What is there to do with yourself if you aren’t in the position to travel as often as you would like? Believe it or not, there’s probably a lot of exploring you can do right in your own hometown! I love taking day trips because it allows you to get to know an area close to home without having to spend money on hotels, or worry about someone taking care of your house or pets.
When we relocated to Portland, Oregon, I knew there would be plenty of opportunities to create little day trips in and around the city. Although this past winter and beginning of spring were particularly brutal (snow and lots of rain), the sun finally did start coming out a little more often. And when it did, we made sure to take full advantage of it! If you are living in Portland or just visiting, here’s a little Portland day trip that we put together.
We tend to usually get a late start on our days so unless we are going for brunch, we typically start our days out with lunch. There was a little sandwich shop called Shut Up and Eat in the Creston Kenilworth neighborhood that we had been wanting to try so we finally made it over there.
I had the most delish eggplant parm sandwich imaginable! I looooove eggplant parmesan and this sandwich was so flavorful, with tasty pieces of breaded eggplant stuffed into a soft but slightly crispy roll, and topped with gooey melted cheese. Bonus points for extra marinara sauce for dipping. I was stuffed! This is one of those sandwiches that you will likely have cravings for again and again.
Micah had the Broad Street Bomber which was kind of like their version of the cheesesteak with thinly sliced beef, fried onions, cheddar, provolone, and American cheese, topped with your choice of peppers. And we both shared an order of onion rings. A delicious, hearty meal to start the day off right.
Shut Up and Eat
3848 SE Gladstone Street
Portland, OR 97202
Our main plan for day was to spend some time wandering through Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in the Eastmoreland/Woodstock area. I really just wanted to be somewhere that allowed us to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air and am totally glad we picked this spot. We casually sauntered through the garden, admiring the spring flowers and all the greenery.
You can probably tell from my pictures that I’ve been needing some Vitamin D…when several people comment that you are starting to resemble Snow White, you know it’s time to come out of the bat cave…
This is truly a great spot if you want just want a nice, leisurely afternoon. One thing I really love about Oregon is that there is no shortage of flourishing plant life. Credit is due to that incessant wet stuff falling from the sky, of course.
The best part was all the different ducks that call this place home! Walking around the gardens, you’ll hear the sounds of the stream water running and all the little ducks quacking and splash landing into the ponds. If you’re looking for sounds of spring, you’ll definitely find them here.
I never realized there were so many different varieties of ducks. Although birds are one of my favorite creatures, I don’t really know a whole lot about ducks! So, I was glad to be able to see some new little faces in the garden that day. My ultimate favorite was the male wood duck. Just look at those beautiful feathers. And check out that hairdo. So stylish! Kind of shame that all the female ducks aren’t so colorful…but hey, that’s just nature’s way right?
There were also a few other types of birds, and of course, a ton of Canadian geese. It seems like they were out enjoying the sunshine in full force as well.
The squirrels here are also awfully friendly – and that is obviously due to all the people feeding them. I’m not a huge fan of feeding wildlife because I don’t like to disturb the balance of nature. We should just be there to observe them in their natural habitat as best as we can. Although, when those little squirrels get up close to you and their little sniffers are wiggling, it does kind of melt your heart a bit…
Entrance fees to the garden vary based on the season, day of the week, and time of day you visit:
- Admission is free during September 1 through February 28
- You do pay a small entry fee to the gardens of $5.00 per person from Wednesdays through Sundays during the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ‘
- Mondays and Tuesdays are free
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
5801 SE 28th Avenue
Portland, OR 97202
When I plan day outings, I typically like to get three different things in for the day, and with us, you can usually bet that one of those activities involves beer! How can you not? This is Portland after all. With the amount of good breweries in the city, it is just really hard to resist. We’ve been wanting to hit up Gigantic Brewing for quite a while now, even before we moved to the area. Gigantic was just a few minutes away from the garden so there really was no excuse not to make it this time around.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a quaint and cozy spot. We ordered the Ginormous Imperial IPA and the Pipewrench Gin Barrel Aged IPA, and found ourselves a seat on a comfy couch in the taproom. Wow, that Pipewrench was something else! It had such a unique flavor from being aged in the gin barrels. Brewers are really doing some great things with beer now and I must admit, I do like these gin barrel aged beers over the bourbon barrels.
Getting your favorite beers on tap is always better than drinking them from a can or bottle (although, I will say the thing that originally drew us to Gigantic was their awesome bottle designs). Plus, you generally get to try out some specially-brewed beers that don’t ever get distributed.
If you’re in the area, definitely stop by this funky little place.
5224 SE 26th Avenue
Portland, OR 97202
All of these activities are relatively close together so if you are short on time, you can make it to all three in just a couple of hours. Also, it’s a relatively affordable day trip if you are tight on cash!
If you want to see more of our little Portland day trip, here’s the vlog of our day!
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