Category: travel

If you find yourself in Portland

So a couple weeks back, I was in Portland, Oregon, teaching at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference, and I brought my husband with me so that we could spend a few days enjoying the off hours in Portland’s downtown and then a few extra days on Oregon’s stunning coast. Born and raised in California, I am embarrassed to say that this was my first visit to my northern neighbor. We had a great time (when we weren’t sitting in LA-esque traffic – wasn’t ready for that) sampling Portland’s vibe in the form of food and drink. Here a couple highlights that you won’t want to miss if you find yourself in Portland.

Voodoo Doughnuts – 22 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland.

I actually don’t eat a lot of doughnuts anymore but I’d heard about Voodoo Doughnuts prior to our trip, and since I knew we’d be close to the flagship store when we went to Powell’s City of Books (do I even need to tell you you MUST go there sometime in your lifetime?) we stopped in. The name should clue you in that this place is not Winchell’s, Dunkin, or Krispy Kreme. It is its own place, where doughnuts of the weird and wonderful abound . Go hungry. And make sure you get a tall Stumptown coffee to cut the audacious sweetness.


Salt and Straw -2035 NW Alberta Street, PortlandIMG_3499_edited-1

Anytime you see a line out the door and around the corner of an ice cream shop, chances are it’s going to be worth the wait. It was. Just like Voodoo isn’t Winchell’s, Salt and Straw isn’t much like Baskin Robbins. With flavors like Green Fennel and Maple, Pear and Bleu Cheese, Bone Marrow and Bourbon-Smoked Cherries, and Carrot Watermelon Sorbet, this place is hands down the most unique ice cream shop I’ve ever been to. They also consider themselves a farm-to-cone place where they hand make every batch using only all-natural dairy and local, sustainable and organic ingredients. And if those flavors seem to bizarre to you, I can only say, my friend, you only live once. Take some chances now and then. (There are a few tamer flavors for those afraid of heights).

Enso Urban Winery – 1416 SE Stark Street, Portland

A fellow San Diegan recommended we check out Enso’s as he’s a friend of the proprietor. Being a member of a local winery’s lover’s club and living very close to SoCal’s winemaking capital of Temecula, I’ve been to lots of vineyards, wineries, and tasting rooms. This is the first urban winery I’d been to. Enso’s is in the city, located in old warehouse-type building, artistically re-created into a tasting lounge and barrel room. Ryan, the owner, buys his grapes (Oregon has its own wine country with lots of vineyards for him to choose from) and then makes the wine right there in the middle of urban Portland. Our flights were paired with Woodblock chocolate (an Oregon delight), Olympic Provisions salami (vegans, I respect you but my heart bleeds for you on this one. This salami is exquisite), and a palate-pleasing selection of  cheeses, olives, crusty bread, and marcona almonds.   I leave you with several images from Enso’s as I head back to the desk and the day’s work. If you’ve been to any of these places or you have your own Portland gems to share, do tell…IMG_3485_edited-1 IMG_3486  IMG_3487

Remembering the Heights

YorkshireSometimes I wish I could go back in time to some of the places I have been but armed with a better camera so that I could recapture those memories with better clarity. I don’t want to stay in the past – I just want to step alongside myself (perhaps without my even knowing it) and take more pictures, better pictures, and then snap back to the present with all those lovely digital files.

I especially wanted to do that this morning when I came across this lovely blog post about a writer’s trip through the Bronte sisters’ Yorkshire.  I’ve been on that same trip, stood in those same places, and didn’t have a good camera or a good eye. My husband had a Canon AE I automatic nothing at the time; not the easiest of cameras for relative novices like us. And I am pretty sure all the pictures he took on that trip were with slide film.

Our photos of that trip – which I desperately wanted to see again this morning after reading this article – are probably sitting coma-like in a Kodak carousel tray on the top shelf of the one of the spare room closets. It could take several hours to find the right one. And then there would be the hunt for the projector I don’t know how to use. It’s do-able but not today. And today’s when I really wanted to see them again. Perhaps some months from now when I have nothing better to do, I will be able to get those slides, turn them into digital files (I have the apparatus for doing, that, too) and post them here like I want to right now. Until then, click on the article, enjoy his amazing photos and lovely story…