Traveling from the east coast to west coast US takes up sooo much time so we always try to make the most of it. This year we headed to
sunny rainy San Diego to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mile’s family. YES, you heard me… RAINY San Diego. It hasn’t rained the past 8 months in San Diego and it might be the first rainy Thanksgiving in years… But before eating turkey, we wanted to start our trip weird. How weird? Portland, Oregon weird! We’ve heard great things about Portland’s food scene, people and landscape.
We spent the first day in Portland wandering around the city, eating, drinking, and park-hopping. We started the day off with delicious and strong coffee cocktails at a brunch restaurant, Mother’s. The bartender suggested us to try the spanish coffee – which involves a blow torch?! I’d order the Spanish coffee again just to watch them make the drink, especially on a cold winter day. From Mother’s, we walked along the river at Tom McCall Waterfront Park for a nice view of Mt. Hood and the city. After our nice park stroll, we were craving for some phó! Luc Lac is a GREAT place for a nice big bowl of goodness. Cool vibe. Great phó. We were absolutely stuffed. Why not walk it off in Washington park next?! Uhh cause…
Washington Park is DOPE.
We rode the city trolley from downtown to Washington park. The trolley was super easy to use. Also very interesting… there’s some characters. But welcome to Downtown Portland! Washington Park is fairly large. The Hoyt Arboretum, Rose Garden and Japanese garden are all in or within walking distance of Washington Park. All pretty cool and worth stopping by if you’re inside the park. Daylight was running out so we went to checkout Nob Hill. Nob Hill is a relaxing neighborhood with hipster shops and small trendy restaurants. Later that night we stopped at a cool little neighborhood –Pearl District. Whether you’re looking sophisticated cocktails or large breweries you can’t go wrong with any restaurants in the Pearl District. For cocktails I’d recommend the Whiskey Lounge (to get the full experience put your name in early as they can have a 4 hour wait) or Tasty ‘n Adler. If you’re looking for beer and bar bites… then Deschutes or 10 Barrel brewery for you! You really can’t wrong trying one of the smaller breweries for a local vibe. We did ALOT… ALOT ALOT of walking… Honestly wish we stretched our time longer in downtown Portland, but we had to get everything in we wanted to see before starting the next 2 full days of driving and hiking.
Rise ‘N Shine
We started off the morning by heading to Multnomah Falls for a quick picture. It’s a pretty quick stop if you’re there just for the picture, but you can stay as long as you wish. There’s great parking (off-season) with an easy walk up to the bridge. A bit further down the road, we stopped at a cute diner called Bridgeside, I think the name speaks for itself. It was so quaint and cute – it should have been a scene from a movie! After the yummy breakfast pit stop we continued the drive along the Columbia river, then passing Mt. Hood and Three Sisters as we head to Bend, Oregon.
Our first hiking adventure at Tamanawas Falls was a relatively short hike (about 1-2 hours). You’ll be walking in a valley with a cliff side river along side of you (not as dangerous as it sounds). Last but not least, a beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail. Next up- Mirror Lake! We drove about 20 miles southwest for our next hike at Mirror Lake. The hike was about the same length as Tamanawas Falls, but has a steady uphill to get up to the lake. It’s well worth the hike and we were sooo beat. Since winter days are so much shorter – we didn’t have much daylight… so off to the final stretch to Bend!
While on our way to Bend we were lucky enough to get a sunset against the Three Sister mountains, which was the perfect end to our day. Bend, Oregon was a cute little town with a few local bars and thee friendliest people we’ve ever come across. We explored the town for only a few hours, but every shop or bar all the locals were curious about our trip – asking questions, recommending hikes, and ensuring we were having best time in their town. We wished we could have stayed longer but we were off early again the next morning to head to our last hike before heading to the airport.
Fun Fact: Miles didn’t know, we had to drive through a mountain range to our next hike… which meant driving through a blizzard (Miles is exaggerating) for 2 hours.
Do not be fooled!! The hike was called Trail of Ten Falls and the name didn’t disappoint. This 4-hour loop has a bottom canyon and ridge route. You can see a wide variety of trees, wildlife and of course, WATERFALLS! You also can walk behind most of the waterfalls with nice paved trail for a unique vantage point. Our trip to Oregon was in November and we thought the weather was perfect for hiking and even better for less crowds. For most of our hikes, we ran into people every 20-30 minutes. It was an awesome off-beaten vacation. As much as we enjoyed our time in Oregon, it was time to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mile’s family in San Diego!
Well sunny San Diego… wasn’t that sunny. We were lucky (or not so lucky?) that our first day was all sunshine. We took advantage of the weather with a quick day-trip to Coronado Island to see the view of the Point Loma peninsula and Pacific Ocean from the historic Hotel Del Coronado. If you’re there for lunch, I highly recommend Blue Water Boathouse Seafood Grill for yummy jalapeño aioli scallops and their award-winning clam chowder. The prices are high, but it worth the value with the location right on the harbor with lovely boats. As we headed back to Mile’s parents house in Escondido, we spent a few hours in Balboa Park. Balboa Park is a huge park with multiple museums, a botanical garden, plenty of grassy area for picnics or reading, and of course the San Diego Zoo. We could of spent hours at any of these spots within the park, but our main reason was to visit family and close friends (shoutout to my homeboy Ian) for Thanksgiving. Gotta thankful to the close ones we love and travel!