No, I won’t get too mushy about how this trip to the NW was my chance to reconnect with my husband (although it was.) And I won’t go on and on about how I fell deeper in love with him as we trekked through the NW (although I did.)
Starting our vacation off on the Portland Waterfront.
No, in this blog, I will talk about other types of love. Love for a town, a lifestyle, a setting, an old friend…
I had not been in Portland for 5 years (almost to the date!) After living in Portland for my last two years of high school, I fell in love with the area. I’ve always said I would move back there in an instant, and I even get weekly emails of homes for sale in Lake Oswego. (More on why I’ll be cancelling that service later.) What I love about Portland is the love of nature that everyone seems to have. You can honestly be at the beach or in the mountains for some skiing within an hour. The entire city is set up for bike riders. And despite the rain, people just love being outside there. It’s refreshing and slow-paced – very different from the pace of the DC suburbs!
When this plan to go on a work trip with Jeremy was hatched two weeks ago, I was thinking that the trip would be a good chance for us to determine if we would move there. But as our plane was flying at cruising altitude above Nevada, Jeremy and I realized that we just couldn’t do it. At least not now. The idea of having to go through the air travel hassle just to see our family (or for them to go through it) was just too much. We decided that IF we ever move, it would have to be within driving distance of our family. Granted some driving distances might be cut shorter with air travel, but the option to drive had to be there. Not so much in the NW. So when we touched down in Portland, my mindset was already changed. I was not on a scouting trip; I was on a true vacation, and I was going to enjoy our trip as any tourist would do! What a relief!
We walked all over the city, enjoyed Voodoo Doughnuts, shopped at the Columbia store, drank lots of microbrews, ate local and organic, visited Powell’s… Life was good.
Jeremy eating a "No Name" (my favorite)
My turn! Lip smacking good!
Even better was that we got to spend time with my old friend, Jenny, and her boyfriend, Ian. They took us to a very nice restaurant, Tabla, and we got to see their house and neighborhood. Good times. Jenny even took the morning off the next day to spend more time with us.
The Chinese Garden takes up a whole city block!
I was truly inspired at the Chinese Garden. It was a beautiful place and not because there were beautiful flowers everywhere like other gardens. It was beautiful because of the ornate design of the buildings and walkways mixed with the simple natural elements of lush green trees and plants.
Just look at the rock design of this walkway!
I'm trying to figure out how to implement this in my backyard.
I got a little carried away.
After lunch at a local microbrew pub, Deschutes, Jeremy and I made our way up to Tacoma. We were in awe the entire drive as we got to see Mt. Ranier from so many different points along the way. Amazing! Very sad I never got a picture of it.
Our hotel in Tacoma, The Silver Cloud Inn, was beautifully set right on a pier, so from our window, we looked right out onto water. The color of the leaves was amazing, and I definitely was not able to capture it with my camera. But I tried!
Our hotel from the waterfront path.
In Tacoma, we definitely enjoyed a more relaxed life. No rushing to get anywhere; just meandering around town. This was so different from most of our vacations because we usually have everything planned out – what to see, what to do, where to eat. But not this time. We just kind of went with the flow.
Unfortunately going with the flow caused some disappointment. We found out at the last minute that the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium was closed on Tuesdays starting November (it was November 3rd!). I learned that the Museum of Glass was closed as I walked up to it ready to enjoy a good two hours to myself while Jeremy was at his work meeting – big disappointment!
But going with the flow also taught me that we don’t have to keep everything to a precise schedule. After Jeremy’s meeting, we realized we had enough time to get to Theo Chocolate in Seattle for their last tour of the day.
Organic Free Trade Chocolate = Yummy!
We learned about the organic free trade chocolate industry, the health benefits of chocolate, and best of all, got to taste a lot of it!! Not a bad way to end a vacation. All in all, I think our mini vacay was a lot like an “organic” vacation. No preservatives, no harsh chemicals – just us in a natural state enjoying life as it should be.