This morning dawned bright, sunny and kid free. Oregon Dad and I decided we needed to find a fun adventure for the afternoon. I checked movie listings, suggested ice skating or visiting the Pioneer Mall. Nothing struck us as how we wanted to spend this rare afternoon. I typed “Things to do in Portland” into Google, and hoped for a bright idea. Nada.
Then, in a moment of whimsy, I suggested we head downtown. We created our own “walking tour”.
Our first stop was at Voodoo Donuts. Can I just say, YUM! We enjoyed our tasty donuts on the sidewalk with a myriad of other donut consumers and a couple of homeless men with their dogs and cardboard signs stating, “my dogs so lazy he can’t hold a job”. Bonus points for a new sign, I almost gave them a couple bucks… but I had no cash on me and I doubt they had a credit card machine handy.
After licking our fingers clean, we meandered a couple of blocks East to the Saturday Market. Anyone who wants to see Portland’s culture should visit the Saturday market. It is the one place where you can see more colors of hair than in any other spot. Oh, and it is my belief that many of the vendors and visitors take saving water to heart, judging by their lingering odor and unwashed dreads. The stalls contained everything from hand carved, wooden toys to tye dyed clothing, hand-made soap and candles. I spotted no less than five stands offering some sort of caricature.. Evidently, the thing to do when visiting the Saturday market is to bring your four legged friend along. Good thing then that there are several stands hawking natural doggy treats. We were particularly interested in the sweet potato doggy treats and have vowed that when our new Saint Bernard Puppy joins our family we will bring him plenty of these natural treats. During our stay, I was only tempted to purchase one item, a bubblegum scented candle from Cooper Candles. We avoided the street vendors hawking every ethnic food imaginable and continued South along the waterfront, looking at the river, bridges and boats.
After we strolled along the waterfront and enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful view, we headed toward the DUCK STORE. Have I mentioned that Oregon Dad is a Duck and I am a Beaver? Um… yeah. But that’s another story. While in the Duck Store, I was in dire need of a potty and Oregon Dad was enraptured by a new golf inspired polo shirt. We left the store unscathed as we will not pay $45 for a Nike shirt that Oregon Dad can get for half price. Nuff said.
As we walked out of the store, we debated where to go for our late lunch. Would it be Kells Irish Pub or Rock Bottom Brewery? Rock Bottom won out as I still hadn’t found a bathroom and it was across the street while the pub was several blocks North. A few minutes later found us relaxing at a high table against the window where we could watch the melting pot of personalities found in Portland. Rock Bottom holds wonderful memories for me of my carefree days, when my best girlfriend and I used to meet up with our other young friends to enjoy food and drink before heading out for a night of dancing. Today I enjoyed a burger with three kinds of mushrooms, cheddar and spicy stout ketchup while Oregon Dad had Shrimp Jambalaya with red ale rice.
Once our bellies were full and our thirst quenched, we wound our way back toward the car parked several blocks away.
Oh… and I cannot forget the real reason we love Portland. At the beginning of our downtown venture, we drove around the block a few times without finding a parking spot. We were about to give up and pull into a pay lot, when a fellow Portlander walked across the street and said to our open window, “looking for a place to park? Green Jeep…” Woohoo, there was our free parking spot! Where else in the world do you find such wonderfully friendly people?
Today’s Green Tip- Buy Local: locate a local farmers market for produce and visit the little guy coffee shop instead of the corporate giant. It’s easy to make these changes. You may pay a bit more for a donut at Voodoo Donuts but you’re supporting a local business.