A Day in Portland

After a great day at Cannon Beach we made our way to Portland. We didn’t have a lot on our agenda except for a bit of shopping, but it ended up taking up the entire day. We started with brunch at Mother’s Bistro, which was both fancy and delicious, before spending 2 hours a piece at Powell’s Bookstore and REI. I’m a huge bookworm (I actually have a second blog where I write book review if you want to check it out – The Paperback Princess), so I was super enthused to visit Powell’s. It was my second time and if possible, it was even bigger than I remembered. I spent the bulk of my time in the front of the store where all the sales and featured books were, and a little bit of time browsing the used books. I never even made it to the third floor.

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The two things I love most about bookstores are learning about new reads that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise, and browsing used books for good deals. I got to do both at Powell’s! I made a few impulses purchases of books that I thought sounded good or were featured, and found a few used books that I’ve been looking for. I don’t think I actually paid full price for anything and walked away with 6 books.

As for REI, it is a very popular outdoor store, basically the US version of MEC. Despite how popular it is, I’d actually never been, so I was excited to finally visit, especially since they had lots of 4th of July deals on. Unfortunately I didn’t really find any deals, but I did get a cute fanny pack and a new pair of shorts that I really like. Lien and Brandon got a few knick knacks as well and the afternoon pretty much got away from us and we finally checked into our hotel.

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The bulk of our evening was dedicated to going on a little bit of a brewery crawl, which I love doing in Vancouver and most recently did in Calgary. We hit up a few popular breweries (Deschutes and Von Ebert’s), but the beer went to my head pretty fast. Well, at the time I blamed the beer for a bit of a headache, but I later learned it was the first symptom of covid presenting (boo!). So we cut the tour a little short and went in search of some sweet treats instead, with me and Lien getting cookies and Brandon, ice cream.

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The real highlight of the trip though was a ghost tour that Brandon had found and signed us up for! It went around old town Portland and introduced us to its very sordid history. Due to its location near the Pacific and its status as a “port city”, Portland was a hotbed for human trafficking. The city has a very extensive tunnel system that runs throughout the entire old town and was used to smuggle men in and out of the town into a life of slavery aboard the ships running to China. They would be lured into the bars and once they were drunk, dropped into the tunnels and forced servitude. As a result, Portland has gained a new status as one of the most haunted cities in the world.

The tour was fascinating. We had a great tour guide and I loved that we learned so much actual history on top of the ghost stories. I did a walking tour when I visited Portland back in 2014, but it was entirely above-ground and focused on Portland’s more reputable history. I liked the ghost tour because I learned about whole other side of Portland that I knew nothing about.

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The following day we had to head back to Vancouver, but first we decided to check out some of Portland’s most reputable waterfalls: Moltnomah and Wahkeena Falls. If you live in the PNW, you’ve probably already seen them both on instagram and I’m embarrassed to say, I was yet another tourist adding to the masses. My problem was that I didn’t do my research, something rare for me. We drove out the Columbia River only to discover that you need a day pass to visit the falls. The park rangers advised us we could visit Bridal Veil Falls instead, and not wanting the drive to be a total waste, we decided to do that.

Fortunately, Bridal Veil Falls was lovely and I really don’t feel like I missed out on anything. It’s a short walk to the waterfall and there’s a side walk with gorgeous views of Columbia gorge. We had stopped by a pastry shop on the way out of town for breakfast and picked up some delicious treats, which we ate while enjoying the view. It was a quick stop, but it was perfect for us because we still had 5 hours of driving to get back home.

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Unfortunately for us, we had quite a long wait at the border and Brandon cursed both me and Lien for not having Nexus. In fact, the wait was so long that I had enough time to apply for Nexus while waiting. But overall, it was a really fun trip across the border. Portland is a bit of a far drive with the border crossing, but I was glad to finally visit after 8 years of hoping to return! 

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