Wow! I’m so happy to do my first official post. I decided to focus on the city I grew up in, mainly because I have been living away from Portland for so long and when I went back last summer I was surprised at how excited I was. Too often we don’t take advantage of the places we live in. Most of the things I wanted to do I had technically already done before, but somehow they were new. Maybe it was because I was getting to show my husband, who is a native to Los Angeles, my city or maybe it was that old saying, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Nevertheless, I quickly came up with all these places I just had to go. My family was so sweet to me; they made all my wishes come true. I must admit I felt like a bit of a brat for requesting so much but they graciously obliged to most of it and in other cases, and rightfully so, altered my expectations. For instance, when I told my mom I wanted to wake up to a giant jump house in her backyard, (it was half joke and half serious) she came through for me in an unexpected way. Also when I asked to visit Multnomah Falls and on the way we stopped at a winery with Mount Saint Helens in the beautiful background, or when we picked strawberries and ate ice cream under the Bridge of the Gods, all things I had no idea I wanted to do. What pleasant surprises we encounter when we let our destinies unravel without questioning every inch. I would advice that you should definitely have a plan when visiting Portland, but don’t be opposed to coloring outside of the lines a bit.
*Sound track for this post: Little Things by India Arie, A Long Walk and Golden by Jill Scott and Stevie Wonders Love’s in Need of Love Today. Yea I could rock an all white cotton outfit, put flowers in my hair, be living my life like it’s golden and give love a little love after this trip.
There’s a special place in my heart for downtown Portland early in the morning. The first thing I want to do is grab a cup of coffee and go to Saturday Market. Buy snacks, walk around, look at everything, buy what you love and have fun. I suggest going in June if it’s your first time in Portland because it’s the Rose Festival Season. You’ll want to do the carnival at the waterfront in Downtown Portland; there will be live music, food, and rides. If the weather decides to cooperate with you take advantage and rent a bike. There are many types you can get, we did a four person bike and had a blast. We ended up riding all the way around the waterfront and over a couple of bridges. I’m pretty sure the first was the Steel Bridge, I could be wrong about that but it had trains tracks running on it. A train went by as we pedaled over; perfect timing, it was such a rush, and a bit scary too. Rose Festival also means that it is parade season. My personal favorite is the Starlight Parade. Each float is draped in lovely lights and it’s cool to see the streets lined with people and no cars. If you want a good spot you’ll need to get there early, take chairs and dress in layers so you can add or remove clothing as needed. We basically planned our whole day downtown so that we could snatch up our seats when we saw the parade route filling up.
In the meantime filling up our day downtown was easy to do. Another thing I was itching to do was hit up Powell’s Bookstore. This is my favorite bookstore ever! You can get lost in this place; you can spend the entire day here easily. If you’ve got the time, do it, but be careful if you have other plans you can certainly fall down the rabbit hole in this fine establishment. (I practically had to be dragged out.) For lunch we had ramen at Marukin, so yummy! (Get the spicy broth.) We also made our way to the Downtown Nike Store where I got some green and yellow Cortez shoes in honor of my alma mater, University of Oregon. Go Ducks! Then last but not least my husband and I made our way to have drinks at the Multnomah Whiskey Library while the rest of my family scooped up our seats for the parade. Word of advice, get a reservation before you go waltzing in expecting to have a quick drink and the host explains that it’ll be a two hour wait. Yep, that’s what happened to us so we ended up getting cocktails and a dessert to share in the smaller bar attached to the Multnomah Whiskey Library called The Green Room. It was still a good time and we learned our lesson for next time. The Starlight Parade was as magical as I had remembered it as a kid. It was extremely cold that night but luckily we dressed appropriately. We had a smashing day; an impeccable launch to my birthday weekend in Portland.
With an early start to the next day we drove to Multnomah Falls, I hadn’t been there in years. It was stunning. Everything is so green here and the light mist from the falls is all around. The natural beauty is truly breathtaking. You must see it for yourself. On the way back we stopped at a winery with Mount Saint Helens in the distance and we all unwound and had lunch. It was so nice to be outside for the whole day and no traffic seemed odd to me which lets me know I’ve really gotten used to my new city. After lunch we picked strawberries and wandered up and down rows of peach trees, grapes, flowers and berries. After this it was back in the car again, my mom knew a great spot to get ice cream and it was another short drive to the perfect place to enjoy it. We made our way to the Eastwind Drive-In and came up on their more than generous cones. Then we sat under the Bridge of the Gods and indulged with the gorgeous Columbia River in the background. The perfect end to a perfect day.
The next day started slower and I was happy to sleep in a little after all the excitement. We had a lazy brunch at Sherri’s. I don’t think we have Sherri’s in Los Angeles, at least I’ve never seen one but they are all over Portland and I used to go there a lot as a kid. There was a nostalgic feeling I got when I went there with my family. I think I liked it because it’s not like the places I tend to eat at in California, and I guess I miss being satisfied with simpler things. After eating my traditional Sherri’s meal a huge Belgium waffle with strawberries and whipped cream on top I was feeling like a nap was in order. I managed to drift off in the car for a little while until we pulled up to a huge building. Come to find out my mom and brother were taking us to an indoor trampoline park. I cannot even put into words how much fun this was. I highly recommend that you find one of these places and go. I would love to go twice a week and I would happily forgo my routine exercises. I love a workout that doesn’t feel like you are working out. We got our cardio, strength training, we played a little basketball, we did it all. We jumped for two hours and we felt it the next day. We ended our trip with a family dinner and game of cards or dominos I can’t remember which one. As always it was a competitive event and for some reason I can’t even remember who won. That never happens; I must have really been relaxing.
That’s what this trip made me realized, that I don’t have to do anything too fancy and I can just be with people I love and do simple things and be satisfied. Like playing games after dinner or teasing my mom about how I feel she has replaced me with her new furry baby. Her Yorkie, Dallas, Dallas after the Dallas Cowboys of course. Talking with my auntie and brother or cleaning my mom’s kitchen after she makes me my favorite, fried pork chops and green beans. This trip was a major success but I couldn’t quite fit everything I wanted to do in. The Oregon coast is my second favorite place to go to the beach (my first is St. John, USVI) because you can walk forever in rubber boots a sweater and shorts and you’ll probably never see another person, no bikini necessary on this beach. It is so peaceful and I have to go back. So there will be a part two to this post but it won’t come until later this year. So keep coming back to my website, pretty please with a cherry on top. Subscribe, leave a comment or ask a question. I would love to hear about your Oregon experiences as well. If you want to see more photos and videos from my trip go to my Instagram page search kapfanny or stephanie kaplan and I should pop up 🙂
Side Notes/Honorable Mentions
-Pick blackberries or go fishing on Sauvie Island.
-Go during Fall and pumpkin patches on Sauvie Island are so classic, sip fresh apple juice and take a hayride.
-Sit under the Saint John’s Bridge and have lunch on a warm breezy day.
-The Portland Zoo is pretty cool too.
-Take the Max if you can. Portland’s above ground subway system.
-Have coffee and people watch in pioneer square.
-Check out the Chinese Garden in Downtown Portland.
-The Lloyd Center Mall’s ice rink is always fun.
-Enchanted Forest is a really old theme park located between Portland, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon. I went there in grade school a few times and every time I drove home from college I would pass this place and I knew I was halfway home.
-I’d skip the Voodoo Doughnuts line, if there’s no line I’d eat it, they are perfectly delicious doughnuts, but if your time is precious there’s plenty of doughnuts in the city that don’t require you to wait in a line wrapped around the block and maybe in the rain. Just Saying.
Next up on my posting agenda will be an L.A. outing my husband and I took to the Museum of Ice Cream.
Signing out with love,