Friday, September 11, 2015

Portland / Willamette Valley / Columbia Gorge

I'm always kind of conflicted about blogging about trips/vacations, because blog posts about other people's vacations are among those I tend to skip. But every now and then I will mention an upcoming or recent trip and someone will leave a comment like, "Can't wait to hear all about it!" or "Can't wait to see pics!" And of course, because I am insane, there is always a part of my brain going, But does s/he *really* want to hear about/see pics from x trip, or is s/he just being nice and/or leaving a benign comment because I left one on their post?

Which is I guess is an unnecessarily long-winded way of saying, "Here are a few photos from our recent trip to Oregon! Enjoy, and no hard feelings if you skip it!"

I downloaded everything from the memory card in my camera last night & was a little stunned to see 585 files appear in the folder titled "2015 09.02-09 OREGON." It was only eight days and I honestly felt like I was practicing a little restraint.

(Because otherwise, you know what happens. During the trip, it's all "I'll just take one more shot of this, what's the harm" and "Oooonnnnee more with a different aperature" and "Oooonnnneee more from a slightly different angle, just to be safe," but then you arrive home like I did after three weeks in Italy, download 2,000+ photos, & find yourself resigned to nothing but quiet weeping for the rest of the night.)

I'm a quality-over-quantity type of person in general, though, so please enjoy Portland, the Willamette Valley, and the Columbia River Gorge in the equivalent of a single old-school roll of film or less each.

We spent our first few days in Portland, eating & drinking all the things.

After checking in to the Bluebird Guest House (perfect!), we wandered next door to the SE Wine Collective for a bit of tasting & snacks. Both were fantastic.

SE Wine Collective

Then off to Beast for a mindblowing eight course pre fixe, including duck leg confit.

Day 2 began with The. Most. Amazing. Breakfast burrito I have ever had in my LIFE. Oh my god.
Portland is definitely winning at street food.

No visit to Portland is complete without a stop at Powell's Books!

So big you literally need a map.

Pause for refreshment just around the corner at Deschutes Brewery. So much delicious beer that doesn't make it to CA!

Once you're in a tasting frame of mind you might as well hit up the awesome folks at Clear Creek Distillery.
(I recommend the eau de vies. Actually I recommend everything.)

Home to change into nicer clothes, then a quick sour beer tasting at Cascade Brewing....

...then around the corner for one of the most incomprehensible dinners of my life at Le Pigeon. (Seriously....I can't even. You had to be there. There were some tears & one of our party may have mentioned tingling in her naughty parts.)

Smoked foie gras profiteroles from dessert. (Yes; apparently you can do that.)

After hours at Teardrop for fancy pants cocktails!

Day 3 began with coffee & donuts from Blue Star. (Far superior to the Voodoo Donuts tourist trap.)

We bid adieu to Portland with a delicious lunch at Clyde Common (including house-made Italian sodas!)

After that it was on to Willamette Valley, which is Oregon's main winemaking region.

We stayed at The Painted Lady Guest Cottage in Newberg, which is AN ENTIRE HOUSE (2 bed, 1.5 bath, & full living, kitchen, & dining rooms, plus backyard with covered patio, grill, & fire pit) which will set you back a whopping $200 A NIGHT. You can't even rent a hotel room for less than that around there!

The best part of The Painted Lady Guest Cottage is that it's about 20 feet from The Painted Lady restaurant, which serves a four-hour, nine course pre fixe that will positively ruin you for eating out for the rest of your life. (This was the pasta course. THE HAND-BRAIDED PASTA COURSE.)

Cheese course. (I'm pretty sure I never met a beet I didn't despise until this course.)

Be super nice to them & they might even walk your evening cognac, dessert wine, & other accouterments over to the guest cottage for you on a silver platter. Made of actual silver.

Next up: Let the wine tasting begin!
(Colene Clemmons)

On the road up to Domaine Drouhin Oregon

In the vines at J. Cristopher

Vidon I think? (If you want a list of solid wineries in the
Northern Willamette, just let me know. I've got you covered.)

We took time out to harass Ben Franklin on the way to dinner in McMinnville.

Pork belly & other deliciousness at Thistle.

After three days of wine tasting, nothing hits the spot like tapas & mojitos. (La Rambla, McMinnville)

After dropping our friend K at the airport, Don & I spent our last few days in the Columbia River Gorge, which is one of those places where you can pretty much point your camera in any direction and it will be gorgeous.

Bridge to Shepherd's Dell Falls

Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls

Upper Latourell Falls Loop Trail

Bridal Veil Falls

Sunset in the Gorge

Wahkeena Falls

Gorge stream on Upper Latourell Falls Loop Trail

Gorge stream on Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail

Fairy Falls

Weisendanger Falls

Weisendanger Falls

Multnomah Falls Trail

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Behind Ponytail Falls

Behind Ponytail Falls

Elowah Falls

Elowah Falls

Epic Hood River sunset is epic

I thought we had a really excellent itinerary, & logistically everything worked out just about perfectly. 3-4 days of wine tasting is really plenty, but I definitely wish we'd had more days in Portland itself and maybe 1-2 more in the Gorge. I would recommend this trip to anyone who loves good food, good wine & beer, & hiking through gorgeous scenery!


  1. I genuinely love travel posts with lots of pictures. They might be my favourite type of post. I have been known to follow dodgy blogs for YEARS if the blogger lives somewhere I love and does a lot of travelling. So bring on the pics. I'm not one for food pics but your nature photos were amazing, Oregon is pretty much top of my list to go to these days!! I shall hopefully be tapping you up for recommendations in the Spring!

  2. I just got back from Oregon and all I did was run in the dark. Boo.

    1. I couldn't remember the exact weekend of the race, but I did think of it as we were in the Gorge staring at Mt. Hood! I highly recommend going back when you can spend more time moseying around during daylight hours.

  3. I like seeing other people's travel posts as long as they're not all selfies, so well done! What is the story behind the Ben Franklin statue? There's a really similar one on the Penn campus in Philly, where every other building and street is named for Ben Franklin.

    1. I am only a little ashamed to say we made zero effort to find out! I suppose a day of wine tasting will do that to you...

  4. I love travel posts. It gives me ideas for what to see and do if I ever go to that area.

  5. Thanks for sharing your vacation pics! (and no, I'm not just saying that)

  6. You basically took my dream Oregon trip. I wanted to do this trip last year (I mean, not this trip exactly, but close to it, just with some time spent in Southern Oregon as well), but life got in the way. This post makes me want to make that trip happen ASAP.

    And I love a good overview of a person's trip with food and activity tips. Helps me plan my own vacations!

  7. Dammit, you made me Oregon-sick with these gorgeous photos. In other words, thanks for deciding to share the beauty. :-)