Friday, September 16, 2011

Road Trip Day 5: Portland

After leaving the Redwoods, we decided to skip our stop in Eugene and just drive all the way through to Portland. It was already getting late and I wanted to get us to our hotel at a decent time. When we finally arrived around 8pm we just got settled and hung out for the rest of the night. It was so nice knowing that we could actually un-pack our bags since we would be spending the next 3 days there! At that point, we were so done with the constant packing and unpacking in hotel rooms!

The next morning we woke up and decided to go to the Japanese Gardens. I had actually saw a picture of this place on Pinterest and I knew I had to go! It's the most authentic Japanese garden in the world (outside of Japan of course). The weather in Portland was so beautiful; they say August is the best time to be there. It was a beautiful, clear, warm, sunny day. The gardens were very beautiful and peaceful. We saw waterfalls, koi ponds, a huge zen garden, and of course a ton of bonsai trees. Everything was green and covered in moss, it was so pretty.

 I snapped this picture from the Japanese Gardens. It's the perfect view of Portland and Mount Hood!
 The moss made everything feel so whimsical and delicate.
 Koi pond, waterfalls, and a bridge.
The weather was absolutely gorgeous!
 Japanese zen garden. I can't even imagine all the work that goes into maintaining this place!

After we left the gardens we spent the day in Portland looking at potential neighborhoods and houses.We spoke to a few realtors and locals to scope out the best areas to live in and we got a lot of great feedback. That night grandma baby-sat Cayden so Mando and I could have a date night. I forgot my camera and am still kicking myself for it! Downtown Portland is a dream and I wish I could show you all how amazing it is. The nightlife is just incredible, packed full of restaurants and bars. Most of them brew their own beer locally so Mando and I tried a few local blends. Portland is also the greenest city in the entire country so all the food comes from local sources and is just so fresh. We went to a bar and talked to a lot of super nice people and learned a ton about the economy, job market, best places to live, and schools. That kind of advice from locals is invaluable for us! We had such a fun time, and I think it really proved to Mando that Portland has the best of both worlds... beautiful scenery, quiet neighborhoods, and a hip downtown area with plenty to do.

The next day we went to check out the falls. There are a ton of waterfalls outside Portland, but the biggest and best one is Multnomah Falls. According to Indian folklore, it was built for an Indian princess as a private place to bathe. You truly cannot comprehend how tall and majestic this waterfall is; it absolutely took my breath away. Nearby there was another smaller waterfall called Wahkeena Falls so we checked that one out too. It was such a beautiful day; I swear the weather was like a dream there!

 I loved this plaque dedicated to the Oregon Pioneers. Took me back to playing my favorite game as a kid, Oregon trails! The other picture is a view from the top of the waterfall. The hike was SO worth it!
 Mando and I at Wahkeena Falls. It was hard to photograph well because the waterfall was so curvy and there were a lot of trees blocking the view!
Multnomah Falls. So stunning in real life. You can feel the temperature drop from all of the spray. We hiked to the bridge and to the top of the falls and the view just kept getting better and better! 

After visiting the falls we wanted to check out a neighborhood back in Portland. If you're anything like me as a child (read: BOOKWORM) then you grew up reading Beverly Cleary books and you know Ramona and Beezus lived in Portland. When I found the neighborhood that the real Klickitat Street was in I knew I had to go. This particular neighborhood (ironically named Hollywood!) had also been one that the realtors and locals recommended to us. It was like destiny. The homes were all vintage, victorians and tudors just like our neighborhood here in Orange County and we absolutely fell in love with the area. Then we went to Grant Park to have a picnic lunch which is home to the Beverly Cleary Scultpure Garden. The park was dedicated to her and is full of life-sized bronze statues of her main characters. It's also a splash park so we stripped Cayden down to his diaper and he had the time of his life playing for almost a full hour. What I loved most is all the families that were there with their children. Keep in mind this was a Thursday afternoon, in the middle of the day and it was packed full of young mamas like me and their kids, and surprisingly, A TON of dads! I think that made Mando and I the happiest... there were at least 5 dads there playing with their kids which you just don't see around here unfortunately. Everyone was so friendly and it just seems like the perfect place to raise a family.

Our last night in Portland was so sad. I was definitely not ready to leave. We decided to go back downtown to Cool Moon in the Pearl District for some local ice cream, all handmade in their shop. It was 100% the best ice cream I've ever had in my life. I chose this espresso ice cream and I'm literally salivating right now thinking about it. The sun was just starting to set and there was a ton of families out in another splash park enjoying their rare but gorgeous weather. It was then that I think we all realized that yes, this is definitely a place we could see ourselves living.
 Downtown Portland at sunset
 As you can see, we ALL enjoyed Cool Moon ice cream!
 In the Pearl district after the sun went down. This place was magical, let me tell you.

The next morning we packed up and left early. We took the 5 all the way home and only had to stop one night in Central California. I took this picture right as the sun was setting.

All in all, it was a great trip. There were some scary parts, some wonderful parts, and some parts that just made you stare in silence at how beautiful nature can be. I'm so glad we went and I have no doubt in my mind that Portland is the place for us to be someday. We won't even start seriously looking until after the wedding next May, but I feel like we have a long-term plan now and I finally feel at peace with the way things are going. I just can't wait to get back there! XOXO


  1. Your blog is so cute! Ah, those Japanese gardens look AMAZING! I went to Japan a few years ago and went to some gardens and they really truly are amazing! What a fun trip! :)

  2. Thank you so much! The Japanese Gardens were beautiful, definitely one of my favorite parts! How amazing you went to Japan! Jealous! XOXO

  3. Gorgeous, gorgeous!! I would love to go to Oregon AND Twilight was filmed at the Multnomah Falls!!! haha! Had to throw the Twilight in there. :)