As much as I love long periods of international travel, there’s something to be said about spending a weekend in a nearby city.
Last weekend my boyfriend and I headed down to Portland, a 4 hour bus ride from Seattle. We only had to be there for a few days, for an RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) coaching course I was taking, but chose to tack on a few days for exploration. We spent some time Googling, asked my old cross country camp cabin mate for some ideas (she’s spent a good chunk of time in Portland- check out her blog at isabellanais.com and Instagram: @isabellanais), and hit the road.
Here are our tips for a weekend in Portland!
Obviously, you have to hit up Stumptown. There is no coffee I have ever tasted that beats this Oregon-based company, and being in one of their actual shops was a no-frills, high quality experience. As we we staying near the Woodlawn area, we also stopped by Woodlawn Coffee & Pastry a few times. They even had French gluten free pastries!
After a cold walk through the city one night, we stopped at Barista, another cafe focusing on quality over decor. Opting not to sit in the handful of high, austere chairs scattered near the window, we grabbed some delicious Americanos and enjoyed their heat as we continued to meander along the waterfront.
I wish I could recommend more coffee shops, but as my classes over the weekend began at 8am, I ended up drinking a lot of Starbucks, as it was open and close to the class location.
We are health nuts, so we did what we could to stay healthy outside of my coaching class, where I was inhaling hot, greasy pizza. Because really, who can resist free pizza? (If you can, seriously- teach me your ways!)
But other than that we were pretty good. We stocked up on healthy staples at Whole Foods for most of our snacks/meals (budget travel, anyone?). Bulk nuts, Lara bars, carrots and celery with this delicious local hummus, opal apples, mandarin oranges, boiled eggs…
But of course, we also wanted to eat out. Portland is known for having some delicious and healthy fare, so we stopped by vegan restaurant Blossoming Lotus and were in awe. The whole menu was incredibly creative, all vegan and with plenty of gluten free options. My boyfriend had this amazing curry with tempeh, and I had “live nachos” with cashew cheese. For dessert we split an apple pie and some truffles. The whole thing was divine and we felt wonderful after, which was the best part.
Finally, we hit up Kure, a juice/smoothie/acai bowl type of place a few times. The first time I ordered an AMAZING turmeric latte with ashwagandha and reishi- delicious and so healthy. I tried a green detox drink, but it was a little too lemony and sour for me. It’s probably very effective as a detox juice if that’s what you are looking for, though!
The acai bowl we tried was Kure’s “Bowl of the Gods”, which was not only delicious and filling but also looked pretty.
For outdoor adventuring:
My boyfriend got to do a bit more exploring outdoors than I did, as I was inside drawing up marathon training plans and differentiating between lactate threshold and tempo workouts. Still, we both were able to spend some time hiking through the arboretum at Washington Park– that’s in the photos you’ll see below. Landon was able to explore Macleay and Mt Tabor as well, which sound beautiful and soul-filling. Beautiful places in nature just do that to you…
All in all, we were able to make a great weekend out of it. The draw of Portland for me, other than all things running-related, is the abundance of healthy eateries and the spirit of outdoor adventuring.