I had been wanting to get back to Portland for years - when I went back in 2010 I just fell in love with the city and surrounding areas. My parents were looking for a summer trip as well, so I got to go back to my favorite city and also had fun getting to show my parents around! On Thursday evening I met my parents at the Portland airport and we rented a car to head into the city to our hotel, the Westin Portland.
On Friday morning we walked around downtown for a bit, did a little shopping, and then grabbed a really good hamburger at the Brunch Box. That afternoon my dad and I were taking a brewery tour with Brewvana Tours. With our pretzel necklaces to munch on and our Brewvana glasses we were ready to enjoy some beer. They took us to three stops - Old Town Brewing, Ecliptic and finally Kennedy School. Each had something great - at Old Town it was the Kolsch! Ecliptic had the most amazing gourmet food to go along with our beer, and Kennedy School was actually an old school turned into a brewery and multiple bars. The brewery room use to be the women's bathroom - too funny. My dad and I had such a great time - it was really fun to do something special with him on the trip!
On Saturday morning we woke up with one thing in mind - the farmer's market! We took a nice walk over to the PSU Farmer's Market. I could have walked around for hours...especially with all of the great samples to snatch up off each table. But actually better than the samples, I had so much fun taking photos of all the fruit and veggies. The colors and sunlight were just a perfect combination. I've also been slowly learning more about my camera, so it was a great opportunity to test out some of my developing skills.
After the farmer's market my dad went back to the hotel, enjoying a lunch of our farmer's market finds, and my mom and I went walking around town - to the Powell's bookstore and a couple other shops. We grabbed lunch at one of the Mediterranean food trucks, sat outside and enjoyed our food.
That afternoon I wanted to take my parents to the International Rose Test Garden. They loved it! And I had so much fun putting those camera skills to use again - trying my hardest to zoom in and get those perfect rose pictures. I definitely had way more duds than good pics...but the few good ones I got made the whole afternoon worth it! I just love this place - I could go back every year and still not getting tired of walking around the garden.
On our way back from the Rose Garden we did our full on tourist task - stopping at Voodoo doughnuts, waiting in line for 30 minutes, and leaving with a box full of donuts!
That evening we had reservations for dinner at Caffe Mingo - the restaurant I have been craving for 4 years! I had hyped it up so much to my parents I was worried it may not live up...but boy did it! Another amazing meal - we all walked away very full and happy. However, we weren't too full for ice cream. Just 2 blocks away was Salt & Straw ice cream, which we had heard a lot about. The line was unreal...45 minutes! We got our ice cream, sat outside to enjoy it, and headed back to the hotel after a really great day.
On Sunday we got up early and hit the road for Willamette Valley. I had done a lot of research previously and had a whole day lined up for us. This day was mostly for me...I love wine tasting...but my parents enjoyed it as well. I mean look at those views - who couldn't love looking at that all day!
Our first stop was Domaine Drouhin for a mid-morning tasting. For lunch we went into Dundee and met our cousin's Carrie and Dana at Red Hills Market. We enjoyed a really great sandwich, had fun catching up with Carrie and Dana for a bit and then went on our way. Our next stop was Utopia, which was recommended by a friend. By far my favorite of the day! I love when you can sit down with the winemaker, pouring you tastes of the wine they know so much about. Everything was great - not a bad drop. We made a pit stop at Penner-Ash just for the views off their patio, and then headed onto out last winery Colene Clemens. While driving up to Colene Clemens I spotted this old barn just off the road. I knew we had to stop on the way out - it was just so perfect!
On our final day in Portland, I went on my Columbia River Gorge bike tour with Pedal Bike Tours and my parents had a mini-road trip through the Gorge to an Alpaca yarn shop. Thankfully my tour started at 9am, because it was the hottest day of our trip - at over 100 degrees. I had done this same tour 4 years ago, but those waterfalls...they just call to me! We stopped at a couple lookout spots first, and then hopped on our bikes for a couple hours of biking and hiking through the gorge. We started at Latourell Falls (I just love the rocks and vibrant greens at this one), then went on to Sheppard's Dell, Bridal Veil Falls, Wahkeena Falls (my favorite of the falls. Pictured below - the power is so great...it was hard to get a photo before the lens got soaked from the spray), Multnomah Falls and finally Horsetail Falls. At the last stop we got to relax for about 20 mins, sitting right on the rocks in the water, dipping our toes in to cool off after a great day on the bikes! In total we biked about 8 miles and hiked 2.5 miles.
After getting back into town after the bike tour, I grabbed another tasty lunch from the food trucks. That night we went to dinner at Clarklewis. Hands down - one of the most amazing meals I have had - but yeah...so we missed the memo that the place was an open warehouse setting, with a brick oven in the open kitchen and it had no A/C! And yeah...we went there on the hottest day of the year! Thankfully none of us passed out during the meal, but seriously - go to this place - just go on a cooler day. We all did the tasting menu and as I've already mentioned, it was amazing. I can't believe how much food came to our table, and I don't think there was a bad bite in any of it. Numerous salads and appetizers, 3 pasta dishes, 3 meat and fish dishes and a couple desserts that I could eat over and over again! Yum...
Overall it was a really great trip. I had so much fun exploring Portland again, getting to enjoy some time with my parents and playing the role of the tour guide! Until next time Oregon...
You can check out more of my pictures from Oregon here - Oregon Photos