Monday, September 26, 2011

journey to: the pacific northwest

There's just something about looking forward to a trip that brings excitement unlike any other. Well, this last trip came and went so quickly. Sean and I had only mentioned going at some point at first, then really started to consider it, then planned it, and made it a reality. Before it becomes a distant memory, I'd like now to share the experience.

We had a late flight out to Portland and made it through security with no issues besides long lines and jumping through hoops for the TSA. This was our first trip together long distance (we've only had a driving trip to Atlanta with friends and trip to Indy with the Hannon family)…and also the first trip that I did not check a bag since the restrictions on traveling with liquids. At the end of it all, I just looked at Sean and proudly proclaimed, “Expert traveler,” as it was my goal to impress him on our first trip by being on time, getting through the line, and packing everything I needed. Unfortunately, as we sat at our gate, we remembered the things we forgot. Me: leggings, contact solution, brown wedges, Maxaalt, Brita water bottle. Sean: sunglasses.  
When we arrived in Portland, we hopped in a cab toward downtown to the hotel we were staying at: Ace Hotel. The hotel was impressive…epitomized what I would consider classic Portland style.  I promptly fell asleep.

The goal the next morning was to get up early and fill our day with as much as possible, but due to exhaustion, we settled for a late breakfast by stopping next door at Stumptown Coffee and walking over to Voodoo donuts. The iced latte and seasonal Danish at Stumptown was so good. Once we got through the line at Voodoo, we weren’t really in the mood for donuts. I opted for ordinary ones: a cinnamon cake donut and a chocolate glazed one, and saved both for later. (Note: Delicious. Go there if you get a chance).


We met up with Jackie and Shelby there and walked through the Saturday Market. It was full of people, things for sale, food, fresh flowers, artwork, etc. With all the walking, we started getting hungry so next on the list was the Grilled Cheese Grill in Southeast Portland/Buckman neighborhood. We ordered our grilled cheese there and polished it off with some frozen yogurt and a walk through one of the Powell’s City of Books bookstores in Hawthorne. Later that night, we went the Rogue Distillery and to the Portland Timbers soccer game, and I had the opportunity to see what soccer fans are really like: fun...and a little extreme. Sean and I walked over to Brix after the game to get some pizza. It was pretty tasty (though I still prefer Nashville’s City House.)

 On Sunday, we started with breakfast at Kenny and Zuke’s, which was adjacent to our hotel. I had the fresh fruit berry crepes and I still dream of them every now and then. I don’t think I’ve had anything so tasty before and the fruit was so fresh! Sean had the corned beef hash and said it was at the top of his list out of all the places he’s had corned beef before. Impressive!

We walked around Powell’s City of Books and stopped for a treat at World Cup inside the bookstore. We left Pearl District, went shopping for a while and stopped at Rogue for mini beer tasters. Then we headed towards the waterfront with high hopes of hailing a cab to get on the other side of the bridge for lunch, but neither Sean nor I could seem to catch one or get through to call one. Despite these efforts, we ended up deciding just to walk back to the hotel and caught a ride with Jackie, Shelby, and Russ to eat at Bamboo Sushi. For not being completely sold on sushi, everything I had there was really good and the sushi chefs were enthralling just to watch!

Leaving Portland was a little sad. I enjoyed everything so much. The one thing that made it better was that there was still more fun ahead. We took a tiny plane to Seattle the next afternoon. While being tossed around by winds, we had great views of all the surrounding mountains and the Seattle skies, and then landed shortly thereafter in misty weather (the only time it rained in Seattle). Either from all the traveling (cabbie, tiny plane, train) or the change in pressure, I was not feeling all that great when we first got there. I rested in my hotel room for a bit before we ventured out to look at the city. The timing worked out better because the raining stopped. We walked to dinner and after strolled down toward the waterfront near Pike’s Place Market.

The next morning we walked back down to Pike's Place Market, got donuts there, grabbed coffee and a sandwich. Since the weather was perfect,  we decided to check out the Space Needle. The views were amazing. We mapped out where we'd like to go next from there, and afterward, we walked to the Seattle Waterfront. We ate at Six Seven right on the water. The lobster mac and cheese was heavenly; Sean ordered the fish and chips. What better place than Seattle, right? Full and satisfied, we trekked back to our hotel. Later we met up with Laura and Kati at her apartment and went out to Ballard to see that area of town. 

Wednesday was another full day. We walked down to The North Face store, grabbed some coffee at Cherry Street Coffee, and walked around the Pike’s Place Market some more. That afternoon, I met up with Laura and Maebel to drive out to Fremont. The area was very pretty, and the people were so friendly. A man even stopped to tell Laura, “Cute dog! You’re cute too!” We walked through the neighborhood for a little while there. Sean and Kati met up with us shortly after and we hung out there for a while.  

We ended the trip with views of the sunset on Seattle from Alki Beach. We walked the trail there and stopped to take pictures along the way to dinner. The “beach” was just a little bit of rocky shoreline, but we did take a minute to dip our feet in the water. (Note: Cold!)