Well the easy answer is stay with my friend Laurel, who makes a fantastic and efficient tour guide. The hard answer is participate in the annual Portland Providence Bridge Pedal.
I visited this charming city late this Summer, and I could have picked up my bags and moved to Portland the day I got home to Rochester. Overall, I would describe the city as smartly walkable, and dense with restaurants and shops.
One of the first stops on my whirlwind tour was the International Rose Test Garden. I felt like Alice in the Queen of Hearts’ garden. Row after row of exotic species were in the height of their bloom. This gem was a short walk from Laurel’s house in the Northwest section of the city. I never would have found it without her.
The next day we drove a quick couple of hours to Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast. The drive was green and beautiful, and everything I imagined it would be. Though I’m not a huge fan of the franchise, I felt like I was driving through the set of Twilight, and that was pretty neat.
Cannon Beach was like something out of a movie. No, literally, it’s out of the movie Goonie’s. Recognize Haystack Rock?
Ah, on to the infamous Bridge Pedal. If you have the stamina, the best way to really see a city is to bike 40 miles looping around most of the neighborhoods, and over 10 of its enormous bridges. Ok, to be fair, I only held up long enough to make it 5 hours and over 8 bridges before I left the pack an took a quick detour home. I like to think of myself as a bit of a biker, but those bridges were huge! Despite my exhaustion and discomfort in places I won’t mention, I saw parts of Portland that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. More than 18,000 Portlandians participated in this year’s Pedal, as I learned from the woman I sat next to on the plane home to MSP. She and her husband actually started the whole thing in 1996! It was a great community building event that other bike-friendly cities should replicate (hmm hmm Minneapolis).