Frugal Portland http://frugalportland.com Cheap. Fun. Portland Thu, 24 Nov 2016 10:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://frugalportland.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-frugal-portland-logo-square1-32x32.png Frugal Portland http://frugalportland.com 32 32 The Magic of Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon http://frugalportland.com/magic-sylvia-beach-hotel/ http://frugalportland.com/magic-sylvia-beach-hotel/#comments Thu, 24 Nov 2016 10:00:00 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7792 It’s been a rough couple of weeks. After more than a year of unrelenting anxiety, it turns out that we, as a nation, are still deep in the woods of angst. I am worn out, exhausted, enervated. I need a martini! I need a medical degree that would convince the Canadian government to allow me...

Read More »

The post The Magic of Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

After more than a year of unrelenting anxiety, it turns out that we, as a nation, are still deep in the woods of angst. I am worn out, exhausted, enervated. I need a martini! I need a medical degree that would convince the Canadian government to allow me to emigrate! I NEED A BREAK!

If you fall in the “I need a vacation!” category – for whatever reason – have I got a spot for you! Sylvia Beach Hotel (SBH) in Newport is a refuge of unparalleled anxiety-reducing amenities. From the SBH website: “There are no telephones, TVs, or WiFi in rooms at Sylvia Beach Hotel. The allure is beach quiet – gathering one’s thoughts, writing, reading, and savoring the wonder of ocean and sky. Unplug, unwind, and sleep with your favorite author.”

Wait. Er, “sleep with your favorite author”? Yes, you can, in a way, do just that. SBH is, as its tagline proclaims, “Truly a hotel for book lovers,” and each room is named for an author – from Hemingway and Jane Austen to Mark Twain and Dr. Seuss! – and decorated accordingly. SBH is a great spot for book lovers, deep thinkers and just folks who want to get away from it all in a quiet, beachfront, reflective location.

The hotel – built in 1913 but re-opened after a huge remodel in 1987 – is named after Sylvia Beach, an American supporter of writers and poets born in 1887 who spent most of her life in Paris and was fast friends with Hemingway, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. She opened a bookstore and lending library named Shakespeare and Company in 1919 in Paris and kept it open until the Nazi occupation during World War II. She was a Can Do Woman, an inspiration – and we sure as heck need that right now.

Here are eight great reasons to take refuge at Sylvia Beach Hotel (and soon!):

#1. Balm for Your Soul

sylvia-beach-hotel-library

On a (very) recent visit, I sat in the hotel’s heavenly library (which takes up the oceanfront side of the top floor), drinking complimentary coffee (with REAL half & half), mesmerized by the surf on Nye Beach. I’d chosen a comfortable armchair next to a fireplace, surrounded by books, books, books. A large orange tabby (named Shelley) allowed me to pet him. I had my book with me but, at that moment, I was just taking deep breaths and focusing on the waves. My heart rate slowed, my mind cleared…

#2. It’s Unique

This is not the Best Western – and thank heavens for that! Each room is unique, quirky, and delightful – as is the dining room, the library, and the carefully curated gift shop. The pure creativity on display may subconsciously open your mind to new thoughts and paradigms. If that conclusion is too New Agey for you, just enjoy exploring it all!

#3. The Library

sylvia-beach-library-2

SBH probably could have created four or more rooms from this humongous space on the top floor – but, THANKFULLY, it is devoted to the library, ocean viewing area, and communal kitchen. There are hundreds of books, comfy couches, and chairs, and expansive views of Nye Beach. In the evening – around 9 pm – warm spiced wine is available in the kitchen (it’s complimentary as well). (See reason #1 too!)

#4. No High-Brow Literature Police Will Confiscate Your Grisham Novel

If you didn’t major in English Literature (I didn’t!), relax. You might think that with rooms devoted to Oscar Wilde, Melville, Gertrude Stein, Emily Dickinson, and Colette, the conversation around the breakfast (or dinner) table would be pretty rarefied (even, snooty). But SBH’s inhabitants and staff are pretty low-key. I saw one man reading a James Patterson novel and felt better about my Ann Patchett. :) It’s really okay to read WHATEVER. (They’ve got a room devoted to Dr. Seuss, for crying out loud. :)

#5. The Hotel Cat

sylvia-beach-hotel-cat

Fair warning for those who are allergic: there is a hotel cat. His name is Shelley, he’s a large orange/brown tabby, and he’s adorable. For some reason, he was waiting outside my room each morning. Sweet…

#6. The People You Meet

The dining room (a delightful full breakfast is included in your room cost!) boasts large, seats-6-or-8-people tables. This is by design: You MUST sit next to folks you don’t know – and you WILL get to know them, at least a little bit. On a recent visit, I met travelers from Texas, New York, Newberg and, well, Portland. Everyone was friendly, interesting, and open. It is a good feeling to meet others from all over and learn new things from them, tell them stuff they never knew. The magic of community will be reinforced during your visit.

#7. Nye Beach

SBH is the crowning jewel of the Nye Beach neighborhood. And a delightful area it is. There are numerous boutiques, pubs, cafes, a used bookshop, and a marvelous bakery (Panini). There is an arts center and several galleries, featuring local artists. And the Performing Arts Center is three blocks away. Take in some reasonably priced culture during your stay!

#8. A Lot of Bang for your Buck

dr-seuss-room

Sylvia Beach Hotel’s regular rates are uber reasonable, when considering their many amenities. My recent visit cost $200 (tax included). It included lodging for two for two nights, sumptuous breakfasts each morning, free coffee (and wine at night!), unlimited petting of Shelley the cat, unrestricted access to the library – and a huge dose of serenity. A bargain at twice the price…

For More Info

Visit www.sylviabeachhotel.com to book your next trip!

The post The Magic of Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport, Oregon appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/magic-sylvia-beach-hotel/feed/ 1
100 Things to Do In Portland Before You Die: Book Review http://frugalportland.com/100-things-portland-die/ http://frugalportland.com/100-things-portland-die/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 10:00:09 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7787 Last month, I was sent a book to review. The book, 100 Things to do in Portland Before You Die, sounded interesting, so I read my copy, and then had the opportunity to talk with one of the authors, Ann Smith, over a virtual cup of coffee (which we should exchange for a real cup...

Read More »

The post 100 Things to Do In Portland Before You Die: Book Review appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
100-things-to-do-in-portland-before-you-die

Last month, I was sent a book to review. The book, 100 Things to do in Portland Before You Die, sounded interesting, so I read my copy, and then had the opportunity to talk with one of the authors, Ann Smith, over a virtual cup of coffee (which we should exchange for a real cup of coffee since we’re in the same city!).

Frugal Portland: This is a great list, how did you come up with all 100 things?

Thanks – we think it is a fun mix that has a little something for everyone! To come up with the list I started by brainstorming my favorite things in Portland and then had a larger meeting of the minds with everyone on my team at work. It was important to me that the book didn’t just include my favorite things as that wouldn’t be a very well-rounded list!

What made you want to be a part of this project?

I was fortunate to have been contacted directly the publisher, Reedy Press, which is based in St. Louis. They were looking for someone to write a Portland-focused book and a former colleague of mine (from my time in St. Louis) sent them my way. How could I say no?!

What was item 101, as in, what’s not on the list that should be if you had more than 100 things?

Honestly I keep thinking of places and experiences that I wish were included. For instance I wish that Wildfang was included in the shopping section and that Darcelle XV was part of entertainment.

What’s the craziest story you came across when you were writing this book?

Hmmm….did you know that Portland Fashion Week is the world’s first carbon-negative fashion event, and that the entire production is sustained by solar power, offers locally sourced meals, and employs cruelty-free makeup and hair products? I didn’t until we wrote this book!

My mother-in-law is in her 70s and visits often. Where should I take her?

If you’re looking for a great evening out with world-class food and wine, take her to Nostrana. Then if the weather is nice the next morning, visit the Waffle Window on SW Hawthorne. If she’s looking for some evening entertainment, consider catching some live jazz at Jimmy Mak’s in the Pearl District. Looking to get outside? Next time she’s here during the summer check out one of the lavender festivals, U-pick farms or roadside stands up and down the valley. And if she’s like my mom and loves to shop, there are lots of great options – from vintage boutiques, employee stores and the trendy retailers in the Alberta, Mississippi and Hawthorne districts.

What’s on the list that you personally don’t want to do, and why?

I have a healthy fear of Santacon. Not saying I’d never don the red suit and be part of the craziness, but it would take some convincing (and probably a few warm-up beers)!

Which experience in the book is prototypically Portland? Meaning, what’s on the list that people can’t do anywhere else?

Nearly everything! From the gardens to the food carts, to hiking Multnomah Falls or taking a spin through the Pearl District with Brewcycle, these are experiences especially reserved for those living in and visiting Portland.

Where can we find your book?

The book is available on Amazon and in various bookstores, as well as in Costco stores in and around Portland.

The post 100 Things to Do In Portland Before You Die: Book Review appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/100-things-portland-die/feed/ 0
How to Spend a Rainy Day in Portland http://frugalportland.com/spend-rainy-day-portland/ http://frugalportland.com/spend-rainy-day-portland/#comments Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:45:05 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7767 It was a dark and stormy night – that turned into a dark and stormy day. You know, typical autumn weather for Portland. What to do? Staying at home binge-watching Game of Thrones or Better Call Saul is certainly an option. But eventually cabin fever will force you to go OUT (to forage for food,...

Read More »

The post How to Spend a Rainy Day in Portland appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
It was a dark and stormy night – that turned into a dark and stormy day. You know, typical autumn weather for Portland.

What to do? Staying at home binge-watching Game of Thrones or Better Call Saul is certainly an option. But eventually cabin fever will force you to go OUT (to forage for food, if nothing else). Here are five frugal options for fun on those inevitable rainy days in Portland:

1. MOVIES – ON THE CHEAP

kennedy-school-theatre

Of course, you can watch movies at home (see binge-watching reference above). But there’s something about sitting in a theater and looking up at that big screen with a greasy tub of popcorn that just completes the movie-watching experience.

Luckily, Portland has a wealth of inexpensive “second run” movie theaters – and that should make all frugal types happy. (If you’re one of those people who MUST see every new movie as soon as it hits the theaters, this may, er, not be the website for you.).

My favorite second-run movie viewing spot is McMenamins Kennedy School Theater (5736 NE 33rd Ave.; mcmenamins.com). When my kids were small, Kennedy School Theater was my go-to spot for rainy afternoons/evenings with my young sons – super cheap and they could nap on the comfy couches if they got bored or tired (a frequent occurrence).

They’re grown now but Kennedy School is still my favorite due to those cozy couches and chairs (and even tables for your drinks/popcorn/pizza). Cost is $4 for adults, $2 for kids 11 and under. McMenamin’s Mission Theater (1624 NW Glisan; mcmenamins.com) is also uber-cheap: $2 for adults and kids for shows starting before 5 pm; $4 and $3 respectively after 5 pm.

Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark; academytheaterpdx.com) is another great second-run bargain movie option. Prices are only $4 adults, $3 for 12 and under (and seniors) and they have specials that go beyond those low, low rates: Double Feature Monday: watch two consecutive movies for $6 adults ($4 kids/seniors); and Two for Tuesday: buy one ticket get one free. Laurelhurst Theater and Pub (2735 E. Burnside St.; laurelhursttheater.com), likewise, offers movies on the big screen for next-to-nothing: $3 before 6 pm; $4 after.

2. MUSEUM HOPPING

portland-art-museum-2

If you’re a tourist, you probably already consider museums a top option for ANY day, not just the rainy ones. They are a great way to learn about the area you’re visiting. But even us natives could use a little refresher course on, say, our Oregon history or (gulp!) cultural pursuits.

In keeping with those sentiments the Oregon Historical Society museum (1200 SW Park Ave.; ohs.org) is a fantastic option – and for Multnomah County residents it is FREE ($11 for others). I guarantee that you WILL learn a ton about this fascinating state. You will be surprised. You will be enriched. Even if you don’t live in Multnomah County and, hence, get in free, you should consider it.

The Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Ave. pam.org) is an awesome facility with a world class inventory, well worth a long, immersive visit. It is free on the first Thursday of each month from 5 to 8 – and you will want to make note of this because regular adult admission to the museum is now a whopping $19.99!

Other FREE (and low cost) museums to consider include:

The Center for Contemporary Art and Culture (housed with the Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 NW Broadway; ccac.pnca.edu). The CCAC is open 11 am to 5 pm Thursday through Saturday and is always free. It boasts 1300+ pieces of art, specializing in ceramics.

An often overlooked option is the Mercy Corps Action Center (28 SW 1st Ave; mercycorps.org). Portland is the headquarters for this international relief agency and their action center exhibits offer fact-filled (and often heart-breaking) looks at where the need is greatest in the world – and what is being done there to help. Open 11 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

The Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center (121 NW 2nd Ave; oregonnikkei.org) charges only $5 admission ($3 for seniors/students) and offers visitors an education on the history and culture of the Japanese American community in Oregon. Highlights include life after Executive Order 9066 (the World War II Japanese internment order). Closed Mondays.

History, art, culture – and how to save the world – not a bad way to spend a rainy day!

3. HANGING OUT AT YOUR FAVORITE COFFEE SHOP

Portland always ranks near the top (the VERY top) of “most caffeinated cities in the country” lists. Why? I like to think it’s because we’re quite erudite (sipping espresso and reading The New Yorker or The Economist) and/or that we thrive on community – and coffee shops are where we congregate. But it could just be the weather. The other two cities that typically round out the Coffee Triumvirate are Seattle (no surprise!) and San Francisco – not cities known for their year-round sunshine.

Whatever the reason, get thee to a coffee shop! According to one recent survey, Portland is home to more than 1,500 caffeine distribution establishments. So you should be able to find one close by.

Bring your books and/or lap top (and/or friends!) and while away the afternoon.

4. BROWSE THOSE BOOKS

powells-city-of-books

While you can enjoy this rainy day activity at any book store, the beauty of Powell’s City of Books (1005 W. Burnside; powells.com) is that, along with countless new and used books to wander among, you can find refuge in the World Cup Coffee area to re-caffeinate, rest your feet and check out your prospective purchases.

This Portland icon is often packed on rainy days – with like-minded individuals (so expect to sit next to a stranger in the coffee shop).

5. ROLLER SKATING – OR ROLLER SKATING WATCHING!

oaks-park-skates

Not everyone is cut out for roller skating. I, for one, consider it a spectator sport. At Oaks Park Roller Rink (7805 SE Oaks Park Way; oakspark.com), you can decide which role you want to take on. Roller Skating Sessions start at $6.50 per person and skate rentals begin at $2. As a spectator, I pay nothing to watch. :) It’s especially fun if some of your bolder-but-no-more-capable friends are out there, wheeling around wildly.

Not that you’ll need these tips, because it’s not going to rain the rest of the fall, and into the winter, but, just in case you need something to do, we’ve got you covered.

I’ll see you at Oaks Park.

The post How to Spend a Rainy Day in Portland appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/spend-rainy-day-portland/feed/ 1
5 Reasons to Give Pastini Pastaria a try http://frugalportland.com/5-reasons-love-pastini-pastaria/ http://frugalportland.com/5-reasons-love-pastini-pastaria/#comments Thu, 29 Sep 2016 11:06:42 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7751 Let’s call it The Chianti Effect. It’s that little bit of Italy you experience when you truly savor a decent glass of Chianti and some good pasta. With just the tiniest amount of imagination you are transported to Tuscany where you can live la dolce vita for the duration of your meal. For the record,...

Read More »

The post 5 Reasons to Give Pastini Pastaria a try appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
5-reasons-to-give-pastini-a-try

Let’s call it The Chianti Effect. It’s that little bit of Italy you experience when you truly savor a decent glass of Chianti and some good pasta. With just the tiniest amount of imagination you are transported to Tuscany where you can live la dolce vita for the duration of your meal.

For the record, I am just about the furthest thing from an oenophile you could ever find. I would be unlikely to discern the difference between a Two Buck Chuck and a Chateau Lafite Rothschild (although, admittedly, I’ve never been offered the latter). But for some unknown reason, the chianti-pasta connection clicked with me the very first time I tried it.

My favorite spot for immersing myself in The Chianti Effect right here in Portland is Pastini Pastaria. Here are five fantastico (!) reasons to give it a try:

1. A GLASS OF THE HOUSE RED AND SOME BRUSCHETTA

On a recent sunny afternoon, my husband and I sat outdoors at Pastini’s NE Broadway location (adding that European sidewalk cafe ambience bonus to the equation) and feasted on bruschetta with glasses of house red. According to the Pastini website the house red – Pastini Rosso – “is a Chianti in everything but the name” and is made for Pastini in Tuscany’s Chianti region with Sangiovese grapes that are sustainably farmed and hand-picked. The Pastini version of Bruschetta Classico highlights thick, grilled, slices of country style bread brushed with olive oil and served with roasted eggplant spread and tomatoes marinated with garlic and fresh basil. Very tasty! Very filling! We savored every bite and sip. For less than $12 per person we sailed off on our mini-Italian escape.

2. MEATBALL MONDAYS

Each Monday, you can dine on spaghetti with meatballs for only $7.95. Add a glass of the house red and you’re out about $16 per person – the ultimate frugal chianti fix. Go nuts and get a bottle of the house red, the bruschetta and bowls of spaghetti. Linger. Indulge (and then walk or uber home). You’ll still only spend about $25 per person.

3. 10 LUNCHES FOR $8.50 EACH

Monday through Friday until 2 pm, you can choose from 10 lunch dishes for just $8.50. Options include pasta and salad combinations like spaghetti siciliano, ziti with grilled eggplant alla napoletano and linguini al gorgonzola to sandwich and soup choices or ziti and chicken salad.

4. LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE, FRESH – AND SOOO PORTLAND

Pastini is based in Portland and is dedicated to the Portland mantra of fresh, local, handcrafted food. Many offerings – think pasta, sauces, soups, dressings and desserts – are made from scratch; others are locally sourced, like the artisanal breads from Pearl Bakery, the meats from Carlton Farms and the cheeses, balsamic vinegars, olives and oils from Classic Foods.

5. FIVE PORTLAND LOCATIONS

I’m able to walk to the NE Broadway Pastini, a nice perk if you’re going to be indulging in more than one glass of chianti. Fortunately, you’ll find four more locations around the metro area: downtown, SE Division, Cedar HIlls and Bridgeport Village (as well as Corvallis and Bend).

If you really need a break today, skip Mickey D’s and opt for a micro-Italian-escape at Pastini Pastaria. No budget-busting itineraries or jet lag required. :)

Portland locations:

  • 1426 NE Broadway
  • 911 SW Taylor
  • 2027 SE Division
  • 3487 SW Cedar Hills Blvd.
  • 7307 SW Bridgeport Rd.

Pastini.com for hours, menu and specials.

The post 5 Reasons to Give Pastini Pastaria a try appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/5-reasons-love-pastini-pastaria/feed/ 1
6 Reasons to Spend the Day in Astoria http://frugalportland.com/6-reasons-spend-day-astoria/ http://frugalportland.com/6-reasons-spend-day-astoria/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2016 00:33:31 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7730 Pop quiz: what’s the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies? San Francisco! Logical choice – but, no. Seattle? Nope. Uh, Portland? Nope again. It’s actually Astoria. Fort Astoria was founded in 1811 by John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company. Thanks to Europeans’ fondness for beaver pelt hats, fur trading was a Big Deal back...

Read More »

The post 6 Reasons to Spend the Day in Astoria appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
Pop quiz: what’s the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies? San Francisco! Logical choice – but, no. Seattle? Nope. Uh, Portland? Nope again.

It’s actually Astoria. Fort Astoria was founded in 1811 by John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company. Thanks to Europeans’ fondness for beaver pelt hats, fur trading was a Big Deal back then – and Astor cashed in nicely.

Today, his namesake Astoria exudes an abundance of historical, geographical and cultural charm. Here are six solid reasons for making Astoria – just a two-hour drive from Portland – your next daycation (or longer) destination:

1. HISTORY – ON STEROIDS

another-victorian-house

 

As noted above, Astoria goes waaay back – knowing some of that history is not only helpful but, quite simply, fascinating. The best place to start your Astoria Education is the Heritage Museum (1618 Exchange St.). You’ll learn about the history of Clatsop County from its Native American roots and Lewis & Clark’s “wintering over” in 1805-06 at Fort Clatsop (a 20 minute drive across Youngs Bay and well worth a visit) to Astor’s fur trading empire and beyond. Astoria’s rough and tumble “Shanghai” trade – when young men were kidnapped and forced to work on ships sailing to China – is especially intriguing as is information on the Great Fires of 1883 and 1922. Follow that up with a visit to the Captain George Flavel House (441 8th St.), an elegant 1886 Queen Anne Victorian home decked out in period furnishings. (Mikey’s dad worked here in the film The Goonies. See No. 4 below)

2. COLUMBIA RIVER MARITIME MUSEUM

maritime-museum

Continue your Astoria education at this nautical themed museum (1792 Marine Drive). History comes alive with photos, replicas and the-real-thing exhibits that chronicle the area’s pivotal relationship with the mighty Columbia River.

3. ARCHITECTURE

flavel-house

Now that you’re schooled in all-things-Astoria, it’s time to immerse yourself in the city and its historical buildings. Dozens of Victorian homes dot the hillside; in fact, over 350 homes in use today in Astoria are over 100 years old. Watch for “for sale” signs – it’s fun to guess how much one of these historic delights cost (compared to Portland, they are a bargain). As you cruise around Astoria’s formidable hills, you’ll understand why Astoria is sometimes called “Little San Francisco” – and you’ll be glad that your brakes are in good working order.

4. MOVIES

victorian-house

While you’re driving around, gawking at the Victorian homes, stop by a few of the locations from films shot in Astoria. At the Visitors Center (111 West Marine Drive), you can pick up a free (very basic) “Movies in Astoria” handout. Or you can spring for the $3 booklet that includes a self-guided tour. The most popular – and family friendly! – movies include The Goonies (1985), Kindergarten Cop (1900), Short Circuit (1986) and Free Willy (1993). The Goonies House (368 38th St.) is always a favorite as is Astor School (3550 Franklin) where Ahhnold (Schwarzenegger) taught in Kindergarten Cop.

5. THE RIVERWALK AND THE TROLLEY

astoria-trolley

The Riverwalk is an awesome five mile pedestrian and bike friendly path that hugs the Columbia River and meanders by piers, restaurants and historic sites. The trolley (“Old 300”; old300.org) is a delightful and very inexpensive way to add a historical touch to your Riverwalk experience. For $1 per ride – or $2 for an all-day, on and off pass – you can travel back in time as a guide provides information on the sites you’re seeing and the history behind them. The trolley runs (weather dependent) from noon to 6 p.m. through Oct. 2.

6. ASTORIA COLUMN

astoria-column

Top off your Astoria sojourn with a visit to the Astoria column. This iconic tower, built in 1926, sits atop Coxcomb Hill and offers panoramic vistas of the ocean, river and Youngs Bay. The views – and Instagram pics – are worth the 164 step slog to the top.

If you go:

Visit travelastoria.com or the Visitors Center (111 West Marine Drive/Hwy. 30, Astoria; 800-875-6807) for an abundance of additional details on Astoria.

 

The post 6 Reasons to Spend the Day in Astoria appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/6-reasons-spend-day-astoria/feed/ 3
7 Reasons You’ll Love the Oregon State Fair http://frugalportland.com/7-reasons-youll-love-oregon-state-fair/ http://frugalportland.com/7-reasons-youll-love-oregon-state-fair/#comments Thu, 11 Aug 2016 12:27:58 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7705 Full disclosure here: I may be biased on this subject. I have been attending the Oregon State Fair for more than half a century (yipes!). Growing up in Small Town Oregon, my raised-on-a-farm-in-Kansas-father ensured that his kids never missed this annual event. My dad loved the fair, particularly the animal barns where he could relive...

Read More »

The post 7 Reasons You’ll Love the Oregon State Fair appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
State Fair Clydesdale and kidsFull disclosure here: I may be biased on this subject. I have been attending the Oregon State Fair for more than half a century (yipes!). Growing up in Small Town Oregon, my raised-on-a-farm-in-Kansas-father ensured that his kids never missed this annual event. My dad loved the fair, particularly the animal barns where he could relive his youth. He’d happily point out the difference between dairy and beef cows, encourage us to ponder the strength and majesty of the mighty Clydesdales, and always end with, in his mind, the piece de resistance – The Swine Stop, to visit the mama pig and her piglets.

I continued the tradition with my children – bringing Grandpa along whenever possible. It was beyond magical to have my dear father explain the same animal trivia to my boys as he had to me as a young girl.

Over the years, the fair has changed somewhat – but those good bones are still there! Here are seven great reasons that you should consider spending a day at the fair (and why I still try to make an annual pilgrimage there):

1. The Animal Barns

State Fair animals

Yes, they smell. But you’ll get used to it quickly. For your perseverance, you’ll be rewarded with the antics of hundreds of cows, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, chickens, bunnies, even llamas and alpacas (they did not have those last two around when I was a kid!). Whether you’re a carnivore or a vegan or something in between, you really should get to know these creatures better.

2. Competitions: Part 1

There are literally hundreds of categories of competitions, and most of them are just for average folks vying for those coveted blue ribbons. These range from the pies and cobblers, jams and jellies, and quilts and needlework of yore (feels like time traveling as you walk through these entries) to artwork, jewelry, baskets, “Faberge” egg art, mosaics, table decorating (one of my favorite categories!), doll houses and “trash to treasure” creations, even LEGO masterpieces, poetry and “Oddest Vegetable” – and MUCH more. Head to the Creative Living Area to catch the action.

3. Competitions: Part 2

The second area of competitions are “live” contests. There are a host of 4-H events, where you’ll watch youngsters show off their livestock (this is serious stuff – these kids have worked hard!). And then there are the less serious competitions, like The Art of Not Shaving (think BEARDS), Milk Mustache and Pie Eating (no hands allowed!) contests and “just for fun” spelling bees. Watermelon seed spitting and corn husking are no longer on the agenda. More’s the pity!

4. Dog Town!

State Fair Dog Town

This was not part of my State Fair Experience as a child – but it is now. There’s a reason that these cute canines are a huge hit. You’ll see dogs that appear to fly, others that catch Frisbees with uncanny accuracy and still others performing unexpected, crowd-pleasing tricks. Don’t miss it.

5. Entertainment Galore

State Fair entertainment

In my mind, all of the fair’s amenities qualify as entertainment. But the fair also offers well-known bands, talented jugglers and magicians and more. Smaller stage offerings take place throughout the day while the headliners typically strut their stuff at the L.B. Day Amphitheater toward evening. While there are first come, first served FREE seats available for the latter, they’re limited and the only way to guarantee a seat for those big names is to purchase a VIP ticket ($35). Since this is a FRUGAL LIVING site and I’m a FRUGAL LIVING GAL, I have never bothered with the entertainment that costs extra (except that one time when Garrison Keillor was performing on our anniversary). Maybe I’m a purist? For me, the state fair is where you commune with farm animals and eat curly fries – not stand in line in the burning sun hoping for a free seat to see Tommy James & the Shondells or, alternatively, pay $35 for the privilege. Just my two cents.

6. It’s a GREAT Value

State Fair rides 1

One of the ways that the fair has changed is the kinds of admission discounts available. When my kids were little, they had a day called (and I’m just guessing on the exact title here), “Dress up a vegetable and get in free day.” Count us in! They don’t have that one any longer but the good news is that the cost of admission has stayed very reasonable over the years. Even if you pay full price ($8 at the gate; $6 in advance for adults), the fair is an incredible deal, with far more stuff to see than you could cram into a day. And there still are some nice discounts. For example, opening day admission is only $1.50! And seniors (65+) get in for $1 any day. Visit oregonstatefair.org for more discount possibilities.

7. You’ll get in Touch with Your Inner Farmer

Whether we’re city slickers, suburbanites or small town denizens, we all can find tillers of the land somewhere in our genetic history. Fully experiencing the state fair – the animals, 4-H shows, blue ribbon giant pumpkin winners and beyond – feels somehow familiar, even warm and fuzzy, on a molecular level. At least it does for me. You’ll have to check it out to see if it does the same for you. Enjoy!

 

If you go:

The Oregon State Fair takes place starting Aug. 26 through Sept. 5. Visit oregonstatefair.org for more information.

 

The post 7 Reasons You’ll Love the Oregon State Fair appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/7-reasons-youll-love-oregon-state-fair/feed/ 3
Downtown Portland, Then and Now: 2007-2014 http://frugalportland.com/downtown-portland-now-2007-2014/ http://frugalportland.com/downtown-portland-now-2007-2014/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2016 18:00:06 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7698 Portland has really changed in the last decade or so. It’s easy to forget how quickly buildings go up and the skyline changes, and that’s why these slides (which are interactive — just drag on the arrows!) are so eye-opening. The first set of images is from 2007, and the second set was taken just...

Read More »

The post Downtown Portland, Then and Now: 2007-2014 appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
Portland has really changed in the last decade or so. It’s easy to forget how quickly buildings go up and the skyline changes, and that’s why these slides (which are interactive — just drag on the arrows!) are so eye-opening. The first set of images is from 2007, and the second set was taken just eight years later.

It’s crazy to me how quickly the skyline can change. We’re seeing the same thing now, especially downtown and in some underdeveloped quadrants. Buildings go up seemingly overnight, and I can’t wait to see what the next eight years will bring to this city.

Check out these differences, as compiled by rental website, RENTCafé:

1. 3939 SW Bond Ave, Block 49, and The Matisse – Southwest Portland

2. Mirabella Portland, The Ardea, and Riva on the Park – Southwest Portland

3. Ladd Tower – Downtown

4. Cyan – Downtown

5. First & Main – Downtown

6. Twelve West – Downtown

7. 937 Condominiums – Pearl District

8. Machine Works Building and Enso Apartments – Pearl District

9. Asa Flats + Lofts, The Lovejoy, and Enso – Pearl District

10. Bud Clark Commons – Old Town Chinatown


So, if you visited Portland a decade ago, chances are the Portland you see today is wildly different, and because we’re growing so quickly, it’ll look wildly different in another decade.

Where is this growth headed? Skyward. Watch Northeast Portland (just over the Fremont Bridge) in the next few years. Ever since the New Seasons was built in that neighborhood, there has been rapid change, with more rentals coming available every month.

Is your part of Portland changing?

The post Downtown Portland, Then and Now: 2007-2014 appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/downtown-portland-now-2007-2014/feed/ 7
Five Reasons to Visit Portland’s Wishing Tree http://frugalportland.com/five-reasons-visit-portlands-wishing-tree/ http://frugalportland.com/five-reasons-visit-portlands-wishing-tree/#comments Thu, 04 Aug 2016 12:34:00 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7667 If you aren’t aware of this iconic Portland landmark and you’re interested in experiencing All Things Portland then you really must add, “Visit the Wishing Tree” to your Portland to-do list. The Wishing Tree is exactly what it sounds like: a towering elm where you can write down a wish (all necessary materials provided free of...

Read More »

The post Five Reasons to Visit Portland’s Wishing Tree appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
If you aren’t aware of this iconic Portland landmark and you’re interested in experiencing All Things Portland then you really must add, “Visit the Wishing Tree” to your Portland to-do list.

The Wishing Tree is exactly what it sounds like: a towering elm where you can write down a wish (all necessary materials provided free of charge) and then tie it to a branch or leaf (no thumbtacks or nails are used; the tree is not harmed). Several hundred – perhaps thousands? – of folks have already made this pilgrimage and put their wishes “out there.”

This tree of dreams is located in the parking strip in front of the house at 2954 NE 7th Ave (between Stanton and Siskiyou, just down from Irving Park). The owners of the home started the tradition by putting their own wishes on the tree in late 2013. When others followed suit, they decided to provide tags (with strings) and Sharpies for those who wanted to add their own thoughts. And the magic began…

The Wishing Tree Experience includes both reading others’ wishes – and creating your own, if you’re so inclined. And then, perhaps, taking a moment to visualize all of this good stuff actually happening.

I LOVE the Wishing Tree and encourage everyone I know to check it out. Here’s why:

1. The Wishing Tree is FUN

find my community

Apparently, people who are into making wishes (or at least many of them) like a chuckle. As you read through the offerings you will find many light-hearted and even some belly-laugh-inducing sentiments. Probably my favorite is this one: On one side of a tag: “ONE BILLION $” and then on the flip-side “OR AVOCADOS”. Made you smile, didn’t it?

2. The Wishing Tree Inspires Creativitythe wishing tree is fun

Along with humor, there is art! For example: “I wish my cats could talk” (with not half-bad illustrations). “I WISH UNICORNS WERE REAL.” (Again with illustrations). “I WISH I WASN’T A ROBOT” (ALSO with illustrations).

Some folks even bring their own homemade “tags” like the individual who hung a purple-dotted clam shell (?) on the tree, emblazoned with “To Claim My Own Voice.”

3. The Wishing Tree is Profound

the wishing tree is profound

This is surely the primary reason that I love the Wishing Tree. Reading the wishes of others makes me think about the world and my role in it and it often makes me realize how good my own life is (even when it borders on the mundane).

Many people express hopes for sick relatives and friends: “I wish for my mom’s health to get better and to be happy.” “I wish Grace feels better soon.”

Others combine hopes for the planet with their personal desires: “I wish for World Peace and an end to hunger and homelessness. I also wish to travel the world and one day own a home in NE Portland with my family” “I wish to use my 40 year old voice to empower other women to change the world.”

Many are intensely personal while expressing almost universal feelings: “I wish to find my place in life, to worry less and have pure happiness.” “I WISH TO FIND MY COMMUNITY. MY TRIBE. MY FOREVER HOME.”

Some read more like Pema Chodron-inspired affirmations than wishes (not that there is anything wrong AT ALL with that!): “May my heart open. May I be filled with loving kindness.” “I wish that all Beings feel Loved & release their pains. Express only Love to Others.”

My favorites are those that I need to dwell on a bit, that maybe I hadn’t ever thought of but that, having now read them, I can see their truth: “I WISH EVERYONE the Best, No matter what you’ve done in the past.” “I wish to become the best me I can be & to inspire everyone to be the best thems they can be.”

4. The Wishing Tree Builds Community

the wishing tree builds community

I’m certain that those living in proximity to it treasure this tree. But I believe there’s also a connection made when you read about others’ dreams and hopes – and add your own – whether or not you’re a geographical neighbor. Just the realization that we all share many of the same goals, aspirations, and thoughts is a powerful thing. It imparts a feeling of spiritual connection to others – and that’s not a bad place to start, whether we want to change the world or just get a second interview for a job.

5. The Wishing Tree Gives you Permission to Dream

one billion dollars

How often do you ask yourself what you REALLY want in this world? Not what others want for you or what the world tells you that you should want. Take a moment to truly ponder the possibilities.

Then, make a wish (or two or three). Put them out there in the world (compliments of The Wishing Tree). And see what happens.

 

The post Five Reasons to Visit Portland’s Wishing Tree appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/five-reasons-visit-portlands-wishing-tree/feed/ 3
Montavilla: A Quiet Neighborhood that is More than Meets the Eye http://frugalportland.com/montavilla-quiet-neighborhood-meets-eye/ http://frugalportland.com/montavilla-quiet-neighborhood-meets-eye/#comments Thu, 28 Jul 2016 12:00:48 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7651 After Belmont Records was closed in my neighborhood to make room for the future home of yet another condo high rise, I began my hunt for the next charming Portland area to spend my days relaxing; and it did not take me long at all to fall in love with Montavilla. This small, quiet, and...

Read More »

The post Montavilla: A Quiet Neighborhood that is More than Meets the Eye appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
After Belmont Records was closed in my neighborhood to make room for the future home of yet another condo high rise, I began my hunt for the next charming Portland area to spend my days relaxing; and it did not take me long at all to fall in love with Montavilla. This small, quiet, and fairly unassuming East-Portland neighborhood is perfect for anyone who doesn’t love high rise condos and artisan ice cream stores with lines around the corner. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, or simply in the mood for something a little more low-key Portland, take an afternoon to visit these five Montavilla gems.

Bipartisan Cafe

Easily one of my favorite coffee shops in the city, the walk to Bipartisan Cafe has become my Sunday morning ritual. Bustling without being crowded, Bipartisan exudes casualness and boasts extra large, extra soft couches and a warm environment. It also has tons of food options, pastries, and possibly my favorite breakfast combination ever; I would eat their Jalapeno & Salt bagel with lox, and a small Latte every single day if life permitted.

The Academy Theater

Photo by the Academy Theater

Photo by the Academy Theater

Portland experiences no shortage of vintage movie theaters, and Montavilla is no exception to that rule. Similar to the Laurelhurst Theater, The Academy Theater offers $4 adult tickets, new(ish) and classic movies, and in-theater babysitting. All together, this makes for an absolutely fantastic, and frugal, date night theater.

The Observatory

The Observatory has it all: Brunch, lunch, dinner, happy hour, and great cocktails! Their happy hour menu offers up more generous food options than many competitors–think hearty fish tacos instead of scant cheese plates–and budget friendly drinks. If the front of the restaurant is ever too crowded for your taste, check out the Observatory’s more low-key back bar Over and Out. If you’re feeling spendy, the Signature Cocktail menu offers up a great Lavender Lemondrop!

Montavilla Farmers Market

Compared to downtown’s overcrowded market, The Montavilla Farmers Market is the quiet laid-back market you’d expect to find in a small town. Loaded with local produce, plants, baked goods and more, Montavilla’s seasonal, Sunday morning market offers everything you expect from your farmers market, without the overwhelming crowds. As an added FYI,  Montavilla and most other Portland Farmers Markets, participate in a program that allows EBT users to double their spending money by up to ten dollars.

Portland Tub and Tan

Why buy a hot tub, when you could just rent one for the hour? The quirkiest of my Montavilla finds, I was extremely skeptical of this whole concept at first, but it turns out Portland Tub and Tan is totally legit, clean, safe, and fun! Where else in Portland can you soak in a private tub with close friends without shelling out next month’s rent?

I guarantee that after checking out just one of these places, you will find yourself enamored with Montavilla’s laid-back charm. Get your exploring in soon though– before Montavilla becomes Portland’s next up and coming victim!

The post Montavilla: A Quiet Neighborhood that is More than Meets the Eye appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/montavilla-quiet-neighborhood-meets-eye/feed/ 1
7 Great Portland Picnic Parks http://frugalportland.com/7-great-portland-picnic-parks/ http://frugalportland.com/7-great-portland-picnic-parks/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2016 12:57:12 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7633   The idea of a meal shared al fresco in a lovely natural setting has been around for a very long time – perhaps since Adam and Eve and that apple. So while picnics don’t really represent an up and coming trend, they do rank VERY high as a budget-friendly way to see the city – while...

Read More »

The post 7 Great Portland Picnic Parks appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
 

The idea of a meal shared al fresco in a lovely natural setting has been around for a very long time – perhaps since Adam and Eve and that apple. So while picnics don’t really represent an up and coming trend, they do rank VERY high as a budget-friendly way to see the city – while eating a good meal.

And – lucky for you! – Portland has dozens of divine places to picnic. Here’s proof: Each year the Trust for Public Land rates the 100 largest U.S. cities on their public parks – and each year Portland ranks in the Top Ten.

So if you’re visiting Portland, it would be a YUGE mistake to miss out on a leisurely picnic in one of our amazing public parks. Here are a few to consider:

Laurelhurst (SE Cesar Chavez Blvd. & Stark St.)

Laurelhurst Park

Laurelhurst Park is uber popular – for good reason. It’s close in – easy to get to from either side of the river – and has just about every amenity imaginable (think basketball court, horseshoe pits, off leash dog area and more – it even has a pond!). And the trees are amazing! On busy weekends you may have to search for a parking spot but once you’ve conquered that task, you can find a grassy patch under one of those towering trees, spread out your picnic goodies – and enjoy the good life.

Mt. Tabor (SE 60th & Salmon St.)

Mt Tabor Park

If you want to cross “picnic on a volcano” off your Bucket List, this is your chance. Mt. Tabor Park is actually a dormant cinder cone in southeast Portland. Because it is a “mountain” (albeit of only 636 feet elevation) it offers a variety of diverse picnicking alternatives, from sloping spots overlooking the reservoir to level and lovely options at the summit.

Pier Park (N Lombard St. & Bruce Ave.)

Pier Park

This idyllic picnic setting is located in the St. Johns neighborhood in north Portland. It’s a bit of a drive from the center of town but just might be a little less crowded for that reason. And it absolutely delivers on the top picnicking criteria with plentiful majestic trees, rolling lawns, numerous amenities and easy access.

Cathedral Park (N Edison & Pittsburg Ave.)

Cathedral Park

Also located in north Portland is Cathedral Park – just the name makes you want to visit, doesn’t it? This 23 acre park is situated under the St. Johns Bridge; that backdrop lends to its cathedral-like ambience, with the bridge overhead mimicking the arches of a gothic church. No reserved picnic areas are available here so, if you’re lucky and early, you may even snag a table.

Washington Park (head of SW Park Place; explorewashingtonpark.org)

Washington Park

This iconic location has amenities no other Portland parks has including the International Rose Test Garden, a bronze statue of Sacajawea and, for those with little ones, the immensely fun Rose Garden Children’s Park. The one downside is that you’ll have to pay to park. :(

Grant Park (NE 33rd Ave. & US Grant Pl.)

Grant Park

Along with killer trees and easy parking, Grant Park boasts the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden. Cleary – the popular children’s book author of the Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby series and more – grew up in the Grant Park area. If you feel like a walk after your picnic meal – and you’re a Cleary fan – download the “Walking with Ramona” tour map and check out the settings for many of the events in Cleary’s fictional books as well as the houses she grew up in. Click here to see.

That park that’s just a 10-minute walk from where you are right now

According to the Trust for Public Land, 85 percent of Portlanders are a mere 10-minute walk (1/2 mile) from a park/green space. Find the nearest one and you’re just minutes from a picnic experience!

If you go:

The above suggestions represent only a small fraction of the parks in the City of Portland’s system. And an even smaller percentage of parks in the metro area. Check the City of Portland Parks’ website (portlandparks.org; all parks are free to visit and most have free parking nearby) or other local communities and Metro (the Metropolitan Service District, the area’s regional governmental body) for more ideas. Tip: If you absolutely MUST have a picnic table for your picnic, go to the parks reservation page and “view availability” for the park you’re interested in. If it’s not reserved for that day, you’re pretty safe in assuming that it’s available. But first come, first served if you haven’t reserved. If you’re part of a large group and need picnic tables, your best bet is to reserve WAY in advance in the summer.

Picnicking basics:

For most of us, picnicking implies a casual, no-fuss approach. So feel free to stop at La Petite Provence (1824 NE Alberta or 4834 SE Division) or any local bakery or deli and grab a baguette or two, some cheese and fruit and head out. Voila! You have a picnic!

Bring your Designated Picnic Blanket (i.e. that old one that you reserve for outdoor activities) and/or inexpensive collapsible chairs. Consider some picnicky activities like swinging or just spreading out on your blanket and gazing up through the sun dappled trees, enjoying the now…

An added plus for the summer are the free concerts in July and August. There’s nothing better than a relaxing meal consumed in a beautiful setting on a lazy summer’s eve, with great, FREE tunes for background music.

So what are you waiting for? Get outside!

All photos are Courtesy of Portland Parks

The post 7 Great Portland Picnic Parks appeared first on Frugal Portland.

]]>
http://frugalportland.com/7-great-portland-picnic-parks/feed/ 1