Say it right...

Disclaimer: I'm not up for fighting with auto spacing or whatever wacked-out coding Blogger has that splits words, plays with paragraph spacing, and makes posting photos a b****, so sorry in advance for some of the broken bits.

If you're planning to ever visit Portland, OR, I have a valuable tip 
for you: it'sOR-ə-gən, not OR-ə-gon. Say it wrong and you'll be quickly corrected--and it only takes one correction from a native, or one of the many transplants who've adopted it as 
their own, to remember to pronounce it correctly forever.
When I say Portland you say what? Maine. Or? Oregon. Yes! Is it 
a strange coincidence that these two cities share a name? Nope.Do 
you dare ask which came first? Portland, ME, of course...don't 
you remember anything from those lessons on Manifest Destiny? 
Interestingly enough, Portland could have been named Boston. But a good toss of a coin settled that decision and Portland it 
became--named after Francis Pettygrove of Portland, ME, who had 
claim on the land. Read up on the history for yourself and you'll become familiar with the names of some of the streets you'll 
encounter, when and i you make it to Portland: Couch (coo-ch), 
Stark, Lovejoy,etc.

Getting Around

Portland is pretty easy to figure out, and pretty easy to get around--thanks to its amazing public transportation system and abundance of bike lanes, many of them generous in size. It's split up into quadrants by the Willamette River which divides the east and west, and Burnside Ave. divides north and south. Southwest is the downtown quadrant with the taller buildings of the skyline; northwest is also "downtown" but is more of the apartment buildings/lofts shops, etc. Northeast and southeast you find your neighborhoods and eclectically populated streets like Belmont and Hawthorne--my personal favorites. 

A Few Recommendations

1.) Get a bike. Either rent one down by the waterfront or sign one out at the front desk if you're a guest of the Ace Hotel.

2.) Ride yourself over one of the many bridges lined with bike and walk lanes (I'd take the Hawthorne Bridge for this rec.) and make your way down Hawthorne until the bike lane ends...hang left...and take Salmon up until the 30s and then cut on over (right) to Hawthorne. What you seek: to get your fill at Bread and Ink Cafe, either at the Waffle Window for a quick bite or sitting down for a more casual pace.

3.) While on Hawthorne, leave the two wheels for your two feet and take a stroll to fully appreciate all that this strip has to offer. Pop in to some thrift shops, check out Powell's, and if you go a few more blocks down, you'll eventually hit the vintage motherload: House of Vintage. If you are anything like me, you are fascinated by the old, motivated by the hunt for that one-of-a-kind gem, and thus will find yourself wandering in and out of this store's many nooks for hours.

4.) Be adventurous: Wander off Hawthorne--with the possible motivation to grab a cup o' energy at Stumptown on Belmont--and take in the charm of the quaint neighborhoods that stem from these main streets.

5.) Drink beer. There are more breweries and brewpubs per capita here than any other city in the U.S. Now that's something to be proud of Portland. Which ones did I frequent? Rogue (was brewing a mean Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout--I'm a stout kind of girl); Deschutes (have a Sagebrush [if they have it on tap], a Black Butte Porter, an Obsidian Stout and don't look back); Bridgeport; Tugboat; and I sampled many others when given the opportunity while out and about. One favorite find was at La Merde: Session Black--A Full Sail brew out of Mt. Hood, OR. Best part, other than the taste being right up my alley: it was $2 and change. And after a great convo with the Brooklyn-native bartender, another was given on the house. 

6.) Eat food. One place that was visited on more than one occasion was Jam, another Hawthorne treat. The vegan options and the inventive cocktails are a match made in heaven. It's a must. As for a great dinner joint, on the other side of the river (that being west), Adina. It's Peruvian, and it's phenomenal. They're creative with their dishes, but not over the top. All I have to say is order their Choros a la Chalaca (the mussels), you'll be pleasantly surprised. Lastly, if you want a little Swedish in you, check out Broder--another East-side find. OH, and I almost forgot, the place that was suggested when asking others what not to miss in Portland: Voodoo Doughnut. After two attempts met with lines out the door, I convinced myself that I couldn't be missing out on too much, it's a freaking doughnut for gosh sakes. The lines? Those were just full of people who were feeding the hype that had been passed on to them, just as it had to me. I wasn't falling for it. Then again...I did. Come the morning of my departure, I sheepishly asked the taxi driver if it would be possible to swing by Voodoo for one last attempt. Even he was skeptical...which made him agasp as we turned to corner to see NO LINE and exclaiming that he hadn't ever seen Voodoo without a line in 10 years. (Note: It was Sunday around 7:30 a.m. set your alarms.) I left with a yellow snow doughnut, he left with a box full.

(I know what you're thinking. And I don't care, it was gooooood.)

7.) Take time to smell the flowers. Yes, at the rose garden. Portland's other moniker is "The City of Roses." Better yet, mozie through the Japanese Gardens. Take advantage of the public transit and hit the blue or red line to the Washington Park stop, then enjoy a little hike on the Wild Wood Trail to the gardens.

8.) Catch a show. It's Portland for goodness sake, which means there's no shortage of great music. Sign yourself up for alerts from TicketsWest or do the research on the various venues like Crystal Ballroom, Roseland Theater and Doug Fir and stalk their listings for that perfectly timed, must-see show. I caught some music, but unfortunately it wasn't the kind of I've-been-dying-to-see-them kind of music experience I was hoping would align. Nonetheless, Doug Fir was the venue of my chosen Portland concert, and if not for anything else, the beer selection was great and the space was awesome. (Back history: Portland has a lumber history, hence Stumptown Coffee, the Doug Fir, etc.) I'd highly recommend checking the Fir out, even if you don't hit a show.

9.) Hit up some or at least one of the natural wonders of Oregon, be it Multnomah Falls or Haystack Rock on the coast in Cannon Beach. The former was chosen on the last round in Portland, so this time around, to the coast! It's a beautiful sight, and for this East Coast girl, enjoyed the opportunity to stare into the white crests of the Pacific. As for Cannon Beach, it's quaint but definitely couldn't hold my attention for more than a day or two; therefore, I suggest making it a day trip.

10.) Go. See. Do. Repeat. There's a lot to see. A lot to do. And a ton more to explore. Know you will not see everything and be okay with that. After two trips there, I'm still left with plenty to do upon Round #3 to the Northwest. For some great deals and tips, visit Travel Portland.

Cheers and safe travels.

Have you been? If so, what else would you suggest to others?

UPDATE: One very BIG point I did not make involves timing. Time your night out right, otherwise you may be caught off guard as I was. While sampling the night away at Deschutes, a ring of a bell and a quick yell of Gibberish hit the air and hit me cold. To which I, with slight sarcasm, ask the bartender "Did you really just say last call?" That he did. I went on to explain my disbelief is a result of living in a city where places don't close down until at least 1 or 2 a.m.--even our coffee shops. (Hit the bars and you're good 'til 4 a.m.) At that point the chick bartender replies "Well, I couldn't be here until 4 a.m., I wouldn't make it." Portland: You're weak.
Anyway, I suppose it's great for the staff, but unfortunate for select transplants, and visiting night owls like myself. My advice: divide up those breweries and conquer...early.
(Special note: Le Bistro Montage has some late/early hours for fellow night owls.)


rachel said...

Great post! It made me want to go back to Portland immediately!!

Wendy Irene said...

I loved the great recap and pictures of your trip! Thanks for sharing :-)

Steve Mitchell said...

I live here now... for two months or so. SE Hawthorne is my neighborhood and stomping grounds. I Wish I knew you were in town I would have bought a fellow blogger a beer!

jessielynn said...

R&W, maybe we should try to get Portland on the list for a girls' trip in the next few years ;)

SM, NO WAY! That's unbelievable! Cheers to your new location--it's a sweet one. I've been streaming 94.7 since I've returned...and I kindly thank you for your beer offer, and I'm kinda bummed I missed that opportunity--a Portland beer is def. one you don't want to pass up ;)Cheers!