Monday, December 7, 2009

a weekend in portland


i was thrilled to hear that so many of you stole a few moments for yourself this weekend! as you might have guessed from the last post, i was in the mood for some time to myself, too. so i took my own advice, hopped on an aerial dart and aimed for portland, oregon. i've tried to get there for years. i had landed on san francisco about a dozen times and seattle no fewer than forty, but my lack of precision in previous lives kept oregon a missing piece in my puzzle of travels. this time i hit the mark. when i dusted myself off from the landing, waiting for me at the gate was none other than the fabulous inner toddler, fresh off a plane from san francisco.

i knew i'd adore susie to pieces from the day i discovered her blog, and of course i did. we're at the same point in our lives, our art, our parenting, our outlook on life, pretty much everything. we both needed a break sans enfants. we had sweet husbands able and willing to take the weekend shift. neither of us had been to portland. it was a no-brainer. we booked without a second thought and off we went.

we spent very little time discussing bloggy stuff - we had too much else to talk about. the conversation topics never ran out, and for me that is a rare thing, because like her (as you'll read in her post) i'm rather an introvert in person and have a hard time spending a full day with others without having to take big naps in between to recharge. but the weekend just flew by and before i knew it, it was time to come home. she was just effortless to be around and made me laugh in person just as much as she does on her blog.


friday night we went to lincoln on north williams, owned by susie's friend jenn and her husband david. if you are in portland GO HERE. the food is amazing and they run an impeccable show, not to mention they are just wonderful people. i can't believe i didn't get any pictures of it.

saturday we spent exploring the city. portland is divided into quadrants which makes it very easy to figure out where you're going. public transportation here is spectacular! you can get anywhere on the train or the bus for next to nothing. we only took one taxi, and that was simply because we were too lazy at the end of the day to look up which bus we should take. one of the cab drivers was so over the top that it was fully worth the fare there and back. more on that in the next post.


we stayed at the hotel monaco in downtown portland. i stayed at the monaco in san francisco for work once upon a time and loved it. so i knew i'd love this one, too - and it did not disappoint. a very groovy, funky little hotel.


portland is super canine-friendly. dogs are everywhere, even in the hotels. here's the doggie welcome sign in the monaco lobby. the staff even provides beds and amenities for them.


peet's is as ubiquitous on the west coast as starbucks is nationwide, but it's always a treat for me.


the obligatory feet/street shot. we walked like maniacs around portland.


we spent a long time at the saturday market along the riverfront.


we each got a handmade sweater from the lovely lizzy of shabby knapsack. she makes gorgeous skirts, armwarmers, legwarmers - loved it all.


on the left is susie's cute red bag which i wanted to swipe but didn't. the artists in these booths were die-hards - it was freezing. they are there every saturday for most of the year.


it was sunny and that kept us trucking along.


i felt so jane of spain daily when i found this lovely couple sitting next to the river. susie and i are huge admirers of jane's extraordinary ability to capture people going about their daily lives. i was ready to start a portland daily blog.


it was but a momentary stroke of luck. after that i reverted to taking shots of trash haulers. i guess i'll stick to objects.


every local ordered us to get to powell's bookstore and we quickly found out why. it's at least three floors and takes up an entire city block. they give you a map so you won't get lost. we still got lost.


portland has a huge zine scene and powell's has an entire magazine section devoted to them. i spent a good chunk of my time in this spot. so many cool zines!


we wandered off to chinatown for lunch.


we would have never found chen's good taste without the recommendation of two locals. it has a very unassuming storefront with outstanding food. we both ordered the noodle soup, rice stick and fun. the fun arrived about fifteen minutes later when two of the restaurant workers hauled an entire pig into the restaurant and put it on the table next to us where it sat and "watched" us eat for a few minutes. watched is in quotes because that pig was no longer with the living. they put a christmas bow on the poor thing's head and hauled it back out the door, apparently a gift for someone. that probably just horrified the vegetarian readers but it was too absurd a scene not to mention. we decided we were ready to go after that.


we checked out the pearl district after that, peeked in art galleries, wandered in and out of shops, and retreated from the cold with fat mugs of hot chocolate.

so this is how we spent our weekend, bouncing like little human pinballs from coffee shops to boutiques to art galleries to stores, not really planning anything but just taking each moment as it came. best of all, and sorry to get sappy here, this trip turned another blogpal friendship into a real one. thumbs up to recharging, thumbs up to portland, thumbs up to sweet, dear, funny inner toddler susie, and thumbs up to all the super blog pals i've met this year.

in the next post: a corner view of our saturday evening in portland. i know this was a long one, so thanks for reading to the finish - and thank you susie for a terrific weekend!


Annie Pazoo said...

Hoot! Woot! Sounds like a fantastic visit. I'm in the "other" Portland often, but have yet to visit the left-coast version :-)

This was a full and fun weekend of tai chi, bookclub, wreath deliveries for the high school music dept. fundraiser, and SNOW! It was lovely (and the snow's still here, which is in itself, a hoot, too).

BT said...

What a fantastic time you had and how wonderful to meet another blogger in person. Terrific that you got on so well, too, and shared some magical moments. Your photos are gorgeous as ever. That art market looks fantastic and the photo of the lovers on the bench is beautiful. I liked the dustmen too!
I'm looking forward to the 'evening' post too.

cindy said...

oh fantastic! thank you for the incredible tour of portland - powell's sounds so great. i love your photos and looking forward to the next chapter. it's really nice to meet blog-friends and glad you two became fast friends in person. now, when are you coming to nyc ;)?

Inner Toddler said...

how is it that we took pictures of the same things and mine are all ugly? I'm blaming the camera...

Beautiful post beautiful aimee. I have an awesome picture of the glazed pig head if you want to add it in...


Lori said...

I just read Susie's post and then yours and I am excited for you guys- how fabulous that must have been! I love that you just met, connected and bought tickets. Serious fun. I'm slightly jealous I must admit! (I've always wanted to go to Portland and like you, have been all around but never quite there so I was nice to see the pics too.)

painted fish studio said...


how wonderful! loved the whole post. now i really want to go to portland. i was going to squeeze in a day over xmas break, but you have convinced me i need to spend a looonnnngggg weekend there.

(did i make you need a nap?! i hope not)

aimee said...

yup - it was a great time! and i just can't see how any of you could push me into nap status. especially you, jen. you make me laugh too hard. plus i'd have a good drink in my hand and i find it impossible to sleep that way.

pixie said...

oh! my favorite city! what beautiful photos!!
i wish i'd known you were going, i have some favorite haunts. i love to eat at the wildwood in posh northwest. and the saturday market (the food!) + walk up and right on into VooDoo donuts. and you have to say "couch" street over and over again, because it's funny every damn time.the pig is certainly something to write home about. good grief!
i love that you just go on weekend dates with your blogging buds! you and i are cut from the same floursacks, m'dear.


Nicky Linzey said...

Wow Aimee, I'd be worn out - but what a lovely way to spend a weekend and make a good friend as well. Sounds like the perfect place for My Jack Russell too!

jess gonacha swift said...

ow, Aimee, it sounds like a fantastic weekend! I've been to Prtoland once very briefly, but didn't get to spend much time exploring-- now I want to go back! And how inspiring that you just hopped on a plane to meet a new friend in a new city. I love it!

peggyfussell said...

What a treat! Thank you for providing me with that mini-vicarious-vacation!

Alexandra Hedberg said...

I had hoped to get to see the pathetic cookie house as well!

joanne said...

... now i really really REALLY want to go to Portland... i've never been to Oregon before (or the state of Washington either) and i so want to visit both... i could spend days in that bookstore alone...

how awesome that you got to meet in person and that you did what most of us dream about doing but rarely ever do... yay for both of you :)

~Valentina~ said...

I'm so jealous! Portland looks and sounds fantastic, I can’t wait to go there! *LOVE* the pictures!

Leenie said...

Fun tour. Thanks. I have been through Portland OR but always in a car on the way to somewhere else--seeing nothing but those big green signs that show directions through the rat maze of concrete over/under passes. One of these days...

Looking forward to more of your adventure. Isn't meeting bloggy friends fun!?!

Kelly C. said...

BEAUTIFUL post, dear Aimee! i am so so glad you had a sweet trip to portland.

Shannon said...

Looks like a fabulous trip. So glad you took time for yourself!

Kim Hambric said...

Now I have to put Portland on my list of places I must see and soon. Great photos. Thanks for sharing that info.

whenigrowupcoach said...

For some reason - I think it because some super cool bloggers I started to read all happened to live there - I think I want to live in Portland. But I've never been, & am dying to check out the hippy/creative/indy scene. What a great trip you had Aimee - it made me feel like I was there!

cactus petunia said...

Wow. Wish I'd known you were coming to Portland...I had a show at my studio this weekend and I KNOW you would have loved meeting all the artists! and I know I would have loved to meet you in person!

And thanks for sending me your "O Coffee Bean" print so quickly. I love it!

Christine said...

Such a lovely post. Thanks for bringing me along on this wonderful trip :-)
(and omg -- the maps -- yum :-)

●• Thereza said...

how cool, Aimee! Thanks for this fantastic tour of Portland :)

Jill said...

It is always fantastic to take a virtual trip on a new city.

Bella Sinclair said...

I've always wanted to go to Portland. What an absolutely fantastic weekend! So many sights and good eats and the very best company. When you find a friend you click with like that, you've found a friend for life. :)

Judy Wise said...

wow, you've captured Portland so beautifully, excellent work!! Did you know that I sold at the Portland Saturday Market for over 25 years? The hardest day was a blizzardy 17 degrees with the wind and snow howling. Thanks for the walk-about, it was fun. xo

vanessa/NessieNoodle said...

one of my favorite cities for sure. I so need to get up there again soon!

jane said...

omg! portland looks amazing! you captured it brilliantly! where do i sign up for the next weekend sans kids? hugs dear aimee!

The Original Drama Mama said...

What a wonderful girl's weekend you two had! From the art fairs to book stores to the lovely mugs of hot chocolate, it looked like a heavenly getaway! Thanks for sharing it with husband is determined to move us to I am more inclined to go!

Lynn Fisher said...

So glad you got to go to Portland...that's a town I want to get to soon!
Did anything prompt your trip aside from meeting a buddy...did you take a class someplace?
Just wondering...looks like lot of fun!

michelle allen said...

i CANNOT believe i missed your trip to Ptown! :( looks like you had a lovely time. i love your commentary.and you picked a beautiful couple days. that doesn't always happen around here. ha!
i live only about 25 minutes from downtown. i would have loved to have met up with you for a few minutes! let me know if you make it up this way again.

happy new year Aimee! i've really enjoyed your blog and getting to know you.

marciglenn said...

Oh, I just read this post from you. I too would have loved to known you were coming for a visit. I live about 30 minutes west of downtown Portland. I loved looking at the pics you took. Portland is a wonderful city and I hope you will plan to come back soon. Hugs.