Northwest Travel Magazine: Portland – A City of Villages

18 03 2015

My latest feature for Northwest Travel Magazine explores three of my favorite neighborhoods; the eating, drinking, shopping, hiking, and beyond! Click the PDF link below to check it out.

Portland City of Villages


Seven Brides Brewing: Abiqua Black IPA

23 02 2013

Well here it is! This is the label for the new Seven Brides Brewing Abiqua Black IPA. If it looks familiar it’s because it also the winter banner photo for this blog :-) My favorite picture of my favorite place is now adorning my favorite style of beer. Win, win, win :-)


Portland Family Outdoors: The Wilder Side of Forest Park

24 04 2012

You might recognize some of the shots in this week’s Portland Family Outdoors column from last week’s Wet Forest Trails photo essay. Some of which were taken when I was out doing “research” for The Wilder Side of Forest Park column.

Photo Essay: Wet Forest Trails

19 04 2012

Wet is a good look. Obviously, I’m not the first person to think that. Have you ever noticed that sidewalks and streets are frequently wet on TV and in the movies? Wet streets appear clean, provide better contrast, and just look more appealing. I think the same holds true for wet forest trails, perhaps even more so. Greens greener, browns browner, all forest colors just seem to be richer when wet.

Aside from the colors, hiking after a good rain is exhilarating. The air is clean and sweet. There are far fewer people on the trails, and the wildlife is omnipresent. There’s also a good chance that there’s still cloud cover hanging around; providing that exquisite diffused natural light that photographers in the Pacific Northwest crave. I present this collection of wet trail photographs from my backyard (Portland’s Forest Park) in support of my argument. Click on any shot in the gallery for a larger view.

North Oregon Coast Press Trip: Day 6

5 04 2012

I didn’t sleep particularly well and woke up early the morning of day 6. There were a few contributing factors. The wind howled much of the night, I might have imbibed one too many IPAs for restful sleep, and I knew we were headed back to Portland in the morning. Sad face.

The weather was still nasty, and the Inn at Cape Kiwanda was on the business end of Mother Nature’s fury. The view from the cozy confines of my room, however, was both beautiful and amusing. There were occasional sun breaks above Haystack Rock; that was the beautiful part. The amusing aspect of sunrise was getting to watch a couple of my intrepid counterparts attempting to get to the dunes of Cape Kiwanda in order to snap photos in the morning light.

I love photographers; real photographers that is. I consider myself one, but only in the academic sense. I have a semi-nice camera, I take lots of shots, and some of them turn out nice. But real photographers, they wake up early, they hone their craft, and they occasionally place themselves in harm’s way. On this morning, you could make the argument that my comrades were doing all three. They were essentially getting sand blasted as they made their way across the parking lot to the dunes. Knowing full well that no real harm would befall them from this attempt, I chuckled out loud and only occasionally heckled them from my balcony.

We checked out, posed for a group photo, and left the Inn for breakfast at the Grateful Bread. The bakery and restaurant served up a deliciously hearty breakfast, made all the better by the fresh baked bread that now accented my plate in toast form.

Weather being what it was, we were able to drive into the Nestucca Wildlife Refuge but not able to explore and take photos. There was also the potentiality of a trip to Munson Creek Falls which would have been great, but as a group we decided that the promise of ice cream in Tillamook was more appealing than the rain and mud of the trail.

Now back in Tillamook, we stopped in at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. I love this place. I’ve probably been there 5 or so times in the last 4 years and it’s always a treat. In addition to all of the wines, cheeses, and assorted gourmet foodstuffs, they have a petting zoo. (On a side note, the petting zoo is great for kids. But be aware that a couple of the goats are greedy and will steal your whole bag of treats when you’re not looking. Keep your head on a swivel when visiting the petting zoo!) This was supposed to be our lunch stop but since we weren’t able to engage in any of the scheduled photo ops, we got to the Blue Heron a little early. No worries though. We tasted some cheese, sampled some wine, and they packed us up lunch to take on the road with us back to Portland. Thanks to Alex Hurliman Christopher, Sales & Marketing Manger at the Blue Heron, as well as the delightful staff. It’s rare that you encounter a staff so hardworking and helpful that is also so attractive you can’t stop blushing.

Just because we weren’t hungry enough for lunch, didn’t mean we weren’t ready for dessert. Our last official stop of the North Oregon Coast Press Tour was the Tillamook Cheese Factory. I’m fairly certain that there is legislation on the books somewhere, dictating that it is unlawful to leave Tillamook County without visiting the cheese factory. We all casually strolled along the self-guided tour route. We then sampled cheeses and were treated to complimentary ice cream cones of our choosing. For your information, the onsite store is the only place you can buy their famous Squeaky Cheese.

Now it was time to load back into the van one last time and make our way back into Portland. This little trip was not without peril, however. Through the passes of the Coast Range the snow began to fall, at times quite heavily. This was one more time I was glad that Tracie Driver was on my team. She led us expertly across the snow laden roads of the Coast Range and delivered us back into the safety of the Willamette Valley.

Soon we were dropped off where it all began six days earlier, at the Portland Airport Shilo Inn. This was my first press trip and I was sad to see it end. As busy as we were and as tightly scheduled as every day’s agenda was, it was a ridiculously fun experience that I was lucky to be a part of. Even though it was technically a work trip, I still consider that week to be the best “vacation” I’ve ever had. I hope I have the chance to participate in more of these trips in the future. As a matter of fact, I hope and pray like nobody’s business that I can do these for the rest of my life.

During the trip, other travel writers regaled me with tales of prima donna freak outs and tirades unleashed by other writers that must have become a little too accustomed to the good life. As you probably already know, some people can find the dark side of any moon. That being said, if I ever find the gall to complain that the free coastal accommodations aren’t up to snuff, would you do me a favor? Please track me down and slap the taste out of my mouth.

Picture of the Week: Oregon Coast at Seaside

2 04 2012

North Oregon Coast Press Trip: Day 5

31 03 2012

Day 5 started with Breakfast at the Garibaldi House Inn & Suites with some of the best frittatas the North Coast of Oregon has to offer. During breakfast we were treated to a presentation about the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. Another in a series of pleasant surprises, the OCSR runs between Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi. A historic steam engine locomotive escorts patrons between these two towns, show-casing a beautiful strip of coastline and the northern end of the Tillamook Bay. Unfortunately for me there was no scheduled journey on this morning, but I bit at the “Daddy loves Historic Steam Engines” bait dangling before my face. I mentioned in the Day 4 blog post that Garibaldi and I had some unfinished business to attend to, and this is one of the agenda items.

Next, half of the group made their way to the Garibaldi Museum. There was a brief presentation given about this place over breakfast as well. And while it sounded great, I had bigger fish to fry that morning. I was off to go kayaking in the Tillamook Bay!

Some weeks prior event organizer, Lucy Gibson, sent out an email inquiring whether or not I would be interested in a kayaking trip. “Please respond yea or nay” asked the digital correspondence. To which I replied, “Hell Yea”. This was one of the events I was most looking forward to on this trip, and you can bet your sweet bippy I was in the group headed for the kayaks after breakfast.

We met our guide, Captain Paul Peterson of Kayak Tillamook, at the launching area. Captain Paul was a dead ringer for the guy that plays “The Most Interesting Man in the World” in those Dos Equis commercials. Though perhaps it shouldn’t have, this gave me extra confidence in the whole deal. This was my first time in a real kayak and as it turns out, balancing a kayak isn’t the easiest thing I’ve done. The more you concentrate on balance, the more you tense up and the more you twitch and shake. In a sweet bit of irony, the more you relax and don’t focus on balance, the quieter and more balanced your body becomes. This, however, is an easier concept to grasp than to put into practice.

I eventually mellowed out and our group slowly paddled out into the bay. I took the calculated risk of bringing my camera phone with me on this little voyage; which was viewed as less than wise by a couple of folks on dry land. I figured it was insured and even if my good camera was working I wasn’t going to bring it onto a kayak, so why the heck not? Lucky for me Poseidon was on my side this particular day. The kayak trip was invigorating. We spotted tons of wildlife, I got a couple of sweet POV camera shots, and perhaps most importantly, I never took a dip.

After kayaking we checked out of the Garibaldi Inn and headed into the town of Tillamook to check out the 2nd Street Public Market and have some lunch at the Divine Burger Bistro. We were met by Director of the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce, Justin Aufdermauer, who showed us around the market. The market was populated with local arts, crafts, and foods that typify the area. Not the least of which was the big juicy burger I had at the Bistro.

We then made our way to the outskirts of town to visit the Tillamook Air Museum. As you would likely surmise by the name, the museum is home to numerous historic aircrafts. In fact, over 30 restored machines call the museum home, making it one of the finest collections in the U.S. What really makes the museum a standout, however, is the building that houses it.  The museum sits in a WW2 Blimp Hangar that just so happens to be one of the largest wooden structures in the world. Yep. The wooden marvel of engineering is over 1000 feet in length, nearly 200 feet tall, and was built to house K-class blimps that patrolled the Northwest coast during the war. It truly is awe-inspiring.

It was now time to make our way down to that evening’s destination, the Inn at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City. We decided to take the scenic route, quite literally, by driving the Three Capes Scenic Loop. Unfortunately on this day the rain had returned with a vengeance. We weren’t able to stop at all the photo ops we would have liked to, but I did manage to run down to the Cape Meares Lighthouse to snap a quick pic.

My room at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda was of course, amazing. It also caused me to start giggling like a school girl at just how lucky I was to be there. For the second time on this trip I had an amazing view of Haystack Rock from my room. I wasn’t aware of it until then, but apparently there are two different Haystack Rocks hanging out on the North Coast of Oregon; the Cannon Beach version and the Pacific City version. Sure, why not? The name so nice they used it twice.

Right across the street from the Inn was the Pelican Pub and Brewery, where we would enjoy a tour of the brewery followed by dinner. Our tour was informative but also tasty as we were given samples of beer straight from the vats. I’m not sure how much was psychological, but I remember being convinced that drinking beer in such a manner was vastly superior to drinking from a bottle or keg, and was really the preferred technique. As if this would be an option open to me after the tour.

We were then ushered out of the brewery and into a large banquet room for more beer samples and dinner. Jeremy Strober of Kiwanda Hospitality joined us for dinner. In addition to being remarkably hospitable, Jeremy was a great story teller. Ordering off the menu, I had a memorable Sea Scallop Linguini. The table also shared a number of appetizers and a large sampling of Pelican Brewery beers. Without a doubt, every dinner we shared on the trip was excellent. This dinner stuck out as perhaps the most festive. It would be our last dinner together and the beer and laughter flowed freely. My cheeks hurt from smiling as I climbed into bed for the evening, and that’s always a welcome soreness. Checkout the next day was at 8am.


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