Frugal Portland http://frugalportland.com Cheap. Fun. Portland Thu, 26 May 2016 11:38:39 +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 Portland Thrift Shops: The 5 Most “Worth It” http://frugalportland.com/portland-thrift-shops-5-worth/ http://frugalportland.com/portland-thrift-shops-5-worth/#respond Thu, 26 May 2016 11:38:39 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7395 Vintage, resale, thrift, antique; whatever you want to call it, let’s be honest, Portland loves second-hand stores. Quantity is not the issue in this town; It’s quality. In a town oversaturated with quirky and vintage, overpriced thrift shops lurk around every corner, and you might need a little help navigating this shopping niche without overspending...

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Portland’s Five Most Worth it Thrift Shops

Vintage, resale, thrift, antique; whatever you want to call it, let’s be honest, Portland loves second-hand stores. Quantity is not the issue in this town; It’s quality. In a town oversaturated with quirky and vintage, overpriced thrift shops lurk around every corner, and you might need a little help navigating this shopping niche without overspending on a $200 “retro” chair. Have no fear! In descending order of price, here are the five most “worth it” of Portland thrift shops.

1. Buffalo Exchange $$$$$

Buffalo Exchange is definitely not a “thrift” store, and it is not always the cheapest. But, consistently more than any other resale shop, Buffalo Exchange has the most “I’d wear that” clothes and shoes. They stock their buy back counter with young trendy hipster girls and boys who only buy up the most desirable clothing. This is great for the fashionable, but not always awesome for savings. Don’t get me wrong, everything here is still cheaper than if you bought it new and occasionally they overlook hidden treasures. My favorite Buffalo outing involves selling a small pile of old clothes I don’t want, taking the in-store credit and walking out with a whole new outfit: it’s ethical clothing recycling at its finest.

Best for: Daily wear

2. House of Vintage $$$$

In a town where weird is the usual and vintage stores are too cool, House of Vintage is more of an experience than anything else. House of Vintage (or HOV as I like to call it) is an excellent place to pick up great vintage swag and the occasional taxidermied rodent. This place consists of multiple vendors renting space and selling their cache of goodies for varying degrees of price. Some people up-price and some don’t, you just have to take your time in HOV. The key is frequent trips to scoop up the newest and coolest items. Careful, this place is huge and mildly overwhelming.

Best for: Costumes, cheap VHS, vintage t-shirts, overalls

3. Goodwill $$$

Somehow even Goodwills are overpriced in Portland. It’s weird. The trick is finding the right Goodwill. In my opinion, the best goodwill in Portland is this one, located in inner Southeast Portland. It is a goodwill supercenter, and it’s huge. It has an enormous selection of books for basically pennies and tons of clothes and shoes for cheap!

Best for: Cheap Books, appliances, shoes

4. Red White and Blue Thrift Store $$

This one is the farthest from inner Portland, but Red White and Blue Thrift Store is a secret treasure of the thriftiest sort. Out of the way and cash only–this place doesn’t top the convenience charts, but it keeps the crowds and price drivers away. This place is much more what I think of when I think of thrift shopping. The prices are low, and they have an awesome selection of hiking gear, retro basketball jerseys, hats, etc. If you’re looking for a true bargain on just about anything, this place is for you!

Best for: Retro sports apparel, hiking gear, collectibles

5. The Bins $

This store is actually a Goodwill store but is a notorious Portland thrift landmark often referred to as simply “Tthe bins.” The bins are not for the faint of heart, but damn are they cheap. Clothing items and more sell by the pound here. Yes, the price is set by how much your pile of loot weighs. This says a lot. Crowded and a little overwhelming, you’re going to have to dig for buried treasure here, but I have found a great desk and some other hidden gems before. This is an excellent place for the super thrifty. Bring hand sanitizer and gloves-I’m not kidding.

Best for: Extra cheap clothes, decent used furniture.

Thrift shopping is supposed to be fun, like a treasure hunt or a game of hide and seek; it is not supposed to be a daunting descent into the abyss of the overpriced. Luckily, these five shops are both fun and affordable! They are always changing, and items don’t last long, which provides an excellent excuse for weekly shopping trips on the cheap. Make sure to give these places a try next time  you’re looking for new-to-you goodies!

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Travel the World while Staying here: Portland Ethnic Foodie Finds on a Budget http://frugalportland.com/travel-world-staying-portland-ethnic-foodie-finds-budget/ http://frugalportland.com/travel-world-staying-portland-ethnic-foodie-finds-budget/#respond Thu, 19 May 2016 14:13:59 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7468 The foodie scene in Portland took off a handful of years ago. It hasn’t really slowed down much. Luckily with extreme competition comes extremely good product. Portland’s wide variety of ethnic restaurants is no exception to that rule. So if your pockets are feeling a little light there’s a great way to tour the world…...

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 Travel the World while Staying here: Portland Ethnic Foodie Finds on a Budget

The foodie scene in Portland took off a handful of years ago. It hasn’t really slowed down much. Luckily with extreme competition comes extremely good product. Portland’s wide variety of ethnic restaurants is no exception to that rule. So if your pockets are feeling a little light there’s a great way to tour the world… or, at least, the awesome food from around the globe… and still keep your bank account in the positive.

Check out these four sensational Portland happy hours where you’ll get great food and drink at a great price and test out where you want to take your next vacation.

Bollywood Theater


3010 SE Division St.

Alright, so I already digressed from the original plan. No, Bollywood does not have a happy hour. However, when you’re paying around $6-$9 for a plate of food, you’ve already sort of hit happy hour zone.

Bollywood Theater is an authentic fusion of Portland’s alternative culture and India’s mouthwatering cuisine. They focus on street food and individual servings of traditional Indian dishes. Lamb samosas, an order of Vada Pav (a spicy potato dumpling cooked fried in chickpea butter) and a Bollywood Shandy should get your day going on the right track (or keep it that way).

Cocktails are full price so sip slowly and enjoy the spice.

Pambiche Cocina


2811 NE Glisan St.

Havana Havana, welcome to Havana in Portland. It’s a good thing that political relations between the United States and Cuba are improving because hot dang do they have a knack for stimulating the taste buds.

Over on Northeast Glisan, there’s a little taste of Cuba waiting for you at Pambiche Cocina. And their happy hour menu packs a punch. Cuban cocktails are $1.00 off and food prices are lowered as well. It’s like a scene out of a movie. Small tables elegantly crammed into the lower level of a colorful building. Cuban music playing (and may I say influencing you to join the dance). Don’t show up here on a full stomach… there’s just too much awesomeness to try.

Hoda’s Middle Eastern


3401 SE Belmont St.

Tabouli, Baba Ghanouje, Bi-Tahini… it’s a wonderland of dips along with freshly baked pita bread. And oh yes, all drinks are discounted. Even crazier, if Monday is your day off, Hoda’s features happy hour pricing all day on Mondays.

Appetizers are pleasingly budget-friendly meanwhile if you’ve saved up to splurge a bit their main dishes are also reasonably priced. Good luck making a choice, though. Hoda’s kills it on every single item on the menu. You’ll be back for more…trust me.

Kachka


720 SE Grand Ave

A personal favorite of mine and quite possibly the best happy hour in Portland, Kackha is one heck of an experience. The walls are doused with humorously tainted Soviet propaganda posters, most nights there is a video of Russian music performances projected on the wall above the bar and the music… the atmosphere is contagious.

But all of that aside their food and drinks are enough to make you squirt out a few expletives of satisfaction. Discounted beer and wine is available but the magic is in the food and vodka. Lamb meatballs on a fresh hoagie roll, beef/pork/veal, and onion filled dumplings, scallion and farmer’s cheese filled dumplings and $9 carafes of house infused vodka with flavors like Mint, Earl Grey, Horseradish or a soothing Chamomile plus much more.

Kachka takes the hardware for sure.

Foodie restaurants have taken over Portland and a night out on the town with a nice meal has begun to really put a dent in the ol’ wallet. But for a more than reasonable amount of money these four options will let you fill up on food and drinks while still being able to make rent.

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Best Places to Sweat in Portland http://frugalportland.com/best-places-sweat-portland/ http://frugalportland.com/best-places-sweat-portland/#comments Thu, 12 May 2016 11:24:43 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7361 Portland is the perfect place to find a myriad of unique workout options that you can actually enjoy. Because there are so many choices in our area, the following list will serve as a good starting point to begin exploring Portland’s fitness culture! Climb Like a Monkey: The Circuit Bouldering Gym To kick things off,...

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Best Places to Sweat in Portland

Portland is the perfect place to find a myriad of unique workout options that you can actually enjoy. Because there are so many choices in our area, the following list will serve as a good starting point to begin exploring Portland’s fitness culture!

Climb Like a Monkey: The Circuit Bouldering Gym

To kick things off, here’s an option for all of the young-at-heart. The Circuit is just about the closest thing I can think of to a jungle gym for adults. Once you have your day pass in hand and your climbing shoes on, you’re all set to scale any surface in sight. Depending on how much you want to challenge yourself, you can pick more difficult climbs and really work up a sweat. There are three different locations in the metro area and each has their own unique layout to conquer. The best part? A day of climbing and equipment rental is under twenty dollars and there’s a great student discount, too! This option is perfect for cross training and is a great way to test your limits, both mental and physical.

Combine all the Words: Pil-oga-robic

Much like fusion cuisine, the next location on our list combines multiple great things into something even better! Pil-oga-robic is the powerful combination of pilates, yoga, cardio, and strength training which is formulated to provide an incredibly effective workout.

Yoga

The variety offered in the class makes for an engaging experience that is far from routine. The instructors are lovely and offer personalized recommendations and a relaxing, judgment-free environment!  If that treadmill has you feeling like you’re going nowhere (see what I did there?) it might be time for a fun session of Pil-oga-robic! Did I mention that the first class is free? Once you experience the unique ambiance in this beautiful studio, you’ll want to nama-stay!

stay

Get Your Strength On: CrossFit

Alright, you all saw it coming. You knew I was going to bring CrossFit into this. I know none of us really want to admit it but this intense training program is certainly a fantastic option for those looking to really, and I mean really, push themselves. That being said, your options are open as far as gyms go but I will be recommending PDX Strength. They are the number one rated gym in North Portland and for good reason. They offer more classes than you could flip a tire at and are a fantastic choice for fresh-faced beginners and seasoned athletes alike. They are so sure that you’ll love the experience that they offer free classes for first-timers, and who doesn’t like getting things for free?

Editor’s note: PXT Fitness is awesome, too. I worked out over there for about six months before I moved across town. Highly recommend.

Channel Your Inner Ballerina: Barre3

Maybe pull-ups just aren’t for you and you prefer a workout with a little more grace. As you can imagine, I have just the recommendation for you. Barre3 is a studio that offers classes aimed at improving strength, balance, and posture. It’s the perfect place for those of us who want to be ballerinas when we grow up. One of the advantages to Barre3 is that they have six convenient locations all across Portland! It’s super easy to find the closest studio and reserve your spot in class online. Although barre classes will have you feeling a bit more elegant, you will still be working up quite the sweat.

Get up and Dance: Vega Dance Lab

Finally, if you are one of those amazing individuals who spends their Saturdays dancing with the broom, it’s your time to shine. Vega Dance Lab is my favorite location on this list because it encourages calorie burn through the art of dance.

Dance

The classes will have you feeling fierce and the atmosphere will have you feeling like you’re on the set of Step Up 2. You’ll see dancers of all skill levels and fun routines that are far from boring! The great music and energetic instructors will have even beginners getting into the groove before class is out.

studio

This is a drop-in studio and it only takes fifteen dollars to get into an hour of sweaty, happy, dancey fun. I would recommend Vega to anyone who wants to work hard while having an absolute blast!

So, are you ready to get your money’s worth out of those sweatbands and leg warmers? You don’t have to be Olivia Newton John to rock that look and get physical! There are so many fantastic options out there for those of us who would like to throw a little variety into our fitness routine! Make sure to take advantage of the free first classes offered by some of the studios and gyms above; besides, if there’s something out there that you can get absolutely free of charge, there’s no reason not to give it a try! What are you waiting for? Get off the couch and tear up the floor, the mat, or the pavement!

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3 Great Hotel Alternatives That Will Save Your Vacation Budget and Change Your Life! http://frugalportland.com/3-great-hotel-alternatives-that-will-save-your-vacation-budget-and-change-your-life/ http://frugalportland.com/3-great-hotel-alternatives-that-will-save-your-vacation-budget-and-change-your-life/#respond Thu, 05 May 2016 11:05:17 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7351 Hotels cost a small fortune, and they have pretty much zero charm. There are precisely three occasions where you will find me staying in a hotel: if I have found a truly amazing deal (which happens about once a year); If there are absolutely no other lodging options including a tent; If someone else is...

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Hotels cost a small fortune, and they have pretty much zero charm. There are precisely three occasions where you will find me staying in a hotel: if I have found a truly amazing deal (which happens about once a year); If there are absolutely no other lodging options including a tent; If someone else is paying for it.

I happen to like to make my hard-earned travel money last as long as possible, and I’m sure you do too.

So, before you drop half of your travel budget on an overpriced hotel room in a part of the city most people do their best to avoid, try these three budget-friendly hotel alternatives!

1. Hostels

Stay in a Hostel - Frugal Portland

I am in love with hostels, and it breaks my heart that the U.S. isn’t as hostel friendly as the rest of the world. I am convinced the makers of the film Hostel were hired by large hotel chains to ruin them for everyone.

Hostels offer the bare bones: a bed, a storage space, and a bathroom (usually shared). Hostels make up what they lack in amenities in social interaction and price. They offer up prime lodging locations in cities for usually ¼  the price of a hotel. In addition to cheap prices, hostels are actually a great way to meet other travellers; most offer shared bunk rooms for the extra thrifty, and private rooms for the slightly less brave. I have stayed in both types, and can say different strokes for different folks. I loved the bunk room hostels when I was backpacking through Europe, because they were dirt cheap; think $15 bucks a night for a bed and a bathroom. On the other hand, my partner and I just booked a few private rooms in hostels for our upcoming trip to Croatia for about $25 bucks each a night; it’s more expensive than a bunk room, yet still way less expensive than a hotel.

In Portland,  I strongly suggest the Portland Hawthorne Hostel and the Northwest Portland Hostel. You can find others at hostelworld.com, which I use for all of my travel planning. If you’re travelling solo, you can stay in the best parts of the city for about $25 bucks a night!

2. AirBnB

Stay-in-an-AirBnB---Frugal-Portland

Airbnb offers a beautiful balance between hotels and hostels. AirBnB is a website where verified & reviewed homeowners host their homes, guest homes, spare rooms, and lofts for travellers to stay in. The great thing about Airbnb is the charm. You get to stay in (usually) well decorated little places smack dab in the middle of any neighborhood you want to stay in. The other great thing is the price. Pricier than hostels, yet still cheaper than a hotel, airbnb is my cheap-spendy weekend getaway resource of choice.

In portland, Eastside Airbnbs tend to run around $50+ a night, and you can find downtown locations in the $30 a night range. If you’re looking for a coastal getaway,I highly recommend finding your spot on this site!

Related post: 5 Fun Places to Stay in Portland

3. Couch Surfing

Try Couch Surfing - Frugal Portland

Are you traveling solo? Is your budget hovering around the free to free range? Are you prepared to sleep on a couch? If you said yes to these questions, then Couchsurfing is for you! Couchsurfing is a website where (verified) individuals offer up their couch or spare room for guests to stay at—fo’ free! Yes, free.

It is great,  but there are some catches: One, you are on a couch, not a bed. Two, you are on a stranger’s couch, which can be awkward at first. Three, you have to sign up for couch surfing and get some references to vouch that you are not terribly sketchy. You also have to contact Couchsurfer hosts and ask to stay with them–you can’t just reserve the spot.

Portland has some interesting hosts, including a woman who “DOES NOT ACCEPT AMERICANS”, and the man who absolutely hates people moving to Portland yet is glad to accept travelers. Quirks aside, Couchsurfing is the epitome of budget travelling, and I have had quite a few friends make their way across the country using this site.

So there you have it: three fantastic ways to visit Portland, or anywhere, for cheap (or free).

Just because I am in love with these hotel alternatives, doesn’t mean they are for everyone. It all depends on your age, disposition, and tastes. If you’re looking for a quiet, luxury getaway where you can’t be bothered to share the bathroom…they might not be for you. But, if you’re looking for an adventure, and  for a way to take that vacation you’ve been dreaming of, without draining your budget, these options are absolutely worth your time!  

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Just Outside of Portland: An Afternoon in Gresham http://frugalportland.com/just-outside-of-portland-an-afternoon-in-gresham/ http://frugalportland.com/just-outside-of-portland-an-afternoon-in-gresham/#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 11:37:12 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7317 The Portland metropolitan area is rich with beautiful neighborhoods: little enclaves and regions that are full of charm and grit and livability. Gresham, a suburb just on the edge of the city, is not often lauded as one of them. Compared with other parts of Portland, Gresham can be overlooked; it feels far away, and...

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Just Outside of Portland: An Afternoon in Gresham

The Portland metropolitan area is rich with beautiful neighborhoods: little enclaves and regions that are full of charm and grit and livability. Gresham, a suburb just on the edge of the city, is not often lauded as one of them. Compared with other parts of Portland, Gresham can be overlooked; it feels far away, and its reputation is of a sprawling town with little personality. However, there are parts of Gresham that are surprising, just waiting to be discovered. It’s an area worth driving 30 minutes east for, at least, to check out for an afternoon.

Why?

El Inca1. Peruvian Food!

Gresham has some of the best (if not THE very best) Peruvian food in the area. El Inka Restaurant, an unassuming little place in the middle of a strip mall, serves authentic ceviche and lomo saltado, as well as mouthwatering rotisserie chicken. The atmosphere is endearing: friendly service, colorful tablecloths, soccer on the television. The prices are also reasonable; because the portion sizes are huge, you can split an appetizer and entree between two people and walk away very full.

 

 

 

Main Street Gresham2. Main Street

Gresham’s Main Street, in the heart of the city’s historic downtown, is bustling with quaint establishments. If Peruvian food’s not your thing, there are fantastic choices on this street for lunch or dinner, among them: a Nicholas Restaurant, one of Portland’s favorite places to eat Lebanese food (although at this location you will rarely have to wait for a table) and The Local Cow, a casual eatery that serves–you guessed it–local, hormone-free burgers (and killer blue cheese fries). Main Street also offers a great latte, at Cafe Delirium–a coffee house with funky furniture and a relaxed atmosphere, as well as places to shop for retro items, such as Foxtrot Vintage–a venue with hip decor and multiple antique vendors.

Foxtrot vintage

3. Springwater Trail

Springwater trailGresham’s 4.8 mile stretch of the Springwater Trail is beautiful (and a great place to work off all of the great food on Main Street!): it leads walkers, runners and bikers around Johnson Creek, through woodlands and past landmark buttes. The paved path is part of the Springwater Corridor, which stretches from Boring all the way to downtown Portland.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Tsuru Island

Tsuru Island

Tsuru Island is a hidden gem in Gresham, a Japanese Garden that was donated to the city 40 years ago.

After years of neglect, in July 2011, a team of volunteers restored the garden back to a place of serenity (Tsuru is the Japanese word for crane, which is a symbol of good fortune and longevity). The garden is now a favorite place to meditate and enjoy unique landscaping.

After a full day of shopping, eating and walking, visitors can cross the lovely footbridge at the entrance of Tsuru Island, then linger at one of the many picnic benches and maybe, just maybe, reconsider past misconceptions of Gresham, Oregon.

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Weekend in Newport: Head to the Oregon Coast on a Whim http://frugalportland.com/weekend-newport-head-oregon-coast-whim/ http://frugalportland.com/weekend-newport-head-oregon-coast-whim/#comments Thu, 21 Apr 2016 14:17:02 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7470 When you’ve had just about enough of Portland’s busy and ever-expanding metropolitan hustle and bustle, there’s just one place that I would suggest heading to for some much-needed clarity: get in the car and spend a weekend in Newport, Oregon. Nestled tightly against the rugged beaches of Oregon’s central coastline, Newport is a gem that...

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Newport: Head to the Oregon Coast on a Whim

When you’ve had just about enough of Portland’s busy and ever-expanding metropolitan hustle and bustle, there’s just one place that I would suggest heading to for some much-needed clarity: get in the car and spend a weekend in Newport, Oregon.

Nestled tightly against the rugged beaches of Oregon’s central coastline, Newport is a gem that is often left behind by the beachy pulls of the easily accessible Cannon Beach and Seaside. But the extra time on the road (roughly one hour extra) is well worth it. Not only will you find lower prices in Newport which of course qualifies it as a Frugal Portland-worthy destination, but you’ll find the combination of quiet, quaint beach town with a little bit of rough and tough fishing town to go with it. There are handfuls of bars and restaurants that give you night life options or the traditional beach-style restaurants that close their doors early. Whatever floats your boat, you’ll find something in Newport.

Newport has a fairly large year-round population in comparison to its beach town counterparts. The most recent census report identified Newport’s population at just over 10,000 people. Cannon Beach has a permanent residence of roughly 1,700 and Seaside with 6,500. So while you still get the secluded Oregon Coast feel that everyone mentions when talking about Oregon beaches, you’re surrounded by a few more options than other coastal dwellings. With the larger population comes more community supported events, Newport is famous for its Seafood Festival in late February each year and has a bevy of other small festival-like celebrations throughout the year like Whale Watch Week (mid-late March) and in late April the town celebrates with a Seafair Festival that has been going for over half a century. This year’s celebration marks the 60th anniversary beginning on April 28th.

Regardless, even if you stroll into town on a weekend, or possibly weekday, when the town isn’t in festival mode, there is so much to do and see in Newport that a few days will go by like the blink of an eye. What began simply as a fishing town has now blossomed into a fully functioning town with citizens from every walk of life. Oregon State University’s world-renowned Hatfield Marine Science Center is home to OSU’s top-notch graduate programs in Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Zoology and Fisheries & Wildlife Management. The campus has brought some academic flash to Newport and routinely has Newport in the international science spotlight.

Newport is also now home to Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s (OMSI) newest campus named Coastal Discovery Center at Camp Gray where the Portland non-profit science education company will house summer camps and year-round exhibits. There are whale watching hotspots throughout Newport and just North, in Depoe Bay. So even if Newport didn’t intend to, it’s become somewhat of a science hotspot… and who doesn’t love to learn about the world around us?

But let’s say you’re not so keen on science and want to know what else Newport has to offer… you’re in luck. Newport has some of the finest Seafood dining on the Oregon Coast. Local Ocean Seafoods, located at the Western end of Yaquina Bay’s tourist pier, is quite possibly the best Seafood restaurant in Oregon. Owned and operated by a Pacific Northwest native, the seafood served at Local Ocean is of the utmost quality and is held to certain sustainability measures. It’s wonderful to know that the Oysters your delicately tasting came from 50-feet away, not 3,000 miles. Aside from Local Ocean, Shark’s is yet another Seafood delight. A ma-and-pa joint on the other end of the pier from Local Ocean, Shark’s Seafood Bar is a traditional taste of Newport life. Fresh seafood prepared perfectly by a wife-husband duo and a small bar that attracts the local Coast Guard residents, Shark’s is another shining example of Newport’s diverse scene.

If you’re looking for more of an easy-going scene Newport has two Rogue Breweries, one along the pier that is more like a bar and grill and an actual brewery just across the Yaquina Bay Bridge. There’s a few other bars around town but Rogue has delicious beer, tasty bar food and some awesome apparel.

So now you’re full of fish and beer… what else should you know about Newport? It’s simple, after you’ve toured the Hatfield Marine Science Center, checked out OMSI’s newest campus, done some driving along the coast in hopes of seeing whales and maybe even done some shopping in Newport’s adorable Nye Beach neighborhood (where beach access is flanked by a cozy bookstore, coffee shops and an Irish pub), there’s only one thing left to do. Head back to your hotel room and enjoy the sounds and sights of the Pacific Ocean just a few steps away.

Photo by Jelson25 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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A lazy Sunday in Northwest Portland http://frugalportland.com/a-lazy-sunday-in-northwest-portland/ http://frugalportland.com/a-lazy-sunday-in-northwest-portland/#comments Mon, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7324 Author: Hannah Leone So it’s Sunday. The weekend is half over and you need to do something, anything, to distract yourself for the coming work week, and ideally leave your mind and body refreshed and prepared. Portland is a great city for Sundays. Here are a handful of activities you can do on the cheap...

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Author: Hannah Leone

So it’s Sunday. The weekend is half over and you need to do something, anything, to distract yourself for the coming work week, and ideally leave your mind and body refreshed and prepared. Portland is a great city for Sundays. Here are a handful of activities you can do on the cheap in the inner blocks of the city’s Northwest quadrant.

A Lazy Sunday in Northwest Portland

1. All-Day Happy Hour

All day happy hour - lazy Sunday in Northwest Portland

Make your own breakfast — yes, skip brunch — then take advantage of the city’s many all-day happy hours. Henry’s 12th Street Tavern, Thai Bloom, Pope House Bourbon Lounge, and even Portland City Grill have affordable and tasty all-Sunday food and drink specials. Kells Irish Brew Pub and Bartini also have good Sunday happy hours from 4 p.m. to close.

2. Portland’s Aerial Tram

Take Portland's Aerial Tram! Spend a lazy Sunday in Northwest Portland

This is outside of Northwest Portland, but not by much. Catch a ride on the OHSU aerial tram. Some people take it to work every day; for the rest of us, the tram is simply a fun way to catch some sweet views of downtown and inner east Portland. Round-trip fare, about 4 minutes each way between the lower South Waterfront terminal and higher Marquam Hill terminal, is $4.50.

3. Take a Hike!

Take a Hike! Lazy Sunday in Northwest Portland

If it’s rainy, you’ll find modest tree cover at Forest Park — the MacLeay Park entrance is easily accessible from NW Upshur, a short walk from the shopping and restaurants on NW 23rd Avenue — and at Washington Park, easily accessible via SW Park Place (the park extends to West Burnside) and by public transit. There’s a lot more to see at Washington Park than Portland’s notorious rose garden; the intricate trail system connects with Forest Park’s across West Burnside, the Vietnam Memorial is profound, and the Japanese Garden is worth the $9.50 general admission. Or pick your Forest Park trailhead and trek up to Pittock Mansion, where you’ll find an unbeatable view of bridge city whether or not you pay $10 admission to enter the historic house.

4. Get Your Culture On

Get Your Culture On - Spend a lazy Sunday in Northwest Portland

Pop in an art gallery, or two, or three. You don’t always need to pay $20 admission at the Portland Art Museum to get your fill of eye candy. Fine art galleries are free to peruse, whether or not you’re in the market for a new installation.

My favorite in the quadrant: Blue Sky, on NW 8th Avenue near the Park blocks, was originally founded more than 40 years ago as Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts. The gallery showcases reliably compelling exhibits by local, national and international photographers and regularly hosts thought-provoking talks by the artists. Sunday hours are noon to 5 p.m.

Other good bets: J. Pepin Art Gallery, NW 9th and Everett. Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m.  Gallery 114, NW 11th and Glisan. Sunday hours are noon to 6 p.m.

Or create your own walking art tour using Google Maps.

5. Try Your Hand at Trivia

Try Your Hand at Trivia -- Spend a Lazy Sunday in Northwest Portland

Trivia is free at the bourbon lounge near NW Glisan Street and 23rd Avenue, which also features all-day happy hour on Sundays. Even if you don’t want to play, the all-day happy hour is worth your time: $1 off well drinks, eight select bourbons, beer pints and wine; nine $5 cocktails; and food specials from $4 to $7. The whiskey selection is vast. The sweet potato fries, seasoned with Old Bay and served with chipotle aioli, are the best around.

In trivia, which starts at 9 p.m. but usually a few minutes late, winning teams get a $20 gift card to the lounge, which can be applied that night or stowed away for future use. The three progressive 10-question rounds aren’t blatantly themed, but the last two questions of each round are always extra fun: Mashups, worth double points, combine two questions in which the last word of the first answer is also the first word of the second answer. (The trivia master’s classic example: Infamous N.W.A. member and online dating site? Eazy-E-harmony.) And what could be a better way to prepare for the week ahead than winning at trivia?

In the end, you really can’t beat a Sunday in Portland. Whether you prefer to hang around inside mentally preparing for trivia, day drink through happy hours, or spend the day in the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone on anyone’s budget.

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5 Awesome FREE Things in Portland You’re Probably Missing Out on http://frugalportland.com/5-awesome-free-things-portland-youre-probably-missing/ http://frugalportland.com/5-awesome-free-things-portland-youre-probably-missing/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 14:05:15 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7339 A lot of locals are quick to say that Portland is getting too expensive. They’re not wrong…they’re just not right! With about five minutes of planning, you can find a ton of free activities, outings, and spaces in Portland. So, the next time you’re in town or need a budget treat-yo-self day, check out my...

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A lot of locals are quick to say that Portland is getting too expensive. They’re not wrong…they’re just not right! With about five minutes of planning, you can find a ton of free activities, outings, and spaces in Portland. So, the next time you’re in town or need a budget treat-yo-self day, check out my five favorite free (or nearly free) things to do and see in Portland!

1. The Grotto

By InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA (The Grotto, Portland) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Grotto, Photo by InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA (The Grotto, Portland) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Despite being on a lot of Portland must see lists, the Grotto still manages to get less attention from locals than it deserves. The Grotto is a 62-acre green space and catholic shrine located in Northeast Portland, with a cave carved into an 110ft cliff which boasts a sculpture of Michelangelo’s Pietà in the center.While it is, in fact, a religious space, you don’t have to be to enjoy it!. With its greenery, gardens, and views, the grotto is a tiny slice of Portland Paradise.  While most of the grotto is free, you will have to spend $5 if you want to take the elevator ride to the upper gardens and scenic views.

2. Festivals and Markets

Photo by Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday Market Vendor Photo by Visitor7 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

People who complain about Portland being too expensive are clearly not attending the multitude of free festivals and markets the city offers throughout the year. To start, First and last Thursday can’t be missed! First Thursday occurs on you guessed it, the first Thursday evening of the month, and offers up wine, art galleries, and a stroll through the swanky Pearl District. If that’s not your scene, Last Thursday on Alberta Street is a monthly, more earthy cultural phenomenon of homemade crafts and art, street performers, cheap food, and loads of free lavender and patchouli scents. Even if you don’t buy anything, both are great people watching opportunities. Another people watching activity you have to try at least once is Saturday Market. Happening every Saturday morning March through December, Saturday Market is an open-air market on the waterfront in historic old town Portland.  
If you’re looking for a more laid-back weekend activity, stroll through any of Portland’s city-wide Farmers Markets. Visiting a Portland Farmers Market is a wonderful way to support local business and get out of the house.

3. Free Outdoor Movies

Photo by LWYang from USA (Pioneer Courthouse Square) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pioneer Courthouse Square, Photo by LWYang from USA (Pioneer Courthouse Square) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Distinctly a summer activity,  you’ll have to wait until at least June to take advantage of this Portland freebie. Showing oldies but goodies, both Flicks on the Bricks & Movies in the Park are totally free outdoor movie showings. Flicks on the Bricks is offered weekly at Pioneer Courthouse Square during the summer. Movies in the Park are offered nightly during the summer at Portland City Parks throughout the city. Both are a great way to spend a warm summer night in the city, without spending a dime.

4. Free Days at Local Favorites

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Elephant at the Portland Zoo, Photo by Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re on a budget and are willing to spend two minutes planning, you can visit many of Portland’s destination hot spots for totally free (or cheap!)
Omsi: offers $2 admission on the first Sunday of every month.
Portland Art Museum: offers free admission on the first Thursday of every month.
Portland Zoo: $4 admission on the second Tuesday of every month. Bonus: admission is only $2.5 if you ride the bus or max!
Portland Children’s Museum: offers free admission the first Friday of every month.

5. City Parks

Photo by Another Believer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mt. Tabor Reservoir, Photo by Another Believer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Portland is covered in beautiful and famous parks. You can spend an entire afternoon on Mount Tabor exploring the walking paths, playing tennis or frisbee, reading on a bench, and soaking in the fabulous views offered at the top of this ancient volcano. In the summer, you can even catch free concerts at Mt. Tabor. Another fantastic park is Washington Park in West Portland, boasting the International Rose Test Garden, Hoyt Arboretum,  an archery range, and more. Finally, there is  Forest Park: the largest urban forest in the U.S. It is a forest, in the city. Super cool. Super free. Pressed for time? See the world’s smallest park!

Bonus: The Tram

Photo by Tim Adams (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Portland Aerial Tram, Photo by Tim Adams (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re visiting Portland you really should check out the Portland aerial tram. It offers a fantastic aerial view of Portland, Mt. hood and beyond. While it is technically not free, you can work around the $4 ticket by taking a lovely hike to the top of Marquam Hill and riding the tram down. Trips down are always free!

All of these fantastic Portland to-dos are free or cost less than a grande latte. Whether these make it onto your vacation itinerary, or your yearly bucket list, there is no reason you can’t experience and love Portland for under 5 bucks, so make it your mission to take advantage of what the city has to offer!

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16 Barbershops (and One Salon) To Get Your Hair Done and Your Drink On http://frugalportland.com/16-barbershops-one-salon-get-hair-done-drink/ http://frugalportland.com/16-barbershops-one-salon-get-hair-done-drink/#comments Mon, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7333 If there’s one thing Portland has, it’s style. If there’s another, it’s bars. Many Portland barbershops now offer both. Take a look at the handy-dandy guide we’ve compiled to find the perfect boozy barbershop for your new ‘do! (Note: prices listed are for standard cuts—many shops also offer buzz cuts and trims for less than...

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16-Barbershops-(and-One-Salon)-To-Get-Your-Hair-Done-and-Your-Drink-On

If there’s one thing Portland has, it’s style. If there’s another, it’s bars. Many Portland barbershops now offer both. Take a look at the handy-dandy guide we’ve compiled to find the perfect boozy barbershop for your new ‘do!

(Note: prices listed are for standard cuts—many shops also offer buzz cuts and trims for less than the standard cut.)

1.    Antonio’s Barbershop

This two-chair setup is tucked into the back of Este’s Men’s Clothing store. Between the clothing racks and the barbershop is Este’s Club Room bar, where you can relax in a massage chair while you sip a complimentary coffee, cocktail, or glass of wine, taking in the scenes on their large screen TV. If none of that suits you, there are also darts. Cuts start at $30.

1633 NW Glisan St

2.    Bishop’s Barbershop

Everybody knows this place. There’s one in every neighborhood, and they all feature loud music, loud hair, and the Champagne of beers—Miller Life. Bishop’s barbershops offer a multitude of cutters willing to go any mile to give you the look you want. Cuts start at $26. Several Locations

3.    Brick & Mortar Barbershop and Grooming Supply

This Buckman beauty features clean new school looks in a bright open space. The walls are tiled in reflective white, the floors aren’t checkerboard, and the antique barber chairs come in mint green, white, and lavender. Complimentary beverages include beer and whiskey. Their basic cut starts at $27.

1429 SE Hawthorne Blvd

4.    Bridgetown Barber Society

This trendy Chinatown men’s boutique looks like a spacious and modern hunter’s cabin, complete with animal skin rugs and wall-mounted antlers (no kale here, folks). Cuts include a complimentary shampooing, and there’s beer and cider on draft, along with the requisite whiskey. Their Simple Haircut starts at $35.

26 NW 5th Ave

5.    Cloak & Dagger Barber Co

This place is a nice mix of old and new school, brightly lit with a sort of industrial gothic design. There’s a coffee table that’s made out of a small piano thing, a full-sized pool table to keep you busy, and a flat screen TV. Wet your whistle with a cup of coffee, a craft brew, or any one of a selection of whiskeys. Cuts start at $29.

3608 N Williams Ave

6.    Dapper Barber Co

This barbershop’s two locations are modern looking and bright, with stained wood and black accents. They serve coffee, whiskey, and an assortment of Widmer beers. Besides the usual age-related discounts, employees of Nike, Intel, and Adidas can look forward to 10% off. Military and law enforcement personal get 20% off. Cuts start at $30. Two locations:

4538 SE Hawthorne Blvd,

5018 NE 22nd Ave

7.    Dillingers Barber Shop

These guys are living in the past—in a good way. This shop features cool matching antique barber chairs, old photos on the walls, and barbers dressed to the nines. They offer beer, a variety of shots, and a flat screen TV to watch while you wait. Cuts start at $26.

2517 NE Alberta St

8.    Elmer’s Barber Shop

An eclectic mix of old and less old, this place looks a little like Santa’s Workshop (but maybe that’s because the pictures on Yelp are from Christmas). Every cut comes with a hot towel neck shave and a complimentary beer, soda, water, and/or popcorn—plus, there’s a flat screen TV. Cuts start at $19.

2411 NE Broadway

9.    HairM Salon

This is where you go when you want to get pampered. Each cutting station in this fully-featured men’s spa sports its own sleek television, so you won’t have to miss Maury Povich for the sake of hygiene. HairM offers Widmer on tap, and wine by the glass. Cuts include shampooing, conditioning, and styling. Their membership system allows you to pay for a year’s worth of cuts in one afternoon. Cuts start at $28 for members, $35 for the rest of us. Two Portland locations:

101 SW Main St,

1015 NW Lovejoy

10. Heritage Barbershop

An old school shop, Heritage features big windows, a bright interior, and a big friendly bench. They offer both 12 oz and 16 oz cans of Old German (Player’s tip: go for the big one!), as well as Coke in glass bottles, and shots of bourbon. Every cut comes with a complimentary hot towel neck shave. Cuts start at $25.

2137-B E Burnside St

11. Manly & Sons Barber Co

These guys are old school all the way, and this place is more stripped down pro-shop than Enchanted Forest (some of these guys came over from Modern Man, and that was kind of the opposite). They serve bourbon and beers, and every cut ends with a straight razor neck shave. Basic cut starts at $27 (Pro tip: Their website currently shows prices for the LA location—P-Town’s prices are better).

4224 SE Hawthorne Blvd.

12. Razorfade Barber Shop and Social Club

With its graffiti and faux brick painted wall art, this place looks like the skate shop of barbershops. All cuts include a hot towel neck shave, and they serve an assortment of Ninkasis and New York Sodas, as well as whiskey and locally roasted Water Avenue coffee. Their basic cut starts at $25.

1418 E Burnside St

13. Refuge Barbershop

This place features mint green walls and vintage barber’s chairs to go with your beer, soda, or juice box. All cuts include a straight razor neck shave, shampoo, and beverage—but you have to say the magic word for those last two; they’re by request only. Cuts start at $25.

3543 NE Broadway St

14. Rooks Traditional Barbershop

Who hasn’t seen that “Walkens Welcome” sign on East Broadway, featuring Christopher Walken stabbing your face with his skeleton stare? Rooks has three locations, and all have that old school look and feel, with checkered floors and big chrome and black vinyl chairs. Cuts come with a hot towel neck shave and an ear and eyebrow trim. Libations include Widmer microbrews, Mexican Cokes, and juice. Cuts start at $27. Three locations:

1109 SW Taylor St,

3580 SE Division St,

2935 NE Broadway

15. Throne Barbershop

Another old school barbershop, Throne features exposed brick walls, dark wood bar (yes, they have a real bar) and workstations, and custom brown leather chairs. Their barbtenders (new word!) pour several kinds of booze, as well as beers, sodas, and coffee. Cuts start at $28.

917 NW 13th Ave

16. Union Barber Co

This little shop is brightly lit, with big street-facing windows, polished wooden floors, and a livingroomy decor. It’s kind of the coffee shop of modern Portland barbershops.  Grab a beer, a whiskey, or a steaming cup of joe, and take a seat by the windows to relax a minute before your big moment. Cuts start at $35.

205 SW 9th Ave

17. Y-Chrome Barbershop

This place looks like a mix of old school and new—it has the classic checkerboard floor and exposed brick walls, but patrons are tucked into a cluster of cubbies in the middle so there’s no peaking at what the other guy’s getting. They offer pool and darts upstairs while you wait, and Widmer beer to drink. Cuts start at $28, or $24 with membership.

609 SW Washington St

Of course, there are other options outside of Portland proper, but if you’re looking for something in the heart of P-Town, these options should serve to tame your mane and wet your whistle. Cheers!

 

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Pet-Friendly Road trip to Ashland and Medford http://frugalportland.com/pet-friendly-road-trip-ashland-medford/ http://frugalportland.com/pet-friendly-road-trip-ashland-medford/#comments Thu, 17 Mar 2016 16:47:18 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=7424 Several months ago, I met Marga from the Newman Hotel Group at a lunch in downtown Portland. She invited me to come visit after the coldest part of winter was over. “Are your properties dog-friendly?” I asked, expecting the answer to be no. I was surprised by her answer. “All our properties are pet-friendly! Your pooch...

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Several months ago, I met Marga from the Newman Hotel Group at a lunch in downtown Portland. She invited me to come visit after the coldest part of winter was over.

“Are your properties dog-friendly?” I asked, expecting the answer to be no.

I was surprised by her answer. “All our properties are pet-friendly! Your pooch will love Southern Oregon,” she wrote.

Really? At an historic hotel? Okay!

So, on a weekend in March, the three of us piled into the car and headed south for a pet-friendly road trip to southern Oregon.

Ashland is a little under five hours from Portland, which for us, meant we’d stop halfway in Eugene (which feels like “big Olympia” and it makes me want to hang out there for a whole weekend!) for lunch and to get the wiggles out of Stanley.

We also needed a good podcast. Since I don’t listen to many podcasts (which, I know makes me a big weirdo, especially given the success of Stacking Benjamins in the last six months!), we listened to the podcast that brought podcasts to the masses: Serial.

2016-03-13 10.49.58
Who needs music when you can listen to a great story?

We stopped at the hippiest restaurant in Eugene (okay, probably not, but it was really hippie, to the point where they asked if we wanted butter on our waffles, which the only acceptable answer other than “yes” is if you are actually a vegan, which the waffles were before we adulterated them) to refuel.

Stanley went from ridiculously stressed out to remarkably calm after he got to run around a bit.

Proof:

2016-03-10 11.50.31

We arrived in Ashland mid-afternoon on Thursday, and the day was gorgeous. We walked around with sweaters but no coats and got ourselves oriented with the town.

Then we checked into the Ashland Springs Hotel, which I thought would turn us away due to our four-legged friend. But no! Instead, they put us on the pet-friendly floor.

They do charge a $25 room fee if you bring pets, and they give you what I can only call “the most reasonable requests of any hotel for pets” rule sheet that said don’t groom your dog in our rooms, don’t give them baths, and don’t leave them alone too long, which all seemed perfectly reasonable.

Plus, the rooms were gorgeous:

ashland springs hotel

As you can see, Stanley had no trouble making himself at home. We realized quickly that we did not need to bring him a dog bed. He liked having his blanket, but had no need whatsoever for his bed and didn’t set foot in it the three nights we were away. Now that we’re back home, he and the bed are back to being buddies, but that was an unnecessary item in our trunk. Now we know.

We stayed two nights at the Ashland Springs Hotel, which featured things like afternoon tea (which the nice front desk person told this pregnant lady that yes, of course tea means “and cookies”):

ashland-springs-hotel-tea

and a secret garden:

ashland-springs-hotel-secret-garden

Ashland is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which has an awesome history. In 1935, a 26-year-old with big dreams decided to run outdoor theatre in his hometown. He was given a small amount of money from the city, and nobody believed in him. The story I was told says that the townspeople held boxing matches during the day to raise money to help cover the losses from the loan, and by the end of the first weekend (where they did two outdoor plays: Merchant of Venice and Twelfth Night) they made enough money in ticket sales to not only pay back the loan, but to cover the losses from the boxing match.

I love stories like these, even if they sound like a little like a children’s book.

We bought tickets for Twelfth Night, coincidentally run in 2016 (it’s one of their more popular plays, so it sees the light of day more often than others) for Friday afternoon.

On Friday morning, after our romp in the dog park, we went to the box office to pick up our tickets.

“Do you want a backstage tour?” the woman behind the will-call desk asked. “It starts in 15 minutes and there are only two other people signed up,” she said.

We were sold. This $20 per-person impulse purchase sounded like a lot of money at the time, but it was worth every penny. An actor, Ted Deasy, who we’d see later that afternoon as Malvolio, took us backstage and told us about OSF, the way their plays are put together, what actually happens backstage, how they sometimes have less than a minute to change costumes, and what the red lights mean.

He talked for two hours, and it felt like 25 minutes. If you get down here, try to get a backstage tour. You’ll learn so much about what the festival means to Ashland, and you’ll see a play through a different lens.

Twelfth Night

We read up a little about Twelfth Night before we saw the play because Shakespeare, unlike modern playwrights, sometimes likes to make things confusing, and I wanted to be able to keep up.

This version was set in 1930s Hollywood, where the duke of Illyria gets translated into “Duke” Orsino, head of Illyria studios. I loved how they translated and updated the set without editing the script at all.

If you come to Ashland, you should see a play.

If you’re “not really into Shakespeare,” I feel you. It’s a bit above my normal level of entertainment, too. I’m glad I went, but if you want to skip the bard, see something else! They run new plays, musicals, all kinds of other things as well. If we had stayed longer (or planned better), we would have seen more.

This year, they’re showing The Wiz, Great Expectations, The River Bride, Roe, and Vietgone for some of their non-Shakespeare shows.

If we had stayed longer (or planned better), we would have seen more.

Around Ashland

On Saturday, we checked out of the Ashland Springs Hotel and decided to wander. Our first stop was, again, a park where we thought Stanley could get his wiggles out.

We were, of course, mistaken.

Lithia Park is this awesome downtown park right behind the theatres, so we went early with the hopes we could wear Stanley out a bit.

We found a completely enclosed tennis court (actually two side-by-side), complete with a stick and an old, flat tennis ball. Perfect!

stanley loves tennis

Or… it was, until we were told that not only is Stanley not allowed in the tennis courts, he’s not allowed in the park at all.

Oh, well. He loved playing fetch so much that we’re actively seeking new friends with big fenced yards, preferably in our neighborhood.

After checkout, we headed to Central Point, Oregon (though it was never made clear what the town was the central point between) to visit a place I’ve been wanting to visit for years: Rogue Creamery.

It was everything I’d hoped for… and more. I didn’t take pictures, because by that point, the weather had turned on us and it was pouring rain. Plus, my mind was on cheese. Can you blame me?

Rogue Creamery wins international awards for their blue cheese, and rightfully so. But I learned while visiting that they make cheddar, too. And cheese curds.

Good golly, I’m getting hungry writing this recap!

Also, according to their website, they have a cheese social. You can sign up for three, six, or nine months of cheese delivery. That’s 1.5 pounds a month for up to nine months:

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 9.03.10 AM

Anyway, I digress. Actually, it appears digress isn’t a strong enough word for what just happened here.

We bought some cheese (Rogue River Blue, Habanero Cheddar, Morimoto Soba Ale Cheddar, and jalapeno cheese curds), a loaf of bread, a jar of jam, and some fancy pop and decided we’d have a picnic lunch.

Since the rain hadn’t let up (and wouldn’t, for days), we took our picnic indoors to the next hotel we stayed in.

Medford

The Newman Hotel Group arranged for us to stay Saturday night in Medford, a town I’d never stopped in, so I was excited to see what they had to offer.

The one thing I knew about Medford was that it was home to Harry and David, the fancy fruit and gift basket place that does a swift business around the holidays.

Turns out, they have a physical store. Which we went into. Which was having a “friends and family discount” weekend where the entire store was 20% off. Where someone asked if we wanted to taste chocolates for a survey they were doing.

So, between the cheese shopping and the store full of things in jars, I was feeling my mom, and it was a wonderful feeling. She would have loved this part of the trip. I’m not sure she would have loved the play, but I know she was smiling at us as we were buying ridiculous things.

Harry and David have this adorable truck outside their store, which helps separate this store from all other grocery store parking lots:

harry and david truck

The Inn at the Commons

We were ready for our picnic, so we checked into the Inn at the Commons. We were early, so the king room wasn’t ready, but they let us have a queen room, and it was huge:

inn at the commons

We decided we’d have one bed for Stanley and one for us, but we ended up sleeping in separate beds (like it’s 1940 or something) and the dog spent the night on a comfy chair, so everyone won.

I loved our indoor picnic, and learned that there is, in fact, an upper limit on how much cheese I can eat in one sitting without feeling sick, and it’s a lot less than I thought it would be.

After lunch, we decided to walk around downtown Medford. The Inn at the Commons looks like a normal roadside hotel, but is within walking distance to the downtown corridor (and also, walking distance to yet another dog park!), so we set off to see what there was to see.

You can’t tell from this picture, but the weather was gross:

downtown medford

It was cold and rainy, and after a few blocks, we realized we’d made a mistake with our picnic. When you’re not hungry, and you don’t love shopping, there isn’t much for you to do in a small town. We didn’t need anything, we didn’t want to stop off at antique stores, and we were chilled.

So, we did what we do when we see a gap in the afternoon: we saw a movie!

When we were wandering around, we wondered where all the people were.

When we walked to the movie theater, we found them.

Clearly, seeing a movie on a gross afternoon is not a novel idea.

After the movie, we debated on where we should go for dinner. Pizza won (pizza usually wins in our house) the coin toss, and we found the other place where everyone in Medford was: Kaleidoscope Pizzeria. We shared a pizza with funny ingredients on it, and left with happy tummies.

The drive back, though, was rough.

Sunday’s weather was even worse than Saturday’s, and we had to travel hundreds of miles home. The first part was white-knuckle treachery: we were headed up Grant’s Pass, so we’re at an incline; the freeway was two lanes and curvy; it was I5, so there were trucks driving faster than they should; and we had our windshield wipers going as fast as they could. Visibility was bad. I was a white knuckle passenger (which is like a backseat driver, only better).

Here was my view:

driving back home

It didn’t let up for about 150 miles.

Overall Notes on the Trip

I loved this trip! It proved that I could take Stanley on weekend vacations, but that if I did, I’d be doing a lot more dog things (which, duh). It was a fun way to see another part of Oregon. It was awesome to work with the Newman Hotel Group (thanks so much!).

But if I were you, I’d tell you to spend Saturday night in Eugene. That breaks up your drive home into completely easy chunks. Plus you get to see Eugene. Ashland and Medford are ten miles from each other, so you woudln’t need to switch things up and move hotels.

I’m excited to see more of Oregon!

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