Monday, June 7, 2010

that's so port.

A sampling. Photo Credit: Kelly Sheline.

Right before graduating, Kelly, Paige and I forged an unbreakable bond over happy hours at The Library. This led to the inevitable conclusion that we would be ideal traveling buddies and the decision to absolutely test this theory.
The original plan included coveted, abstract destinations like Morocco and Turkey until we came to the realization that we really, really did not have the money to take that kind of trip.
So with Portland's reputation for being one of the coolest cities around, plus the amazing generosity of my mom's friend Holly (beautiful little yellow house on Lake Oswega and loaning us her husband's car) and her daughter Claire (adorable apartment in the heart of Portland) - we decided on a fun, affordable vacation over Memorial Day weekend.

So I'm a creep and I've been following this Portland couple's blog for a long time, falling completely in love with their cooking, their city and their way of life. There's something so pure and life-affirming about it for me.
Seeing them in person, behind the counter of their restaurant that I've been so looking forward to visiting, exceeded all of my expectations: the breakfast dishes were amazing, the orange juice fresh squeezed and the coffee melted in my mouth. Plus, I kinda just felt like I'd bumped into my favorite celebrities - they were exactly as I'd imagined them, salt shaker tattoo cool.

Thoughtful recommendation from Claire and a fun bar within walking distance to start off the night.

Maybe only perfect after 2am. Kelly picked the winning doughnut: double chocolate penetration. Yup.

Canon Beach.
Cold and beautiful. Like something out of Twilight. People out in their parkas, walking the beach with their huge, Oregonian dogs.

How to do Peruvian: lots of appetizers and a bottle of wine.

Alloro Vineyard.
There are many vineyards in Oregon, but this one fit us perfectly in so many ways. Unreal scenery, like Tuscany and Napa combined. And the actual wine tasting.

Japanese Gardens.

International Rose Test Garden.
When in the city of roses...

Largest independent bookstore in the nation. A labyrinth. Of course, I was in heaven. I bought a used copy of Valley of the Dolls for myself, because I've always adored the cover and a copy of Ferdinand the Bull for Walker who I feel missed out on childhood reading.

The Ram's Head.
Ruby beer. Outdoor seating.

Loved the olive hummus. Never got around to the actual pizza.

Quirky venue, amazing show. Melted into nervous, giggly preteens meeting the band.

Forest Park.
Hiking with the mud, barefoot runners, slugs, moss and trees from Avatar.

My own observations...
We knew we liked this city when the toilets at the airport had different degrees of flushing.
More badass tattoos than hipsters.
It must be a requirement that all families be utterly beautiful: cool parents and their heartbreakingly adorable children.
Huge, happy dogs.
50 on the highways. Annoying!
It is illegal to pump your own gas. Seriously.
Oklahoma suntans are covetable.
It is as rainy as they say, which might be to much to bear for me - but all the lush greens and flowers make up for the lack of sunlight and everyone is always out. Plus it was a nice reprieve from 90+
I secretly love it when airplanes hit bouts of turbulence.

It just made me realize more and more how badly I want to live in a city around this size and walk everywhere or use great public transportation.
I bought a car this year with the intention of never having to buy one ever again and if/when I get married my dream is to share a car with my husband. I just think cars are such an inconvenient waste, endless money pits if you will.
(Not that I don't see the flip side - I feel the most Oklahoma when I get in my car and drive around aimlessly, just listening to music and feeling free. Takes the edge off).

But most of all, it was just nice to be reunited with two great friends who, as cheesy as this sounds, inspire me as strong women.
Fun, fearless Paige who can so easily find the best places to eat at the airport by charming total strangers and my soul mate Kelly who had mapped out the entire trip before we had even arrived.
Or as Holly more simply described them in a text to my mom after dropping us off at the airport: Paige = tall and beautiful, Kelly = blond and beautiful.