Seattle and Portland – July 2012
We utilized our 4th of July vacation days this year to hit the pacific northwest, specifically Portland, Seattle, and the area in between. Based on google weather and all the people we talked to who lived in this area, July is absolutely the best month – weather wise – to visit. It did not disappoint.
Our first stop was Seattle, where we stayed downtown in a Marriott Renaissance property. We used a free night certificate from Mayne’s marriott credit card – saving $179 – and then paid cash for the remainder. We loved walking around the pike place market (great deals on flower bouquets) and took a fantastic food tour with Savor Seattle. Our last stop before heading to the airport to pickup our rental car was the Kubota Gardens. These were very well executed – you could tell that they had been tended to for many decades – but they were a bit out of the and would have been better to see by rental car (at this point we were using buses).
(Keep scrolling below gallery for Portland and daytrips)
We picked up a rental car to have in Portland, which came in very handy as it seems the public buses are lacking and our hotel was some ways out of the city center. It seems everyone rides a bike there but we didn’t have that “luxury”. Parking was easy to get however.
We stayed at Courtyard Portland North using the very last of Marriott rewards points that Mayne had saved up from his time at traveling with Ernst & Young (thanks for the memories Marriott!). We paid for points for 5 nights and got the 6th night for zero points – saving $780 over retail! The hotel was outside the city and felt a bit old but the price was right.
After all that we had heard about how hip, young and revitalized the city of Portland was, we were still surprised at just how “hip” it was. I mean, hipster is taken to a new level here. I have a new appreciation for the Portlandia show since visiting. I’ve had enough wood paneling, fixed gear bikes, and $6 lattes for awhile after this visit!
After enjoying a morning at the can’t miss International Rose Test Garden, we took in a bike/brewery tour with Pedal Bikes. This was pretty entertaining because there were approximately 6 breweries on the schedule and Elisa and I were the only ones on the tour! Our guide was recovering from a stomach parasite obtained while hiking in Nepal and wasn’t drinking. Elisa is a light-weight (literally), so it was left to me to pick up the slack! Unfortunately, each brewery we came to had, by default, prepared enough samples for a tour group of 10+. Alot of beers and a fair distance of biking later our tour ended. All in all it was a great tour for a beer lover such as myself, but I think our experience was a little unique..
We also hit the famous voodoo donuts and stumptown and barista coffee shops. Elisa loved the lattes! Voodoo was interesting once but personally I wouldn’t endure the long lines for a fruit-loop covered donut again. One thing that Portland really does excel at are some good, interesting food choices and I would say that it is only rivaled by Austin, Tx for the best food carts.
Using Portland as a base, we took several day trips – Cannon Beach area, Columbia river gorge, and then Mt Hood. We also hit Mt Rainier on the way back to the Seattle but it was cloudy all day and therefore we can’t say that we’ve really “seen” Rainier (the museum on the 1980’s eruption was an interesting consolation though).