07.25.14

OREGON & CALIFORNIA COAST

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With our last trip to Oregon, we have finally conquered the whole California Coast. Top to bottom. Not in one day, but we have seen it now from the north to the south point. There are still beaches, bays and trails to be discovered, but one thing is for sure –  it’s one of most beautiful places on earth. It feels so primal, massive, breathtaking, strong and brittle at the same time. All the lush colors of the green woods and the blue hues of ocean are so fascinating. You can travel for miles and miles and the view of the sea mingling with the coast never gets old. I have seen Big Sur so many times now, but I will always make a stop at the same view points, soak in the beauty and take picture #459.

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On our way back to SF we hit the coast at Lincon City in Oregon and continued on Highway 101 & Highway 1 all the way down. It definitely takes time, but it’s worth. Passing the largest sand dunes in US and small coastal towns we made it on July 4th to Newport and planned to stay there overnight, go for a walk and watch the fireworks. That plan didn’t turned out so well. Hoping to find a hotel room spontaneously on July 4th somewhere on the coast is a huge mistake. After we had one of the best clam chowder ever at Chowder Bowl we spend like 2 hours calling each and every hotel/motel in 100 miles radius, just to hear: “sorry, we are booked out, but you can make a reservation for July 4th, 2015.” Sure! Patrick is never a diva when it comes to travel and sleeping somewhere, but if I have this one idea in mind how something should be, I can pout really bad if my idea starts to fall apart. Yet I had to admit my defeat as the only free room we found was at Holiday Inn Express in Corvallis, one hour inland. Bye bye fireworks on the beach. After being in the pouts for the next 20 minutes I cheered up and arriving at the Holiday Inn Express was a nice surprise. The hotel was really in a great shape, directly on the river, room huge and clean and on the hotel’s balcony they were serving free ice cream, cookies and milk – waiting for the fireworks to start. The evening ended up being super nice. We talked to fellow travellers about the world cup and road trip stories over some hot tea.

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Our journey continued again at Newport. We didn’t want to miss a mile of the coast and the next few hours were under the sign of view points, lighthouses, beaches, coffee stops and picture takings.

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Thoughts On Road Trips…
I think road trips will always be my favorite kind of traveling. Definitely, there is also something nice about a beach vacation, but being on a road trip you are able to see so many things, challenge and also learn new insights about yourself. Embracing unexpected situations without pout was one of the lessons I learned as well as talking to strangers and listening to their stories or that being spontaneous isn’t always smart. And sometimes I will just travel with Patrick, who is the best travel companion I could asked for and we will laugh, talk, discuss, plan and be silent together. I think having a partner, no matter what kind of relationship you are in with him/her, who shares the passion of road tripping makes the whole road trip experience even stronger. It’s important to support each other, but also to accept and respect new sides that might come up. And if you don’t go for his or her throat it will probably make the relationship bond more. The ultimate test for a relationship ( love or friendship) is traveling together. 

For your notes: For lunch we had the best fish & chips ever in Coos Bay at Fisherman’s Seafood Market. I think the taste of fish & chips stands and fails with the batter and the most ones I tried were jus stale, not this one! So order some and enjoy it on the deck next to the fisherman boats.

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We didn’t have to rush to be back home and after driving windy roads for 6 hours we decide to sleep in Eureka. I’m not really sure what to think about Eureka. My first impression was “let’s just drive through” but as we had already booked a room, we stayed. Luckily the Old Town was quite nice and we met an american-german family that we already met while driving to Crater Lake. We stopped at some sports bar that day to watch the german soccer game and we got into a conversation. Lovely people! Isn’t it a crazy coincidence to see them again!? We ended up staying for one hour on the street chatting with them.

For your notes: We stayed at the Bayview Motel, which had the best Yelp reviews and even though noting fancy it was super clean and nicely done. We had dinner at Five Eleven, which I also can recommend.

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Next morning was drizzly and foggy and we hit the road early in the morning so we could make most of the day – few bullet points were left on our list. One of them was the Avenue of The Giants – a scenic old part of the highway 101 running trough Humboldt Redwoods Park. It’s definitely one of the most outstanding parts of California. If you have ever seen Redwood trees then you know how huge they are, but on this 31 mile stretch they are even bigger. I don’t want to presume I could sum up the beauty of this trees in my words, I think this quote by John Steinbeck says it all:

The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” 

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For the rest of our trip we enjoyed discovering new small towns and beaches along Highway One that we haven’t seen before. Fort Bragg and Jenner were the ones we liked  most. From Mendocino on we already knew what to expect, still found some new serendipities. Sea Ranch was a place that I always wanted to see from near. I love how the coast is sprinkled with homes that blend into the landscape. You can read more about the history of the Sea Ranch here.

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6pm was already approaching and one place had to be visited by then – the Cowgirl Creamery. No trip up north is completed without some grilled cheese and tomato soup from Cowgirl Creamery. This award-winning cheese factory is kind of a California Institution. It’s a must-visit and must-eat. At 5.57pm you can still get the tomato soup but the grilled cheese maker will be clean by then. So keep that in mind.

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With the sun behind us and pretty pastel sky ahead we hit the road back home. Happily exhausted we were only able to brush out teeth before falling asleep. Oh no, that’s not true we watched one episode of Pretty Little Liars.
I really love being on the road, but nothing beats the feeling when you sleep in your own bed, right?

I hope  you guys liked following our road trip to Oregon and if you have any questions let me know!

See more Oregon spots: Crater LakePortandAstoria & Cannon Beach

 

 




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07.24.14

ASTORIA & CANNON BEACH – OREGON

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Friends, here comes the third part of our Oregon Road Trip. While in Portland, we escaped the city for one day and drove all the way up to Astoria and Cannon Beach. The small coast of Astoria has some sentimental meaning to me and Cannon Beach always looks so beautiful on Instagram so we had to visit it. So you are wondering what’s the sentimental meaning? It’s the Goonies movie, folks! My all time favorite childhood movie took place in Astoria and we went to see some of the places. But also besides that, we just wanted to see a little bit more of Oregon. Astoria is about 2 hours drive north and Cannon Beach about 30 minutes more. It’s really nice drive through woods, passing small towns and old gas stations. Perfect gloomy weather made the whole trip even more relaxed and moody.

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Having the big Columbia River on one side and the Ocean on the other, Astoria is a real fisherman town. Fish is sold on every corner, boats are floating in the harbor and net is ready for the next catch. There is a cute downtown lined up with some shops and restaurants and surrounded by lush, woody hills that are hiding pretty Victorian homes.

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Unknowingly we parked our car at the starting point of a Riverside Trolly and jumped spontaneously on the wagon just as they were hitting the rails. Sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist. The fee was only $1 and the Trolly from the 50′s was operated by two super cute older people who told stories and history about Astoria. We drove by old canning factories, new breweries, artist lofts, bridges, container ships, the quarters of the coast guard and the Colombia River Maritime Museum.

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If you ever find yourself in Astoria I highly recommend taking this tour – one hours well-spend. And if you want to hop on and hop off it’s only $2!!!
After the tour we paid a really short visit to downtown and drove up to the hills to see the Goonies house. It’s actually a private home, but the owners welcome fans to take a picture and leave a small donation if they like. It’s really funny to see places you know from the movies. It was lunch time and my friend Jen, recommended us to gran some sea food from Bow Picker, but unfortunately the line was just too long. And waiting hungry in a line is never a good idea.

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We hit the road to Cannon Beach and grabbed some sandwiches from Starbucks. I know, I know…with all the local food and coffee movement going on people feel like Starbucks is super outdated, but I’m sometimes really happy when I see the green coffee sign. When you are somewhere in nowhere it kind of feels safe to see a Starbucks and it feels good to know what you will get – plus they are still making, at least for me, the best hot chocolate.

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One hot chocolate and one latte later we arrived at Cannon Beach. And guys, this is where I want to spend the next 4th of July. For me it was the perfect mini coastal town, with wooden beach homes, sand dunes, huge beach and the haystack rocks in the ocean. I can see us sitting on the porch, having a breakfast in the morning or tea in the evening cozied up in a blanket and inhaling the fresh, salty ocean air. I really liked this place. It felt so calm and relaxed. We made a long walk on the beach and watched the people dipping their toes into the cold ocean and trying to get the perfect shot of the Haystack rocks. Btw, we did the same.

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Around 4pm it was time for us to hit the road back to Portland. On our way we stopped at …. for some crab meat and fish & chips. And Yelp, didn’t disappoint again.

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Back in Portland we went out for dinner and walked over the Burnside Bridge for some spectacular city sunset.

Looking for some more Oregon adventure? Check out the Crate Lake trip and Portland City Guide




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07.22.14

PORTLAND

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Portland was a blast, friends. An easy going, 3 days relaxing blast. It has been on our list since forever and we finally made it all the way up. Our journey started on Monday with a short stop at Crater Lake and continued on Tuesday, passing by forests and freeways, to Portland. The city welcomed us with the most hot day of the year. Like no air to breath hot. Sun was already going down but we knew – it’s going to be a sleepless night. I cannot really sleep good when it’s too hot.  We left our stuff in our really cute Airbnb garden cottage and went exploring the neighborhood. Folks, I can really recommend this place. It has everything you need for few days. It’s clean, with new kitchenette, new bathroom, a nice patio and hammock. It’s located in a really nice neighborhood only 10 mInutes walk to the hip Alberta Street and if you feel overwhelmed by all the food spots, Whole Foods is just around two corners.

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So there we were…In Portland, ready to eat! No joke, this city IS all about food. I cannot count all the food recommendation that I got. It’s impossible to decide where or what to eat. Honestly, I felt a little bit overwhelmed. I wanted us to try all the recommendations, but I recognized it’s not easy to have 5 breakfasts, lunch or dinners in one day. Luckily, next morning we met with my friend Jen at Sugar Cube, who also happens to be author of Portland foodie guide – Portland’s 100 best places  to stuff your face. It’s a must have book for everyone who wants to experience Portland’s food scene from a locals perspective. Her writing is so fun and the tips great. Also you can follow her, while she’s eating her way through Portland, on her Instagram.
Freed from the pressure to wait in the line for 1h so we can say we had that one special doughnut, we were able to really enjoy Portland. Meant we drove around the neighborhoods, we walked the bridges, discovered downtown, spent one day driving north to Cannon Beach, went to a farmers market, had some good food, smelled the roses, relaxed in the park and watched Pretty Little Liars when the sun went down.

ALBERTA STREET
On our first evening we grabbed some salad from the Garden Monsters and strolled the Alberta Street. The vibe of this neighborhood is great. Lots of single family homes, lots of greens and super laid-back. People are definitely not rushing here. You will find here bars, restaurants, local shops and if you are a crafty soul there are plenty workshops going on. As a reward for being so good with our whole30 diet I treated myself with some ice cream from Salt & Straw. Super good and one of the best ice cream I ever had. Amazing combinations.

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SE DIVISION STREET
Second day was all about exploring Portland. We started on SE Division Street – an upcoming neighborhood that’s getting a lots of new condo buildings mixed in between family houses. The food scene is thriving there. Restaurant next to restaurant. Pok Pok is located here. We haven’t tried it, but everyone loves Pok Pok, so it shouldn’t disappoint. Also if you love coffee and you are looking for some coffee history than you should check out the original Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It’s were all the coffee hype started.

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PEARL DISTRICT
Next stop was Pearl District and Downtown. Jen told us about Farmers Market going on at the Shemanski Park in Downtown so we headed there for some Rainer Cherries and Blueberries. Going to a Farmers Market in a foreign city has always this local feeling – more then going to any other place.

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Short stroll through Downtown and you will find yourself at the Waterfront Park Trail. Green stripe directly next to the river perfect for biking, running, lunching and just walking. You can see most of Portland’s bridges from there. It’s a nice walk to escape the bustle of the Downtown. As we made our way back through the streets, there it was – the line for Voodoo Doughnuts. Yeah, it’s long, but so many people waiting for it – they cannot be wrong.

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We skipped it this time. We spend some time walking and browsing the Pearl District which is really pretty, with all the industrial warehouses turned Anthropologie & Co.
Directly across ACE HotelUnion Way is a a very nice shopping stroll. This clean scandinavian style alley host shops like Steve Alan, Marine Layer and some others.

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I unfortunately missed to visit that day Alder & Co and when we came back on Friday, it was closed. I spied through the window and from what I could see I think this would be my favorite. If you are with the car you also maybe want to check out Schoolhouse Electric and Beam & Anchor. Both have amazing home stuff, but are also kind on the pricier side. We had lunch at Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen. The Big Healthy Chopped salad was the winner! And if you like hot chocolate and chocolate in general don’t miss hot chocolate tasting at Cacao.

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NW PORTLAND / NOB HILL
I cannot decide between this neighborhood and Alberta which of them is my favorite.  Both are super charmingly although Nob Hill feels more preppier. Compared to San Francisco I would tell this is Union Street/Marina. Especially the 23th street is full of restaurants and shops. It had the perfect summer evening vibe. Friends having dinner out side, families going for ice cream, besties shopping the boutiques – everyone was just enjoying the great weather.

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We ended our day at the Rose Test Garden and yes, we stopped and smelled the roses. And yes, there is truly something incredibly relaxing about smelling the roses. We should do it more often.
Tip: Grab some food to go and come here in late afternoon, sit at the greek theatre stairs and enjoy a romantic picnic in the middle of all the roses.
Happily exhausted we had some dinner at Bollywood Theatre on the SE Division Street, followed by nothing but relaxing in our garden cottage.

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Portland-63 Portland was really good to us. The right amount on city activity and relaxing. This laid-back, easy going city of food should definitely be on your radar. Next day we headed north to Astoria and Cannon Beach – on the trails of the Goonies. But more about that in the next days, folks.




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