WU Guide to Portland

Photo at Joie Farm from their Instagram

Calgary to Portland is a 13 hour drive.  We, however, decided that we absolutely needed to drive to the Okanagan in B.C., drink some wine, eat at our fave vineyard and then stay the night and drive to Portland the following day.  Trust me the tuna sandwich and a bottle of bubbly in the picnic area of Joie Farms is SO worth it.  So, after dropping Finn off at my family's property in Invermere B.C. we drove 6 hours to Joie Farms and it did not disappoint.  (You can check out our 2016 summer vacay in the Okanagan for more of our faves here for PI + here for P2)  We were in Penticton/Naramata area for less than 24 hours but were able to pack in all the best of the best.  The video/photos of our Airbnb place say all that needs to be said.  It was incredible and super inspiring for us.  One of our dreams is to eventually buy property and build our home in the Okanagan, so, when we pulled up to the couple's property we were staying at, heard their building story and witnessed the insane house they'd been working 10 years to create we were buzzing.  That night before taking a zillion photos and Insta-stories at our picturesque hut we ventured into Penticton and ate dinner at the sweetest Greek restaurant, Theo's.  It's beautiful, and has the best family owned friendly restaurant atmosphere.  We sat on the cutest patio that happened to be covered in vines, and was just breezy enough to keep us cool. As I'm writing about this part of our trip I feel as though it may have been my favourite part of our 9 days away..but I'm sure as I'm reliving every little part of our trip through writing it out I'm going to feel that way over and over again.  

Our first stop in Portland was to check into our Airbnb.  As soon as we got there we felt completely at home.  It's a studio in a Portland family's backyard.  As I'm sure you know if you have explored our blog at all home is really important to us.  So, for checking into our first place to feel so much like home for a few days was key.  Having a home base, somewhere to come back to, feel comfortable in, and want to spend down time between adventuring in makes all the difference.  We've always been the people who are way more willing and apt to spend more money on where we stay because it affects our time so much.  It was also located in the best S.E. neighbourhood, and the couple was SO great.  We often found ourselves chatting with them out front on our way to and from the studio.  They were so friendly and offered the best restaurant, coffee and coast suggestions.  One of which was Never Coffee Lab.  It happened to be a few blocks from where we were staying AND they opened at 6 each morning, which is huge when you happen to be those people who wake up and want to start adventuring before anything is open.  The coffee is delish and it's somewhere you'd want to spend time hanging out, reading/writing and just drinking all the coffee. (The 6am open time was also the best when we were leaving Portland because we were able to get the best coffee early before we hit the road home).  

At one of the shops we stopped in towards the end of our trip, Seven Sisters, we started chatting with the owner. She was SO friendly and offered some suggestions of places to explore that we hadn't yet discovered.  I wish we had run into her at the beginning of our stay because literally every single one of her recommendations were right up our alley and some of our favourite experiences.  We both love the more local haunts.  The places you wouldn't necessarily discover by being a tourist. We're also drawn to the rough around the edges places where there's a little more character and evident grit of the city.  She wrote down all of her go-to places on a little post it and it was our city guide for the rest of our stay.  

One of the restaurants on her list was Luce, which also came highly recommended by our Airbnb hosts.  We ate a 3pm lunch there, which was perfect for us.  It was one of those places we could have eaten at every.single.day.  The best vibes, and the food was ah -maz-ing.  Olives, fresh pasta, and house wine.  My mouth is watering as I type this.  Honestly, we didn't have a bad meal in Portland, and we ate a lot of food.  Some of our other restaurant faves were Sweedeedee,   Pok Pok, Tusk, and Por Que No.  We always chat about how memories are so much more about experience than facts. The food was delicious at all these restaurants but as I'm recounting them there are so many elements that made those places the best.  When we ate at Pok Pok we didn't have reservations but were able to get seats at the bar right away.  The bar was through what seemed like the main restaurant, and down some stairs into this small packed room on the way to the kitchen.  It was dimly lit, good energy, and the bar tender was the right combination of Portland:  sleeves of tattoos,  a leather apron, and a moustache.  I felt like we were in the heart of the action but on our own little date amidst it.  I drank rosé James drank an Old Fashioned, and we shared all our plates of food.  All the right elements to make up the most perfect memory.  I can recount stories about each of the places I'm including on this list that are much the same as this one.  It's a special kind of magic.  

Photo at Latourell Falls by Emily

When we travel we love exploring the city rather than venturing too far out.  Because of the photoshoots we did this time around (which I will share photos from soon) we ended up exploring a few of the wonders of Oregon - Cannon Beach and Loutrell Falls.  Both stunning, and worth getting out of the city for.  Next time we go to Oregon I would LOVE to spend at least a few nights on the coast.  Although we didn't make it there, our Airbnb hosts recommended that we may like the vibe in Astoria.  A town along the coast that has been refurbished by arts and culture.  Also, my dream is to have a fire in the sand on the beach.  As we were finishing up our shoot at Cannon Beach it was around 9:30 and people were just starting to set up with their little tribes around their beach fires.  Between the sunset, and all the fires burning on the beach it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever had a chance to witness. Next trip we will be making our own little fire on the beach.  

Finally, we can't adventure anywhere without bringing back a few things to forever remind us of our 2017 Portland trip.  I used to do a ton of clothes shopping when we went away because I loved coming home with different pieces of clothes that not everyone could have at home.  Now, it's so different because what we can't get in Calgary, you can always find online, and so nothing feels quite as unique as it once did.  We did happen upon some amazing shops that we ended up coming home with some special goods from.  Beam + Anchor was my favourite for sure.  Even just to wander and feel inspired.  The shop was beautiful, I'd happily move right in, and the vibe was friendly and welcoming.  We ended up going back a few times in one day because we couldn't leave without bringing some of their goodness back with us.  A few other beautiful shops worth stopping at are:  Una, Field Trip, AppetiteSeven SistersSchoolhouse Electric, and Tender Loving Empire.

It feels like our trip is over all over again.  I want to relive it or go on another trip soon!  If you are going to Portland and follow in our footsteps let me know what stop you love most!  Also, I kind of loved writing this city guide and considered doing one for Calgary, let me know if it's something you want to read!