Monthly Archives: June 2016

Guide to Portland in a Weekend

Portland is the nation’s declared “hipster capital,” and for good reason: it’s wide selection of coffee and craft beer, outdoorsy appeal, foodie scene, and overall creativity is incomparable. Pack your bags and get ready to explore one of the most unique cities in America!

INSIDER TIPS: PLANNING A WEEKEND TRIP TO PORTLAND

WHERE TO STAY IN PORTLAND

For those of you looking for a central place to stay with easy access to downtown and close to proximity to outdoor excursions, like the numerous waterfalls along the Oregon/Washington state border and Columbia River Gorge, I highly recommend staying in the southeast Portland district. Bluebird Guesthouse and Evermore Guesthouse are both in an ideal location, they are extremely affordable (which is hard to come by in Portland!) and they get outstanding reviews from other travelers.

Downtown Portland – near the University – is another cool area, although parking can be a bit harder to come by and will cost you overnight. Hotel recommendations? River’s Edge Hotel and Spa gives off that Portland-esque charm, while The Benson has a vintage luxury feel to it; both hover around $200/night.

Airbnb is a popular option for accommodation throughout the entire city with which we’ve also had great experiences with (and when you sign up through our link, you’ll receive a free credit towards your stay!).

WHERE TO EAT IN PORTLAND

Coffee and Doughnuts: If you’re dying for a taste of the infamous VooDoo Doughnuts, the best place to get them is right from the source. This place encompasses everything that is Portland — from the eclectic décor to the vegan pastries. Oh, and you can also get legally married there.

If you’re looking to venture out from VooDoo, Blue Star and 180 donuts are next best. As for coffee, nothing comes close to Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Stumptown coffee is representative of the iconic Pacific Northwest coffee scene, so stop by for a latte, take a tour of the roastery, or head over to HQ for free coffee tastings at 3pm daily. For a simple, no-frills cup of coffee try Coava or Heart Coffee Roasters, or Sterling Coffee Roasters for a latte with style!

Food Carts: Dining at a chain restaurant in Portland is a sin. Portland Mercado is a must for Mexican food lovers, while Central Eastside Food Carts has a variety of international cuisines to choose from. However, its food cart villages like Cartlandia that Portland is famous for – with 32 carts, the Blue Room Bar, and live events almost daily, this is the place to go.

As for you foodies with a more “refined” taste, check out our budget-ascending list of great restaurants below. For a sweet treat, hit up Fifty Licks or Salt & Straw – you won’t want to miss chocolate porter floats or farmer’s market-inspired ice cream flavors!

Budget-ascending list of recommended restaurants in Portland:

$: Nong’s Khao Man Gai, Rontoms, The Sudra (go at happy hour), Life of Pie Pizza, Portland Penny Diner

$$: Doug Fir (doubles as a bar and music venue!), Clyde Common, Harlow, Bollywood Theater, MÅURICE, Imperial, Deschutes (with all 26 beer varieties on tap)

$$$: St. Jack, Paley’s Place, Andina, Le Pigeon, Roe

Things To Do in Oregon

unduhan-71Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory, located just southeast of Portland, is home to Mt. Hood, Willamette Falls – and enough activities to overwhelm even the most ambitious adventurers. For an excitement-filled trip to the Pacific Northwest, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is the place to go!

THINGS TO DO IN OREGON’S MT. HOOD TERRITORY

  1. Hot air balloon ride with Portland Rose Hot Air Balloons

Has taking a ride in a hot air balloon been on your bucket list? Well, now is the time to check it off! Portland Rose Hot Air Balloons operates 7 days a week, giving you plenty of opportunities to take advantage of this awe-inspiring experience. And, with careful planning, you may even be able to take off from a 40-acre field of tulips! Taking in the sights of the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival during the month of April is just a perk though, because aerial views of Oregon’s landscape are stunning year-round.

  1. Rent a Canoe at Trillium Lake

For the most scenic view of Mt. Hood, rent a canoe and spend some time on Trillium Lake. With dense conifer forest and crystal clear reflections of Mt. Hood on the lake’s surface, this is a nature photographer’s paradise. And, with no motorized boating, Trillium is the perfect place to take in the natural tranquil beauty of Mt. Hood National Forest.

  1. Visit Swan Island Dahlia Farm

If you aren’t able to make it to Oregon in time for the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in spring, don’t be disappointed – Swan Island Dahlia Farm is open in the fall! This gorgeous 35-acre field of colorful dahlias is available for strolling during the entire months of August and September, dusk ’til dawn, so if you happen to visiting during the dahlia season be sure to stop by.

  1. Kayak Willamette Falls

For novice and expert kayakers alike, this is one for the books. Willamette Falls is the largest waterfall by volume in the Northwest and has previously been restricted from the public, so take advantage of the falls’s newly-granted  access for sightseers and water sport enthusiasts. eNGR Kayaking is the leading kayaking tour for the falls – and it’s even family-friendly – so book your tour and witness the astounding Willamette Falls up close and personal.

  1. Hike Tom, Dick, & Harry Mountain

You can’t visit Oregon without going on a good hike or two, so we suggest making Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain (yes, you read that right) your hiking destination. Not only will it give you the opportunity to burn off some of that craft beer you’ve been sipping on, but you’ll get yet ANOTHER killer view of Mt. Hood. Be warned – this trail is popular and often crowded with Mirror Lake visitors as well, so plan ahead and get there early.

  1. Stay in a Tiny House Village

If you keep up on the latest HGTV shows you know that tiny houses are super trendy – and now you’ll get to see what all the hype is about first-hand.  An upgrade from camping and a more unique experience than traditional hotels, the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village really incorporates Oregon’s quaint charm and nature themes into your stay.

Dogs are welcome in the homes so feel free to bring your pets along to explore the surrounding area. The Dragonfly Cafe down the road is great for coffee and breakfast before venturing off on your daily adventures.

Best Luggage for Your Next Trip

I should note that brands are not everything, and nobody should pay the price for designer luggage unless they are proven durable and have a warranty. For those of you that don’t want to spend a fortune, don’t be afraid to buy those 3-piece luggage sets you see on Amazon (we’ve been using this set for 3 years and love it!).

Wear and tear – like cracks and worn wheels – can be expected with these, but they’ll likely last you several years. If you have the money and warranty is important to you, this 3 Samsonite 3-piece set is an amazing deal!

With that said, there a few brands out there that are favorites among experienced travelers, and even come with lifetime warranties. Keep your receipts!

Samsonite: Although Samsonite luggage only comes with a warranty limited to manufacturer defects, their typical hard-side luggage is known for its durability. It’s a great option if you’re traveling with breakables, a camera, or plan on bringing back a bottle of wine from your trip. Plus, this hard-sided case has an expandable zipper which is unusual for hard suitcases, but perfect for adding a little extra space and flexibility in packing.

North Face: For you outdoorsy types, check out North Face’s rolling duffels. They double as a backpack with straps, which is convenient for traveling in areas that don’t offer smooth walkways everywhere.

L.L.Bean: A great brand for space efficient travel backpacks, as well as personal organizers that can be used as your in-flight personal item – again, with a lifetime warranty!

Osprey: Another popular brand for backpacks, especially for women; Osprey has travel backpacks designed to fit women’s bodies, and come in feminine colors like teal and purple – easy to spot on the baggage carousel! Their convertible luggage is also convenient for easy luggage-to-backpack transitions in difficult terrain.

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LUGGAGE FOR YOUR TRIP

HARD VS. SOFT.

It’s important to choose the right type of luggage for your needs. Are you the adventurer type, or do you generally travel for business? Photography buff, or fashion enthusiast? A hard-sided carry-on is ideal for those traveling to areas with temperamental weather or toting cameras, as it offers ultimate protection.  Soft luggage is easy to stuff into overhead compartments, and has expandability – perfect for “over packers” or people who want to bring home souvenirs from their travels. Soft-sided bags are also great for added organization!

SIZE

Don’t buy a carry-on larger than what you can lift overhead! Get one that meets both international and domestic requirements. Some European airlines have smaller size restrictions for carry-ons, so limit yourself to approximately 21 x 13 x 9 and 15-20lb. in weight to clear nearly all international airline restrictions.

Also consider getting two smaller suitcases versus one large, heavy one. You may have to pay to get the extra one checked, but stuffing everything into a larger one can incur oversize and overweight fees – ultimately costing you more money in the long run.

ADDITIONAL TIPS:

  • Pack your bags only 2/3 full. Since you’ll likely be bringing home items from your trip, you want to make sure you don’t over pack your bags to the point of breaking zippers. Roll your clothes (rather than folding) to create more space.

  • Consider a TSA-approved lock (this Samsonite comes with one) or cable ties on zippers for added security.

  • Don’t buy black. Avoid the endless search of your bag in sea of black luggage by buying a brightly-colored or printed suitcase. Checked bags should be easily recognizable to save time and avoid theft or mix-ups, because, unfortunately, leaving the airport with someone else’s bag unknowingly happens all too often. If you do end up buying a black bag, (sometimes options are limited!) place a few large stickers, buy a colorful luggage tag, or tie a brightly-colored ribbon or scarf around the handle.