Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oregon Part II: Beer {Portland}

Next up on our Anniversary Tour of the Pacific Northwest... Portland!  

See Part I: Wine {Dundee} here!

After refining our pinot palates in Dundee, we headed North to get the Grand Portland Tour courtesy of our favorite physicians... 

First up, the nitty-gritty:  We stayed downtown at The Nines.  The Nines has a great location, right across from Pioneer Square and within easy walking distance of the Pearl District. The hotel itself is very luxurious... but appears to be trying a bit too hard to be chic and modern, much like the feeling I sometimes get at the W. However, unlike the usually snooty W staff,  The Nines employees were ridiculously helpful and accommodating.  Oh.  And the showers... ooo the showers.  One of my Top Five Showers Ever (likely in part because we'd just finished a 12 mile hike and were completely soaked and freezing, but still...).  Final Verdict?  Not necessarily our style but a great deal for the price (which was about a 1/2 the price of a base level room at any of the other Starwood establishments I've researched).  

We were so lucky to have the best damn tour guides of all time... as well as the best damn sightseeing buddies ever with Milltini and D also visiting from NYC!  I mentioned Best Friendship in yesterday's post and I think I'll take this opportunity to run tangentially with that topic!  Well, perhaps we need not go on the Tangent Extreme, but I kept having this thought throughout the weekend spent with two of my favorite women, and it went something like this... "How did we grow up?  I'm not sure when it happened, but is it not the coolest thing on earth that we've done it together?"  As we toured the hospital where J works and heard all the details of L's new super-sexy (in finance terms, that is!) job... as I heard J give her new, very Irish last name instead of her very French maiden name, and as we celebrated the day, last year, where my own very Irish name got its own very Anglo name-buddy... the thought kept popping into my mind... Before all of this fabulous adult stuff, there was us... J, K, L***... and that by itself was pretty fabulous.  I just kind of love that.  

Okay, end of Sapfest 2010... Onward with the descriptions of just how damn outdoorsy we are!  Our first day in Portland was spent hiking in the Columbia River Gorge (exact trail unknown... they pointed, I hiked, and that was that!).  Conditions were a bit damp, and we did have one Troop-Beverly-Hills-Style-Fallen-Log-Crossing-Incident, but we ended the day in good spirits, having seen incredible sights, and snug as bugs in an SUV with a big ol' bulk bag of granola!  

{Note: I suck at the "Hiking Hotty" look... boo}
{Punchbowl Falls}

Aside from our Wilderness Girls Activities, we...
  • Tasted choice brews at Deschutes and Lucky Labrador (actually, the menfolk did quite the brewery tour, if their states of being late Saturday afternoon was any indication, but us cultured ladies were far too busy with more highbrow activities, such as tasting at Two Tarts and purchasing mini sparkle Chuck Taylor shoe key chains)

{Portland Breweries Puffy Heart Board Games --> Kate Puffy Hearts Portland Breweries}
  • Visited the Saturday Market where better weather would have been a plus, but we were still able to sample the wares of local artists (and scarf down food cart gyros... yum!) - I purchased the cutest chili / soup bowls with handles from a very nice potter!  

  • Attended Easter services at The Grotto - a gorgeous chapel set at the foot of a cliff where all the Stations of the Cross are set outside in a botanical garden.
  • Ended our Easter Celebration (my second holiday of late spent away from family but surrounded by dear friends... a "Felicity Easter," if you will!) with brunch at Mother's, a favorite of Bill & Hillary Clinton!  
I loved Portland. {Watch out, I said that about Dundee and I'm sure as all get out going to say it again when I recap Astoria... It's highly possible all that beer and wine has made me a biased travel reviewer - you've been warned!} It reminded me of Austin... but with a shitton (official measurement) of bridges.  And more rain.  And seasons.  And microbreweries.  So...you know... like, Awesome.  Sadly, They (you know, The Official "Theys" of Portland, duh) probably wouldn't let me live there because I cannot ride a bicycle (which, is terribly mortifying in real life but perhaps adds additional depth and intrigue to my online persona?  no?  still mortifying?  drats!), but that's why we have friends who live there... Friends who let us drink their good beer. So... you know... like, Good Friends.  

Huge Thanks to those Good Friends, who are, in fact, "Hiking Hotties!"

*** Dude.  I've never noticed that our first initials are alphabet companions, too! New discovery!  


  1. You're making me want to go there more and more every day! Sounds like such an amazing place.

  2. Your be-fri diatribes are really sweet. I'm happy y'all got to spend some QT together and with your collective menfolk!

  3. Oh and I am not a strong bicycler either. I also can't swim. So I'm sadder than you :)

  4. A) The hiking pictures of y'all look like you are in Narnia!

    B) Good girlfriends are just the best. My post today is also about how amazing it is seeing your friends grow up. Also, what we do without good girlfriends? This conclusion was reached Sunday when having a very detailed discussion about the pros and cons of asparagus consumption.

    C) I am extremely intrigued by this bike thing. Could you ride one as a child?

  5. I puffy heart you! I really have no clue when the heck we grew up, but I'm darn glad I've done it with you two by my side. I love you! And the JKL discovery...how did we not recognize this before!

  6. Austin has microbreweries! Maybe not on every corner (they're reserved for independent coffee houses), but we have them! (I say "we" from long distance - Fort Worth is, sadly, not Austin.)

  7. Yay! I loved Portland and glad you guys did too. I'm so impressed you guys did that hike in the rain. I almost died when we did it in October, with no rain. Also, it does have the Austin feel, and if there was a little less rain and not so far from the fam, I'd move there in a heartbeat!

  8. Yay I am so happy that you loved my town! I am so proud of Portland and I always want new people to experience it. It looks like you picked a good hike, I love punchbowl falls. Did you try Voodoo Donuts? Nice recap, glad you liked it here! Oh, and I love the Grotto. I always wanted to get married there, but alas, I'm not having a summer wedding.

  9. aahhh I am so jealous-pinot noir from Oregon is my absolute fave! Love the hiking pics.

  10. I'm a native Portlander (now living in Austin), and am loving your Oregon recaps! I adore my home state and am so glad you love it too! I feel like Oregon is kind of an overlooked/under-appreciated state... sandwiched between showy CA and WA, which always tries to claim NW supremacy. So good to see Oregon getting some props!

  11. in addition to rain, bridges and breweries, i also find there to be a shitton of fleece. a bit much fleece for my fashion sensibilities - and all in earth tones. I spent a night out in a hot pink dress feeling all..."one of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong."

    although i do quite enjoy the northwest!

  12. I have really been wanting to go to Portland. SO glad I stumbled across you blog!

    These photos are amazing! And thanks for the hotel tip. I'll keep it in mind =)

    Can't wait to read the first Oregon post!

  13. Punch Bowl Falls! I love the Eagle Creek Trail! Its my fav hike in the Gorge!!

  14. Alert: I live in Portland and I don't even OWN a bike.

  15. Ok, if not the Nines, do you or your local friends have other PDX hotel recommendations for visiting. And, how many days/nights would you suggest?

    1. We looked at Ace Hotel as well -- super funky and fun. I'll ask our friends if they have any other suggestions for you. I think how many nights really depends on what you want to do... just see the city? Head out of the city for hiking? We were there two full days - one hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and another seeing the city. There was tons we didn't see in Portland... We'd love to go back and spend another two to three days.


happy little comments!