You know that moment when you’re on an adventure just really missing your own bed and your own coffee mugs? Well, we never had that while up in the PNW. Nope, we really didn’t want to come home when it came time. We wanted to stay forever under cozy blankets, sipping perfect coffee out of new mugs, laying in the sunshine under the evergreens, and maybe have another babe up there who I could dress in thermals and tiny mittens. Because adventures make you dream crazy dreams. Of course, when we finally got to sleep that first night in our own bed, I slept what felt like a thousand sleeps. So good to be back in our bed and sip out of our coffee mugs when we woke that first morning. Of course nearly a month later, we’re missing all the majesty of the PNW. Like whoa.
Let’s not get sad, though. I have more to share!
After leaving the gorge very early in the morning—because coffee was the worst kind of terrible at the dreamy lodge making said lodge far less dreamy—we made our way back into Portland. Downtown Portland to be precise where we beheld the amazing that is Blue Star Donuts and more delicious Portland coffee. Guys, Blue Star is obnoxiously delicious. Little dude really loved watching them make the donuts (you have a perfect view of everything they do while you sit and try not to embarrass yourself by shoving said donuts in your face hole). They take crafting donuts to an entirely different level of savory flavors. Both in presentation and taste. Go. Go fast. Get some.
After coming out of our donut nirvana, we stumbled a bit back into Southeast Portland for some more coffee. Because I had a long list of coffee roasters I wanted to try while visiting. We popped into Heart coffee and it was just lovely (as was the neighborhood surrounding it). Modern and very Portland (I say with complete adoration). Maybe people from Portland would disagree. But I’ll say this: the folks in line in front of me looked like they had rolled out of bed perfectly put together in flannels and slouchy beanies, smelling of pine. PINE, people. It was one of my favorite moments. I ordered a double almond latte and it was gorgeous (and oh so good).
From there we just putzed around town, playing with little skeletons attached to parachutes that I found in the Target dollar bin while frockling about in a number of open green spaces all about town. Until we got hungry, that is. Finally forging together two of the last places we HAD to try, LARDO and the PBJGrilled truck. Everyone was poking at us to try these two places, but we were running out of time. One of my favorite lady blog friends had mentioned to me no less than three times that we needed to hit PBJGrilled. So we grabbed a couple (okay, fine we couldn’t choose and grabbed three) sandwiches from the truck and snagged a table in the patio at LARDO wherein we had beer tasters (Again? What? Everyone has a hobby.) and those famous LARDO fries. Every bite of food lived up to all the rage and the beer did it’s job. Look at these boys’ ridiculously happy faces while noshing on this lunch.
Later that evening, we met up with new friends (side note: I say “new friends” because Joan and I are pen pals. Yup, like with pen and paper and stamps. But she offered us her guest room when she heard we’d be in town and we thought, heck yes! We’d never actually hung out in person so this was kind of a risk for all of us. Spoiler Alert: It went just fine!). So yeah, met up with Joan and her cute husband (they are newlyweds and adorable) at The Oregon Public House. Fitting a few doors down from that first place we went to with our other friends at the start of the trip. Portland feels very small town like that. Another neat thing to mention, The Oregon Public House is a non-profit pub. How totally neat is that? Drinking beer and becoming more involved in your community. Color me impressed. We met up, had not entirely awkward hellos thanks to our always outgoing child, and grubbed while sipping some dang good local brews. We really liked this place. The guy that you ordered grub and brews from (maybe you call him the bartender if you’re ordinary, or not me) had the most amazing beard I’ve ever seen in my life on a real person. I couldn’t stop looking at it or talking about it awkwardly or trying to take a picture of it.
Joan and her man led us back to their home and we put our child to bed because it was really late. And after many nights of late bedtimes, we were all wearing thin of any kind of normal behavior. Traveling with your kids isn’t hard if you all remember to get some damn sleeps. But before we go on, look at this guy’s beard I mentioned. If I had been more libated, I might have asked for a picture with him. Also, look how dark and charming. I just dig a dark, charming, well-bearded establishment with brick walls.
The next day, our gracious hosts skipped their responsibilities to go adventuring with us by way of another great brew pub (so many brew pubs in the PNW!), The Green Dragon, and a jaunt over to Sauvie Island for all the pumpkin fun we could handle. Fun Fact: The largest island on the Columbia River and LARGER than Manhattan. Did I mention Joan is kind of bonkers for pumpkins? I didn’t because “bonkers” is an understatement. All pumpkins, all the time with Joan in the autumn months. So, of course, she had to be the one to take us on a pumpkin adventure.
We corn mazed, took a hay ride, and snagged some pumpkins before heading to Stumptown so I could try one last coffee roaster (at her cute husband, Jeff’s recommendation). It was much better than other Stumptown experiences I’ve had down here in Southern California. That’s why you go to the source. Still not my favorite Portland roaster, but happy we stopped on our way back to her home where she made us a lovely savory pumpkin (what did I tell you about her and pumpkins??) quiche.
Can we talk about the kindness of acquaintances for a moment? Let people be kind to you. I’m mostly giving myself a pep talk here. But really, let people take you in and host you for a few nights. This was outside of our comfort zone, but we really felt so humbled by it. Note to self (and any of you that might like it): Let people be kind to you. Kindness breeds kindness, you know?
From here, we made the long drive home. And I thought I would just tack that little statement on at the end here, but when I started to write about it, I couldn’t believe how much I had to share. I decided it best to break it up into a last hurrah post. An epilogue, if you will. It’s a little bit emotional, too, and might stand better by itself. That’s gonna be five travel posts, but you know what? It’s my blog. I guess I get to do that.