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Hotspur.us » Portland, We Have Arrived!

Portland, We Have Arrived!

We went to Portland to visit B because that’s how awesome we are. Yep, we barely gave him time to get settled in before showing. up bags in hand, and looking for a place to plant for five days!

The good news is we are quite efficient at entertaining ourselves. As long as there is hiking, geocaching, good weather (not always mandatory) and microbreweries, we are pretty much self sufficient. As it turns out Washington Park was fairly close by and definitely wonderful! Kudos to Chad for sniffing out the Portland Japanese Garden very nearby – which was our official target  for the early portion of the day.

Portland is WAY ahead of the Spring game in relation to good ol’ Morgantown, WV, (and undoubtedly a good portion of the East Coast) so the Japanese Garden was in heavy bloom and amazingly green. It was breathtaking. If you are there, you must go see it. It is completely worth the price of admission.

There were cherry trees in bloom all over, but one was above and beyond the others.  Its branches were so large they had to be propped up. The trunk was enormous. A great place to sit and hang out, which quite a few folks were doing. We happened to be in Portland during spring break, so there were loads of kids of all ages pretty much everywhere.

Nearby was an overlook that revealed a zen rock garden which was amazing. I’d never seen one before, so it had not occurred to me that you really needed to be above it to see the patterns in the rock.

That became very clear when we viewed it up close and in person. If we hadn’t seen it from above, we’d not have really had a good grasp of the patterns around the stones. And no, Chad did not have to physically restrain me to keep me from playing in the rocks. I do have some self control. (although it was a very tempting thing to contemplate).

The water features were making Chad drool. And by drool I mean he clearly pondering what was going to need to happen for us to have such an enormous koi pond complete with bridge and huge waterfall. Hint: We’d have to move, that’s what would need to happen. It’s a little scary to see his wheels turning when it comes to landscaping. The first time it happened he re-sodded the back yard. The second time….he doubled the size of our current (relatively) tiny koi poind.

As you can see, he was a very happy boy. Well, until he saw me eyeballing the big fat koi that were lazily swimming by in very not deep water. I have some weird desire to grab our koi. Sure, I know fish are slippery and not particularly keen on being picked up and cuddled, but for some reason I want to make a grab for the two koi in our pond. I think it’s their amazing coloring. And so, here there were all these amazingly dazzling big fat slow fish that were just begging to be picked up and cuddled. So he distracted me with a selfie opportunity.

(We took a bunch of photos of the Portland Japanese Garden because how could we not! So when you get to the end of my blathering on and on, take a look through the gallery. )

From the Japanese Garden we headed back out into Hoyt Arboretum – which is part of Washington Park – to check out the sequoias because if nothing else, I am a tree hugger.

That tree smelled amazing. It’s hard to describe how good and comforting that tree smelled. I could have sat there hugging it all day, but someone may have called security. Plus, there were other trees to hug further on and I didn’t want to make them jealous!

While we were in the park we grabbed a few caches – really only a few, as in three. Just three caches. One was a small ammo can in some shrubbery. I was rather surprised about that – the ammo can and it being in the shrubbery. What I was not surprised about was getting caught on and off in the rain. But hey, unlike someone, I had my rain jacket with me instead of laying in the backseat of the tiny bitty car. After getting our hike on and having my soppy wet fill of rain caching, we headed down to Cascade Brewing Barrel House because it was Tap It Tuesday. Seriously. We got there early partly due to the rain, partly because Chad did not want to miss out on the keg tapping like we did the only other time we were here. Which meant we got a good seat and had plenty of time to taste our way down the menu. Plus, you know, they had a crazy good cheese board and we had to have time to indulge in that!

And yes, all Chad’s beer friends, there’s a photo of the menu in the gallery. You’re welcome. Also, we untapp’d them all, so you can see what we thought. My favorite is still the Figaro. And we brought a bottle of that home with us. (Thanks, Brett, for the pre-trip lesson on beer muling.)

After all that excitement died down we went back to gather up B & Kim and go to le Bistro Montage. Amazingly all four of us fit in the tiny Chevy Spark that we’d ended up with. Amazing because at the airport we found that only one of our carry on luggage pieces could fit in the trunk, the other had to go in the backseat. So when I say tiny, I’m not talking Smart Car tiny, but I’m still talking tiny. So we didn’t have high hopes that four adults could ever fit in the thing. But we did. Also, we weren’t going far, so that helped. Montage was wonderful – family style seating and an amazing menu of so many choices. But best of all they sent leftovers home in animal shapes. For reals!

Someone ate way too much and woke up in the middle of the night belching like a frat boy. Fortunately everyone else was dead to the world. Also fortunately, that someone had pepto in her toiletries bag. I might choose poorly when it comes to food cramming, but at least I’m prepared for the consequences! And thus ended our first real day in Portland. All the pics – and there are way too many from the Japanese Garden – are in the gallery as is the promised beer menu from Cascade Brewing.

chris on March 24th 2015 in Travel

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