This is what you’re thinking… girls’ overnight in Portland = a blog about partying and lots of alcohol and that’s it. Nope. I’m just letting you know before you read further and are disappointed. My girls’ overnight looks a heck of a lot different.
Ours starts at 4am wake up….
Traveling with friends is not always what you think it is when you plan an overnight away. I’ve traveled a lot over my lifetime. Hell, I’ve moved nine times in my marriage and lived in five states. I think the key to a successful road trip with a friend is that you plan it together and that you are both morning/evening peeps. Luckily, Lannyl and I are both morning people so when we realized how early we would need to get up and on the road to avoid traffic in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Portland we were able to make it work.
Portland Rose Garden
After successfully avoid traffic in all four problem areas, we arrived at our first destination, the Portland International Rose Test Garden at 8:45am. Thank goodness because it was going to be a scorcher of a day at 95 degrees!
We came prepared with refillable water bottles and extra water in the cooler in the trunk. The roses were simply beautiful and we took a leisurely walk around, stopping and smelling the roses every now and then. Taking down names of ones we wanted to remember and being amazed at the variety. My favorite part of the Rose garden? I loved watching the artists with their easels set up as they created beautiful renditions of the gardens from their own viewpoint.
Nob Hill Shopping
Ok, just going put this out there and no offense meant. This was not what I was expecting. We had done some research on things to do and found this tidbit.
“Named “One of America’s Best Shopping Streets” in 2012 by US News & World Report, Northwest 23rd Avenue is a charming neighborhood filled with shops and stores with gifts for every occasion — all within an easy walk of each other — and nestled beneath a beautiful forest with ample hiking and walking trails. ” From nwpdxnobhill.com
Pottery Barn, Lush, MAC, etc are not my idea of eclectic stores. Yes, the restaurants were yummy looking and there were a few fun stores, but not what we were thinking at all.
Hitting this Portland icon was next on our list of to-do. We are both bookies and we were super excited. Powell’s is the worlds largest independent bookstore. Maybe we should have done this the next day and not after walking the rose garden and Nob Hill in 90 degree temps. We walked into Powell’s and were simply overwhelmed. To the point we wandered for about 10 minutes, couldn’t figure out the lay-out at all, looked for a map, couldn’t find that either, bumped into the 900 other people trying to find things and escape the heat and immediately walked back out.
I was in serious need of a caffeine pick me up at this point. Luckily, I spotted NOLA Doughnuts. Hmmmm I thought. Let’s check it out!
Thank the caffeine and doughnut gods because this was true NOLA. I scarfed down beignets and coffee with chicory that would the Cafe Du Monde proud and let out a huge sigh. I picked up some homemade pralines that were to-die-for. I hadn’t had pralines like this since my last trip to NOLA. The cool temps inside, jazzy music and yumminess made my day.
Canopy Hotel by Hilton
We were now just blocks away from our hotel so we decided to check in early. We opted to valet park, because it allowed us to come and go without having to pay each time over the next two days.
I am totally in love with this hotel. I will say this now and with the benefit that while we didn’t pay for the hotel (thank you hubby for your Hilton points) we also weren’t given the hotel for free to write an amazing review. This is my open honest opinion and I have stayed at a zillion hotels in all my travels over my almost 54 years.
If you get a chance to stay at the new Canopy Hotels by Hilton – do! The Portland Pearl District Canopy is only the 5th version of the hotel built by Hilton. The hotel doesn’t look like all the other Hilton hotels. This version is unique to Portland and as with all the Canopy Hotels by Hilton it blends in upscale comfort with the vibe of the city it is located in. The hotel lobby is filled with works by Portland based artists. It has all the things you want in a hotel and more. Just check out my photos if you doubt me.
Spacious and Cozy Meeting Areas Throughout the Hotel
Workout, Catch the Sunset or Play a Game on the Rooftop
Artisanal Breakfast Comes Free with Your Stay
Forget Something? Even a Yoga Mat or Umbrella are Available!
Lannyl and I were lucky to visit the day before the hotel’s grand opening and were lucky enough to run into Matthew Scaramastra, the hotel’s Lead Sales Enthusiast, who gave us an overview of the hotel and its history. Matthew is also a runner and coordinates runs for those staying at the hotel. I was off to do yoga the next day, but perhaps I will join him on my next visit to PDX.
P.S.: I loved the refillable water bottle stations throughout the floors, disposable earbuds in the workout rooms and many charging outlet throughout the hotel. Not to mention our room with it’s comfy queen beds, the refrigerated drawer for our treats that we picked up, the Nespresso® machine with dark roast pods for my early morning and the sliding barn door between the dressing area and bathroom that made it possible for me to get ready very early the next morning without waking my friend. It’s those little touches that make a stay better.
When I queried by local friends about a great place to eat they independently recommended Nostrana located on the other side of the bridge from downtown Portland.
Can I just say it… a visiting foodie’s dream! It was hot so we opted for a light meal once I saw the desert menu. I started with their house made ginger beer. It was the perfect amount of light, refreshing and very gingery. My woodfired pizza was a seasonal menu item and consisted of fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula, creme fraiche. Dessert was their seasonal blueberry sorbetti and Pizzeria Mozza’s butterscotch budino. Damn. I could have eaten the budino again and again. The hum my taste buds made after the first bite had the ladies at the table next to us thinking of a scene from When Harry Met Sally. You know exactly the scene I’m talking about, right?
Two blocks from our hotel was an outdoor bocce ball court, complete with a tournament going on that night, so after parking the car we walked back and sat in the cooling evening temps and just watched and enjoyed a quiet evening.
Flex and Flow Yoga & More!
I admit that I am an early riser. It felt fantastic to watch the sunrise atop the hotel rooftop all by myself and then head on over to Flex and Flow. You may have read my post about Blogfest where I mentioned the fantastic ladies of Fit Approach, owners of Flex and Flow Yoga Studio. I was so glad that Nic was willing to meet me at their studio and take a 6am yoga flow class. I had been wanting to visit their studio since meeting them all at the Fit Approach Empower Retreat last September.
Yoga, then coffee and a wonderful conversation, how can you beat that to start your morning?
After packing up our stuff Lannyl and I headed to the Mississippi District of Portland. Nic, who didn’t steer us wrong with Nostrana, recommended we would find the vibe we were hoping for after yesterdays disappointing visit to Nob Hill. She wasn’t wrong. The Mississippi District is all the eclectic that Nob Hill didn’t have in our view. Be prepared though, many stores don’t open before 11am, but it is worth the trip for sure!
Our first trip was done and now we were for home!
Do you have any recommends for my next visit? I’d love to hear your suggestions. I’m thinking Portland in Fall…..