To get ready for my first trip to the Pacific Northwest, I binge watched Portlandia (the satirical, sketch-comedy television program with the cult following) all about the weird cast of self-obsessed, coffee-drinking, Birkenstock-wearing, facial hair-sporting, smelly hipsters who live there. This is not at all what I found! Yes, there were some crazy folks, but that’s my norm.
The reason for my trip — besides checking out the local restaurants and exploring one of the best, if not the best farmer’s market in America — was to visit my pal Lani Raider. She kept saying I would love it there, but anyone who follows this blog knows I pretty much hate most anything people tell me I will love! Well I admit it, I loved everything about Portland. The local sustainable movement is real, not just a trend. And the people who grow the food and make the local booze are proud, knowledgable, and incredibly generous with information and free samples (makes my Jewish heart happy).
Besides the food scene, the landscape is stunning, with redwood trees towering over Arts and Crafts-style homes, rich flora and fauna, and enough green space mixed into the residential areas to make you feel embraced by nature. I had the opportunity to visit two fantastic public gardens which were each quite different and unique. The Chinese garden within the city walls is full of traditional architecture, as well as plants, water, rocks, and poetry (which I found out was the fifth element). All the building materials were brought over from China, rock by rock, pebble by pebble. It was such an oasis of peace. The Japanese garden is in a park on the outskirts of town (Lani drove us) and it sort of felt like Shangri-La. Must have been the waterfall, the swans, and the legal weed.
Portland is also known for its food trucks, which are generally amazing and are often grouped together to create cool little parks with central seating. I loved the interaction of nature all through the city. We drove over to Sauvie Island, an agricultural island which is part of the city where we visited Lani’s family’s 16-acre organic farm. Portland is affordable, interesting, and fun. That’s my little overview. Please enjoy this random sampling of my photos and make a plan to visit Portland. Tell them Rula sent you!