106 Hours in Oregon

One of my first true New York friends, Christina moved to Portland, Oregon about a year after I moved here and at then end of July, she got married. So K, Michele, Iris and I all trekked out for the wedding in Tillamook. Since we were going out there, I decided to go out early and do some interviews. Michele had never been, so she went out early to check out Portland. Iris and K joined us just before we headed to the coast. We had such a great time. All four of us, had not been together in a while since Iris moved to China a few years ago and we had not all been together with Christina in just as long. We had such a fun time touring around the Coast, getting the most out of Portland and seeing Christina get married!

I had a bit of time between interviews on Thursday and it was a beautiful clear day, so Michele meet me and we went up to the Tram for a ride to the top of the hill and the  Oregon Health & Science University which also has the longest spanning pedestrian bridge. Oh and some amazing views of the city, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Hood.

Portland TramNaturally we hit up a few breweries for a flight or two. Michele and I had extra time, so after my interviews on Thursday we went to Deschutes Brewery and then to Base Camp. We had a flight at each and a delicious pretzel with mustard at Deschutes. It might have been better than the beer. Seriously. Then we had some of the most delicious tapas at this place recommended by the bartender at Base Camp called, Toro Bravo. It was so damn good. I don’t think we could have ordered something bad. It was absolutely beautiful out, so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the evening with our dinner.

Portland BreweryWe saved room so we could headed over to Salt and Straw for ice cream. We arrived about a half hour or maybe a bit more before they closed and found a nice little line out the door and around the side. I have a thing for waiting in line for food apparently. We got in the door right before they closed and the line was still there and they kept serving. They let you try as many flavors as you want before you pick and they have some amazing flavors, like Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper. We gorged ourselves with two scoops each. And then went back to the hotel where K found us in beer and sugar comas.

Portland S&SThe next morning after a couple interviews, I picked up our rental car to head to the coast. I specifically a midsize car since there was four of us with luggage. They gave me a Chevy Spark. I saw it and almost turned around to the desk to say, I reserved a four door. And I should have gone back to get something different. We looked like a clown car. Seriously. Sparky and my Minion (from my JFK happy meal) made a real team for the rest of our trip.

Minion in Sparky

Minion in Sparky

I picked up the girls from brunch and we headed out of town stopping at McMenamins-Kennedy School, which was a real school and is now a hotel with a brewery and restaurants, theater and stuff like that. It’s pretty cool. It’s kind of hard to get to via public transportation, so just be aware of that if you want to got out there.  I was hungry since I missed brunch we stopped at the Courtyard Restaurant so I could eat and they could sample some beer. The tater tots are awesome. Seriously. And I tasted the boozy milkshakes the other had. A stout beer with vanilla ice cream. I don’t like stout beers, but if I hadn’t been driving, I would have had one of those. So good.

Portland SchoolTillamook is about a two hour drive from Portland and it is a beautiful drive through the mountains. We arrived at our hotel, freshened up and headed out to the welcome BBQ at The Retreat at Whiskey Creek. It is right off the coast nestled in the trees with some amazing views. We caught up with the bride, meet many other friends and family and ate some delicious food. Especially the baked beans, which was a major cause of stress for the creator who tried so very hard to make them completely organic, but just couldn’t find one of the beans in organic form. It was a serious problem.

Portland BBQThe next morning it was a bit cool and the cloudy, but we set out for the coast anyway. We went to Cape Meares State Park and Lighthouse. The views are amazing and there is also this crazy tree that looks like an octopus. Very interesting. After the winds had given us enough goosebumps, we got off the cliff and headed down to Oceanside Beach. At one end of the beach where it meet a cliff, there is a concrete tunnel sticking out that people were walking through. It looked pretty sketchy and like a giant water culvert, but we walked through it and on the other side is another beach area. From the beaches you can see the Three Arch Rocks and the entire area was beautiful, even if the water was freezing.

Portland lighthouseWe headed back to town to grab some lunch and head to the cheese factories for some samples. We went to Blue Heron French Cheese Factory first. The Brie was so good. So very good. And you could pet a goat while you were at it, if you like goats. I find them evil. We headed down the road to the much bigger Tillamook Cheese Factory where we had several samples and had a glimpse of a the processing. We would have had ice cream, but the line was huge, we were still stuffed from lunch and we needed to get ready for the wedding.

Portland CheeseThe wedding was being held about 30 minutes from the town at the Tillamook Forest Center on a bridge. It was maybe the most gorgeous wedding site I have seen and I have see a few beautiful weddings. The ceremony was simple and sweet, with the bride and groom in front of the bridge gate and the guest standing on the widest part of the bridge. After the ceremony, the gate was opened an a long table ran the span of the bridge for our dinner. During the cocktail hour, we wandered down the river and around the forest area a bit. It was so nice. The dinner and pies after were delicious and we were on to dancing on the bridge before heading back to town on the party bus.

Portland wedding

The party bus crew was not ready to call it a night so we ended up looking for the after party in town. We called a Kenny G’s Cab and he took us to a bar with a DJ, I think it was called JT’s, but now I can’t find it on the map. Anyway, five girls and one guy tumbled out of the car in our dresses and the group of guys at the door started thanking Kenny profusely. It was pretty funny. Inside, we ordered some drinks, danced, tried to dance with the one or two locals who must have come over as a dare given how quickly they disappeared. It was one of those fun social experiments where you could tell everyone was watching us and thinking ‘crazy out of towners coming in our bar and acting all crazy,’ and we were dancing around non-stop and laughing watching them watch us, thinking ‘ why won’t they dance with us?’ The girls were glaring the boys were smiling. It was fun.

The next morning we headed out to the Air Museum, but once we found out the cost, we decided to not go and went for a hike. Munson Creek Falls is a short hike in from the parking area through the forest. It’s a really easy hike and the falls are the tallest in the Coastal Range. I wish you could closer, but they are beautiful. We finished Tillamook with ice cream at the cheese factory before heading back to Portland.

Portland WaterfallWhen we got back to Portland we went to Clyde Common for a late brunch. Delicious. And then picked up donuts at Blue Star for afternoon snacks. We were told they were better than Voodoo. They were pretty good, but since I didn’t get to Voodoo, I can’t compare. Next time.  Next was Rogue Brewery. Iris had an earlier flight, so she was only able to stay for a little bit. After saying good-bye the rest of us went to Rogue we went to Bridgeport Brewing. It was such a nice day out, we couldn’t stand being inside and enjoyed a couple beers before heading to the airport with a pizza stop on the way.

Portland Sunday

Portland was blast, I can’t believe I haven’t been back for over 5 years. I definitely wouldn’t mind living there. And CONGRATULATIONS CHRISTINA AND BARRETT!!