and wanted to try it out.  So glad we did, it was AH-MA-ZING!!! We pretty much got one of each and my favorite was the maple bacon donut – sounds so gross, but it was oh so yummy!!! We kept saying one bite of each and well. . .that didn’t happen. Calories don’t count on vacation, right?

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THE NINES:

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Like I said earlier, we didn’t do Multnomah Falls so we could go to a fun Happy Hour on a Friday and we went to a rooftop bar that was recommended called The Nines – it was a great time, but difficult to get a drink. Talked to some locals who recommended going to Ten Barrel for dinner/drinks – EXCELLENT SUGGESTION!

 

10BARREL:  Probably one of my favorite places there, it was crazy packed, but so much fun – of course, it’s a brewery, so I would love it!  The wait time for dinner was about 45 mins, but they called us about 25 mins later and the food was WELL WORTH the wait! Steak nachos were unbelievable and if we would have more time in Portland, I would’ve definitely made it a priority to go back!

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This picture cracks me up!

10BARREL:  Probably one of my favorite places there, it was crazy packed, but so much fun – of course, it’s a brewery, so I would love it!  The wait time for dinner was about 45 mins, but they called us about 25 mins later and the food was WELL WORTH the wait! Steak nachos were unbelievable and if we would have more time in Portland, I would’ve definitely made it a priority to go back!

 

NEXT POST:  DAYS 3-5 IN THE CITY MOST KNOWN TO BE “WEIRD”

Three Blondes in Portland – Part 2

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The fun continues. . .days 1-2 in previous post.

DAY 3:

  • JACK RABBITS:  Kasey and I went to brunch while Kristin stayed back and slept. She got quiche which she loved and I got the obligatory – bacon, egg and cheese sandwich (creature of habit)  It was the hotel bar/restaurant.  It was good and we both enjoyed the atmosphere and what we got, but came across Lechon and wish we would’ve gone here for brunch instead.

 

  • SATURDAY MARKET:  A suggestion made by my cousin and I loved every second I was there – could’ve spent the entire day and more there.  So much amazing pieces of jewelry, artwork, and things to do/see. We all got henna tattoos to satisfy my desire to never have a permanent one.

 

img_1092.jpgBREWERS FEST:  Well, if you know me at all, you would know that I was ecstatic to learn that this festival was going on the weekend that I happened to be there (and that wasn’t even planned). We went to the festival and I was highly disappointed. Maybe b/c I’ve been to things like this before and I thought this one wasn’t very well laid out – it was hard to tell what line you were in and what beers were being served and the fact that it was over dirt, made me feel like I wanted to get back and showered right away!

 

IMG_1096.jpgDESCHUTES BREWERY: We used up all of our tokens from the brewers fest and spent the evening at Deschutes Brewery with an old friend from high school/college who lives in Portland with his wife.  It’s amazing how you can go years without talking or seeing each other, but things automatically pick right back up where you left them! I have only great things to say about Deschutes – and would highly recommend.  Very popular because it has great food, fun environment and a wide selection of great beers.

SALT N STRAW: A well-known ice cream shop that has a line wrapped around the building. Kristin and Kasey had to try this stuff, I am not a sweets lover, so went to a bar while they waited for their sweet treat.  I just texted them to ask if it was worth the 30+ minute wait and receive a unanimous  “YES” response, so I’m guessing this place is a MUST!

DAY 4:

A GREAT OREGON WINE TOUR: Enough breweries, this is the day Kristin and Kasey were waiting for!!! We booked our tour with Wayne on A Great Oregon Wine Tour and I was sharing the front seat with him the rest of the day! He was extremely personable, knowledgeable and fun!!! The wineries are all in Willamette Valley – such a beautiful place – loved every winery just as much as the next and the views were absolutely stunning!

RIVER PIG SALOON:  This looked like it would be a great place for a Friday/Saturday night, but Sunday afternoon – not a lot happening, so we had one beer and decided to grab Thai food from the Red Onion, decor was that of a walk-in Chinese restaurant and the food was nothing special, so it doesn’t even get its own review!

DAY 5:

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MULTNOMAH FALLS:  I’m finally getting to see my waterfalls and well, they were amazing, but few things I wish I would’ve known. 1) Parking was absolutely ridiculous – apparently there’s another parking area, but no signs to indicate that.  We turned around and I’m pretty sure by the stare-down I got, that I cut someone off from getting a parking spot – but hey, gotta be quick.  2) It was so incredibly busy there, we should’ve gotten there right when they opened! 3) The hike up was a bit tiring, but I think that was a combination of beer, wine, and donuts over the previous four days :). 4) It was HOT HOT HOT!!! If you’re going to do this hike, I would not suggest it in late July. 5) If you stay for lunch, get the Merionberry Margarita – Oh Em Gee, I don’t think I’ve ever had one this amazing (and I’ve had my fair share of amazing margaritas)!!!

 

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Well deserved

 

HUBERS CAFE:  I heard about this place on “Best Bars in America” and well-known for their Spanish Coffee – I don’t even drink coffee, but I knew I had to try this out. Unfortunately Kasey and Kristin had to run a quick errand and weren’t there to watch him make my drink – equipped with fire and fancy tricks! I loved it! Since I am a slacker and didn’t take a video of it, you can click here to watch someone else’s video!

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Spanish Coffee

OVERALL VERDICT ON PORTLAND:  The city known for being “weird” definitely lived up to its  reputation, there were extremely strange people walking around the streets (although I’m sure they were incredibly nice) and no one seemed to care about a thing! There were many things I wish I would’ve been able to do, but unfortunately we ran out of time.  I will 110% go back and I look forward to doing the things I missed out on, but in the meantime, I will share stories from locals on things that we should’ve done on another post. (I took good notes.)

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