Friday, July 22, 2011

How to Be a Tourist with Your Dog Series: Portland, Oregon

We are one of the many currently swept up in the Portland craze (Portlandia?) and it has made our short-list of favored travel destinations. We were so excited to not only hear more about Portland, but hear about all the fantastic things to do in Portland that include dogs. Our hosts include Pit-mix Sadie, Lab Maggie, and puppy Hurley. From food trucks to coastal views to mountains, waterfalls, and brew pubs, here are itineraries of what to do in 1, 2 or 3 days:

One of the best aspects of Portland is its geographic location.  Beyond the city is some of the most beautiful scenery you can find anywhere.  A visit to Portland is incomplete if you skip on checking out the beautiful countryside.  The best part?  The scenic areas outside of the city are perfect day trips for you and your dogs.
The following is our “visitor” itinerary.  You come visit us for a 3-day weekend, this is where we’ll take you and what we’ll do, dogs in tow.  We hope you enjoy your visit!
Day 1:  The Coastal Loop
The morning starts out with a Portland must – the food cart scene.  Portland has a diverse and extensive selection of food carts, located mainly in pods around the city.  You can literally find any type of cuisine in a cart.  The bonus of food carts?  Being outside, they are naturally dog friendly.  Our favorite is the waffle cart close to our home.  After filling up on the PB & Nutella-(or Jam & Sweet Cream or Ham & Cheese)-filled waffles, we are ready to load up the dogs and hit the road towards the majestic Pacific.
Oregon has some of the most gorgeous coastline in the US.  Sunny, sandy beaches you will not find here.  We call it the Coast, not the Beach, for a reason.   Sunshine is a rare occurrence at the Coast so make sure to pack your windbreaker (Portland fun fact:  Portlanders never use umbrellas, we’re just used to the rain & mist being constant) and bring warm layers.  Our favorite spot along the Coast is also a short hour drive from Portland out Hwy 26.  Cannon Beach is a quaint coastal village; for us, it’s reminiscent of the villages on Cape Cod or the Maine Coast, where the hubster and I spent much of our childhood.  We stop in Cannon Beach to enjoy this beautiful beach (OK, we do have beaches in Oregon, just not sunny ones) and to grab a few sandwiches and a bottle of wine for our next stop.
After a good walk through the town of Cannon Beach and a stroll along the beach to view Haystack Rock (pictured), we head to Ecola State Park, just north of the town.  This is the perfect spot to build a fire out of driftwood, crack open that bottle of wine and watch those crazy surfers who brave the frigid temps of the Pacific this far north.  It’s also generally less crowded than Cannon Beach and the dogs are able to romp off leash in the waves.
Once we are sufficiently drenched by the drizzle & spray and have warmed ourselves back up with our beach bonfire & wine, it’s time to head back to Portland.  We take Coastal Hwy 1 up to Astoria and Hwy 30 along the Columbia River back to Portland.

Day 2:  Mt Hood & The Columbia Gorge
We will likely get you up early on your second day visiting us in Portland.  Getting in Mt Hood & The Gorge is a tall order for one day but one that you won’t forget.  I remember driving across the Gorge from Washington when we moved here and just being stunned by how majestic this part of Oregon is.  It literally takes your breath away and though we’ve lived here for 5 years, my breath still catches every time we drive out I-84 and enter the Columbia Gorge.
Our day will start about an hour and a half from Portland at Lost Lake.  This is my favorite place to catch views around Mt Hood.  The dogs enjoy a great swim and you get to take gorgeous photos of Mt Hood.  We enjoy a leisurely stroll around the lake with the dogs splashing in whenever there’s an opportunity.
After a few hours at Lost Lake, it’s time to ramble our way back to Portland.  First is a stop in Hood River for a bite to eat.  There are many dog-friendly cafes with outdoor seating in the downtown corridor of Hood River.
With lunch in our bellies, it’s back on I-84 towards Portland.  We’re not headed straight back though – as no visit to the Columbia Gorge would be complete without some serious waterfall viewing.   At Multnomah Falls (the most popular and most crowded waterfall of the Gorge), we stop for a gander and the requisite hike up to the bridge.
After these falls, we take the scenic route on the old Gorge highway past a half-dozen waterfalls or so.  We get out at the less crowded ones to let the dogs have a romp in the streams and pools.
Back in Portland, we will head over to the Lucky Lab brew-pub.  Yup, you guessed it!  Totally dog friendly and an example of Portland’s status as Beer City (we love our beer and the volume of breweries and brew pubs here is enough for a post in its own but alas, this is not a How to be a Beer Tourist series).  It’s been quite a day of sight-seeing and we deserve a pitcher (or two) and pizza to cap it off!

Day 3:  Portland, finally!
This is a trip to Portland after all, right?  I love to give my guests the option of where they would like to go here in PDX, once we’ve taken in the Coast and Mt Hood/Gorge.  The only requirement I have is that we start our day with Portland’s best brunch at The Tin Shed.  Not only is their patio 100% dog friendly;  many of their dishes are dog-themed  and they also have doggie bowls.  That’s right – brunch for you and for your dog!  One of our favorite memories of our dear Suzy was her visits to The Tin Shed.  She was a big fan of their chicken & rice bowl for dogs but didn’t really like the mushrooms so much.  She would meticulously lick each one and place it beside her bowl, uneaten.  The wait staff always had a good chuckle at our expense once we started special ordering her bowl sans mushrooms.
After having the best breakfast you’ve ever had, we’ll likely head to one of the many city parks.  Forest Park is the world’s largest city park and contains miles of hiking trails – a great place for the dogs! However, if your pooches are tired out by the previous 2 days’ activities and not up for a hike, we may head to Washington Park to take in the Rose Garden and enjoy glimpses of the beautiful Portland skyline.
Following our walk in one of the parks, we’ll take you out to either Alberta St or Mississippi St for some light shopping and serious people watching.  Both are great examples of what makes Portland such a unique and interesting place to visit.  Hopefully, you’ll coincide your visit with one of the fabulous street fairs they put on each summer.  The dogs of course are totally welcome and we’ll make a pit stop at either Amnesia Brewing or The Mash Tun, both great brewpubs.
We hope your enjoyed your virtual visit to our neck of the woods.  Wanna move here yet?  This place sort of has that affect on our visitors and we are truly blessed to have such an amazing place as our backyard.  PS – the dogs enjoy it as well.
We loved seeing this insider's view of Portland, and even if we can't literally make it to Portland, it's still inspiring to see the types of things we can do with our dogs in our own city. And as one reader pointed out, it's always a good idea for pit bull owners to research beforehand as some parks and areas might not allow pitties. You can read more about Sadie, Maggie and Hurley here. In case you missed them, you can also read about things to do with dogs in Richmond, VirginiaSeattle,  Kansas CityNashville, Alaska, and Chicago. And you can read about roadtripping with 4 large dogs and boating to the Bahamas with a pit bull. We do love hearing insider's tips, and if you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information or contact us through our Facebook page.


Unknown said...

Beautiful pictures! These posts are really making us want to travel :)

Unknown said...

Well I'm NOW officially in LOVE with Oregon. And especially considering the heat wave OK and so many others are caught in. The climate looks oh so refreshing! That blue sky, water and mountain views and waterfalls are just absolutely beautiful. I'm itching to travel that direction now too! Loving these articles!

Anonymous said...

Love love love love Portland! Best trip we've ever taken in the States! Can't wait to go back! Beautiful photos - esp Lost Lake - we totally missed that when we visited!

brooke said...

We've taken Darwin to a number of those places! Makes me want to go back! I really want to go visit the Columbia River Gorge!

Two French Bulldogs said...

we hear Oregon is very dog friendly. We better visit there soon so the rules don't change
Benny & Lily

Kate said...

Beautiful photos. I love how it's so dog-friendly!

FANCY the Red Standard Poodle said...

Hi Y'all!

What a great post. We got to feel as if we were really visiting.

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

Kari in Alaska said...

I really want to visit Portland more!!!


The Daily Pip said...

I have always wanted to visit Portland and now I want to even more. It looks incredible! It must be so nice live some place so beautiful!

Corbin said...

This is totally super fun! My favorite part is the pooches get to go to the brewpub!!!

Lindsay said...

While we're not big on the city, we are big on the state. Oregon is a good place to call home!:)

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

Too cute, amazing photos!

urbanscientist said...

I love how it's broken out into the 3 day plan. And seeing this in such detail gives me more reason to finally go visit!

Road Dog Tales said...

Portland is on our TO DO list, also! Think we might need to go visit for a year or so. Looks like there's plenty of places to SWIM!

The Road Dogs

Two Pitties in the City said...

I love seeing both the city and nature aspects. We just can't let Mr B know that such a place exists

Mary said...

Another post that makes me question why I live in St. Louis! Those pictures are spectacular. And I'll bet one of the best things about having dogs in Portland is that the climate is friendlier if your dog is a baby about the heat or the cold (I'm looking at you, Levi).

Jacquelin Cangro said...

Yes! These photos and itinerary definitely make me wish I was in Portland! A friend has been trying to get me to visit. I see what I've been missing!

Reggie doesn't like mushrooms either. He tries to chew them a bit and then spits them out.

Anonymous said...

It's been years since Mom was in the Portland area. She remembers it as just a BEAUTIFUL place! So friendly too! A return visit is a must! Thanks for the memories :D

Waggin at ya,

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore that last photo of your pooch napping in the rocks. That looks like one happy dog! I have done the Coastal Loop and have visited Portland, but without our Chick. Seeing what a nice dog city it is makes me want to do a road trip with him there!

jesica partos said...

Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts are more interesting and informative.
things to do in Portland

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