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Travel Logs February 2013

Compulsive Traveler

Visit Portland, Oregon – The Rose City

By Sandra Scott

There are many interactive displays and on the second floor visitors can “travel” to Russia, China, and other parts of the world meeting people who are faced with many similar issues of preserving forests in their countries. Take a ride up into the forest canopy and see what you find.

vt_scottfeb13bPortland has been dubbed the “Rose City.” There are several theories as to how it got its nickname but roses thrive in Portland so well that it is home to the International Rose Test Garden, which is free to visitors. It is where, as the name implies, they experiment and grow a variety of roses. But Portland is more than just roses.

  1. Pittock Mansion is a good place to start a visit to the Rose City. The gardens have roses in bloom most of the year and the view of Portland from the gardens is vast. The 100-year-old mansion was home to Portland’s pioneers, Henry and Georgiana Pittock who both added to the development of the city. Their beautiful home had some of the latest inventions of the time including a central vacuum system, intercoms, and indirect lighting.
  2. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has something to interest people of all ages. There is a Science Playground for youngsters. The Earth Hall features the unique Science on a Sphere. You can build your brainpower with over 200 interactive exhibits and labs dealing with renewable energy, global climate, health and wellness, chemistry, engineering, technology, and more. Tour the U.S. Navy’s fast-attack submarine, the USS Blueback; take in a star-studded show at the planetarium; and try to fit in one of their IMAX shows.
  3. World Forestry Center Discovery Museum is the personification of the heavily forested Pacific Northwest. There are many interactive displays and on the second floor visitors can “travel” to Russia, China, and other parts of the world meeting people who are faced with many similar issues of preserving forests in their countries. Take a ride up into the forest canopy and see what you find. Outside is “Peggy,” the log-hauling train.
  4. Oregon Historical Society is the best place to learn about how the geography and people shaped this part of the Northwest. It was 150 million years in the making but only a mere 150 years as a state. Special and changing exhibits focus on specific aspects of Oregon’s history. Treasures from the Vault may display the first American flag flown in Oregon or a branding iron for the 1804 Lewis and Clark’s expedition.
  5. Multnomah Waterfalls is a must-do. Around Portland the mountains, often snow covered, are spectacular and easy to see from many places in the city but it takes a 30-minute drive to these beautiful falls. The 611-foot cascade can be viewed from the base or to enjoy an up-close perspective take the paved trail to the Benson Bridge. The hearty and fit may want to hike another mile up the steep path to the top of the falls.
  6. The Japanese Garden is just one of several gardens in the area. The much-acclaimed Japanese Garden has five distinct garden styles all creating a sense of peace, harmony and tranquility based on the essential elements: stone, water, and plants. Also visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden offering a window into Chinese culture, history and way of thinking.
  7. Art is everywhere. Pick up one of the free “Guide to Portland Public Art” and explore the city. There are scores of artworks along the Transit Mall. Don’t miss Oregon Pioneer Statue and the iconic Elk Statue. And, of course, the Portland Museum of Art should be a stop on everyone’s itinerary while in Portland.
  8. Chocolate Decadence Walking Tour is just one of the tours offered by Portland Walking Tour but it is the sweetest for sure. The two-hour plus walk only covers a little more than a mile but includes eatable, shippable, and chewable chocolate. And there are surprises such as a stop at Benessere for a taste of oil and vinegar infused with chocolate.
  9. Foodies will find a happy home in Portland where the chain restaurant is hard to find. Instead do as the Portlanders and head to a food cart eatery for a no-nonsense, inexpensive delicious meal. On the exotic side check out Marrakesh where you can dine on Moroccan food while watching the belly dancer. Or eat in what was once the Kennedy School.
  10. Hike it, bike it like the Portlanders with miles of trails short and long, near and far. There is plenty more to do. Visit the Oregon Maritime Museum located in a sternwheeler moored on the Willamette River at Waterfront Park to explore the area’s connection to the water. Check out the Clear Water Distillery or one of the several other distilleries. Plus there is the Children’s Museum and Portland Zoo and a plethora of other things to enjoy. For more information check www.travelportland.com or call 800.962.3700.

 

Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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