Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

Overview of Portland, Oregon

by Sally Bernstein

Portland's land and water create a city of dramatic contrasts. The land has produced forests and farms where loggers and farmers cultivate what grows from the earth. The water fosters major commercial uses as well as recreation. The physical features and climate have an impact on living in Portland. The much talked about precipitation is not rain but light drizzle much of the year.

Mountains that are visible from Portland are Mts. Rainier, Adams, Jefferson, Hood and St. Helens. These mountains, part of the Cascade Range provide impressive views. In addition, along with the latitude and the proximity of the Pacific Ocean, these mountains determine the climate.

Keeping the city livable for its residents and not extending urban growth are two goals of Portlanders. Maintaining forest, farm and green space is of utmost importance. The city is civilized with an impressively clean downtown, stellar public transportation and a vibrant and attractive waterfront.

A visit to the city of Portland would not be complete without leaving the city to see the sights of the outlying areas. A journey along the Columbia River offers breathtaking views of the Columbia River Gorge. On the way to Mount Hood, a stop at Skamania Lodge for a meal or to sit in one of the rocking chairs in front of the fireplaces is a must.

Mount Hood is not only the highest mountain in the state, with an elevation of 11,245 feet, but also the most climbed peak in North America. Both a summer and winter activity center, skiing is available year-round and it is the home of the United States Olympic Ski Team. This is one of the few places to ski in the U.S. during the summer as well as enjoy its meandering hiking trails. And when it comes time to eat, Timberline Lodge, at the base of Mt. Hood, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Award-winning Executive Chef Leif Eric Benson, author of The Timberline Cookbook, showcases Oregon cuisine in this special setting. Hood River Valley offers regional farms where visitors can stop and pick their own produce or buy ready-picked fruits and vegetables. Cherries, peaches, apples, pears, apricots, berries, pumpkins and nuts are a few of the local choices.

Another typical Northwest point of interest is Bonneville Dam, 40 miles east of Portland. Here you can watch Chinook salmon and steelhead climb the fish ladders. Be sure to also view the fish hatchery, the power generation facilities and the navigation locks. Don't miss a spectacular series of waterfalls along the historic Columbia River Highway. Multnomah Falls welcomes more visitors than any other tourist attraction in the state and has an adjoining restaurant.

Another fun trip is to the Beaverton Farmers' Market, one of many held in the area. Look for bratwurst smoked on an open grill, served with sauerkraut and all the trimmings. Produce and flowers abound June through October with some organic products. Brookside Farms brings jams, preserves and marmalades; Cebastian's Coffee Cabana sells ready-made coffees and teas as well as a delicious vanilla bean tea to take home and enjoy. Hand-rolled soft pretzels and a variety of mustards are also available. Dried and fresh mushrooms, rhubarb, quick-frozen lamb and homemade cheeses add to the presentation.

Other produce markets are at Portland State University, North Park Blocks, South Park Blocks and Tigard.

You want to feed your mind and see over one million volumes, head to any one of Powell's seven locations. Known to be the largest new and used bookstore in the U.S., their main store is near downtown. There is an entire store called Books for Cooks at 3739 SE Hawthorne devoted to cookbooks, food giftware and deli foods. Out of print, collectors volumes and autographed copies are also available.

Pioneer Place, Portland's four story downtown shopping mall, includes 70 shops, a cavernous food court and such national names in retailing as Saks Fifth Avenue, J. Crew, Sharper Image, Victoria's Secret, The Museum Store and Williams Sonoma.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, try any one of Van Duyn Chocolates nine locations. This Portland tradition since 1927, offers premium chocolates in both dark and milk plus a sugar-free collection.

Niketown is a visual attack on your senses -- it is not just a tennis shoe store! Be prepared to go from room to room, each showcasing a different sport. This two-story colorful site offers shoes and accessories for golf, tennis, running, fitness, soccer, basketball, team sports and kids.

Near Niketown is the Michael Graves' Portland Building, built in 1982. It was the first major post-modern structure in the United States. Portlandia kneels above the entrance to the building. She is the second largest hammered copper statue in the world, the largest being the Statue of Liberty.

Generally, Portland is a clean, safe American city that wants to stay that way!

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

Share this article with a friend:

Free eNewsletter SignUp

Sally's Place on Facebook    Sally Bernstein on Instagram    Sally Bernstein at Linked In

Global Resources

Handmade Chocolates, Lillie Belle Farms

Food411 Food Directory