Random Observation/Comment #560: Honeymoon Roadtrip was the best choice ever. A lot of car tunes, audiobooks, podcasts, and funny discussions that brought us closer.
Things Pacific Northwest Does Well
- Pure nature bliss – National parks are sprinkled throughout this magical place.
- Clouds – When you get the non-rainy ones, they’re really something #cloudporn
- Hospitality – Super friendly people with a lot of smiles. It was easy to strike up a conversation. People were eager to share their favorite trails or places to eat.
- Scenic byways – The 101 drive was mind blowing. Driving through national parks is a new favorite tourist activity.
- Little to no traffic and great parking – Despite visiting during peak season, there were no issues with parking (even in Portland).
- Local IPAs – Consistently a great choice. A must for IPA lovers.
- Pour over coffees – These are the real deal coffee shops that brew coffee for the single serving. Stumptown is based here and didn’t disappoint.
- Doughnuts – What Oregon lacks in bagels, they make up for in doughnuts (mini doughnuts are a must)
- Drive through coffee spots – Ubiquitous across the Oregon “highways.” They are all so sloooow. Undeniably slower than regular coffee places. Not sure how they deal with rush hour. Bonus points for the cute themes and accessibility. Vinessa accidentally chose a bikini themed one …awkward.
- Pinot Noir – The climate of Willamette Valley makes for delicious grapes and flourishes beautifully. These rival their more famous California neighbors in Sonoma.
Things Pacific Northwest Can Improve
- Diversity – We noticed the majority of people we came across were either Asian or white, and found ourselves missing the diversity from back home.
- Mixed food scenes – Perhaps we had too high of expectations, but we found the average place in Oregon was meh and the good places were swarming with lines. Oregon wine country and Seattle saved the day.
- Homeless population in Portland – This is by no means singular to Oregon, but was particularly noticeable in Portland. Heartbreaking.
- Employment – Job opportunities appear to be very limited (unless you want to sell yoga accessories).
So, how does the Pacific Northwest stack up? We loved the laid back energy and flannel. If it didn’t freeze over the winter, we’d consider moving here.
Our Roadtrip Approach
Roadtrips are fun because the road becomes your guide. You are led by your adventure. We only booked 3 nights of our 8:
- night of arrival near the Portland airport,
- Abbey Road Farmhouse for our wine excursion, and
- night in Seattle before the cruise.
Everything else was basically picking random Airbnbs the morning of. Most Airbnbs were happy to rent on a weekday and had a fairly self-sustaining method of picking up and dropping off keys. Landmarks were mainly discovered by asking the wait staff at restaurants. It worked out pretty well. Plus, it keeps things spontaneous.
We started driving east to Mount Hood, then south to Crater Lake National Park/Bend, next to the Redwoods, then north up 101 to Willamette Valley, with the final leg towards Washington through Mount St. Helens. Whew
Friday – The necessary day
Overnight at an airport hotel
Saturday – Let’s be tourists in Portland for a day.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Conveniently located near Voodoo Doughnuts. Grabbed a cup to keep us company on line. It is also served pretty much everywhere.
Voodoo Doughnuts – Informing Oregonians of our visit immediately prompted eye rolls but this staple is a cute introduction to the doughnut scene.
Walked to Saturday market by the water front – We lucked out with perfect weather so had fun checking out the local vendor scene.
International Rose Test Garden (free) and Portland Japanese Garden (about $10) – So beautiful you may confuse the parking lot as part of the gardens.
Drove to Multnomah Falls and then hiked to the top through the switchbacks – This is a major hike for a limited view of the falls.
Drove to our Airbnb, a house on a stick
Saw the sunset from the top (note that you can drive here and you don’t need to hike up like we did)
Baan-Thai – Decent local Thai place
Wine and relaxing
Sunday – Mount Hood and Sheepwagon, aka, Clemens and Vinessa barely escape being attached by evil deer
Woke up to pink sunrise
Drove from South Portland to Breakfast halfway by Trout
Mount Hood hike
Timberline Lodge – Hit the bar for a drink and lunch
Shaniko ghost town – The ice cream shop is still open and decent. Grab a cone and explore.
Crazy drive in the middle of nowhere
Dinner in The Porch (Sisters, OR) – great sweet potato strips like bacon
Stayed near Sisters in a sheepwagon – a bit too remote for us
Monday – Crater Lake National Park day
Breakfast at the Breakfast Club in Bend – Get your dose of Portland pancakes
Crater Lake National Park – Amazing park. Wish we could have spent even more time there.
Random stops along the East Rim
Stayed in Crater Lake area by Chiloquin at an A-frame house with some great VHS movies
Tuesday – Beautiful 101 drive and Redwood National Park
Breakfast on the road
Drive to the Redwoods
Stout Grove trailhead for Redwoods
Beautiful beach stops
Secret Beach – You can only walk out during low tide
Got Chinese take-out (because why not?)
Stayed in Eugene in a tiny house / studio cottage in great part of town
Wednesday – Continuing our drive through national forests. Pregaming for wine tour day.
Wake up to some flowers and a great little studio in the backyard
Breakfast at Studio One cafe – Get your fill of Oregon pancakes
Drive towards Florence to get to the 101
Drive through Heceta Head Lighthouse
Brief stop at Flounder Inn Tavern
Drive through national forest towards McMinnville
Left Coast Cellars tasting – white pinot. On Sundays they serve pizza.
R Stuart & Co Wine Bar – Elegant and cozy
Thistle – Farm-to-fork goodness and drink some cocktails
Staying near Carlton in a fairly large house next to the farm – we loved the old school record player
Thursday – Oregon Wine Tour
Breakfast at Community Plate
Wine tour with Oregon Wine Tours – Ron was a great guide who taught us so much about Oregon pinot
WillaKenzie Estate – great pinot noir
Lemelson Vineyards – decent grapes
Lunch at Subterra
Owen Roe – great selections and knowledge staff
Caravan Coffee – pour over specialty
Lenne great wine and chat with Rob
Stayed at Abbey Road Farmhouse BNB – yes, those are old silos converted to bedroom suites
Dinner at Agrivino – Farm-to-table Italian food paired with Italian wine
Friday – Towards Washington with a stop in Ape Cave
Bed and breakfast delicious breakfast
Drive through Oregon into Washington
Portland for Pips Original Doughnuts – Best mini-doughnuts ever. Also try the Chai.
Ape Cave – Spooky but worth it. For $5, rent an old school lamp at the visitor center.
Chinese restaurant in Kalama (because someone said this was the best place in town) – it may have been, but Clemens is a Chinese restaurant snob.
Drive to Olympia staying in University Place Airbnb – one of the best Airbnbs we’ve stayed in (below is the view from our room)
Saturday – Last day of roadtrip
Brunch in Tacoma at Renaissance Cafe
Drive to Seattle – fairly easy since we were staying an hour away
Explore Seattle walking around Pike Place – tried to avoid the crowd
Seattle Great Wheel – touristy, but not a bad way to spend an hour
Antique stores – a few places to poke around while walking towards the public market
Public market flowers – $5 is a pretty good deal. Happy anniversary!
Lunch at Hudson – a little place out of the way, but we had a car
Visited a few malls to buy stuff
Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory – It was that or wait over 2 hours somewhere else. That being said, super tasty comfort food is always a roadtrip special meal.
Stayed in Bellevue coast hotel – we would have rather stay closer to the city, but this worked out pretty well.
Sunday – #cruiselife
Say goodbye to our car, Buckley.
Walk around pier 66
Sunday (1 week later) – #FatCruiseLife
Disembark cruise 10lbs heavier 🙁
Drop off bags at Concierge of the cruise ($3 per piece up to 3:30pm) – if you go to the airport and drop it off to come back for a full day, it would have been $19 for 2 hours. Airport robbery.
Biscuit Bitch – get the “gritty scrambled cheesy bitch” – nom nom nom
Chihuly Garden & Glass – Buy a package ticket to save wait time at the Space Needle. All the reviews say to go here for a reason. A great place for a date, if you ask me.
Seattle Needle – A bit expensive for a hit/miss view, but have fun at the top with their fancy timelapse screens that records photos every 10 minutes of every day.
Hawaiian cultural week festival
Drink at Cyclops
Hawaiian lunch at ‘Ohana – Eat all the Poke and Spam Masubi
Bought coffee and beans at Cherry Street Coffee House
Walk around and enjoy the rare sunny Seattle afternoon
Arrive to airport early to write this blogpost
~See Lemons Love Roadtripping Honeymoon with Vnessawithaneye