Hello there and welcome back! This is the third and final entry detailing our June trip to the Pacific Northwest. This entry mainly pertains to Oregon and the incredible scenery and nature we observed. Put on some Sleater – Kinney and let’s get started!
SEATTLE TO PORTLAND
Seeing this sign was definitely a good omen for final leg of the trip. Mid 2000 indie rock fans, you are welcome.
As we hit the road, we randomly decided to get some brunch at Bud Bay Cafe in Olympia, Washington. We had a view over looking the water and were surprised by the quality of that we were served. Sometimes you get lucky.
In Ohio, I would love to stop at a random cafe and have crab salad, a deconstructed sushi plate and a salmon burger, but I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon.
After brunch we walked around the bay, checked out a farmers market and chewed the scenery.
Next stop, Multnomah Falls to enjoy some nature.
Unfortunately, the top of the falls were inaccessible due to a wildfire the previous summer. If you find yourself in the PNW, do yourself a favor and try to go the falls – it was truly beautiful, even with the tourists and closures.
At this point the weather had turned a little gloomy and we had our first real rain of the trip. We had also been traveling for seven nights and our hotel in downtown Portland would be our fifth bed in seven nights. Worn down and tired, we arrived in Portland and chilled at our hotel for most of the evening.
We started out for a late dinner at Ciao Vito, an Italian restaurant in the heart of the city that is owned and operated by Vito Dilullo, who is a cousin to our friend Jason Bucci. Although, if The Sopranos has taught me anything, it is that all Italian men consider themselves cousins, so take that for what it is worth.
The interior of Ciao Vito was dimly lit and cozy and reminded me of a slightly nicer version of Surly Girl.
Megan ordered a fresh and delightful shrimp spaghetti dish, I had a hearty rigatoni ragu and Vito sent us a dish of calamari. Class act, classy joint and a great meal. Give Caio Vito a chance. Maybe it will make your wife smile (Megan hates this photo, but this isn’t her blog).
The following day, we walked around the downtown area and saw the sights. Portland is a pleasant enough city, but again it was rainy and gloomy. (no surprise there). We went to the giant bookstore and saw the food trucks, but Portland just wasn’t doing it for us.
The highlight of our morning/afternoon? Watching a gay men’s choir cover Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody while a super buzzed local danced away. THIS is the Portland I expected.
As we bid adieu to Portland, I certainly don’t regret our time there, but I would have traded our Portland day for an extra day on the coast.
Megan and I are lucky. Lucky to be compatible when traveling, lucky to be able to take this trip and lucky enough to experience the Oregon coast. In a trip filled with incredible experiences, the Oregon coast was difficult to top.
We stayed in Astoria, which if you don’t know, is the town where Goonies was filmed. Our first order of business? Finding the Goonie house.
Goonies never say die! Well, unless the owners of the house are jerks, which in this case they certainly were. Large signs instructing tourists to not come up the driveway, not park on the street and not to take photos were posted at the foot of the driveway. This really fired up Megan so stopped the car and took a photo and in that brief moment, would have fought a Fratelli.
Speaking of the Fratellis, we found their Jeep (no bullet holes) in front of the Oregon Museum of Film.
Since Kevin and Leslie were gracious enough to accommodate our lodging for five nights, we were able to stay within our budget and splurge on this awesome old cannery turned hotel.
Facing the water, which was a bay and not the ocean, our hotel was, well…pretty luxurious. Offering complimentary bicycles, driving service AND a Happy Hour, we made the right choice in picking Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa.
We went on a long bike ride to get a little fresh air, check out the scenery and to see some sea lions.
If you haven’t seen sea lions, put it on your list. For about 30 minutes, we watched a colony of what can only be described as ‘Labradors of the Sea’ chase each other while eating, barking and taking the occasional break to sun themselves. Weird and wonderful, sea lions are mesmerizing.
The car service really came in handy and we made friends with our driver, Spence.
Spence is originally from Ohio, had a brother who played for Woody Hayes and he and his wife were both retired Special Ed teachers. Spence is a pretty slick dude and knew everyone in Astoria. The hotel car he transported us in? A 53 Packard with Three on the Tree.
Spence dropped us off at Buoy Beer Company, where we made friends with the bartender Katie and stayed a little longer than we should have.
Katie took the above photo, and it may have been the best photo of our trip. Thanks Katie!
The photo below has a closer look at our flight.
We knew our window to order fresh seafood was closing, and we hadn’t really eaten that day, so we decided to make our dinner count, so we started with Habanero Oyster Deviled Eggs.
The PNW takes their deviled eggs seriously. We ordered them three times and each time they were fresh, rich and creamy. Get your deviled egg game straightened out, Midwest family get togethers.
Next up on the docket? Oysters and mussels.
If you follow my social media (and thank you if you do) you can see there aren’t many dishes that I am not fond of. While I enjoy the taste of oysters and mussels and particularly in this instance appreciate the freshness, I could probably not have either again and be happy. Same goes for you, coconut.
The most interesting and unique entree on our trip? The Petrale Collar.
Served on a warm salt block, this hearty fish dish was cooked in a garlic herb butter and topped with cilantro. Megan sprayed it with lime. It was very tasty, had a chicken like textureand capped off our awesome day in Astoria.
On the last day of our trip, we went up and down the coast checking out the different tourists towns and beaches. Unfortunately, many of my photos were panoramic, which will not load to the WordPress sight. Apologies.
In short, Cannon Beach, Manzanita and Seas Side were idyllic beach towns with amazing views, cool people and an all around chill vibe. It’s not a coincidence that so many movies and television shows are filmed in the area.
I don’t think I could ever get sick of seeing mountains on the beach.
We did hit an interesting place for lunch – The Cannon Beach Hardware that is colloquially referred to as the ‘Screw and Brew’. Confused? Haven’t you ever been to a hardware with a bar? Seriously, our server was taking orders, running food AND making keys.
Because it was the last day of vacation, we have a split a tater tot/fried shrimp basket and some wings, which were all surprisingly good.
The highlight of the Screw and Brew? That would be me misinterpreting a local referring to the Cavs choking in the playoffs and NOT The Ohio State Football program. Dear Kind Stranger, if you happen to be reading this, I apologize for loudly boasting about how Ohio State kicked Oregon’s ass in the 2015 National Championship game. I really do apologize and I really do blame JR Smith.
After shaming myself and my wife, we walked around Cannon Beach for a little while longer and stopped into the Cannon Beach Smokehouse for a drink, before bidding farewell to the beach.
On the way back to Astoria, we stopped at the Astoria Tower, a sixteen story tall observation deck that overlooks the Columbia River. Check out the scenery.
The Column is an inexpensive workout and family friendly activity that is HIGHLY (dad joke alert) recommended.
We enlisted Spence’s help one more time and went to dinner at the Astoria Coffee House & Bistro. It should be noted that Spence escorted us to the hostess stand to make sure everything was kosher. Everyone inside knew Spence. I am pretty sure he is the Mayor of Cool in Astoria.
Dead tired and running on fumes, we ordered more seafood. The winner was Megan’s pan seared Scallops over a cauliflower puree. DEE-LICOUS.
I ordered some pot stickers and a salmon roll.
After our dinner, we called Spence and got a ride back to the hotel where an incredible twist of fate, The Goonies was on television. Meta.
The Pacific Northwest is almost a spiritual destination. Megan and I both were the most relaxed we had been since our honeymoon, even though we spent the night in six different beds over the course of ten days. If you haven’t been, you will be a fan when you go. If you have been, you know what I am talking about.
We will see you next time, PNW. Thanks for the memories.