I just got back from a great week in the Pacific Northwest. Doug had to be in Vancouver for a conference on our wedding anniversary, so I flew out to join him on Saturday. From there we ventured down to Seattle and Portland. It was an amazing trip that went by way too fast. I consciously made the decision not to plan too much and just enjoy things as they happened. This was a struggle for me, type-A super-planner, but it allowed me to really be present in the moment….even so, that means we didn’t do as much as I would normally like to on a vacation. That just means we’ll have to go back!
Here’s an overview of where we stayed and what we did in each place!
I got in to Vancouver while Doug was still at his conference. After taking the train into the city and dropping my bags at our hotel, I walked around Gastown by myself until Doug arrived. My favorite shop was The Paper Hound, a used bookstore just down the block from where we were staying. It had this lovely little collection of odds-and-ends found in used books that I thought was just delightful. Doug and I have our own collection of funny notes we have found on our fridge at home.
Once Doug was in from UBC we walked around some more, stopping at the Inuit Gallery in Gastown for a while. We ate a late lunch at Meat and Bread, a regional chain that specializes in high quality and creative meat-based sandwiches. The menu changes daily/weekly. It was delicious!
Our hotel, The Victorian, was great. The room was small but well-appointed and clean. The location and price cannot be beat! It was so affordable because you have to share bathrooms with other guests. Not a big deal, really, and the bathrooms were really nice! However, some guests are neater than others….so just keep that in mind. I didn’t run into any issues using the female bathroom, but someone kept leaving dirty towels all over the floor in the men’s room.
Saturday night we met up with Doug’s friend and colleague Kevin and his wife at Steamworks Brewery. It was just okay, but the company was great.
Sunday was our full day in Vancouver. We rented bikes and rode over 15 miles! We rode all along the sea wall, stopping to take pictures of the totem poles in Stanley Park and a few other cool sites. We biked over to the Granville Island Market, where we ate lunch and window shopped. I definitely recommend checking it out. After biking back home, we rested up and explored a little more. We ate dinner at The Flying Pig, which was again, just okay.
On Monday we took a Quikbus down to Seattle. This trip was definitely not quick, but a one-way rental car from Canada is way too expensive! After checking into our AirBnB, we headed down to the Fremont neighborhood to walk around and grab pizza at BPC Frelard. I really liked the vibe of the restaurant and the pizza was super tasty. We drove out to Discovery Park and walked around a bit. That place is huge! I would have loved to go for a real hike, but time didn’t permit it!
The next morning we ate breakfast at our AirBnB before heading into the city. I can’t say enough nice things about our hosts–they provided us with coffee, bagels, eggs, and fruit, which we used every day we were there! They even loaned Doug a guitar when he mentioned that he is a musician. After breakfast, we headed downtown to check out Pike’s for the real tourist experience. While there we munched on a few cherries and tried some apple cider. I’m glad we went, but it was not really our scene!
In the afternoon, we drove over to the Ballard neighborhood to visit Bop Street Records. That place is incredible! Doug had a great time chatting with the owner, Dave. We walked around and window shopped afterwards before stopping at Bitterroot BBQ for a late lunch.
After that, we headed to Golden Gardens State Park in west Seattle. It was absolutely gorgeous! We loved walking along the beach and looking out on the Pacific Ocean. There were quite a few people out and about, but it seemed like more of a locals place.
On our drive toward home, we spotted Gas Works Park–so we stopped and hung out there for a bit before heading back to the AirBnB and getting cleaned up for dinner. Dinner was HORRIBLE, so I’ll skip that. We then went back to Gas Works to watch the sun set. It was absolutely gorgeous. Definitely one of the best places to watch the sunset in Seattle, in my opinion. We checked out Kerry Park the next night, but weren’t as impressed.
We finished out the night with decadent desserts at Hot Cakes in Ballard. We had walked by earlier in the day and knew we should come back! We got strawberry shortcake and the “Dark Decadence” molten chocolate cake, which had dark chocolate, caramel, and toffee bits on the vanilla ice cream. YUM!
Wednesday we drove about 45 minutes out to Wallace Falls State Park for an awesome hike! There are three waterfall levels to see, so the hike is easily adaptable for all levels. We went all the way to the top! It was great to get out in the woods and sweat a little. The park was busy, but manageable. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. Dinner was nothing special, but we were wiped after our active day.
On Thursday we hit the road to Portland! We stopped in Olympia so I could be a Sleater-Kinney fan girl and to grab lunch. We also stopped at the local record store (record store #5 of the trip, I believe). Olympia is a great town and I would love to go back! After checking into our AirBnB, we headed out to see Ryan Adams. The concert was at Edgefield, which is a super cool place. It used to be a poor farm and is now a winery, distillery, brewery, hotel, and concert venue. Again, another place we would love to spend more time! The concert was great. I had never seen Ryan Adams live before, and he put a great show. His on-stage banter is pretty interesting as well…We finished the night with the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts, which we both think are overrated.
Friday was my favorite day of the whole trip!! We grabbed breakfast at Bread + Honey and then drove out to the Oregon coast. First we hit Cannon Beach to see the famous haystack rocks. Despite being freezing because of the marine layer fog, we had an absolutely blast running around with all the other tourists. From there we headed to Oswald West State Park + Beach. Oswald West has an old growth forest that is simply jaw dropping. We walked through it on the way to the Short Sands beach, where we saw a bunch of surfers and dogs. From there we headed back to Cannon Beach to grab lunch and ice cream–salted caramel for me. Delicious!
After getting cleaned up, we headed out to explore Powell’s, which really is everything that people say and more. We spent about two hours in there and could have stayed longer, but we had to go grab dinner at Por Que No? Taqueria near our AirBnB in the Mississippi neighborhood. This was hands down the best meal of the trip!
Saturday we drove out to Multanomah Falls. The falls are definitely gorgeous, but I would not recommend going the Saturday of Fourth of July weekend like we did. It was way too busy to be fully enjoyable. We did manage to get to the very top and then climb out to a more secluded area, which was nice. I’m glad we went, but compared to our experiences at Wallace Falls and the Oregon coast, it just wasn’t as nice.
The rest of Saturday was spent exploring the Mississippi neighborhood and then heading over to the Hollywood District where Doug got a tattoo at Ritual Arts. Then we headed uptown to NW 23rd, thinking we might grab dinner there. We walked around the area but didn’t see anything that popped out at us, so we headed to SE 12th and Hawthorne, where we ate at Cartopia, a food truck hub with fun outdoor seating. I had a Korean lettuce wrap (ssam) that I need to recreate at home ASAP. Doug got more tacos (because tacos). We both got crepes–mine had nutella and banana. YUM!
On Sunday we packed up our AirBnB and headed back down Mississippi. Our AirBnB really was in awesome location–we loved the neighborhood and could have easily spent way more time there. We grabbed brunch at the extremely popular Gravy, which was well-worth the hour long wait. I had an egg sandwich with grilled peppers and onions and Doug got biscuits and gravy. From there, we hung out at a coffee shop and brainstormed teaching ideas for the fall before Doug dropped me off at the airport and headed down to San Francisco for research.
We had SO much fun and a wish we had more time. We will definitely be back!