Category Archives: Portland

Boys Fort, Portland, OR

So a group of us are traveling through downtown Portland, looking for a place to eat and some light shopping when my friend spies Boys Fort (902 SW Morrison St, # 97205
Portland, OR 97205
. We have to go she says! Well OK. Sounds like camping supplies to me, but I’m up for it. But no camping supplies, it was an eccentric gift store…really it was several gift stores under one roof and they were all full of interesting things.  Their website says “Boys Fort is a carefully curated collection of local, handmade products and vintage one of a kind finds. With over one hundred local and regional makers represented at Boys Fort, the product mix presented ranges from grooming products like mustache wax and beard oil to hand forged jewelry and leather goods to beautifully crafted furniture. Many local artists are incorporated into the mix, with a wide variety of styles for every taste and point of view”.


Principia, the world’s largest Foucault pendulum

The Oregon Convention Center features some wonderful public art and one of my favorites is Principia, the world’s largest Foucault Pendulum. The Convention Center’s art guide says this about the piece “The dramatic Foucalt pendulum hangs from the north tower and swings across a 40’ halo of suspended gilded rays. Directly below, a 40’ blue terrazzo floor is inlaid with brass rings and colored stone “planets” depicting a fantasy solar system.”. It is a beautiful creation and I suspect that many people don’t notice it gently swaying over head nor the terrazzo floor underfoot.

Very short videos can be seen here and here. A brief explanation of the history and importance of the Foucault Pendulum can be found on Wikipedia. A fun way to see the art is to go to the convention center’s 360 page and look at the Exhibit Space, Pre-conference Halls A & B.

Voodoo Doughnuts


So I went to a conference and all of the attendees were offered free doughnuts. And not just any doughnuts, but Voodoo Doughnuts! So off my friends and I went. I ended up with a huge rectangular treat with chocolate frosting and it was delectable!

Our prize was at Voodoo Doughnut Too (2) at 1501 NE Davis Street, Portland, OR. The chain, which now has six locations, is known for outlandish doughnuts, a colorful and unique store and legal weddings. The first location opened in 2003 and this location opened in 2008. Their newest location opened just this month along the CityWalk at Universal Studios Hollywood, CA. More information, including photos of many of their other doughnuts, can be found on their website.



Holladay Park, Portland

Holladay Park at the NE 11th Ave & Holladay St. in Portland, Oregon is named after its creator, Benjamin Holladay who was “a sharpster, a con man, and a rake” according to the City of Portland Parks and Recreation Department. The park occupies an entire city block and features three cast-bronze sculptures by artist Tad Savinar and a spouting fountain (I just got caught once!) designed by designed by Tim Clemen and Murase Associates.

There is a video of the fountains here.

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The Grotto, Portland, OR

IMG_1055The Grotto, also known as  is National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is a 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden which is administered by the Order of Friars Servants of Mary.

The Grotto is lovely and peaceful. By far the most unique part is the elevator, which is built adjacent to the 110′ cliff and has only two stops. I got on at the bottom, the location of Our Lady’s Grotto, a gift store, and the largest of the churches. and got off at the top, the site of the gardens, other smaller churches and religious artwork.  The grotto is a rock cave carved into the cliff and feature a life-size marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta.

The complex is free to visit, but there is a $5 charge to take the elevator. It’s well worth it. To learn more, look here.

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Embassy Suites, Portland Airport

Embassy Suites, Portland Airport is really nice. I stayed on the 8th floor.The breakfast buffet was robust and there are snacks in the evening. The picture of the orange with flowers is of our center piece at dinner.

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Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Portland

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When I told people that went to visit the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland, Oregon they corrected me and explained that I meant Japanese Gardens. No, they are Chinese Gardens, the most authentic Chinese Gardens outside of China. My friends and I got to the gardens by hopping the light rail in the rain. A short walk from our stop took us to downtown Portland’s China Town/Old Town where the gardens occupy a city block. The cities of Portland and its sister city, Suzhou, China worked together to create this tranquil and lovely oasis. The gardens opened in September 2000. They feature 500 tons of rocks from China, but no plants because of import bans. Instead all of the plants were located in Oregon nurseries and gardens. The tea room featured a menu of teas making me wish I could have tried several.

Powell’s City of Books

With word that Borders Books is restructuring and one of my favorite smaller Seattle bookstores is closing, I wasn’t sure what to expect during my visit to Powell’s City of Books in Portland. I was pleased to see that it was very, very busy! Everywhere I looked there were folks perusing books.

Powell’s main store is located at 1005 W Burnside, Portland OR and is one of the world’s largest bookstores. The building contains 73,000 square feet of retail space and more than 3,000 people visit day. Their stores feature more than 1.5 million books, of which 65% are used (they buy 5,000 used books each day).