We’re fresh off a trip back from PDX aka Portland, Oregon! Our really good friends (F&D) and former neighbs moved out there at the end of March — so we just had to get out there for a visit and to see their new city! Our trip was a good mix of catching up, exploring the city and their neighborhood while also seeing some of the beautiful nature spots that Oregon has to offer from Mt. Hood to the Hood River, local markets, the Rose Gardens and all those historic Portland signs.
Highlight #1: Downtown Farmers Market + Rose Gardens — On our first day in, we explored a local farmers market with all of these fresh local vegetables, fruits and luscious flowers. One thing I was not expecting from PDX was the amount of greenery, beautiful flowers and all the fresh LOCAL fruits. It was pretty incredible and not to mention delicious as D stocked up for the week ahead on delicious treats.
From the Farmer’s Market we took a quick drive over to the Rose Gardens, which although the roses were a bit past their prime, were completely stunning and amazing with every turn and new batch of roses we saw. It was definitely a fun spot to checkout and all the different types of roses, and with their names and the year they were planted was really impressive – dating back to the 70s and 80s. The rose garden offers 10,000 rose bushes with over 650 different varieties (Source: travelportland.com), which is very evident – the best part about visiting the rose gardens? It was completely free! And you get some additional views of the rolling mountains topped with evergreens since it was a bit higher up from the city. Highlight #2: Latourell Falls Hike + Mt. Hood — We had the most perfect day for a good hike around Latourell Falls, which was the perfect balance of exercise and awesome views with two different waterfalls. With two different hiking trails, we opted to do both – the upper falls hike is a nice big loop that wraps around the larger falls, but also takes you to a hidden falls that was fun to climb around. We were completely secluded with this smaller waterfall before a large bunch of visitors came – so we snagged our pictures and got on with the rest of the hike. We did a shorter hike down below to the larger falls, which allowed us to do a little off roading as well for some cooler up close shots – the water and wind next to the falls also got us a bit wet and was quite chilly!
From the falls we drove about another hour farther to a smaller brewery that came highly recommended for it’s views of Mt. Hood. The drive was definitely worth it and the clouds cleared up for us just as we got to the back patio of the brewery so we could enjoy the scenic views while snacking on some food and drinking some beverages. After enjoying the sites, we walked around the tiny Main street that brewery rested on, before heading back and stopping in Hood River to see more views of the river that connects the state of Oregon and Washington – yes we saw the river coast of Washington, we were that close! The river offered a great walkway along it’s river side, and was perfect for watching all the wind surfers – plus the sun was out and it felt great.
Highlight #3: Catching up with Friends — Since we were in town for the 4th of July, that also meant we were in town for F’s bday! And since F&D are dear friends, it’s easy to feel like home at their house, so we had a cookout, prepped lots of yummy food (D is quite the hostess!) and ate in a handful of times, just enjoying each other’s company with occasional walks to nearby coffee and donut shops. The girls and guys split up a fair amount, allowing D and I to get our girl time in, while F and B hit the links and got to check some local breweries out.
PDX was not what I was expecting, although I’m also not exactly sure what I was expecting. The city definitely had vibes of a few others I’ve visited, driving into downtown over the river and bridges reminded me a bit of Kansas City, while the rolling hills and lush greens surrounding the cityscape reminded me of our Asheville trip. I also wasn’t expecting the ample amounts of fresh, local fruits, or the amount of flowers and greenery in all of the neighborhoods — the flowers were true eye candy. Beyond the city and neighborhoods, within an hour plus, you’re out in state parks, with ample hiking and more mountain and river views – which is a perfect mix of city living with outdoors. There is so much more to explore in PDX, and I know we’ll be back to see F&D. See all of our tasty PDX eats, here!