Gesh… I think I wrote this post 3 weeks ago and then we had to get ready for back to school. It takes me a minute to recover from back-to-school, especially when we are “the school.”
Day 3 and 4 are below:
Like all the other mornings, we woke up way early, all thanks to the time difference.
I was okay with that, since obviously we gained more day time hours, but our body clocks we were so off.
Not having the kids with us, was probably another contributor to the confused state I was in most of the time.
Grabbed coffee and light breakfast at Starbucks.
We had waterfalls and Hood River (breweries) in our sights for the day, so we took it light on the breakfast.
The Historic Columbia River Highway is roughly an hour from the hotel.
We scooted out early because we wanted to avoid another evening of Portland traffic getting back in to town.
One of Ryan’s passions is to get out in the mountains and get away from it all. He wants to trek out early on a Saturday, and drive thru the winding mountain roads. It’s so beautiful. Believe me when I say that I feel the same way he does.
On that note, you can’t miss the fall colors in the N. Georgia mountains, it’s coming soon! Last weekend in October, first weekend of November.
We often go camping in the N. Georgia mountains, but I dread the drive.
I get car sick quite easily, and if you have ever driven towards Blairsville, GA (the direction we generally go), you are aware of the winding roads. It’s really hard on me.
Even if I drive, I can get car sick.
As we were headed to these amazing waterfalls off of the historic highway. My nerves were a bit jostled!
Surprisingly, it wasn’t anything like going waterfall hunting in N. Georgia. The highway runs directly parallel to interstate 84, and it’s just a short drive up from the interstate exit, about 3 miles.
A few winding roads, and voila!
Our first stop was the view of the Vista House-Crown Point. You can see below the dome-shaped building on the ridge of the mountain to the right. That is where we are headed.
I am glad we stumbled on this view-point. This may be one of the only spots on the historic highway where you can see the Vista House cliff side, and really soak it in.
The structure is so unbelievable, especially when you start to put dates together with its construction. Took some serious guts! It really marvels.
We made it to Vista Crown. It was built as a sort of “rest stop.”
The inside of the building is beautiful. you’ll have to take my word for it. It was very crowded, which made it difficult to get decent shots.
Below is a video with panoramic views. The Columbia River and Washington state on the other side of it.
From there we headed east and stopped at the first few falls.
Five falls later, Multnomah Falls. It is considered the crown jewel of the falls, it’s only a 8.5 mile drive from the Vista House. I don’t know why I was expecting completely secluded. What we got was beautiful, but bustling with spectators. With a large welcome and historic center, also has a souvenir store, bathrooms and cafe.
All the falls were amazing. Wouldn’t you say Oregon lucked out with their falls?
From here we had to make a u turn, the rest of the highway was shut down. We don’t know the reason but we suspect boulders on the road.
We only back tracked a little before we were back on I-84, headed east to downtown Hood River.
We parked to get lunch by the Hood River Waterfront Park.
Looked newly built, gorgeous and pristine, but packed!
I’m still looking for secluded… Ha to me!
First, a flight-o-beer. pFriem family brewers is set right across the river and had a great vibe. Community style seating and lots of bustle. We shared the mussels and fries, drenched in a fennel and apple cream sauce. The beer was just right.
A long walk along the river, and I was blown away by the amount of windsurfers. Let’s just say the few novices there stood out, most were highly skilled and fun to watch.
You can see the loop on the map below:
After Hood River, our hope was to make the loop south over to Mount Hood instead of along the way we arrived on I-84. We decided to head back the way we came, I’d pushed my luck in the car.
Back at the hotel we freshened up and dinner at the Departure was a must. We had Portland local brews in mind for Thursday, our last full day, so we knew this was it for Departure.
Would take 2 be as good?…
We aimed for new. We’ve had pork belly in the past, and it has always been disappointing. Just too rich. Not this time. It really had a melt in your mouth quality.
The Bibimbap was served on a stone, very hot bowl. It is served as shown then mixed table side. This hot bowl seemed to give the rice a crispy consistency. It was scrumptious.
The brussel sprouts had such a refreshing taste, mint and lime are in the mix. I was determined, once I got home, to make the brussel sprouts. I went overboard with the fish sauce. A bit too pungent.
Their version was definitely better.
Here are some views from the Departure restaurant rooftop:
I have to admit the views from above kinda gave me the heebie jeebies. Honestly, Wednesday and Thursday nights sleep was hard to come by, our room was situated right below the sky bar.
Until a certain point thru the night, I have no idea when, it was bustling above us with conversation and footsteps. I don’t think the noise level necessarily bothered me as much as my crazy thoughts.
The mom in me could not sleep wondering if someone would fly off the edge of the rail. Crazy me!
Day 4: Last day in Portland
We fly back tomorrow, so we decided to stay in town and on foot, for our last full day. We spent a lot of time in the car that week.
After a quick breakfast we walked into the Pearl district, to Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Lan Su is considered the most authentic Suzhou-style Chinese garden outside of China.
Suzhou is sister cities with Portland. I believe it was a process of 10 or more years, getting approval and planning for the garden.
We started with a 1 hour tour guide.
Most of the building materials came from Xhin and the plants from traditional Chinese gardens. The 65 artisans from Suzhou lived in Portland for 10 months during the project’s completion.
After an hour of touring we sat down at the Tower of Cosmic Reflections (teahouse) and enjoyed our first ceremony tea.
Lan Su is one of those places you have to visit to understand the intricacies of it. The respect that is shown to uphold tradition, it’s a treasure.
We headed out to find lunch.
Fat Heads was a few blocks away, we sat outside and ordered way too much food.
The Work in Progress Burger was a fun mix of peanut butter, crinkle cut pickles, balsamic blueberries. And the SmokeHouse chili fries had fresh-cut fries, topped with smokehouse chili, Jack and cheddar cheese, fresh jalapeños, onions, cilantro, a sunny egg and chipotle aioli. Hope you’re
starving hungry kind of stuff.
A decent side of fries would have done it. But with beer, the mish-mash was excellently naughty.
Beer good. Food good. We walked more to get some shopping done, and digest. We stopped in at Powell’s bookstore and it was a mad house.
Went for a second round at Deschutes Brewery. Wow I was still stuffed. But we wanted more beer.
The rest of the day was spent getting some gifts and taking in the sights.
We skipped dinner but had some late dessert at Urban Farmer.
Our Friday flight was an early morning one. So we called it quits and went to packing!
Everywhere we went during our visit, there were signs of events to be held during the Eclipse. I had Portland on my mind this past Monday (Eclipse day) and the great fun we had.
We’ll be back Portland.