Wednesday, October 16, 2013


My fascination with Portland began with a bookstore.

It's true -- I'm just that big a nerd. The bottom line was that I hadn't really considered it as a vacation destination until Daz visited years ago and brought me a map.

A map to a bookstore.

A map to a bookstore that took up an entire city block.

And so it was that on my very first morning in Oregon, I had exactly one thing to accomplish: I was going to Powell's.

I'd feel a bit sheepish that the whole reason I wanted to drive 1500 miles was to go to a bookstore, but, well, that was really my motivation. That first morning, I rode along with Katie and Evie to Evie's (regularly scheduled) doctor's appointment, then made my way to the light rail (which would have been easier if the station at the hospital wasn't closed, but hey, it all worked out). And before long, I was downtown, across the street from the first of my trip's bucket list items.

 It. Was. Awesome.

Keeping in mind that bookstores are a "thing" for me, this was a genuine event. And oh, was it good.

After a couple of hours (not nearly long enough), I had a stack of books to keep me going for the whole of this winter. Thankfully, I had budgeted for my trip with this very stop in mind.

But my time in Portland was limited, and there was much to see.

After our earned-free-parking purchases, we set out on foot to see a couple other things. I had a short list: I wanted to find good food, good coffee, and Voodoo Doughnut.

For lunch, Katie introduced me to Dan & Louis, a restaurant/oyster bar with some of the best chowder you can find. Or, in my case, to-die-for lobster bisque. (Amazing.) And as they are conveniently located basically across the street from Voodoo, that meant doughnuts for dessert.

Now, you may have heard of Voodoo. They pop up on the Food Network every now and then (Anthony Bourdain visited there at least once) and they're a local legend, of sorts. The line -- even at 2:00 in the afternoon on a Monday -- stretches out the door and around the corner. What's more, there are as many locals as visitors.

Oh, and the doughnuts are creative. And really tasty.

We made a stop for coffee after that (to go with the doughnuts, of course) and headed home to relax.

My voodoo doll was delicious.

The next day was spent mostly in Washington Park, which includes the Oregon Zoo and the International Rose Test Garden -- not to mention some trails and great views of the city. Katie, Evie and I enjoyed the calmness of the park and ate a picnic lunch in the arboretum (tree zoo); our supper plans were to find a happy hour, preferably at a brewery, and that meant keeping lunch simple.

It was just starting to look like fall...

Have I mentioned my bridge issue? Because wow, did I take a lot of bridge pictures. This one is in the zoo itself.


It's so much more fun to go to a zoo with a little one. Really.

Actually, Evie was just the high point to the day regardless.

"Really, Ashley? I'm eating here."

Then on to the gardens ... where I took a bunch of pictures for strangers again. I hadn't realized that would just be a theme to the trip.

Two days is not enough time to devote to any city, really, but as I was reminded each day, this trip was more about the drive than the sightseeing. The next day, I was headed to the coast ... with a minor detour ... and I was almost as excited to see the Pacific Ocean as I had been to see Powell's.



Amanda said...

Have you ever been to the Tattered Cover in Denver? One of my favorite childhood places. You would love it.

Katie said...

Aww!!! I had a great time with you! Thanks for coming :)