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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    4,556

    Trip Planning - Portland

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    Happy New Year, everybody! I'm taking advantage of the day off to do a little advance planning to make sure I actually *ahem* take vacations.

    We are contemplating an early March trip to Portland, OR (not ideal, I know - but it's when I have time). Favorite things to do? Things not to miss? Are we absolutely crazy?

    The other option is a Seattle trip, but I actually plan to try to do that over the summer, I think - hopefully with the San Juan islands attached.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    6,651
    I know nothing about March there, but we went in mid-September 2014 and loved it. Lots of great cycling, and the public transportation is the bomb. Our blog posts might help you plan some of your adventures:

    Day 1 -- Urban riding in Portland and visiting the famous Voodoo Donuts:
    http://travelingtwosome.weebly.com/t...t-of-doughnuts

    Day 2 -- Rural riding on the Vernonia-Banks Trail followed by some unique eats in town
    http://travelingtwosome.weebly.com/t...r-with-friends

    Day 3 -- Taking the MAX downtown and exploring on foot -- plus more good eats and donuts!
    http://travelingtwosome.weebly.com/t...hy-vegan-lunch

    I'm sure the TEers who actually live there can help even more, but these posts may help you get a tourist's perspective.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,128
    I have never been to Portland, but we did the Seattle/San Juan Islands thing a couple of years ago. All I can say is that it was a very long day getting to Friday Harbor from the east coast. Non-stop to Seattle, 2 hour van ride to Anacortes to catch the ferry, then a long (2 hrs.?) ferry to Friday Harbor. We brough our bikes with the couplers, so we each had 2 suitcases, big ones, one with bike inside (regular airline regulation size) and one full of 2 weeks of regular/cycling/hiking clothing. Getting the bags up the ferry plank and through the terminal was hard. On the way back to Seattle, people were giving me dirty looks as I was struggling with the load, like I was some kind of rich b*, who needed a lot of clothes. Finally, I looked at one guy and said, " What? It's a bike in there," in my most obnoxious Bostonian way, and their attitude changed. We had friends pick us up in Friday Harbor, though, which was good. On the way back, we spent 3 days in Seattle, so it didn't feel so stressful, before flying home.
    ETA: While getting there was stressful, we loved the San Juans. I loved Seattle, too, and even got to have lunch with 2 TEers while there. We spent an afternoon/night in Seattle, also last winter, on the way to and from the Methow valley.
    Last edited by Crankin; 01-02-2016 at 11:32 AM.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    great blog posts emily!!!! and +1 on voodoo donuts!!!!

    I can spend hours in powell’s city of books in portland and i could spend years in the san juans ….and of course in portland there is salt and straw ice cream on nw 23rd. The Saturday market in waterfront park is a great place to wander though too. Some great craft breweries if you like beer. Some great contemporay art galleries including the oregon center for photographic arts (blue sky gallery). Portland is one of my favorite cities and home to my best friend from college who always takes me to the most interesting places....and caused me to do and have a great time on the seattle to portland bike ride.

    a harbor view room at the friday harbor house hotel was a great place to stay on san juan island. a great view of the harbor, a fireplace and oversized jetted tub. it also has a very good restaurant.

    the inn at the market in seattle was also a great hotel and location for being downtown. great views of puget sound and the oympic mountains on a clear day. You have the pike place market, the seattle art museum, great restaurants, belltown and incredible *hot chocolate*!!!!! at cafe campagne within quick walking distance
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,128
    We stayed there, also. It was perfect.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    141
    I haven't biked much in Portland, but I'll give a thumbs up to visiting Seattle in summer! (Keep in mind that our summer doesn't tend to start until July 5th... Pretty much a law here that it has to rain for the fireworks on the 4th, then turn sunny and dry for the next two months straight.) There's a really great variety of bicycling here. There are some fun urban routes--even some relatively flat one--easy ferries to scenic and challenging riding on Vashon and Bainbridge islands, and good mountain routes not too long of a drive away. It's also just a good way to get around the city.

    If you end up visiting Seattle, feel free to drop me a line if you have questions or want suggestions
    1980-something Colnago
    2010 Jamis Quest
    2013 Wabi Classic

    mebikedolomitesoneday.wordpress.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Thanks! We booked Portland tickets for early March. Still working on a hotel, etc. The definite plan is to try to get to Seattle over the summer - the timing will depend on what research project I take on, and when I can take time off from that (so many questions!). Please keep the suggestions coming!
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    ....and to keep with the cities slogan “keep portland weird” among other things is the freakybuttrue peculiarium and museum and glowing greens .....some of the best vegan restaurants I've been to and that tells me the city has some interesting chefs working in it.....i..eat..too..much there
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 01-04-2016 at 12:10 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    Can't wait to see you!

    My first question is - will you be bringing bikes? That will shape a lot of what I/we would suggest in terms of things to do. Plenty, plenty, plenty to do without them to see the city and the surrounding wilderness (even in Feb/March), but knowing your intent will help.

    Actually, I'm better at knowing what to do without bikes since we've (oddly enough) done a LOT less cycling since we moved here 8 years ago. Shocking, I know...but life has a way of throwing curve balls. I've also entertained a number of out of town guests since we've been here and none of them were able to bring bikes, so we are pretty good at finding all kinds of random things to do! If you will have bikes, we have a few favorites and easy access to tons of people with a ton of knowledge (including our illustrious Susan and Jeff of TE) to offer up additional suggestions.

    There are about 1000 'must try' restaurants and eateries in the Portland area, so bring your appetites for sure. Lost of eclectic shopping, galleries and museums, too. And of course, there are many, many fabulous day hikes within easy driving distance, so bring your rain gear. Plan for 40's - 50's with light/misting rain. You may be surprised with some sun or some colder days, but planning for 'average' is always a good bet. No one here uses umbrellas - hoods are your friend. You do not need a car to see the city at all but if you'd like to get out and do some day trips/hikes, it's helpful. There is always zip car or Uber, of course. And then there's us...so if we aren't working, we'd love to take you places!

    Easy access day hikes that you can google - Multnomah/Wakeenah Falls and Eagle Creek (both in the Columbia Gorge), Silver Falls, Saddle Mountain, and various hikes near Mt Hood. There is also the northern oregon coast (Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside) that is close enough for day trips and could include some cool shorter hikes as well. Of course, right in Portland is Forest Park, so there is wilderness access even without driving, too.

    The best part about a Feb/March trip? No crowds. We did our 'house hunting' trip as part of my company's relocation package in 2008 in mid-Feb and we fell in love with the area, despite the weather.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Troutdale, OR
    Posts
    2,605
    Love Portland area. Things to do. Yes. Voodoo donuts.

    Must walk Hawthorn Blvd from about SE 20th St where there is a pod (collection of "roach coach" actually much much better and must experience while in Portland) stop by Grand Central Bakery for good bread, soup and pastries. Walk toward Cesar Chavez blvd (SE 39th st) and people watch along the way. You can get a better idea of how "hip/in" people in Portland dress. Lots of bikes. And on west side of Willamette River, Need to go to Pearl district, take a street car, walk. Would not recommend driving as parking space can be hard to find. Lots of small local shops.

    Slightly out of town must see place. Multnomah water fall. Drive East on I-84 out of town. there is an exit for Multnomah water fall. Exit is on your left. Or if you want to take your time and really see all the lush green trees, exit I-84 on exit 17, drive toward an outlet mall, turn right then over a bridge then turn left onto Old Columbia hwy. Drive through Troutdale downtown area, quaint but nothing worth stopping. (I live in Troutdale so I know.) Stay on Old Columbia highway through Corbett, stop at a well know lookout point for panoramic view of the gorge continue onto Multnomah waterfall. There are other waterfalls you can see along the way. Long way will take you about 40 minutes to an hour each way but the scenery is breathtaking with all the moss covered trees. Lastly, do this on a weekday not on a weekend. Lately, its been packed with no parking space on the weekend.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    +1 on Multnomah waterfall! We stopped there on our way to the city. Stunning area.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Finally replying to this - my life goes in exam blocks right now. Midterm this AM, catch up on "life" this afternoon. Rinse. Repeat.

    GLC - we can't wait to see you guys! It's been too long!

    So - first I need to find a place to stay. DH is a little sketched out about AirBnB - he seems to think that all owners do a lot of video surveillance (in a creepy way). (?!) Any truth to that? Any other good places you would recommend? I'd love a little kitchen so we can eat some meals in - but it's not 100% required. Other than "close to fun stuff" and "one of us is a student and therefore we have a budget" - I'm pretty open.

    Car rental - undecided, but probably. I think we want to investigate the coast on a day trip, so we would definitely need one for that.

    Bringing bikes - probably yes. We have the Bike Fridays, and our tickets are on Southwest. So - it's not *too* much trouble and no extra cost. We'll revisit closer to the date if it looks like there will be a deluge all week. The catch: I'm in horrible cycling shape. See exam block comment above. My riding will likely be pretty limited in range and I won't be going up any mountains. Otherwise, hiking/walking is great. Have rain gear (and I don't usually use an umbrella even in NC - much to everyone's shock).

    Is TE headquarters open to visitors? Seriously, I would love to meet Susan and Jeff (and all the cool people I've talked to on the phone).
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,128
    My son and DIL have run an Air BnB for 3 years. They most certainly do not have cameras in their home! Of course, they *live* there. I think a lot of the stories you hear are people who actually buy homes/apartments for the sole intent of renting them as Air BnB places.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
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    2011 Guru Praemio
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    6,651
    We have stayed in a lot of Airbnbs and VRBOs in the past few years of traveling, some for as long as 1-6 months. We have never seen any evidence of any type of video surveillance and have had very good experiences with most of them. That is either an urban myth or just the case of a small % of units. I'd never even heard of it! So, I wouldn't let that stop you. Read the reviews and choose a place you like.

    We stayed way up on the north side of town in a hotel, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend that, though were able to ride and take the metro into downtown. I don't remember there being many hills -- nothing like Seattle! Needing a pet-friendly place limited our options, and we were only in Portland for 3-4 nights so not worth messing with VRBO/Airbnb IMO. Given how the weather may be for your trip, I'm not sure I'd bother taking the bikes, but then, I'm a cold- and rainy-weather-cycling wimp!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    5,050
    Where you stay can be pretty open as there is pretty good public transportation and bike-ability just about everywhere. The only big hills are between Portland and the westside (where I live) but that's avoidable if you aren't commuting. It's no where near as hilly as Seattle! Plus, Feb/Mar is not really the time of year to embark upon serious mountain climbing rides because above about 2000 ft, there is snow in most places. I haven't been riding since last summer, so I'm not exactly bike fit myself. My rear hurts just thinking about riding!

    For lodging, I think there are lots of different types but most likely nothing is going to be super cheap (Airbnb is probably the best bet). Portland/Oregon is affordable in many ways, but living arangements (rent, real eastate, hotels) are usually not one of them and getting worse every day. Of course, Feb/Mar is not the big tourist season, so there are probably deals. I know nothing about AirBnB except that I have a friend who works for them here in Portland (in HR). I did just stumble on this place the other day and it sounds like a fantastic location to have as 'home base' here in Portland to get a good feel for the vibe here: http://tinyhousehotel.com/ Plus, it's super neat!

    Depending on her biking schedule - we may be able to arrange at least a dinner date with Jeff and Susan while you guys are here! I think you'd like them both a lot...I do.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

 

 

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