Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Vacation

Last week my parents came to visit, as you all know, for five days. Because it was their first PDX trip in years and they were only here for a short period of time, I felt it was necessary to cram everything possible into those days. Sore feet and late nights resulted, but I think it was all worth it by the time they headed home.

On day one, we walked into the city and I showed my parents my walk to work, workplace, and we landed in the Pearl district in the heaven that is Powell's Books. Understandably my parents were unable to leave the store without serious cajoling and whining from yours truly, who was hungry. We then enjoyed some chimichurri fries and a sampler of beer at Deschutes. On our walk home we wandered the Union Way shops to check out Will Leather Goods and just smell all the wonderfulness lurking in their storefront. We capped day one off with take-out from Pok Pok and Ben's gin and tonics. 

On day two, we got into the heart of my parents' favorite activity: being outside wandering about. I'm not much of a hiker or outdoorswoman, but all you have to do in Portland is shake a stick and you'll hit some edge of green space that has great trails. I took my parents to the Pittock Sanctuary in Forest Park (the Audubon Society of Portland has their center and their rehabilitated owls, hawks, kestrals, and ravens there) and we did a small loop at the Audubon, admiring the pretty trickling streams and apparent pop-up shop of summer mosquitos. 

We then drove up to the northern part of Forest Park to hike the Wildwood trail in a pretty quiet spot for about a two hour hike in peace and quiet. Post-hike, we took my dad down to his happy place - REI - and after dragging him out of the store posted up on the waterfront for wine and snacks. When Ben emerged from his study cave, we went to Podnah's Pit for dinner and expanded our belts a notch. It's definitely our favorite restaurant in Portland and once again, didn't disappoint.

Day three came with some more amazing weather and we headed out to Hillsboro to revisit a wetlands preserve Ben and I discovered a month or two ago. At Jackson Bottom Wetlands, we walked and observed birds until our feet were sore and we were, once again hungry. We spotted a nesting Osprey, many a heron, red-wing blackbirds, invasive bullfrogs, cinnamon teals, and tons of pretty swallows. 

We headed back from the wetlands, snagged snacks at the New Seasons market at the Intel campus (having never been out there I was blown away by the sprawl and growth around the Silicon Forest big tech hubs) and took a picnic up to the absolutely insanely in-bloom rose garden. I got sorely sunburned but we rallied, expanded the belts another notch, and went out to Bete-Lukas, an Ethiopian restaurant in Portland, to share big plates of injera bread and many meat and veggie dishes. 

Day four, Saturday, was definitely the most important day of all - wedding dress shopping day! I invited my maid of honor, grandmother, and future-mother-in-law to come with and we sent Ben and my Dad out into the Columbia Gorge to go hiking for about 7 hours. Ben's mom arrived early and we all visited the Portland farmer's market for breakfast and peonies (of course). By the time the appointments rolled around, my grandmother and maid of honor, coming from Seattle, had worked their way through horrendous rose parade traffic and made it to us.

I had two appointments at Charlotte's Weddings & More out toward Beaverton and a downtown bridal shop called AniA. My colleague recommended Charlotte's due to their great gown prices, private rooms, and exceptional service. I can't argue with her recommendation and in fact, I cancelled my second appointment as the fourth dress I tried on was the one. Everything I tried on was gorgeous and I felt lovely in each of them (minus a bad empire waist dress), but when I found mine, it felt like me. It didn't feel like I was playing dress up or starring in a costume drama. It just felt like what my wedding dress was supposed to be. And everyone cried at the same moment... I was sold.

That night we all went out to wine by the waterfront and then to dinner at Ecliptic Brewing in NE-ish Portland to celebrate a long, great day.

On my parents' final day in Portland, we had breakfast with my grandmother before she headed back to Seattle and then decided that we were all too exhausted from walking everywhere and exploring everything to even deal with driving out to another wetlands. We opted to drive into the Pearl, immerse ourselves in Powell's Books for a few more hours, meander through the entire district to every single store, and then head home (after beer and cider at Tilt, of course), for Ben's homemade tacos and stand-up comedy on Netflix.

All in all, it was an awesome trip and my week of detoxing and resting up from their visit has finally commenced. Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend!


© kelsey malieMaira Gall