the city of roses (not pasadena).

I love the Pacific Northwest. There’s something so crisp, clean and friendly about everything and everyone from the area. 

My in-in-law’s are no exception. They’re some of the warmest and most fun people in the universe, and they’re visiting this weekend from Portland.  Portland, did someone say Portland?  I must share with you my favorite thing about the City of Roses... Quail Creek Ranch.

{Quail Creek Ranch, complete with red barn, just outside of Portland}

My first visit to the farm – in our family, there’s only one farm, and it’s Quail Creek – was for my brother’s wedding to amazing sister-in-law no. 1 in 2006. That magical week in Portland on the Christmas Tree Farm feels like it was yesterday, and coincidentally, was exactly four years ago this coming week. Double-coincidentally, exactly six years ago this weekend, my husband’s brother married amazing sister-in-law no. 2.

This is a big month for our family.

It’s also time for the Oregon Brewers Festival, and yes, four years ago, the day after my brother’s wedding, we went, we enjoyed, we drank. It’s on the riverfront and is so much fun. 

Since my brother's Portland wedding, we have made a handful of visits, including two more weddings, one for one of my best friends and one for one of my husband's (I'll repeat: Portland = good peeps).  I'm certainly no expert, but being in a Portland-state-of-mind as we head into the weekend, I thought I'd share a few other favorites about the city that I've discovered on our trips up north...

Red Star Tavern
Perfect for a casual dinner or, say, a bridesmaid’s brunch hosted by your best friend’s aunts who make you feel like you’re part of the family.

Powell’s Books
Getting lost at Powell’s is a beautiful way to spend an entire, lazy afternoon.

High-end jeans and clothing store owned by our friends Melissa and Blake who make high-end feel like your friend. In addition to ‘shop owner’ Blake has been called ‘the Jean Whisperer.’ Enough said.

Zupan’s Markets
Family-owned, Bristol Farms-esque market that specializes in wine, flowers and locally-sourced food? Check. Check. Check.

Other favorite Portland spots recommended by my brother and his wife include Andina for unique apps and delicious Peruvian food in the hip art district, The Pearl; for a great happy hour with a view of the entire city from 30 floors up, Portland City Grill; and for a burger the locals recommend that’s well worth the drive to Hillsboro (maybe on your way to buy a Christmas tree?), Helvetia Tavern.

Note to self: Must plan next Portland trip soon. For now, I’ll just live vicariously through our weekend visitors... and one of my favorite food bloggers, Portland-based Elizabeth Fuss.

Oh, and happy anniversary to four of my most favorite people in the world.  I'll cheers to you with a glass of my latest fav, affordable Portland pinot, Cloudline.

PS: Thank you so much for all of your sweet notes of encouragement.  Made my day!  Love feedback; keep it coming.


chernobes said...

Am I allowed to chip in with some music venue suggestions? OK, good, thanks. Best place to see a (medium-sized) show featuring a band that most people have heard of: Crystal Ballroom (http://www.mcmenamins.com/425-crystal-ballroom-home).

Best place that's worth venturing across the river to see a small show featuring some band very few people have heard of: Doug Fir Lounge (http://dougfirlounge.com). The Fir also boasts an amazing pre- or post-show burger and a super cheap, super hip place to crash if you've had 2 too many whiskeys, the Jupiter Hotel (http://jupiterhotel.com).

Hit up either joint on any given night and you will not be disapppointed.

Karen said...

Alison your site is amazing (no surprise). I'm having so much fun journaling and exploring this new realm, I hope you'll visit me sometime at Garden, Home and Party.

Good luck with this new adventure, I know you'll do a wonderful job and we readers will have fun while reading.

Karen said...


Your site is amazing. How much fun it will be to keep up with your life via paper{whites}.

I hope you'll stop by and visit my site sometime: Garden, Home and Party.


chelsea said...

Yay Portland! I love Zupans! Also New Seasons is amazing. Quail Creek Farm? I've never been! I must check it out!