We have arrived!!! And Our Crazy Summer has begun! Super early Saturday morning we loaded up our bags and headed to the Atlanta airport to begin our West Coast summer adventure. As I chatted about three weeks ago, my lifelong dream has been to experience living in different places. As a born, raised and lifelong Georgia girl, sometimes I just feel the need to get out and see the World. As much as I really do LOVE the South, I also have a special place in my heart for the West Coast. Specifically the PNW! Although I do love laying on the beach and doing absolutely nothing, I have found that I love to get out and adventure most of all.
Seven years ago I traveled to the Pacific Northwest for the very first time and fell in absolute LOVE with every single thing about it. The “culture shock”, the love for the outdoors, the stunning scenery, the food scene and the incredible coastline. I could go on for DAAAAYS. So I did what most people do when they love somewhere new, I decided to pick my family up and move them here for the Summer 😉 Well, Mark is back and forth but me and my girls are staying put and adventuring every single day. As a busy working mom, I want more than anything to take time to show my girls the World. To teach them that there is an entire world of opportunity out there… an entire world of God’s beautiful creations… of people of different cultures and places with entirely different ways of life. That we are a teensy tiny drop in this “bucket” yet they can still get out and make a difference in this World. Or a unique life for themselves. Or whatever in the heck they want to do!
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To see more of what I packed for Oregon, Read “What I Packed for Oregon“
After our long but not too crazy terrible 5.5 hour flight, we landed in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon! We picked up our rental car which looks almost identical to my car at home and headed to our “new home sweet home”…
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And quickly discovered that THIS is our amazingly gorgeous condo view…
So now I am SURE you are wondering who is taking all of our family pictures right?!? Okay maybe not 😉 BUT I decided to take a minute and introduce you to someone… So literally three weeks before our trip I randomly decided to get in touch with a sweet young girl who lives local to us in Georgia who had reached out to me interested in a Summer “internship” to see if she happened to want to join us in Oregon! I have so many upcoming blog partnerships to keep up with while I am gone PLUS I really wanted to blog our trip so I decided to bring her along! My blog has opened up so many doors for me and allowed me to do super long adventures like this while still “making a living” so I have to keep it going! She is truly the sweetest and the girls absolutely LOVE her! She helps me keep up with the blog and photography and social media PLUS she helped me get all of my upcoming blog posts and house photography ready the weeks leading up to our trip. So… Meet Abbey!
The next thing that I get asked about quite often is how on Earth I ended up in the PNW for the first time on vacation?!? Well let me just be the absolute biggest freaking dork on Earth and say that my love, okay obsession, with the Twilight series brought me clear across the country in an effort to stalk vampires. Okay kidding… well, kind of. So three of my girlfriends and I packed it up and flew to Washington State in 2010 to take a little “tour” of all things Twilight. Although the book is solely based in Washington, we quickly discovered that the movie was actually filmed almost entirely in Oregon! So that only meant one thing… that we all had to pack up our bags and fly across the country once again to take a tour of the movie locations. So we did. And then I did it a third time. And then a fourth. On the fifth trip, I finally convinced Mark to come with me but this time we stuck to the typical touristy things and a little less of the Twi-hard activities 😉
On my very first trip out here, we found the most amazing little restaurant that just so happened to have had some of the MAJOR Twilight scenes filmed literally right behind the parking lot. It is called The Stone Cliff Inn and it is located right above the Clackamus River in Oregon City, OR. I loved it so much that I had to drag everyone out here for our first dinner in Oregon to experience the stunning views and maybe to re-enact some Edward & Bella scenes. Maybe 😉
Our Dinner View…
Literally in their back parking lot…
Remember Edward hanging over Bella in this very tree below?!? I mean, Edward TOUCHED that tree 😉
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And then since we were literally .5 miles away from the Twilight “famous” Carver Cafe, I had to stop and snap a pic for you guys. Oh the sacrifices I make for y’all ;-)…
DAY ONE ITINERARY (re-cap!)
- Flight from ATL -> PDX
- Picked up rental car and headed to the condo!
- Visited Stonecliff Inn for Twilight filming locations & dinner
Then came Sunday! I have visited Mt. Hood twice on my five other journeys here but had yet to take Mark and of course the kiddos out that way. Sunday we woke up to absolutely PERFECT Oregon weather with not a cloud in the sky so we loaded up the crew and made our way 1.5 hours east to Mt. Hood. Well, 1.5 to the very tip top. It is seriously the craziest thing ever. The temperature at the base of the mountain and in downtown Portland reached 90 degrees that day and even at the very top, it was in the 60’s, yet there was SO. MUCH. SNOW. You really don’t even realize you are driving “so far” from Portland because the drive is BREATHTAKING! Like I heard an audible gasp every time the mountain came into sight in the front windshield. Remember y’all, we are Georgia girls… we maybe see 1″ of ice every other year. My girls have NEVER seen snow like this before!
Once we made our way to the “almost” very top of the mountain, we stopped at Timberline Lodge. It is one of my favorite spots in Oregon and always a MUST-DO on my list. The Lodge is STUNNING and gives you an amazing view of the very tip top of the mountain. As I said before, I have only been here with girlfriends so I wasn’t quite sure about taking my girls on the Magic Mile Scenic Ski Lift. Wasn’t sure as in SWORE I wouldn’t do it. But then the girls saw it and it was over. We also saw soooo many young skiers hopping on so we decided to give it a go. And hold Winnie down against the seat with dear life. It’s the only lift that is open to those without ski or snowboarding gear on and it is probably in my Top 5 list of the most
horrifying amazing things I have ever done in my life. The views are INCREDIBLE!
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After we spent most of the morning and early afternoon at Timberline Lodge, we drive down the mountain just a tad to stop at Trillium Lake. Another of my faves…
I have to say that I was a wee bit bummed though because although the weather was absolutely perfect, the water was not still enough for the reflection of Mt. Hood I have seen several times before. Oh and did I mention that we hiked two miles each way to see the lake? That’s a total of four miles with a random bag of popcorn as our “picnic” and two little ones. They rocked it though! Mark and I on the other hand were exhausted!
In LOOOVE with this new ruffle tie sleeve top! So cozy but still so cute!! And these leggings are the most amazing I have ever tried! They even have a hidden little pocket for your cell phone in the waistband! Worked perfect for trekking through the snow and still snapping lots of pix!
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That evening we came back to the condo and got changed for dinner. We walked a short little ways down to a restaurant called Three Degrees right on the Willamette River. It is actually part of the Kimpton Riverplace Hotel where Mark and I stayed on our last visit to Portland. We had amazing views of the river and all the boats. Dinner was fabulous!
After dinner Mark had promised the girls chocolate cake at Three Degrees but he unfortunately forgot that I had started Winnie on a gluten-free diet on Saturday. Oops. After discovering how amazing I feel three weeks into my gluten-free life, I decided to give it a try with Winnie. She has suffered with light asthma since she was two and I keep hearing about a possible connection in some cases between gluten and asthma. So unbeknownst to her, she is spending the Summer gluten-free! Although it is a tad difficult with a four year old, so far so good! ANYWAYS, so since you cannot promise a kid dessert and not follow through, we caught an Uber from Three Degrees to the Portland “famous” Salt & Straw for ice cream! It was definitely yummy!!!
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DAY TWO ITINERARY (re-cap!)
- Drove to Mt. Hood & headed up to the Trillium Lodge
- Grabbed a snack at Trillium Lodge cafe!
- Rode the Magic Mile Ski Lift
- Hiked to Trillium Lake (4 miles there and back)
- Late lunch at Chipotle!
- Dinner at Three Degrees on the Willamette River
- Ice Cream at Salt & Straw in the Pine Street Market!
The following morning, Monday, we got ready super fast and headed out to TRY and eat breakfast at another Portland “famous” spot called Tasty & Alder. Mark and I had attempted to dine their on our last visit but the line was a mile long. I guess some things never change because we ended up at Cheryl’s right across the street which is exactly where we ended up last time. LOL. Very good though! Still dying to try Tasty & Alder though and see what all the fuss is about!
Then we popped into Nordstrom Rack on the way back to get the girls some sunnies for our afternoon boat ride. Just not these sunnies 😉
Later that afternoon we popped back out and walked around a bit. Did a little Portland must-do’s…
VooDoo didn’t have gluten-free options so we just took a pic :-(…
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Monday afternoon the sun decided to make an appearance once again JUST in time for the Jet Boat Excursion Mark had booked the night before. He was dying to do this ride down the Willamette River but I was kind of undecided on the “you might get soaked” adventure. I mean it sounded fun but maybe wet and cold and… boring? Ummm… I was totally WRONG! It was seriously one of the funnest things I have done in Oregon! First of all, the Willamette is much larger and longer than I thought and the scenery is STUNNING!!! We saw mega dream mansions, beautiful old factories, a bald eagle, a peregrine falcon and even all kinds of sea lions swimming in the river and laying out on the docks! The girls had a fit! They continued to squeal like a seal lion all afternoon 😉 I would HIGHLY recommend the jet boat tour even if you are local! It was truly SO fun! One word of advice… you get VERY wet. We brought two blankets because we thought the girls might get chilly but we used them to block the water and stayed fairly dry! Mark on the other hand got soaked! LOL!
After the ride, we made our way to the Tilikum Crossing Bridge which is a beautiful bike/pedestrain only bridge. The views across the walk are AMAZING! From there we walked to dinner at McCormicks & Schmick’s on the river and had a great last dinner with Mark! He flew back home this morning and we are super duper bummed. HOWEVER, our adventures continue and I will contnue sharing them all right here!!! Thanks SO much for following along! A HUGE Master Bedroom update hits the blog on Thursday!
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DAY THREE ITINERARY (re-cap!)
- Ate breakfast at Cheryl’s Restaurant
- Walked around downtown Portland & popped by VooDoo Donuts & the Keep Portland Weird Sign
- Jet Boat Excursion from OMI on the Willamette River
- Walked from OMI to and across the Tilikum Crossing Bridge
- Dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s on the Willamette River!
XOXO, Brittany Hayes