Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer Trip - part 2: Oregon

- Day 1
After four fun days in L.A., Beth and I flew out the morning of July 20th (Monday) to Portland, where we were met by our former neighbor in Guatemala, Amy, and her new baby boy, Royce. The last time Beth and I saw Amy, she was still pregnant, so it was really fun to see the baby (especially since he looks so much like his papá, Matt).

Amy took us straight from the airport over to Multnomah Falls for a hike. The highway we took ran parallel to the Columbia River (which divides Oregon and Washington; pictured at top) and was one of the prettiest stretches of road I've been on; the dense forests of pine trees and steep cliffs were really beautiful. The Falls were spectacular and extremely tall, though the hike up to the top was paved and switch-backed, making it fairly leisurely, plus the morning was still nice and cool.

Multnomah Falls

We followed up the hike with an early lunch at the McMenamins' Edgefiled location brew pub. (Check out the link HERE to learn more about these interesting chains.) Following lunch, Amy drove us to Gresham, a suburb of Portland where Beth's aunt and uncle live, and dropped us off. Matt and Sue Kenny, and their daughter, Christina, were so welcoming to us and immediately made us feel at home.

Timberline Lodge

They took us on a scenic drive up to the base of Mt. Hood to visit the famed Timberline Lodge (also famous for providing the exterior shots as the Overlook Hotel in the movie, The Shining). The five of us toured the lodge, marvelling at the massive timber used in the construction (and apparently no nails were used in the building), and then stopped for a drink upstairs in the restaurant where we sate next to a windown with direct view of Mt. Hood.

Us with the Kennys

Our view from the restaurant

Next we drove back down to Portland and had a late but delicious dinner at the Hopworks Urban Brewery. Matt and Sue departed after dinner, but Christina stayed up with us and showed us around the city. While driving around, Beth and I were both surprised and impressed by how many bicyclists and bike-friendly (i.e. bike lanes) the city is.

Portland - Days 2 & 3
Our second day in Portland was primarily spent with Amy and Matt. In the morning, Amy took us to the Hawthorn district, where we had fun exploring the unique shops and buying some ridiculous souvenirs. We stopped off at the BridgePort brew pub for a snack and a flight of beers (sampler) before then heading over to another neat area, Knob Hill. This area was more upscale and expensive compared to the funky and esoteric Hawthorn. Beth and I enjoyed meandering around on our own while Amy went home to drop off baby Royce with Matt's dad and then to pick up Matt. The four of us met back up later in the afternoon at the Deschutes brew pub (my favorite of all) for more snacks and beer-sampling. After that we did some more walking and sight-seeing before heading back to the Kennys' place.

BridgePort's Flight

Our third day in the city started off with a delicious breakfast of blueberry waffles prepared by Aunt Sue. After breakfast, Christina took us to the artsy Pearl District where we enjoyed exploring high end furniture shops, art galleries, and the famed Powell's Books--a gigantic, city block wide, multi-level used book store (they even provide you with a map to navigate the sprawling store). We had planned to visit the city's rose garden, but got delayed due to a temporary car trouble. We did make it in time to get a good seat for the Portland City Grill's happy hour special. This 30th floor restaurant has panoramic views of the entire city, including its 12 bridges, and of course a great look at Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helen. They have lots of tasty food for about $3 a plate between 4:30 and 6, but it fills up fast with hungry tourists pining for a snack and a good look at the city.

Views from the Portland City Grill.

For dinner that night, Uncle Matt and Aunt Sue treated us to a fabulous meal of grilled salmon and halibut (all very fresh of course!) that was cooked on pine planks, homemade relish and coleslaw, plus a zesty salad (not sure what went into it...but it was good!). And for dessert we had key lime pie. Yummy! We really enjoyed spending our last night in Portland with them. They couldn't have been nicer and more welcoming to us.


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