We arrived in Portland last Monday, and although anywhere probably would have seemed great after Kansas City, Portland far surpassed my expectations. Portland is another one of those cities, like Minneapolis, that I always suspected I would love, and I can confirm after almost two weeks of being here, that I LOVE Portland.
I had the luxury of a full day off on Tuesday as we were not opening until Wednesday – the trucks needed the extra time to get across the country from Missouri. The travel day was thankfully uneventful, and with the opening not until Wednesday, Ryan and the rest of the crew were able to have Monday night off. After checking into the Mark Spencer Hotel on 11th Avenue, Ryan and I headed to Thai Peacock for dinner – after being in the midwest for weeks I was seriously jonesing for some Thai food. Our meal was DELICIOUS! I actually went back the next day, I loved my food that much! We then went and checked out Powell’s Books – a ginormous new and used bookstore. We actually had to text each other to find each other’s location, it was so big.
The next day I walked all over the place and did some shopping. To my delight there is a yarn store, KnitPurl, one block from the hotel. The Mark Spencer, where I am staying, is an old apartment building, a little on the shabby side, but homey, and my room gets great light and has a nice view of the city – it’s very comfortable, and feels just right for Portland. It is also in a great location, just south of Burnside and the Pearl District, and surrounded with restaurants and shopping. I explored all of downtown on Tuesday, as well as walking around the Pearl District, and the 23rd Avenue shopping area.
Wednesday we loaded in all day and opened the show. It was delightfully smooth – the crew here is good, the theater is big, and the audience loved the show.
Thursday we had two shows, making up for not having a show on Tuesday. A large group of cast and crew went over to Veritable Quandary following the show for drinks and appetizers. We sat in their outdoor garden, which was lovely, and were pleasantly surprised by a round of champagne bought for us by a patron who had been to see the show.
The next day, Ryan and I rode our bikes back up to 23rd Ave and had lunch at Sushiville, a super cool sushi boat restaurant. We were there for almost two hours, picking dishes off the conveyer belt and trying different things – and we each spent less than $20! We then rode up to Washington Park and walked around the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden, both of which were beautiful. We also spied Mount Hood for the first time.
Friday night we all went out for Jovon’s birthday, to a tiki bar in northeast Portland, called Thatch. It was a blast – we all had pupu platters and fruity drinks, and Jovon enjoyed more than one volcano cocktail.
My parents arrived Saturday. They took the train up from San Jose and I met them at their hotel after the show for some wine and dessert. They came to the show on Sunday night, where we had some seriously scary feedback after the Feet of God scene – it sounded like a massive foghorn going off. My parents loved the show though, and came to shot night afterwards, where they met a lot of the cast and crew. We then headed over to Veritable Quandary again for dinner with Ryan.
On Monday my dad rented a car and we drove out to the Columbia River Gorge. The scenery was so beautiful – as much as I love New York, there is NOTHING like the west coast for natural beauty. The mountains and coast are just amazing. We stopped at Multnomah Falls and hiked to the top. We had lunch at the lodge there before driving on to the Bonneville Dam and then on to the town of Hood River, where we ate ice cream and shopped for cat and dog accessories at a cute pet shop. After that we drove on towards Mount Hood to get some pictures before heading back to Portland for dinner.
Tuesday, Ryan and I met my parents for lunch at Jake’s Grill and then headed to the bike shop to buy a rear rack and baskets for my bike, while my parents went to the art museum. We met them again the next day for breakfast and then bid them goodbye – their return train to San Jose left in the early afternoon. It was great to get to hang out with my parents and see the city with them – I miss seeing them everyday!
I almost forgot to write about the Portland Saturday Market! On the previous Saturday morning, Ryan and I went to check out the market underneath the Burnside Bridge. It was awesome! There were TONS of vendors selling jewelry and art and food, and there were lots of musicians playing in the street. I bought a couple of necklaces and a pair of earrings. We saw this guy playing guitar who only had one hand – it was amazing!
So – back to Wednesday. After breakfast with my parents and Ryan, I met up with Fran and we headed to Mount St. Helens! There is just no end to the amazing sights here – Mount St. Helens was so unbelievable – it really did not look real. We stopped along the way and took tons of pictures. At the Observatory we listened to a ranger talk about the current volcanic activity – did you know there was a small eruption in 2004? We also watched a very dramatic movie about the eruption in 1980, that ended with the movie screen rising to show us the actual Mt. St Helens through a giant panoramic window.
Besides the grandeur of the mountain, what really struck me about the area, was all the gorgeous wildflowers that have grown up through all the ash. It’s really an amazing sight. And proof that life does go on.
We only have three days left here and I still have a whole list of things I want to do and places I want to see. I don’t know how I am going to fit everything in – I guess I’ll just have to come back!
The company has been so happy here – how could you not be? It’s such a great town. I love that Portland has all the amenities of a city like New York – great shopping, great restaurants, TONS of coffee shops – but it is surrounded by such natural beauty – and that both the ocean and the mountains are so close. You can be in the city center, get in your car, and an hour later you can be in the middle of nowhere. And it will be stunning. It also seems like there is always something going on in town – a festival at Pioneer Square, a free symphony performance down by the river, a fair under the Burnside Bridge. There are lots of very unique shops and restaurants and bars. Its not all Hooters and Home Depot! I love it. The town has such personality. I could definitely see living here in the future.
In Tallulah news, she went to see “The Cat Doctor” last week here in town (I love that Portland has a vet specifically for cats). She got her annual rabies shot and the vet implanted a microchip in her in case she ever gets lost. They were so nice to her and she was sooo well behaved. Of course everyone in the office fell in love with her. The results of her check-up were that she is healthy and FAT! A pound and a half overweight! The vet talked to me about putting her on an Atkins diet – cutting down her carbs. I can’t believe there is such a thing as putting a cat on the Atkins diet. I don’t want to deprive Tallulah of food, though, since she is being such a good sport about being dragged around the country. I think the key may be trying to get her to exercise more. I would love to try and train her to walk on a leash, to get her exercise in that way. We’ll see… at any rate, I have a healthy, happy cat – and that’s what really matters the most.
So this weekend is Ryan’s birthday. We have a couple of fun things planned, so more info to come in the next post about the festivities. And on Monday we head to Salt Lake City and for us, Park City, where we are renting a condo. I’m excited, but am also going to miss Portland terribly! Like I said before, I am just going to have to come back!