“People don’t take trips. . .trips take people.” ~ John Steinbeck Is there anything more riveting than hoppin’ a flight to a random city for a day of adventure? Just an ordinary day in January, in the not-so-ordinary city of Portland, OR., we strapped on our walkin’ boots and hit the streets. Did you know that Portland hosts an annual World Naked Bike Race? Unfortunately, we missed that one, but I bet there were a lot of street vendors selling salve that weekend!
What we did find was a city immersed in a rare urban culture of eclectic vibes. You immediately get the sense that this is a place where people break from the norm and create their own unique lifestyle. You might see more bikes than cars here, as they’re known for their eco-friendliness. There are an untold amount of microbreweries and coffeehouses, the theater & music scenes are thriving, and the funky arts/crafts merchants all represent the famous tag line of ‘Keep Portland Weird’. The Willamette River runs through town while big brother Mt. Hood stands tall watching over things. The supply of natural beauty is endless.
With only 12 hours to traverse the unknown, we tried to hit a bit of everything. A killer foodery, an infamous architectural salvage shop, an iconic favorite retail store of mine, and a brewery.
First stop, Doug Fir, located on 830 E. Burnside St., not far from downtown and the Portland Convention Center. Early morning adventures should always start with Bloody Mary’s and a hearty breakfast, and this place didn’t fail us. The atmosphere lives up to it’s name with a unique bar crafted from reclaimed Douglas Fir wood in a design that looked like a hoagie bun sliced in half! After fueling our bellies we meandered around and discovered a lounge downstairs that, after dark, becomes a local fav for catching the latest vibes from hot new musicians. Must come back after the sun sets next time!
Leaving Doug Fir, we passed the modern Jupiter Hotel…note to self, return soon and get a room…it’s eclectic & inviting!
Next stop the infamous Rejuvenation. I’ve ordered online from them for years, but had always wished to have an opportunity to visit in person. This place is like a candy store for adults with a passion for blending the past with the present. Take your time and stroll through with intention, the array of design pieces will astound you. As much as I wanted to take home the Snack Bar sign, there are restrictions with checked baggage on airlines! But I couldn’t leave empty handed, so I snagged a Salvage Secrets book by Joanne Palmisano for some inspiration…love her work!
From there we hopped the bus line and headed for prodigious Hippo Hardware & Trading Store. The owners, Steven and Stephen, specialize in architecture and hardware from 1860-1960, but also offer a myriad of whatnots. You want to linger in a place like this, listen to their colorful stories, hug on the St. Bernard behind the counter, and take home a treasure to remember forever. I personally snagged some gorgeous antique drawer pulls, Spanish style. And forget the vexatious plastic bags, I took my loot home in a vintage bank bag…get it, ‘my loot’? Ok, but seriously, these are the details that make a place remain in your heart forever.
Got to hang with one of the Steven/Stephen’s! 🙂
As the day wound down, we wanted to experience at least one brewery and Henry’s Tavern was conveniently close to our hotel. They offer 100 beers on tap and are housed in the original Blitz-Weinhard Brewery, which dates back 140 years. Three words for you…Gorgonzola Waffle Fries. Enuff said. But if that didn’t float your goat, definitely dig into something fresh and local, like the Columbia River Steelhead or even some street tacos, they won’t disappoint.
Not bad for one day! We left with a great appreciation for this funky, heartwarming city and perhaps next time we return it’ll be in a U-haul … I still wanna snag that Snack Bar sign!