Welcome to Portland.

Fall is my favorite time of the year to travel. There are no crowds, the weather's great, and it's easier to make accommodations. While I usually tend to go to the East Coast to watch the leaves change colors, I thought I'd switch it up this year and stay on the West Coast.

This year, my best friend, Melissa, and I decided to head up to Portland, Oregon for our vacation. Unlike other trips that we have taken in the past, we decided to leave our trip itinerary open this time. It was nice being able to relax and not have to rush from location to location. Overall, Portland was beautiful and calm, despite the slight haze looming over the city on the first day due to the forest fires from the previous weeks.

DAY 1:

Melissa and I had an early start on Saturday, both leaving on the first flights to Portland from our respective cities. The first order of business when we arrived: Brunch! We decided to settle into the city with a nice brunch from Tasty n Alder, which was a real treat to fill our empty stomachs. Afterward, we grabbed some coffee from Case Study Coffee Roasters to get our caffeine fix before exploring the city.

Downtown Portland had a small town feel with many small mom n' pop shops and restaurants throughout the city. Aside from Starbucks, there were not many franchise businesses in the area. Much of the city reminded me of Downtown L.A., which I loved. The people were kind and polite, and the drivers were quite generous in their yielding abilities unlike the drivers in Southern California.

While strolling through the city, we came across Powell's City of Books, a definite must see for visitors coming to Portland. My favorite part of the bookstore was reading all of the staff pick summaries for books that they recommended. Of course, Melissa and I both left with some good reads to take home.

Next, we decided to go on an afternoon hike at Marquam Nature Park. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined. Ironically, Melissa and I made it to the hiking trail just in time for magic hour, where we got some amazing light in the forest. The trails were relatively easy to follow, and we had no trouble getting in and out of the park. If I ever return to Portland one day, I will definitely return to Marquam Nature park. It was so peaceful and serene. I would highly recommend this place to anybody who loves nature and hiking.

After a long day out and about, we checked into our Airbnb cottage. It was the most adorable place we've ever seen. Small, spacious, clean, quiet, and minimalistic. Just what we needed on vacation. There was lots of natural light, and plenty of utilities at our disposal.

Next, we headed out to the Multnomah Whiskey Library in Downtown Portland for a drink. A co-worker of mine highly recommended this place, so it was worth checking out. When we arrived, we were whisked away upstairs to a private room that resembled a den. The Multnomah Whiskey Library was cozy and spacious, with knowledgable bartenders, and whiskey fanatics scattered throughout the room. We learned a lot about whiskey that evening, and had the pleasure of sipping on some local favorites. The Multnomah Whiskey Library was definitely worth the hype, and I will definitely be back!

After our whiskey adventure, we decided to go for some beers at the ever so popular, Deschutes Brewery. Overall, it was a great experience. The brewery was spacious and cabin-like. Melissa and I both enjoyed dinner and some craft beer tastings before heading out to check out some other Portland sights and sounds.

DAY 2:

We loved brunch so much in Portland that we decided to do it again. On Sunday morning, we went to Irving Street Kitchen, a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to get some good eats.

I ordered the Three Grain Waffle Breakfast Board: three grain waffles, scrambled eggs, Irving St. bacon, and maple syrup. The bacon was amazing, and I usually don't eat bacon. It was crispy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. If you're a bacon fan, this place is for you!

As opposed to ordering a traditional coffee that morning, I decided to be adventurous and order the Cowboy Coffee: cold brew coffee, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Ramazzotti, and cream. That was the highlight of my morning. If you ever get a chance to come to this place, I highly recommend the Cowboy Coffee! It's worth it!

After brunch, we headed to Salt & Straw for some ice cream. We got to sample some of the local flavors such as Oregon Honey Rocky Road, Bone Marrow & Smoked Cherries, and Petunia's Peach Crumble Bars. The Oregon Honey Rocky Road was by far my favorite flavor, made with fresh house-made marshmallows and caramelized walnuts. I wish that I could've taken a pint home with me. I loved it so much!

Since we had been eating for the majority of the morning, Melissa and I decided that it would be best to get some exercise in. After we finished our ice cream at Salt & Straw, we headed to the International Rose Test Garden. The trek to the garden was exhausting. We climbed plenty of stairs and nearly got attacked by some yellow jacket bees along the way. We also experienced some light rain along the way, which continued on and off for the rest of the afternoon.

Aside from those minor details, the rose garden was gorgeous. The flowers were vibrant, large, and beautiful. I was surprised that there were so many beautiful flowers still in bloom despite the seasonal transition into fall. If you love unique hybrid flowers, this is definitely the place for you!

Of course every journey has to come to an end. It was really delightful being able to spend some time with my best friend, and to be able to unplug from life for a little bit. While I did get sick during our trip, I'm glad to be back at home resting and recovering.

Have any of you been to Portland? If so, what was your favorite part about it? Where should I head off to next? Feel free to connect with me via Instagram or Twitter via @Tran_gerine. I can't wait to hear what you guys have to share! If you'd like to subscribe to my blog, don't forget to leave your email in the subscribe box on the right hand side of my page.

Until next time,