I lived in Vancouver for over a year.. yet somehow when I was in Portland OR, I heard the phrase ‘Pacific North West’ (or ‘PNW’ as I will refer to it in the next few paragraphs) more times than I ever did back in Canada.
Perhaps Oregon is the real and beating heart of the PNW.
In November for Remembrance weekend I headed down to Portland to embrace a bit of city and a bit of outdoors.
I booked into the YHA North West Portland, which probably deserves an individual post but for now a brief overview of what I got up to :)
Exploring North West Portland
An affluent area home to desirable houses and an array of boutique shops and restaurants. The main commercial streets were no more than a 6 minute walk from my hostel and had it not rained for the duration of my trip I probably would have ventured out a little more. What else was I expecting for Portland in November!! ( If you have never experienced rain in the PNW then it is hard exactly to imagine what I mean by rain. But trust me, I really believe that the phrase ‘ When it rains, it pours’ had the PNW in mind)
Thus I spent a couple of incredibly wet days wandering the streets, trying to keep myself motivated.
Voodoo Doughnuts. The famous niche chain did not disappoint .. and probably due to weather there was no one else in the queue.
Powell’s : I had heard a LOT about Powell’s and to be fair it is the perfect rainy day activity. At first it is amazing to see thaaat many books, but for me, even the largest book shop in the world can only keep me entertained for a limited amount of time.
Salt & Straw NW 23rd: I was excited about this place and not because I particularly love Ice-cream but because of the array of flavours. However, if combinations like ‘Pear and blue cheese’ and ‘roast turkey dinner’ don’t tickle your fancy then, I can recommend the Lavender which itself is symbolic with the portland area.
The White Stag: Otherwise known as the Portland Sign. I had already decided that I was going to snap a pic of this, but just a word of warning its not in the most desirable area and I did feel as a solo woman with a big camera slightly vulnerable. It is probably best to capture this photo at night.. but like a said.. preferably not on your own… / when its raining.
The highlight of my 4 day trip was definitely the day tour I embarked on, on my second morning. There were just two of us on it plus the guide and because of this I really think the experience was more personal and enhanced. I chose the Mount Hood day trip to Multnomah Falls and Hood River.. I cant remember the name of the operator but it can be found on Viator HERE
However one disappointment was that due to Forest Fires in the summer we were not able to get anywhere near the famous Multnomah Falls and this was not made clear at the point of booking. HUGE disappointment. If Instagram is telling me correctly, the road that leads the falls is now accessible, but I would double check to avoid any broken hearts.
We made our way out of Downtown and along the Columbia River stopping at every photo opportunity. I’m aware that pictures speak louder than words.. so.
We stopped for lunch in the Quant town of Hood River, a town with what seemed to be more restaurants than anything else. I decided to try an Oregon Classic. Grilled cheese with blueberry, which actually turned out to be more like, blueberry sandwich with a bit of melted cheese on the side. Delish none the less.
Our final stop for the day was Mount Hood, which I knew would be a highlight and the first time that year I would feast my eyes on some snow. It did not disappoint.
Mount Hood was given its present name by William Broughton, a member of Captain George Vancouver’s fleet in 1792 and has since become famous for its Timberland Lodge as featured in the shining. Timberland Lodge is also the home to the longest ski season in the US, open to boarders and skiiers every month of the year.
Upon descending and heading down and back to Portland the tour ended. The tour itself, fantastic aside from the Multnomah disappointment.
Overview of Portland & Oregon in general.
Rain is not the best anywhere, I would recommend giving the warmer months a go.
A day in Portland itself is MORE than enough.
YHA Northwest Hostel; Absolutely Fantastic
Oregon is one of the 5 States which is Sales Tax Free. A great place to buy goodies.
to follow my journey: