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Weekender: Nonstop to Portland
Annie Tittiger | Photo: RoNg via Flickr | September 15, 2012
A quick two-hour flight, reasonable prices, and gorgeous fall colors makes Portland the perfect destination for a weekend escape.
Do: Hike to the Pittock Mansion for sweeping views of downtown. The Wildwood trailhead is in Washington Park, right next to Portland’s famous Rose Garden. The trail winds through a forest of ferns abundant with wildlife and wildflowers. Once you get to the top, take an hour to duck inside the architecturally eclectic mansion, which was home to early pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock. It's the perfect vista for postcard snapshots of downtown with the towering peaks of Mt. Hood and St. Helena in the distance.
Taste: Dinner at Pok Pok (3226 SE Division St.) on the lower east side is a long wait, but it’s worth it, especially since the proprietors also own Whiskey Soda Lounge just across the street (3131 SE Division St.). Grab a whiskey concoction and relax on the patio. You may be tempted to order the chicken wings with your drink. You should. The wings, doused in fish sauce and palm sugar, are also available (and amazing) at the restaurant, along with the extended menu of Vietnamese dishes, including a fantastic yellow curry and a spiced-up beef salad.
For brunch, the Stepping Stone Cafe is ideal. You can attempt the heroic feat and go for the “Mancakes” (a la Man v. Food), or take it down a couple notches and go for one of their jam-packed omelets. Either way, you won’t leave with an empty stomach. 2390 NW Quimby St., 503-222-1132
And of course, you can’t skip the new ice cream joint Salt & Straw. They’re known for their Salted Caramel, which is fantastic (though as a proud San Franciscan, I can’t say it’s better than Bi-Rite), and the homemade waffle cones have the perfect amount of crunch. 838 NW 23rd Ave., 971-271-8168
Sip: Slip into Clyde Common if you’re looking for cocktails—the bar was the originator of the barrel-aged cocktail trend (1014 SW Stark St.). For groups, Sweet Hereafter on the lower east side is best (3326 SE Belmont St.). The bar has a biergarten-style room in the back with large wood benches so you can converse with your friends and meet new ones.
Stay: The Ace Hotel has a prime location, situated in the heart of the Pearl District, a few blocks from Powell’s bookstore. It’s been called a boutique hotel, but it just calls itself “a little modern, and a little bohemian.” What you can expect are cozy rooms that feel more like you’ve rented an apartment for the weekend than a hotel. With quirky graphics blown up and plastered on white walls, it’s definitely funky, and makes for a perfect Portland-esque home-base. Rooms from $175, 1022 SW Stark St., 503-228-2277