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  • Writer's pictureSymone Salvino

Weekend Getaway to Portland

Ok, let's play a game... Raise your hand if you are craving a weekend away? Raise your hand if you are dreaming of vacations? Raise your hand if you could cry just thinking about your last trip? I know I am not alone in feeling the wanderlust deep in my bones right now. Although, we can't actually travel currently, it is the perfect time to research your next trip. I am taking this downtime to daydream about where we can go once this is all over. I have also been reminiscing on all the quick trips we took before we were stuck at home. Although, we are not able to take a huge vacation immediately after quarantine is over, a weekend getaway is a quick and budget friendly option.

Blair and I always seem to gravitate towards trips for our gifts to one another, rather than big presents. We love weekend getaways and knew we wanted to get out of town for a mini-trip for Valentine's Day. We started brainstorming which city was next on our list to explore and for months Portland had topped the list. Although I have spent many weekends in Portland, it had been years since I spent any significant time there. And over the past decade Portland has morphed into one of the coolest cities on the west coast. I was so excited to explore its weirdness and foodie scene.

As always when planning a weekend away I consider the budget, must do activities and research a central location to accommodate those activities. We found an amazing deal in the Lloyd District at Hotel Eastlund. We literally paid $120 for the night. The hotel was recently renovated in a sleek and modern design that we loved. By going slightly out of the heart of downtown we saved some serious money and were situated close enough to Uber to both old town and downtown.

We live about three hours north of Portland, so we set out first thing Saturday morning to get there by midday. The drive was peaceful and by leaving on Saturday we missed most of the traffic. We had our sights set on having lunch at one of the many food carts that Portland is famous for. I did some research before we left and found Cartlandia. It had every type of food you could imagine and even offered an indoor bar and seating area. Because it was February in the PNW, we wanted some rain insurance. And good thing we did, it was pouring!

Due to the rain a lot of the carts weren't open, but the ones that were didn't disappoint. I had the perfect brunch bagel and Blair opted for the schawarma. We also shared a sope that I have literally thought about at least once a week since. Although this option is a little outside of downtown, it is worth the trip. I imagine it would be the perfect place to grab lunch and a cocktail during the summer.

After we ate lunch, we headed to the hotel to check-in. Once we arrived at Hotel Eastlund we found that they had a rooftop bar that had some amazing cocktails and small plates. Unfortunately, February in the PNW means rain, but we just sat at the indoor bar. I ordered a delicious cocktail with house made elderflower simple syrup. I may have ordered a few too many of those drinks and was feeling pretty good on our Uber ride to dinner.

Alright, I have to preface this next bit. The meal we had at Q Restaurant & Bar was literally one of the best meals of my life! If you are even driving through the city, this place is worth the side track to stop. Just trust me, order the seafood pasta. Literally mind blowing! The restaurant had a romantic vibe and a ton of old world charm. I would suggest making a reservation, as the restaurant is small and fills up quickly.

On Sunday morning we woke up and immediately made our way to Mother's Bistro. This place is a Portland icon and boasts some of the most delectable breakfast plates in the entire city. The line gets long very quickly, so we woke up early to miss the rush. The ambiance is bright and cheerful. It just feels like a Sunday morning.The food is made from scratch and you can taste the love in every bite. I strongly suggest the smoked salmon scramble and their housemade toast with raspberry jam.

After stuffing ourselves at breakfast we walked around old town and peeked in all the quirky shops. The entire district is filled with so much character and history. The architecture is stunning and perfectly combines old school buildings with modern stores, coffee shops and bustling restaurants.

You can't go to Portland and not leave with some Voodoo Donuts. Although there are shops that have popped up in other locations, there is nothing like the original storefront. It is the epitome of Portland funk. The donuts are off the wall and the shop is an experience in itself. I particularly love the names of the donuts. We ordered Oh Captain, My Captain, a Captain Crunch encrusted yeasted donut. We also ordered the Old Dirty Bastard. It was covered in Oreos and topped with a peanut butter drizzle. Are you drooling yet? It was the perfect snack on the ride home to end a sweet weekend.

Mini-trips may be quick, but when done right they are prefect reset to the daily grind. I would urge you to make a list of cities within 2-3 hours from your home that you would love to explore. Next time you are feeling burnt-out, grab the list and pick a destination. With just a little research and planning you can create a trip that matches your budget and interests. What cities are on your list? I would love to hear the first place you are planning on going once we are able to travel again.

-sincerely, symone

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