Sunday, May 11, 2008

Portland Oregon a Treat

At home! That was the feeling as soon as I began walking the streets of Portland, Oregon. People here are some of the friendliest of any city I have visited. This is a town with a little of everything. Great restaurants, city parks, free public transportation downtown, the river, the river walk, and the view of the mountains. Portland has a little of everything.

There seems to be festivals happening every weekend. While we were there, the city had a beer festival and a maritime festival, side by side. The two Bs: beer and boats.

Not just any beer festival, but micro brewers from across the country. People came from all around. Sitting by the outside fireplace at our hotel, the couple across from us came from California just to attend the festival. If you can imagine a row of beer trailers with taps dispensing the best beer brewed, then you get an idea of the flavor of the event.

Located on the riverfront, it was accessible by walking. It was, I must admit a little farther from the hotel than I thought. But the walk helped burn off the calories consumed at the fest. If you became too tired to walk, there were always the bicycle taxis to carry you back.

Though we only stayed three nights, the city enchanted me. Probably the choice of hotels helped. A stay at the Hotel Modera is a treat. The décor is artistic, clean and European. The rooms are very comfortable and appointed with fine art and extremely comfortable beds. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. We were always greeted with a smile. Collin at the front was a fountain of information on where to go and what to do around town.

The lobby is large and open, filled with art and spaces to relax and people to watch. This is easy to do with the floor to ceiling glass walls and glass doors. Just outside the lobby is a common area that contains a living wall. The wall is decorated with vegetation that grows on the side of the wall, across from which are the outdoor fire pits. It was a treat to sit by the fire, put up your feet, enjoy a cocktail and talk with fellow guests. A perfect ending to a perfect day. Hotel Modera

Of course a visit to Portland would not be complete without a visit to wine country and the beaches. You can easily combine the trip. It takes about an hour and a half to drive to the coast, but it is worth the drive. It will take a little longer if you stop at the wineries for wine tasting. It would take a lifetime to sample from all the wineries, but what could be better.

Portland is a college town and it of course means inexpensive restaurants and great places. One that we visited was McMenamins Pub East 19th Street Café near the campus of the University of Oregon. It has a laid back atmosphere. While we were there we met fellow Floridians from Key West who own a condominium in Portland.

Getting around Portland’s downtown is free thanks to the trolleys and buses provided by the city. Coming from an area where either you drive or stay home, it was welcome thing to experience.

A trip to a different town would not be complete without eating at a landmark restaurant and Jake’s is just such a place. The menu is seafood and it is good. Though the tables were a little close together for my taste, we solved that by staying in the bar area. A better place to watch the people.

Ghosts and pizza! You get them both at Old Town Pizza in - you guessed it - the Old Town section of Portland. The rumor has it that Nina, a prostitute turned states informer, was found dead in what is now the pizzeria, thrown down the elevator shaft. There is a table in the shaft. It is said that Nina herself carved her name in the brick. Ask a waitress and she can point it out.