Tag Archives: Oregon

Goodbye Oregon

We arrived in the rain and left in the rain – but in between, we had a surprisingly amount of sunshine and warm temps during our 10-day visit to Oregon. Yesterday morning in Portland, we walked over to Kenny and Zuke’s Delicatessen  – in the trendy Ace Hotel – for breakfast that could tide us over into dinner while we flew back to Iowa. That it did – I had a large plate of scrambled eggs with carmelized onions and large chunks of lox, served with a  flavorful chewy onion bagel. D was happy with his eggs, very crispy bacon, well-seasoned hash browns, and authentic rye toast. And just to make sure we didn’t starve, we got one of the deli’s “big as your head” corned beef sandwiches to go – which we shared about six hours later in the Denver airport during our long trip home.

As always after a trip, there are places I wish I’d gotten a chance to visit so here they are: Astoria, Bend, Mt. Hood, Hood River, the southern coast, and specifically in Portland – the rose garden in Washington Park (when in bloom); the Japanese Garden in Washington Park; the Chinese Garden (we forgot to visit it on the waterfront); the Mississippi neighborhood. Next time.

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Filed under DINING, Oregon, Portland, Uncategorized

Crater Lake and hip-hop Hamlet

I didn’t think we’d be able to visit Crater Lake  – which graces the cover of many an Oregon tourism brochure – because it’s snow season but we made it there, about 1.5 hours north of Medford, with no problem. The last half hour or so of the trip was like riding through a bobsled run – with 10 to 15 feet walls of snow lining the two-lane road, but the road itself was largely clear of snow and ice. Crater Lake was, as expected, stunning – very still and quiet in the winter sun and just a handful of visitors braving the thick snow. We walked for a little bit on a trail blazed by cross-country skiers – which in addition to snow shoes is the way to go there this time of year. Every few footsteps one of us would suddenly sink a foot or so into the deep, deep snow.  There are daily free ranger-led snow shoe tours (snow shoes provided) – next time!

On the way back, we stopped in a little town near the Rogue River Gorge (which is more like the Ithaca gorges than the Columbia River Gorge) for a late lunch at Beckies’ – an old dark wood roadside place that is the only restaurant or biz for miles, or so it seemed. Good hearty fare – beef stew, blt, very berry homemade pie.

At night, we went to see a modern-day version of Hamlet performed by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival – some definitely strange elements: The King communicated with Hamlet in sign language, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were women, the players (“the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch  the conscience of the king” or some such) were hip hop performers. But I thought it worked and the actor playing Hamlet managed to make some of his almost-too-famous lines sound fresh, which is quite a feat. Very nice theater – very intimate, sort of theater in the round and we were in the third row for $36 per tix bought at the last minute. Place was packed too.

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Dreaming of: Astoria

I’m starting to think we could easily spend a lot more than three days on the Oregon Coast when we’re there next month. A friend who grew up in Washington State and summered with her family in Oregon, says we must add the old coastal town of Astoria to our list of must-sees. It’s named after John Jacob Astor, I’m told, and from a recent Travel and Leisure story, I gather it’s the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies – it will be 200 years old next year – with lots of Victorian buildings and an old trolley along the riverfront.

My friend also mentioned a possible tour of a tuna cannery – not sure if  that’s still available. (Or if I really want to see how tuna – which I eat often, mercury be damned, is canned. Surely it can’t be as bad as watching sausage – or laws – be made.) I did just learn that my favorite tuna – Bumble Bee – was first produced in Astoria in 1875 but closed  its headquarters in 1981. Who knew?

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Spring break destinations

I’m beginning to feel like a bit of a freak choosing Portland and Oregon for a spring break destination – everyone else I know in Iowa, if they’re getting out of here in March, is heading to Mexico or Florida or Arizona. Somewhere that warm weather is practically guaranteed – although not always as we’ve learned from our frequent trips to Tucson in March to see my dad.

Last I looked, Portland is usually in 50s, maybe 60s, in March – which isn’t exactly balmy but a heck of lot better than the sub-zero temps we’ve had here. There doesn’t seem to be any cost advantage to flying to Portland vs. Arizona during spring break from Des Moines. Both are expensive. But our  Portland ticket is about $$150 more  than our son’s ticket to Tucson. (And we both fly out on the same flight to Denver before parting ways for different destinations.)

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Filed under Arizona, Oregon, Portland