Made By Mrs M

48 Hours in Portland (with an 8 year old!)

Architecture, Art, Inspiration, Shopping, TravelKate Marsden

I know you're keen to know what we got up to in Portland, and you no doubt want to know all about the top nightspots, so I'm afraid I'll disappoint! We were tucked up in our room pretty early each night as we were traveling with the little man, but here are some of the things we got up to in the first city I've visited since Sydney which I think I'd really like to move to...

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I'd been wanting to visit Portland for a few years so it could quite easily have failed to live up to my expectations. On the first day I was a little out of sorts post flight to Seattle and then early morning train (I had been to bed between the two fortunately!) but it didn't stop me falling for Portland pretty much straight away. The atmosphere is fab and it's so green - the amount of trees in the place came as a surprise - probably even more than we have in London (for the size at least). My only disappointment was to find that the Museum of Contemporary Craft which I'd hoped to visit had closed down, but otherwise it was great.

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First we need to talk about Voodoo Doughnut - every other person seemed to be wandering around town with an intriguing looking pink box! A bit like London's Vicky's Doughnuts (I assume as I haven't been!) it's built a cult following and there was always a queue (I believe it's open 24 hours though so presumably it's not that constant) but it was worth it. The chocolate glazed also removed the small boy's wobbly tooth which had been threatening to come out for weeks. The only side effect being that the tooth fairy seems to have a going rate of $5 when she only gives £2 here - shocking!

The Voodoo Doughnut boxes were piled high on the tables (next to other lovely more savory delights) at Pine Street Market where we went to eat both nights as it worked so well for the small boy. Part Boxpark, part Mercato Metropolitano it was nice and had a wide range of different food on offer. We went for burgers and ice cream on the first night and pizza on the second (followed by the legendary doughnuts!).

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We were fortunate enough to be there during the Portland Rose Festival and spent a very nice evening entertaining the boy at the sizeable fair which ran along the banks of the river. There were loads of rides suitable for all ages - we spent a small fortune but he was happy!

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I also went looking for shops and found some real treats. Firstly I stumbled upon Ecru - a really lovely little stationery/card shop - where I obviously did my Just A Card duty. They had a lovely range of letterpress and hand printed Portland cards and lots more besides.

Made Here PDX was on my must visit list and it was almost overwhelmingly good. Fortunately the fact that I had to be able to get the stuff home stopped me overindulging, but I did get a lovely print. Everything they sell here is made locally.

We also visited design shop Canoe which was very smart - they stock a range of items from across the world which is beautifully curated.

I can't not mention Powell's City of Books which is huge (apparently the world's largest independent bookstore) and rather wonderful (so huge in fact it has a map and loosing the small boy was likely rather than possible!) - they stock both new and used books on just about every topic you can imagine.

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For the boy we found Finnegan's Toys & Gifts - not massive but a very nice toy shop. I spotted a box of Lisa Congdon badges on the counter so had to pick some of those up for myself!

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We spent quite a bit of time just wandering about and admiring the place - in particular we loved the Pearl District, which is bordered by some lovely houses like these above. We also found a great fountain for the small boy to cool off and splash about in (for a whole hour!).

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Other family friendly meal spots we enjoyed were the Picnic House on Salmon Street and Deschutes Brewery where Mr M was able to indulge his love of beer and the small boy his love of clams...

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It was a bit of a whistle stop visit and I so hope I can visit again some time - leaving was hard! I also know that there were many things we didn't get to see (partly as we were aiming to appease the little man for a large part of the time).

So the important question.... is Portland weird? Well yes, just a little bit though and it all the right ways!

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