Language is important on a rainy day.
I think Portlanders understand this well, whereas, I, growing up in New Jersey would make rain as an excuse for anything. For Portlanders, rain stops nothing. If it rains, they hike, run, walk, cycle, drink local beer and drink lots of coffee without a single thought about rain.
Our time in Portland was short, but well spent. Here are my picks for things to do that involve nature, coffee, donuts and food.
Long post alert. Mostly pictures.
Cannon Beach vs. Multnomah Falls vs Japanese Garden
Sorry, but there is no contest here. You have to do all.
While Cannon Beach is a bit farther away at around 1.5 hours from Portland, you can't NOT visit the Goonies rock. If you are a child of the 80's, then you will know this place. There's also something about the Pacific Northwest that will call you. Heading to Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock is an easy ride through the mountains. After you take the obligatory pictures and walk along the beach, head down the Oregon Coast Highway for more scenic views. Depending on how fast you drive, you can easily complete the coast drive within a day.
The Falls tour is around 30 minutes out of Portland. It will take you through the Columbia River National Scenic Highway where you can catch plenty of trails and views of other waterfalls.
The Japanese Garden is a short ride from Portland. It's higher elevation that Downtown. If you are lucky, a clear day will allow you to see Mt. Hood.
For the Beach, Falls or Garden, I recommend starting early. You can beat traffic and be one of the first people to be at a site which is quite magical since it's so quiet and serene.
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Nossa vs. Blackrock vs. Barista vs. Townshend
I'm noticing a trend here. Coffee is big in Portland. Perhaps it's because of the weather, but there's a coffee shop in every corner. Great if you love coffee. Great if you want a place to chill. Great if you need an office. I'm honestly not a coffee connoisseur, but I appreciate a freshly ground and freshly made espresso or flat white. Many of these coffee shops are also very Instagram worthy so sit down and get your caffeine fix.
Blue Star Donuts vs. Voodoo Donuts
Alright, the almighty question, which is better? We visited both places when there was no line. Yes, those times are apparently possible. We got a selection of donuts to try. We were not rushed so we had time to peruse the selection.
My verdict: Blue Star all the way. The brioche dough just tasted heavier, better. The flavors seemed more interesting to me too. I come from the land of Dunkin Donuts and I was not too impressed with Voodoo though they did have lots of interesting flavors and toppings. At Blue Star, we got 6 donuts, cut them into shareable pieces so we could try all 6 flavors. We even had leftovers for the next day and they were still delicious, better a day after it seems.
Bamboo Sushi vs. Gravy vs. Oyster Bar vs. Salt & Straw
OK, there's really no comparison there, but a few places you must check out to eat. Local or sustainably harvested so you can't go wrong with food made with good intentions. All delicious, all filling, all worth the calories.
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