Monday, February 13, 2012

Visit A Neighboring City

Aaron and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary this weekend. Time sure does go by quickly! I was fortunate enough, however, to meet my guy so early in life that we have been together for most of that time: We met when I was 14 years old, dated for 4 years and married the rest so we have pretty much been together for two-thirds of my life. The amazing thing is, we still LOVE to be together.

We had so much fun this weekend, that I wanted to share. Maybe you could find something fun to do in our trip, and want to do it yourself ;o) We took a three hour drive down to Portland.

We wanted to do something a little different, but not spend a ton of money. there still are a lot of stones unturned in Seattle for us, but we wanted a little different scenery for a few days. Aaron had a friend that was playing down in Portland, so we figured that would be fun. Support a friend (I actually got to watch a band with Aaron for a change) and turn over some new stones.

When Aaron and I travel, we don't like to do the norm. We never go to the "touristy" places and we never go somewhere that we could go to at home. We want the local culture: those little one of a kind restaurants, stores and locations off the beaten path. It's amazing the fun things you can find: here are our highlights.

We found this awesome little pizza place as we were driving though town, hungry, on our way to see the show. So cool. It is in the location of an old time, upscale hotel and brothel house. The place you order your pizza used to be the old hotel check-in desk. Supposedly the place is haunted by a young girl who was "working" there (sold into that life by the thriving white slavery market of the time) and was thrown down the elevator shaft. Unfortunately we were not blessed by a visit from her, but the place was amazing anyway and had the best restaurant salad I have ever had. Good pizza too!

What a fun little bar! It is really tiny, but jammed packed with a good, lighthearted crowd (and believe me, I've spent my time in a lot of bars as of late ;o) If you like live music this is the place in Portland (it's actually in Oregon City just South of Portland). It is so renowned that when we went to check into our hotel the front desk asked us what we were in town for. I just said we were there to see a friends band and she immediately asked if we were headed to Trails End. I guess they get a lot of guests staying there who come to watch bands play.

We don't watch a lot of TV and don't have cable, but a friend was telling us about this place. I guess it was featured on "Diners, Drive In's and Dives" so we had to check it out. Breakfast is our favorite meal to eat out, so we went on a hunt for it to eat our breakfast. If you don't know where you are going and what to look for you will probably miss this place. It's very unassumingly tucked into a small place on a quiet downtown street. We actually missed it the first time and ended up just parking and walking back.

It was a wait to get in, but worth it. It is somewhat of a curiosity shop inside with a lot of nick-knacks all around, but that is what gives it such a comfy character. The staff was amazingly friendly and efficient and once we got seated it wasn't long before we were eating. I had the special of the day, hazelnut pancakes with a pear compote. SO good! I am slightly kicking myself  however for not having their famous french toast! I almost did, but was so hungry I didn't want the wait. If I ever go back, that's what I'm getting! The thickest, most yummy looking french toast I have ever seen in my life! If you go, get that and tell me how it was. 

You can't go to Portland without visiting Voodoo Doughnuts! When we first pulled up and saw the line we wavered.... another line to wait in. But, it was all part of the exploration adventure, and we had all day, so we stopped. So-worth-it. I told Aaron, even if we don't eat these doughnuts, it was worth it just to visit the store. It is such a quirky little place, and their marketing is ingenious with the whole voodoo-magic. I loved it!! And, I am glad to say the doughnuts were good too ;o)

What an AWESOME idea! A coffin of doughnuts!! OMG, if I lived by this place, that would totally be on my menu for my Halloween party this year! You get three dozen doughnuts packed into a wooden coffin. How cool is that?!

You can't go to Voodoo Doughnuts without buying a little voodoo doughnut doll. They are even jelly filled with raspberry jelly. So fun!

We have driven along the Columbia River before, and have actually gone past the Multnomah Falls before, but have never actually stopped. This little area is riddled with waterfalls just about everywhere you look and is an extremely beautiful drive. We decided it was high time we explored a little, since we are avid hikers. I think this might be a destination for us some time in the future, as there are SO many trails to explore here we didn't have close the amount of time we needed. You could hike for hours and hours up there! But, if all you have is one or two, definitely worth the stop! Just hiking up to the top of the falls and back (two miles total) is worth it.

So, if you ever want to visit Portland, here are some great things for you to check out while you are there. If that is too far for you to travel, then take it from us and visit a neighboring city for a weekend. It feels like a vacation because you are away from  home, but it's not too expensive on the traveling expenses. You can find all sorts of fun new things to do without spending a ton of money.

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