Monday, July 20, 2015

Bridges over the Willamette-- Portland, Oregon

Sure it's a smaller West Coast destination, but Portland doesn't suffer from an inferiority complex. Forget about walkable, this city is 'bike-able.' Portland Oregon is comfortable in its own shoes and doesn't strive to be the San Francisco or Seattle. Portlander's are an accepting lot and a non-judgmental group where you are encouraged to "be true to yourself."
Some cities are built on silver and other's are built on gold-- but Portland, Oregon is a gem with a certain 'visit-ability' where everything's right at hand or within quick access. It's an easy town to figure out and simple to navigate from the funky vibe of the Alberta Arts District, to the city’s posh Pearl District and out as far as the stunning Silver Falls State Park. Nestled against the picturesque backdrop of Mt. Hood- Portland, Oregon is not only a haven for the micro brewery scene-- but also serves up some of the world's most renowned wines.

Getting There:
Flights into Portland's International Airport (PDX) are a straight shot and wide open... Fly US Airways while the getting is still good-- and before they are swallowed up by American Airlines.
Once you arrive, for only $2.50pp  you can take the TriMet's MAX Red Line light rail that will drop you off literally feet from your hotel in the city center. The TriMet does a great job providing peace of mind, even conducting random security sweeps before you board. However if you are dragging carry-on luggage, be prepared for an arduous trek through the lengthy airport--  you may want to consider checking your bags so you can pick them up at the baggage claim which is closer to the light rail boarding area. Once there-- consider a seven day pass on the TriMet or simply hop one of the ubiquitous cabs that prowl the city streets, as rates usually never rise above ten dollars a ride.
Staying there:
In the Lloyd District, on the east side of the Willamette River is the sparkling-- Hotel Eastlund. This brand new boutique property is appreciative of all things intimate and luxurious... Their room have tight, modern feng shui that is softened up through the use of textured throws, headboards and nice finishing touches that lend to an unparalleled sense of comfort. and thoughtful of all the essential amenities... including free Wi-Fi and personal service.
Within steps of the Oregon Convention Center and Portland’s Moda Center, Hotel Eastlund is easily accessible by Portland Streetcar as well as the MAX light rail system, making the property the perfect base camp point for exploring all nooks and crannies of the city. Hotel Eastlund is so new, however, that most taxicab drivers don't even know it's completed and have trouble finding the entrance so allow for some time waiting for your cab to arrive.

Hotel Vintage Portland
However, the ideal launching pad for any extended Portland stay is the exclusive, yet pricey Hotel Vintage. Being centrally located in the heart of downtown grants you the flexibility of walking-- or use of their onsite bicycles-- to Portland's most vibrant downtown destinations... like Pioneer Courthouse Square, Pioneer Place mall, Powell's Books and the Pearl District.
Everything you need for unforgettable Portland travel experience is right here in this stylish, urban retreat that has been a mainstay of the city for generations. Hotel Vintage offers you the best of everything including gourmet food, leisure activities in their gaming area, and of course-- luxurious accommodations.

Whether you choose to stay at the property be sure to take in some outstanding dining at their Pazzo Restaurant. The Pazzo Restuarant is arguably one of downtown's finest restaurants and a bastion of good eats for Portlanders and visitors alike.
Things to Do:
Willamette Valley Wine Tour
The Evergreen Escape's shuttle van will meet your party right outside your hotel... Then you will be whisked away on an enchanting tour of the Willamette Valley, home to home to many of the regions award-winning Pinot Noir wines. Your conversant guide will enlighten you with rich history of Oregon wine country and why soil is ideal for handcrafting world class Pinot Noir.  Bring out your inner wine connoisseur on this half day-- all things grape-- (or should I say,  great) expedition.
Portland Saturday Market
Every Saturday, under the Burnside Bridge Portland hosts one of the largest craft markets in all of the Pacific Northwest. Get there early and enjoy the festive atmosphere and energy as the local vendors prepare for a day of brisk sales. Located in historic downtown feature the highest quality arts and handmade crafts. If you looking for a few one of a kind gifts to bring home to the family and friends, this is the place to find them.
The Washington Park Area- hosts numerous activities for the entire family to experience. Below are just a sampling of family fun:
Stop! And smell...
If the park's Japanese Gardens aren't enough to excite the visual senses-- all you need to do is cross the road and discover why they refer to Portland as,  'The City of Roses.' As you descend into the bountiful array of rose varieties, you will immediately be greeted  by the flower's potent fragrance. Photo opportunities are never ceasing and the Portland International Rose Test Garden  will be appreciated by all ages.
Hoyt Arboretum
Take a stroll around the trails of the Hoyt Arboretum, featuring a collection of trees and perennial display gardens. Kids will delight in the exploration of the raw nature of the Pacific Northwest as they meander through groves of humongous trees.
The Oregon Zoo- Children's excitement is palpable, literally when they are here-- their feet do not touch the ground. Be the hero parent by taking the kids to this wonderful zoo.
Dining There:
Embrace life's unexpected delectability with a Breakfast at Tasty and Sons - Dominating Portland’s popular brunch scene, the two Tasty restaurants serve up an eclectic and innovative menu--. The flavorful culinary collision of their signature dishes are simply scrumptious. The small plate servings are meant for family-style sharing. The restaurant's Bloody Mary's are the perfect antidote to a late night out.
Natural Selections
Go meatless in one of the city’s most funkified and beatnik neighborhoods--the Alberta Arts District. Chef and owner Aaron Woo conjures up his sophisticated 'mostly vegan, and completely vegetarian' menu featuring only the freshest of Oregon’s produce. Trust me, seats in this intimate of a setting are coveted... so book your reservations now, or there will be little opportunity dining at this wildly popular (but expensive) vegetarian restaurant.

Trifecta Tavern and Bakery
It must be named Trifecta-- 'cuz they nail it right -- one, two  and three-- Where else can you find an appetizer consisting of American ham on  hot rolls covered with drizzled honey alongside raw oysters on the half shell? This mash up blend of bistro, bakery and bar-- is a do not miss anytime you visit Portland. A strong old school cocktail and wine approach complement the wide array of comfort food available in this Eastside gem of a restaurant.

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