Getting there: Air Canada.

Where dpr stayed: This was a girls’ weekend in Portland – I met my bestie who I’ve known for nearly 35 years (gulp…). We stayed at the Hotel Modera which is part of the downtown core, but sort of out of the main part of the downtown, up the hill and closer to the university. It’s a lovely boutique hotel with well appointed rooms, a window that opens (fresh air bonus!), free wifi, free coffee (but come on, we’re in Portland and we have Wolfgang Puck coffee in our room?!), free passes to the well-equipped 24 Hour Fitness a block away. The only thing that bugged me about the hotel was that the wifi was spotty, but I would just facetime d2 from the lobby.

Fun: OK, this is our once every 2 years or so time to just visit with each other given that we live in different cities (Edmonton and Toronto) and have busy lives – and yes, we know we’re lucky that we can even drop everything for a whole weekend to meet up. We actually met each other on the way there in Calgary, gabbed the whole way to Portland from there, and traveled again with each other to Vancouver and went our separate ways from there.

Portland is a lovely city – it feels very small, is easy to get around, and the people are friendly. If you’ve been to Seattle, it feels very similar.  It took a bit of time for the number of people living on the streets and in parks to sink in – that was a not so nice side to it. The main goals for the weekend were: visit (check!), shop (check!), eat (um, double check!), see some good sites (check), and maybe exercise once or twice (check!) – and we were highly successful in all areas – here were some of the fun things we did:

1. Bike tour – we went on a 2 hour bike tour of the downtown area, which wasn’t a crazy demanding bike ride, instead just the right amount of exertion, and a good way to see the city since we decided not to rent a car on this trip.

2. Shopping – the downtown core has the usual department stores that had some great sales, and there were some other areas that had some great little boutique/unique shops with good finds that we couldn’t get at home, including 23rd Avenue (the parallel 21st Avenue has lots in the way of food and restaurants) and the Pearl District – which is a super funky old warehouse district that’s been converted to shops, condos, and all kinds of food places.

3. Food – ok I’m not sure where to begin here – with everything from delicious coffee (Stumptown) to donuts (our favourite was Blue Star, where I had, hands down, the BEST buttermilk donut I’ve ever hand, and that we visited twice over 3 days, and we also stood in line at Voodoo Doughnuts, but it wasn’t as good…) to cupcakes (we did a 4 mini sampler at Cupcake Jones – mmmmm) to foodcarts (basically anything you can imagine, although not many were open on the weekend, but we had delicious Thai food for $6/plate – unbelievable value) to finer dining (we splurged one night on Laurelhurst Marketplace for a steak dinner – it was amazing, as was Tasty n’ Alder for Saturday brunch post-bike ride).

4. Other – of course we stopped for a pedicure – we were walking the whole time, afterall :o) – $27 for a full hour, which is a deal in my books. We missed out on the Living Room Theatre which would’ve been fun, but we were too wiped out. We did hit the International Rose Test Garden which is free, inside a lovely park, and had every kind of rose imaginable.


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