Fun fact about me, once I am asleep I can sleep through anything.. so my sister and I were flying in from 2 different cities in Canada and both had very early flights. So I was up late packing for my trip (and to move which is a whole other adventure) and ended up just staying awake all night. So I got a ride to the airport at 3am, got on my first flight to Vancouver, BC where I met my sister in the airport and got on our connecting flight to Portland! We landed around 10:30/11:00am and we were both wiped. It was a zero makeup kind of morning so hello to no eyebrows! When we landed this is the first photo we took to send over to mom and let her know we got there safe, then we headed down to pick up our rental car! Personally I like venturing outside of the city so I definitely recommend renting a vehicle. There is so much to see not only in Portland but also surrounding areas, and while there are tours and opportunities to get there without a car if you can rent it just gives yourself the freedom to do it on your own terms.

Arriving in Portland!

Lunch at Verde Cocina

As you can imagine, we were starving! So we tried Verde Cocina (Hillsdale location) and absolutely loved it! Both our meals were incredible and I tried Oregon made Humm Kombucha in the flavour Coconut Lime and it was un-real! I was seriously debating how I could buy cases of this kombucha and ship it back to myself in Canada. Next time I do a road trip down I will definitely need to bring back a boat load! 

Cannon Beach

After many visits to the Portland area this was my first time visiting Cannon Beach! It's about a one and a half hour drive out to the coast, we brought some sandwiches and planned to be there for sunset dinner on the beach. As you can tell from the photo we didn't really get a sunset, but the fog and chilly evening was just as magical in my opinion. I was totally willing to do whatever it took to get some awesome photos there but the water was freezing. Still worth it ;) It was really beautiful and a nice low intensity activity to kick off our trip. It was obviously not the peak of summer season so we had no problem parking and getting here, it wasn't too busy, especially as it got cooler out. But I'm guessing during the summer it's probably a heavily trafficked location so keep that in mind when you travel. There are some cute hotels and resorts on the beach so that is also an option if you want to spend a night or two on the coast exploring.

Voodoo Doughnut

To finish off our first night we stopped for a treat before heading back to our AirBnB. Portland is definitely the city of doughnuts! Which I love, since doughnuts are the best treat. And one of Portlands famous doughnut shops is Voodoo Doughnut. Some people have strong feelings of love or hate for this place and their treats, but I am obsessed! Yes, they are full of sugar and a little wild but that's what makes them unique. My absolute favourite doughnut is Mango Tango, it is like a party in your mouth. I highly recommend buying a bunch of different ones so you can try lots! And remember it's ok to eat doughnuts at every meal ;) 

Multnomah Falls

We started the next morning with an iconic spot outside of Portland! Multnomah Falls isn't too far outside of Portland, it was about a 45 minute drive from where we were staying. According to Forest Service it is the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest. This beautiful waterfall continues to flow all year long and is a marvel in all seasons. Accessing the falls can be done by car or tour bus. If you are driving on your own the parking area is accessed directly from the Highway and when parking is full they shut down access. For the summer of 2022 they implemented a timed parking system for peak months so I would do some research before your visit to see what the current process is for visiting on your own. Regardless I recommend visiting early in the day, that way you can avoid large crowds. When you visit there is a viewing area from the bottom and a pathway up to the iconic bridge. There is a trail beyond the bridge that you can take all the way up to the tippy top of the top falls, it's a very vertical stretch but worth it. 

Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum

Next we continued east of Portland and crossed the Columbia River and the state line into Washington to visit the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum. As someone who loves to visit museums everywhere she goes this one feels like a hidden gem! If you're interested in learning more about the Columbia River Gorge, some natural history, history of life in the gorge this is a great location to visit. You get a great opportunity to learn not only about the history of the location but you get to know the people who lived, worked and paved the way for the regions development. There is an amazing collection of historical artifacts, photos to enjoy. It's a great way to spend a relaxing couple of hours outside the big city.

Above photo taken from Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum website,

Lunch at. Thunder Island Brewing

After the museum we were really hungry and ready for some lunch so we hopped back across the river to Cascade Locks, Oregon and went to Thunder Island Brewing. This was a recommendation from a local and we were so happy with the decision! It was incredible. I don't think we could have asked for a more beautiful fall day, it was warm and the skies were totally blue but sitting on the patio and getting the amazing view of the river and the gorge was awesome. I had an amazing dark beer and chicken sandwich that totally hit the spot!

Bridge of the Gods

If you are an avid hiker or a fan of Wild (book or movie) based on the experience of Cheryl Strayed our next stop will definitely stand out! At Cascade Locks is where you will find the Bridge of the Gods. It is a toll bridge that crosses the state line between Oregon and Washington and is also a part of the Pacific Crest Trail system. I'm definitely a huge fan of Wild, such a gut wrenching story of grief and finding oneself. Bridge of the Gods was a symbolic finishing line of Cheryl's hike to finding herself and as part of the famous trail system we had to go check it out! We actually crossed it earlier in the day by car but parked and walked across as well! Maybe one day we'll commit to the whole trail and end up back there.

Salt + Straw Ice Cream

Our next adventure of the day was getting back into the city of Portland and making an ice cream stop at Salt + Straw! They use lots of unique flavours, local ingredients and love in their ice cream. Make sure you taste test all the flavours you want before you pick the one you want, but beware, you might need multiple scoops if you can't narrow it down to one flavour! On this visit I went with the Cold Brew Coffee Cashew Praline and it was a magnificent little treat and afternoon pick me up for a busy day of adventuring.

Hoyt Arboretum

I'm not ashamed to admit it.. I am a tree lover! And one of my favourite spots in Portland is Hoyt Arboretum, a museum of living trees. Founded in 1928 to conserve endangered species and educate the community, Hoyt Arboretum encompasses 190 ridge-top acres and 12 miles of hiking trails just minutes from downtown Portland. Home to 2,300 species of trees and shrubs from six continents, Hoyt Arboretum is a place of beauty and serenity no matter the season. They have multiple trail systems where you can see and enjoy different types of tree and plant life. We took the Redwood trail to explore some of these beautiful giants!

After a busy and adventurous day we went back to our AirBnb and had some snacks, enjoyed the hot tub and watched a movie before getting some rest for another big day ahead!

Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park

On our third day in Portland we went on another adventure outside the city to Silver Falls State Park to hike the Trail of Ten Falls. This was the biggest hike that we planned while we were here. The state park was approximately a 1 hour and 15 minute drive south of the city. Grab a coffee and enjoy the drive out to the park. Parking at the state park is a fee but there are machines at the parking lot that you can use to pay for your day pass. There are also washrooms and a cafe near the parking lot area. There are 10 waterfalls along the trail but in order to see them all you need to take the long loop and head off the trail in a couple spots to reach 2 that are off the large loop. We ended up doing the big loop but not head out on alternate trails so we only saw 8 waterfalls. If you don't want to go quite that far you can also do a shorter loop by taking a trail that cuts through and you'll still be able to see 7 of the waterfalls. The trail is easy to follow and if you're worried about getting lost there are maps you can grab before your enter to reference. You can also see and track your route with the AllTrails App if that is something you use. The trail does have some ups and downs but isn't too extreme. It's a moderate hike but always plan ahead and wear the proper clothes and footwear to be on the trail. It can be wet and slippery at points so the right shoes/boots are a must! We did the long loop in 4.5 hours (not including a few breaks). In total we walked 12.84 km (7.98 miles). We started our hike about 9:30am and I would definitely recommend any time of year that you plan to come early in the day to avoid crowds. We made it through without needing a washroom break but I recommend coming prepared just in case you need a washroom break in the middle of the trail. And as always remember to pack plenty of water, snacks and take breaks to enjoy the beauty. I recommend starting at the South Falls, from there we saw several waterfalls, on the longer loop there is a section where you encounter stairs, then a long section of trail where you get to walk through some big and beautiful trees before getting back to the parking lot! If you love waterfalls like me this trail is definitely worth the trip!

Post Hike Treat

After our long hike we were ready for a little treat. We needed to stop and get some gas so we went over to Salem, OR and filled up the tank with gas and a stop at Dutch Bros for a delicious caffeinated beverage! My sister had never tried Dutch Bros before so it was a fun little treat for me to take her for the experience and we both loved our drinks! When we got back to the AirBnb I hopped in the hot tub to rest my muscles after a long hike day.

Dinner at Jakes Famous Crawfish

After a big day of hiking we were sore, tired and most of all.. hungry! We had an idea a day or two before that we really wanted to go out for a nice seafood dinner while we were travelling. I took to Google and started searching other blogs and best of lists for Portland seafood for inspiration. After reading some details, reviews and checking out the locations of several spots we settled in Jakes Famous Crawfish. We got dressed in some of the only non-hiking gear that we brought with us and headed out! First impression was definitely seafood restaurant, it was cozy and interesting both inside and out. First up were drinks. My absolute favourite spirit is gin so I noticed they were serving a cocktail featuring Aviation Gin and gave it a try, it was sensational! (Side note: I would have loved to go visit the Aviation Gin distillery but sadly it was closed for tours most of the days of the week we were visiting. But that will be an adventure for next time!) Then it was time to decide on a meal and I gotta say this was tough! The menu all looked so good I almost couldn't decide. I ended up deciding on the Crab + Shrimp stuffed Halibut which was stuffed with dungeness crab, bay shrimp and brie cheese, with veggies and garlic potatoes served on the side. I loved it so much I truly believe it is the best thing I've ever eaten in my entire life. At first bite I realized why Jakes was famous. It truly was a treat! The fish and stuffing were next level, so creamy and I can't even express just how delicious. The potatoes were also insane, when I say garlic potatoes I don't mean they were potatoes with a bit of garlic.. they were a garlic girls dream, a mix of garlic and potatoes in a mash. And while the veggies weren't done in any sort of special way they were perfectly cooked and so flavourful. 1098493827/10 for me, if you like seafood and you're visiting Portland please do yourself a favour and go out for dinner at Jakes!

Powell's Books

After dinner we were so close to Powell's Books we had to walk over for a quick visit to the world's largest independently owned bookstore. This is an awesome place to visit and walk, you won't believe just how big it is! You can browse new and used books for yourself or as a gift for a book lover in your life. You can also find lots of cute gifts if you're shopping to bring home something for family and friends. 

Bagel Land

On the final day of our trip we had a half day to enjoy the city a little more before heading to the airport. So we started with a hearty breakfast at one of my favourite little spots, Bagel Land! Not only does it have a great name but all the bagels, bagel sandwiches and cream cheese selections are delicious. It was definitely a hearty breakfast to kick off the day.

Pip's Doughnuts and Chai

And since Portland is known for it's selection of Doughnuts we needed to top off breakfast by heading down the street to Pip's Original Doughnuts and Chai. Pip's features mini doughnuts in a small variety of flavours including a seasonal flavour. They also have a unique variety of community made chais available, including a chai flight so you can try them all! During our visit the feature flavour was Mango Ghost Pepper, and to be honest I've had really intense experiences with ghost pepper so I was a little nervous but went for it anyway! The result was magical! It was the perfect amount of spice and the mango jelly was the perfect compliment. I tried the King and I chai and it was so tasty and definitely was the perfect finish to an awesome breakfast!

The Grotto

The Grotto, also known as The National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother it is a Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary. They do host mass and events but you don't need to be religious to find peace here. The nature and beauty of the space is worth a visit. And if that's not enough for you we found some absolutely massive trees in the parking lot! 

Heading home...

We made our way to the Portland International Airport. After dropping off the rental car we took the Sasquatch elevator into the terminal. Since we were headed straight for the international flights we didn't get a chance to explore any of the other terminals but if you are in the airport and have the chance they do have a movie theatre in the airport! It features a reel of short student films that you can enjoy for a few minutes while you are in the airport, maybe next time I'll get a chance to check it out. We found our gate and made a stop for a drink to cheers to a successful sister trip! Our plane from Portland back to Vancouver, BC for our layover was a tiny one and we had to head out onto the tarmac to board. But one of the biggest highlight of the flight was seeing Mount St. Helen's from the plane window. What a view!

We flew into Vancouver together and turned out that our gates for our separate flights home were right next to each other. So we spent some time together in the airport before saying our goodbyes and flying back to our home cities. I'd say it was a super successful and action packed trip! Where should we go next year? 

If you're looking for a piece of the Pacific Northwest or any other adventure to take home with you I have prints available now, you can visit my art page HERE! And if you want to keep up with me day-to-day over on my Instagram

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