No, this isn’t a jewelry post…but it’s leading UP to one (here it is), so stay with me. On Saturday I turned 46. I’ve been having such an itch to travel, that I hopped on a plane and landed in Portland by happy hour to celebrate the big day. Why Portland? Well, I hadn’t really been there for probably 25 years, it’s relatively close, the weather forecast was good, they have tax-free shopping, and there’s a jewelry store there that I’ve been dying to go to for years. Need I say more??
During my two full days of exploring, I must say that I developed quite a few opinions of this fair city. Some may offend you (my apologies), but that’s certainly not my intention. So here goes.
1. People in Portland are frickin’ NICE! And I’m not just talking about the common courtesies. Here’s a couple prime examples. On my birthday evening, I took myself to the Portland City Grill, with amazing views of the city, given that it’s 30 stories up. Clearly it’s the “place” for celebrations in town, as virtually every surrounding table was having a birthday. Not only was the table of 8 next to me uber-friendly (celebrating Grandma Dorothy’s 70th birthday), but they actually PAID for my $60 dollar meal. Really?! Really…
Oh, and then the next day, I stumbled across Papa Haydn on 23rd Ave. The description of the croque madame with turkey pretty much had me drooling. They had a long wait for a table, even for one. Instead of making me wait, they said, “Well we also own the restaurant next door, Jo Bar. Though they have a different menu and kitchen, why don’t we take you over there, and we’ll get you the meal you want. Un-BE-lieveable. I must admit, it was one of the best lunches I’ve ever had. Not a speck was left on my plate when I left.
2. To look like a local, wear a puffer jacket. This appears to be the “it” item in Portland. Be it Patagonia, Columbia, or Athleta, it’s all about the puffer jacket. And yes, these were worn in the nicest of restaurants as well as on people out running. Guess that makes getting dressed each day pretty darn easy.
3. This leads me to the next point…I would not have a job in Portland. I think people are very secure in their casual, personal styles, and why would they pay me to shop for them? Not an insult, just an observation. In addition, there really wasn’t a large diversity in shopping resources.
4. Traffic? What traffic?! Traffic is, for all intents and purposes, nowhere to be found downtown. I’ve heard that the I-5 gets pretty backed up heading up to Vancouver after 3pm, but the streets downtown were practically empty at all hours. Here’s shots of both the freeway through town and one of the main streets downtown during commute time. Hello…cars…???
5. Portland has public transportation wired! Be it the bus or the Max train, you can pretty much get anywhere you want. Perhaps that explains the lack of traffic? Very clearly mounted transportation maps and labeled stops seem to make having a car an extra, not a necessity. (SF…take note!) At first I panicked that Uber didn’t operate there, but I seemed to survive just fine. Imagine that? (Sidebar: many of the cars clearly had snow tires on, as the Max doesn’t take you to snowboard on Mt. Hood.)
7. Clearly food carts are a “thing.” Though I was too skeptical to try any of said street fare, there were numerous outposts of food carts, and they were super popular! Granted, in off hours I saw more than one drug deal taking place (eyes averted, of course), but during meal hours, they were doing gangbusters!
8. Cars stop to let you cross the street! This as so opposite of San Francisco, where I swear, many drivers think they’ll get “points” if they bump you.
9. Did I mention it’s beyond clean? I could have counted the number of trash items I saw on the street on one hand. Yet I never saw anyone out there cleaning. Why is that?! Is there a magical street cleaning fairy? I don’t get it.
10. Oh, and they’re VERY serious about their recycling. I had to take a minute to actually determine which slot to deposit my bottle! Good luck to the non-English speakers.
12. There’s a lot of character in their architecture. As I strolled through residential neighborhoods, I admired how most of the homes had big front porches. Even apartment buildings had such cool architectural details, that I couldn’t help but stop and take note.
13. Oh, and the views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens are downright gorgeous. Here’s the view of Mt. Hood from my hotel room. Not bad. If I’m not going to be near a beach, then mountains are my next favorite thing.
I know, I know…you want jewelry. Don’t worry. Next post up will be what I found on my journey! Promise. xo