Mini-Vacation in Portland, OR? Yes Please!

After arriving back at Kenyon on Tuesday morning, I had countless people ask me why the hell I spent the weekend in Portland, Oregon. Long story short: I’m considering moving to Portland after I graduate (can I say that word yet?), so my mom and I took a work opportunity to explore the area. So yes, I took a weekend mini-vaca to Portland, and I’m here to give you the highlights.

 

What I Loved!

Cannon Beach

I had always dreamed of going to a place like this after watching my favorite movie, Your Sister’s Sister (That was set in Washington State). The tall trees lining the roads, endless water, somewhat dreary skies, and the smell of evergreen with fresh water. Cannon Beach is also the beach where “The Goonies” movie was filmed! This part of the trip made the entire venture out to OR 100% worth it.

 

 

The Food

Are you surprised? Food, one of the major motivators of adventuring out to a new place. Let me give you a rundown of the MAGIC that is made in Oregon

Blue Star Donuts: Most people will tell you VooDoo Doughnuts is a must. Yeah, okay, cool. Several locals told me otherwise. Blue Star is the place to go for the most creative and delicious breakfast (or anytime) treat.

Enjoying the view at Blue Star Doughnuts

 

From the left going clockwise: Hard Apple Cider Fritter, Valrhona Chocolate Crunch, Blueberry bourbon and basil, and almond chocolate ganache.

 

Next stop, the Thirsty Lion. We were told about this place for their beer, and we agreed - and stayed for the oven-baked pretzels with a beer-cheese dipping sauce!

 

From left to right: Crux Outcast IPA, Kiwanda Cream Ale, Cascade Lakes Blonde Ale, Breakside Pilsner, Mac & Jack’s African Amber Ale, and Atlas’ Blackberry Cider

 

My favorites: Crux Outcast, Kiwanda, Mac & Jack’s, Atlas’ Blackberry Cider. My mom and I both fell in love with Atlas’ Blackberry Cider, so we ended up going back to the Saturday Market and buying a couple bottles to bring back home.

 

Can you say yumm?!

 

Our final meal was probably my favorite, at the Por Qué No? Taqueria.

We went to Hawthorne location and the line was out the door. So if you want the best taco and margarita you’ve ever had, I’d suggest going to the Mississippi Ave Location, which was a lot less busy. No matter what, waiting in line is worth it. The pictures I took just do not do the food any amount of justice. Also, definitely splurge and get the chips and salsa. All of the ingredients are flavorful and you leave feeling more than satisfied.

Mango-Strawberry Agua Fresca Margarita

 

 

The Art

I can tell that there is a huge creative population in Portland. As a local told me, “everyone is an artist or a DJ.”

I don’t know if this qualifies as “art” but it sure qualifies as something I loved about Portland.

 

The Saturday Market

Right in Downtown, local businesses and artists came to sell their goods at Saturday Market.

View of the Saturday Market

 

Anything from Henna, to fresh gyros, to dog bow ties - you could find them here. Recently I found that my ears are extremely sensitive to any metals that are not pure silver or gold. I met a wonderful jeweler who creates unique designs with (or without) genuine jewels. I fell so in love with a pair of aquamarine earrings, I couldn’t resist buying them as a treat! So if you have a special event for a loved one (mom, girlfriend, friend, sister) check out Ornez Studio!

Source: Ornez Studio

 

Things that surprised me

The homeless population

I had heard rumors about the homeless population in Portland. A friend of mine mentioned that a lot of the homeless tend to be kids/young adults who choose to live that lifestyle. However, that was not the majority of what I saw walking these streets. I cannot speak to how or why these individuals are homeless, nor do I know anything anout Oregon’s economy, but I can say that it broke my heart. I have visited and lived in several places, and none have compared to Oregon on homelessness. Almost every street we walked down or cafe we walked into there was at least one person visibly with their home in a backpack. Whatever the causation, it was devastating.

 

 

 

Walking into China Town, there was a community solely for homeless individuals. Surrounding the tents and such was a barrier with signs similar to the image above.

 

What I’ve decided

This trip helped me recognize that Oregon itself is pretty cool. If I end up being lucky enough to land a job there I’d be honored. However, I cannot help but also think of what needs to be done to decrease the homelessness. Here’s to the future, y’all!

 

All images by Faith Masterson unless otherwise stated.