Getting off the plane at PDX was as exciting to me as meeting a celebrity. I’ve been a fan of Portlandia for years and had always felt a strong sense of connection (for lack of a better word) to the state. My dad graduated from the University of Oregon in Eugene, and has raved about all the special state of Oregon has to offer for years. Finally, I was able to find a reason to visit and booked the flights.
I landed late, after a long cross-country flight in coach, my head lulling and snapping and my arms pinned to my sides by the two large men in the adjacent seats. Despite our late arrival, I got a beautiful view of Mount Hood in the soft pastel glow of the setting sun from the plane. The mountain, from this vantage point, was ethereal
Our first day in Portland, I woke with the sun, which in the summer and pacific northwest happens to be well before 6am. We drove the hour and a half out towards Mount Hood, to kick off the trip with spectacular views like nothing my East Coast eyes had ever seen. To me, Mount Hood has the presence of a grandfather clock in a living room – It’s bigger and older and seemingly more important than anything around it.
We weaved through trails and along ridgelines. We passed meadows of rolling green grass and vibrant wildflowers – Trillium and Indian Paintbrushes and so many others I will never know the names of. The trees, taller than any we have in Vermont, stretched for days into the clear blue sky.
Some shady patches of the trail even had snow on them – another oddity for me. I guess I shouldn’t find it all that surprising though, considering the ski lifts were running and people were still shredding even in mid-July!
Day two saw more exploring of downtown Portland, and many instances of me snapping pictures of anything I recognized from the Portlandia intro. We visited the Iconic Voodoo Doughnut and walked along the waterfront. We saw the Rose test garden and Pittock mansion. We ate some amazing Indian food and people-watched.
I loved so much of the city, but my absolute favorite part about it was Powell’s City of Books. I was skeptical, of course, about how someone could possibly claim that their bookstore constituted a “city” of books, but it was, in every possible way.
For one, there were like 7 ROOMS of books, separated by genre. SEVEN. I wandered through the rooms, aghast and in awe, running my fingers along the spines of new and used copies of some of my favorites. I ended up walking out with 4 books and a tote bag for only $63.00, which I think is the smallest amount of damage I have ever done at a bookstore in my adult life.
On our whirlwind tour of Oregon, we also made a stop in Eugene, to Visit U of O. Track Town USA, as Eugene is affectionately known, had miles and miles of running and biking paths, and some very interesting duck-themed college apparel. We walked along Pre’s trail (named after the late Steve Prefontaine, a UO grad, and Olympian from Eugene), and admired wildflowers and the rushing water of the Willamette River.
Heading back into Portland for our early flight out, we made our way along the highway stopping at various waterfalls and scenic lookouts. Multnomah Falls was packed, and we arrived side by side with a tour bus. After pushing our way up to the scenic lookout, I was able to get a pretty good view of this spectacular scene. The greenry, lush and inviting, made it the perfect spot for birdwatching and admiring the microcosms of life around the falls.
I wish I could more adequately express how beautiful everything in Oregon was, but it truely is a place you have to see to believe.
Scroll through for a collection of some of my favorite pictures: