Today's post comes to you from the beautiful PNW, where I've been for the past 8 days. I came to this stretch of the US with no expectations and no prior experience. I typically do tons of research before I go on a trip (especially to a new city) on all the restaurants, cafes and sights I'd like to see, but thankfully, I had no time to do so before this trip. I brought my friend and travel companion Lindsey along with me, and because she makes friends everywhere she goes (and she travels a lot), we were in good hands the whole way through our first stop.
Before I get into our trip to Portland, let me start with explaining why I travelled to Portland in the first place. If you don't know already, I just recently released a how to watercolor book: "Everyday Watercolor," through Ten Speed Press. With the release I've been traveling through cities throughout the US, Canada and eventually beyond (Australia and Europe, I'll be coming your way in the spring!). Not only have I scheduled book signings in each city, but #monvoirworkshops as well, where I teach my beginner level floral watercolor classes. So to start off a series of travel guides, here's a peek at my stop in Portland
We arrived in Portland two days before my class and signing day in the city, so immediately took to eating all the good food. We met up with Lindsey's friend (who quickly became my friend), Natalie who lives in Portland and took us to SweeDeeDee for brunch. Immediately WOWing us with the good food. Picture walking through a neighborhood, filled with so much charm and fall color, then finding your way to a friend's house. But the house is a cozy restaurant. At this moment I knew I was going to love it here.
After spending just a few hours in this city, I knew we wouldn't have enough days in our trip to see it all. So, I surrendered to being led around with locals, enjoying each spot and taking in ALL THE TREES. The city is broken up into four quadrants: Northwest, Southwest, Northeast and Southeast, with the Willamette River splitting east and west. Within these quadrants are neighborhoods and pockets of cool.
This time of year was perfect. The yellow and orange leaves making the streets glow, and the grey sky was perfect. It rained, 'cause duh, but it didn't rain as much as I expected and it was much appreciated coming from 90 degree weather. I've never seen color like this, so it felt like I was pointing and commenting on something every 10-15 seconds, but I mean LOOK AT THOSE TREES! We romped and walked around shops Northeast Portland, down Mississippi Avenue where there were some cool shops and bars to poke in and out of. We then made our way over to Betsy & Iya in Northwest Portland, a beautiful jewelry shop with their studio in the back where I picked up a few thin, gold rings. I've been on the hunt for some and they had the perfect ones! Definitely took some self control to not buy more!
After spending most of the afternoon hopping from one part of the city to the next, it was time to check in to our hotel, The Hi-Lo, downtown. I booked ALL of my travel through Orbitz phone app and website, making for insane deals. Every time I would book a hotel or flight through Orbitz, I'd earn money back in "Orbucks," One Orbuck=$1 towards any travel you book through Orbitz. INSANE. On top of that, I signed up for the Platinum status Orbitz offers, which gets you insider prices on hotels, flights and rental cards, PLUS perks like FREE TSA Pre-check (the best thing ever), checked bags, etc. FREE. Seriously so worth it and glad I did this, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to stay in such a beautiful hotel!
After check in, it was back to running around the city...
Coffee at Heart Roasters to warm up and debrief on where to go next. Always a good idea, their almond milk is made in house and makes for a delicious latte! There's SO much good coffee in Portland, but I loved Heart.
One of my FAVORITE things we did in the city was take a drive through the grounds of the Japanese Gardens. We didn't tour the gardens (it's $15/person to do so, heads up), but the drive through was stunning! All the trees and color!
I made sure to stop through Powells to see if they had my books on their shelves, and they DID! That was such a cool moment seeing my book in the wild!
After a couple days of running around the city, it was time to host #monvoirworkshops for the beautiful people of Oregon! This day was such a treat. Everyone was so wonderful and supportive of my new book! So grateful for this day and having a successful trip to Portland...wish we had more time to explore, but I'll be back! Next, we made our way North to Seattle for more food, coffee, crazy trees and #monvoirworkshops. Stay tuned for my post on Seattle coming SOON!
Other places we made it to in Portland include:
- Mediterranean Exploration Company: Stopped at this place for a drink and dinner and had some DECLICIOUS greek food! They were super accommodating with the GF options as well which was nice. Right in the heart of the Pearl Disctric and a short walk from Powells!
- Tasty n Sons: UMMM, this place was pretty mind blowing. We went here for breakfast and shared a few dishes like the Moroccan Chicken Hash and the Burmese Red Pork Stew - sounds hearty and crazy, but they were perfect and so dang...TASTY. Gotta go here.
- Sweet Hereafter: Great bar and tasty food! Perfect for wandering in after hitting some shops in the neighborhood.
- Animal Traffic: Great shop with all the quintessential Portland style clothing and trinkets. *Read: flannel, beanies and "the woods" perfume*
- The Ace Hotel: For coffee or food, and to appreciate the killer interior design.
Comment below with your favorite Portland stops!: