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 I headed down to Portland, a 4 hour bus ride from Seattle. I 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. I 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 some 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 I was staying near the Woodlawn area, I 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, I 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, I grabbed a delicious Americano and enjoyed its heat as I 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.
I am a health nut, so I did what I 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!)
I stocked up on healthy staples at Whole Foods for most of my 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, I also wanted to eat out. Portland is known for having some delicious and healthy fare, so I stopped by vegan restaurant Blossoming Lotus and was in awe. The whole menu was incredibly creative, all vegan and with plenty of gluten free options. I had “live nachos” with cashew cheese. For dessert- an apple pie and some truffles. The whole thing was divine and I felt wonderful after, which was the best part.
Finally, I 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. 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 I tried was Kure’s “Bowl of the Gods”, which was not only delicious and filling but also looked pretty.
For outdoor adventuring:
For most of the weekend, I was inside drawing up marathon training plans and differentiating between lactate threshold and tempo workouts. Still, I was able to spend some time hiking through the arboretum at Washington Park– that’s in the photos you’ll see below.
The draw of Portland for me, other than all things running-related, is the abundance of healthy eateries and the spirit of outdoor adventuring.