Oregon. Wild, weird and wonderful.

We just spent about a week in Oregon visiting Doug’s brother Tim and his daughter. Our trip was mainly in the Portland area but we also were able to venture out to the coast and to the border of Oregon and Washington. I love how Oregon treasures it’s land. The forests, waterfalls and jagged coastlines were beautiful and respected. While they were accessible, it is remarkable how much people here realize what a gift they have and fiercely protect it. I wish this was the case in more parts of the world.

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A few favorites from the trip:

  1. Tillamook State Forest and Coastline – this was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever taken. It rivaled California’s Highway 1 and the Hana Highway in Maui for me. Epic trees, gorges, rivers, waterfalls and cliffs leading down to the ocean. My favorite coastlines have a wild quality to them and this stretch of coastline had cliffs rising from the ocean floor (Haystack Rock). And beyond the beauty, it was an incredible family day. Mags walked a little too far out and ended up getting soaked, but she loved it. I hope she can always keep her sense of adventure and love for the ocean.
  2. Downtown Portland – I wish I had more time to explore this weird and wonderful place. It reminded me of Detroit because of it’s gritty and authentic spirit (once you get past the line of hipsters). They have an incredible sense of style, food and culture appreciation and dedication to local craft. A few highlights were Powell Books, Cascade Brewing and Salt and Straw.
  3. Willamette Valley Wine Tasting – Tim (Doug’s brother) owns a wine sales business and created an incredible day for us of wine tasting. I would say an Oregon Pinot Noir stands up to France any day of the week. The vineyards are breathtaking with views of the mountains and quaint towns with main streets and food cultures that would rival any leading city in the U.S.
  4. Mcmenamins of Edgeville – This historic poor house turned restaurant/winery/brewery/hotel/entertainment complex was truly a one-of-a-kind experience. On almost every surface, 19 local artists painted the story of the building dating back to the early 1900s. The complex was created as a poor house and has transformed many times over the years, serving as a tuberculosis hospital, nursing home and children’s mental hospital. The murals were some of the most interesting, vibrant, detailed and diverse that I have ever seen. It is a true Oregonian experience.
  5. Multnomah Falls – Another awe-inspiring landscape. This 620ft. waterfall is only minutes outside of Portland but feels like another world. We went along the Columbia River Highway (another top 10 drive of all time) and saw many waterfalls, forests, and the entire Columbia River valley. (It was a bit crowded with tourists, but still worth the crowds to see something so beautiful).

It was an incredible family trip (really some of the best food, laughter and ofcourse, vino!). We had the chance to get to know our incredible and kind niece and Maggie had the chance to even jam on the harmonica a little with her uncle Tim. We can’t wait to get back to Portland and enjoy the wilds of Oregon.


a coffee and craft beer weekend





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We had a great weekend away exploring Grand Rapids, Michigan. Now named “Beer City, USA”, they have more breweries than you can count and an incredible food culture. I love it when the environment offers as much of an interesting experience as the flavors and this city does not disappoint. They have an appreciation for design (after all they do hold Art Prize) and their city symbol is a Calder sculpture in the square in front of City Hall. He is perhaps one of my favorite sculpture artists and I loved seeing Maggie run around the organic steel structure, mesmerized by how the light created shadows. It was a beautiful family moment.

Some of our favorite spots not to miss:

Founders Brewery
(not pictured in these) – you can’t go to GR and explore their beer culture without making a trip to the flagship.

Perrin Brewing Company
A great atmosphere with tasty bar food. They have a fantastic patio for the summer and offer some great lunch specials.

Brewery Vivant
Located in East Town, this brewery serves up belgium style ales and is located in a renovated church. They serve elevated bar food (can you say duck confit nachos?) and they have a good kids menu with ergonomic crayons. It’s the little things that make for a memorable experience.

Marie Catrib’s
You can’t go to East Town without stopping by Foo’s place. Even though we didn’t eat there this time, we did pick up some fantastic items from the deli. I literally dream about their chocolate pudding.

MadCap Coffee
Located downtown, this coffee shop is for someone who values the simplicity of coffee. They have a small menu, specialize in pour over, roasting their own beans and hand-crafted espresso drinks. If you like sugary drinks – this isn’t the place for you. But if you like a minimalist experience with people who care about their craft, don’t miss it.

Grand Rapids Brewing Company
Our last stop of the trip, this restaurant offers an elevated menu and makes decent beer. The prices are a little high, and while the food is good, it isn’t something I will be thinking of tomorrow. The most memorable thing about them is the atmosphere. It is well designed and they have thought of just about every detail when it comes to the brand experience.

As you can see in the final picture, weekends away with a 2 year old sometimes need the support of an ipad – and we give props to everyone on the list here for having wifi. You are loved.

What is your favorite Grand Rapids experience?

its hoppin in asheville #traveltuesdays

asheville wicked weed brewingDoug is an amateur brewer and on most trips we frequent a brewery and he becomes fast friends with the brew master and they discuss things like gravity, yeast strains and grain contents. Recently, we fell in love with Asheville. This hipster town knows their beer and we stumbled across a brand new brewery. Wicked Weed is a collective of passionate people who love sharing a pint, great tasting beer and an atmosphere that respects the building’s history with an eye for design. We can’t wait to get back to see how they are doing.