Oregon holds a very special place in our hearts. First – because it was one of the States we visited on our honeymoon back in 2012 and second – because we absolutely loved every second of it. We’re kind of amazed that it took us six years to go back but…we did have 28 other States to get to! We knew that with Alaska on the agenda, we had to fit in a few days in one of our favourite ever States.
So after a week on the Last Frontier in Alaska, we flew back into Portland (Portland Airport by the way…what a pleasant experience, if only all airports could be like this!). Our first order of business was to get out of the city that we’d visited and loved in 2012 and see a bit more of Eastern Oregon. We drove a few hours along the Columbia River to a tiny town by the name of Pendleton. We arrived pretty late thanks to a delayed flight, through a haze of bugs on the windshield along the river, at our seemingly abandoned hotel for the night. The Working Girls Hotel is, as the name suggests, a former brothel. It now has extremely comfortable beds and bathrooms, and beautiful high ceilings – its really very grand! Although it was late, we still had time for one quick beer at 40 Taps just down the block – the beer list was extensive to say the least!
After a slightly noisy night’s sleep (the Working Girls hotel is in an historic building, so there’s some road noise and the air con is a bit loud, but its not too bad) we had a walk around the pretty little downtown area, down to the river. Stopping for breakfast at the unspeakably cute Main St Diner was a highlight – delicious comforting American food served with a smile. We loved it.
From Pendleton we made our way to the World’s Largest Beagle, because…well you just have to. After a day in Idaho we headed back into Oregon and to Hood River. This was a particular pilgrimage that Josh had been keen to make for some years. Hood River is a beer town like many others in Oregon, but its also home to the Pfriem Family Brewery, which makes some of the most outstanding beers in Oregon (and the United States). So once we’d checked into our surprisingly plush Best Western right on the riverside, it was time for some more beer.
There’s a list of breweries as long as your arm in Hood River but there’s also some tasty food – not least of which was Solstice Pizza, serving up some delicious vegan and non-vegan pies! After Pfriem (which was everything Josh had hoped it would be), we swung by what appeared to be a brand new brewery called Ferment, then across the highway to Double Mountain and Full Sail (where we ate the world’s greatest tater tots). By this point we’d drunk a fair few beers and it was time to stumble back to the hotel.
Our incredibly civilised morning included a swim in the outdoor, riverside pool at the Best Western, their very tasty free breakfast and a Starbucks, before it was time to head back West and to Portland.
The drive along the Columbia River is great for photo-stops. The Columbia River is impressively wide-flowing and on clear days if you go up the side of the gorge you can see all the way to Mount Hood. There’s also a network of windy little roads which as you can see above, make for some really cool snaps!
Another photo stop we just knew we had to make again was Multnomah Falls. It has to be one of the most easily-accessible spectacular waterfalls on the West Coast. Its literally a three minute walk from the highway-side car park, and it was no less stunning than when we’d first seen it six years previously. The massive drop and the rising sun from behind the gorge makes it a sight to behold.
We were well versed in the joys of Portland so most of our plans involved food and booze. Our first afternoon was spent to varying extents in Sudra (great vegan nosh), Hale Pele (awesome tiki bar), Great Notion Brewing (some of the very best beer Josh has ever tasted), LaBrewatory (really fun experimental beers) and the No Bones Beach Club (more fun vegan food). We’d only been back in Portland a few hours, but we were still very much in love with the place.
Day two in Portland started in a rather more sedate, but equally fun, fashion. We started the day in probably our favourite bookstore ever – Powell’s – we could have spent the entire day there frankly. From Powell’s, after a cheeky morning ice cream at Salt and Straw, we walked up to Washington Park to take in the glory of the International Rose Test Garden again.
Once we’d sniffed ourselves into oblivion among the endless rows of roses we needed some lunch and Sizzle Pie was calling our name. Its another of Portland’s great vegan and omni food spots and we stuffed our faces full of more delicious pizza. After lunch we stopped by some more Portland breweries including old favourites Rogue and Deschutes, as well as some newer ones (for us at least) like Von Ebert and Backpedal. We ended the day with a super tasty Beyond Burger from Veggie Grill and a couple of awesome beers at the Upper Lip.
For our last day in Portland we started out doing something we’d missed in Portland before – riding the cable car (but not before breakfast at a Portland favourite – Voodoo Doughnuts!). Its a cute little trip which gives you impressive views over the whole city. Except we’d over-indulged on coffee on the way there so we didn’t feel too great on the way up!
After the cable car we walked across the Tilikum Crossing towards the trendy Buckman neighbourhood, stopping for a lunch snack, including what can only be described as the best caesar salad ever (and vegan to boot!), at Virtuous Pie. Then it was time for beers aplenty at Cascade, Modern Times and Wayfinder before we hitched an Uber to the White Owl Social Club for our last meal of the holiday – a super tasty Impossible Burger and a couple of delicious beers. We trudged back to the hotel mournful that our latest American adventure had come to an end – but what and end Oregon had given us!
Rate the State:
Good for: Beer, outdoors lifestyle, healthy and unhealthy food
Bad for: Erm…not much