Tag Archives: travel portland

Bagdad Theater and Pub

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Cast your imagination back to the Bagdad’s original opening day, in 1927….  Outside the new “Oasis for Entertainment,” hundreds crowded onto Hawthorne Boulevard, which was roped off for the big event. A street dance jumped to a live band as searchlights sliced through the night sky. Portland Mayor George Baker gave a rousing speech heralding the building’s importance to the community. And an orchestra performance, male quartet, Maryln Mills and her famous horse Beverly, a jazz band, a stuffed prop camel and a screening of Laura LaPlante’s Her Big Night (1926) dazzled all who attended. It was truly a glamorous night of nights on Hawthorne Boulevard.

For several generations, “Meet me at the Bagdad!” was the slogan for area residents looking for a convenient escape or to catch a glimpse of stardom. Since acquiring the Bagdad in 1991, the McMenamins aim has been to continue that long tradition as a community gathering spot.

Few expenses were spared to create the eastside Portland movie palace. Capitalized in part by the deep pockets of its parent company, Universal Pictures, the Bagdad was called “a triumph of artistry and craftsmanship.” In 1927, it stood as the city’s largest theater outside the downtown area. Beyond its immense size, guests marveled at the theater’s gurgling fountain and grand colonnade in its foyer, along with its faux-Middle-Eastern decor, right down to the Arabian-styled uniforms worn by the usherettes. Even the conductor selected to lead the Bagdad’s house orchestra was a musician of great prominence, having studied under Tchaikovsky.

At the time of the Bagdad’s opening, Americans’ fixation with movies and Hollywood was already well established. Demonstrating the local craving for celluloid heroes, a cider mill and church were sacrificed in order for the ornate Bagdad to be built on the site. A surge of excitement was generated worldwide in the months following the Bagdad’s opening by the premiere of the first “talkies.” Prior to 1927, theatergoers had enjoyed only silent films, accompanied by an organist or, in the more posh movie palaces like the Bagdad, a live orchestras. And, of course, vaudeville acts were very popular.

So during the Bagdad’s first years, silent movies and vaudeville reigned supreme. In fact, vaudeville remained a key part of the theater programming through the 1940s. Sammy Davis, Jr., performing with the Will Mastin Trio, was one of the many acts to grace its expansive stage.

The Bagdad has also been the scene of some notable movie premiere galas, including Star Trek III, 1776 and A Star is Born. In 1975, actors Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher along with producer Michael Douglas appeared at the Bagdad for the Oregon premiere of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. About fifteen years later, soon after McMenamins took stewardship, the premiere of My Own Private Idaho was screened here. These historic events and many others were depicted by McMenamins artists in a huge, colorful mural that hangs today at our Back Stage Bar, just around the corner.

By the mid-1980s, the local and national media was issuing dire predictions about the health of all single-screen movie theaters. McMenamins, though, jumped at the opportunity to take over the Bagdad, bolstered by its success with its first theater-pub, The Mission in Northwest Portland, which opened in 1987.

Over the course of McMenamins’ stewardship, the Bagdad hosted second-run films as well as special events. Through the Powell’s Books Author Series, welcomed a parade of prominent writers and poets in the main auditorium. Music, too, became a popular addition as the occasional performance graced the main stage. Local and independent film screenings, stand-up comedians and trivia nights further added to the mix, while the beautiful space was often rented out for late-night private events and parties.

As part of the conversion to a first-run-films theater, major upgrades and overall improvements to this grande ol’ dame include a 50% larger screen, 20,000-watt Surround Sound, K Prime digital projector and comfy new rocker seating. This state-of-the-art technical experience offers the latest in accessibility with closed captioning and hearing-impaired options.

The concession menu has also undergone an upgrade, with an expanded tap selection and theater classics like fresh pizza slices, popcorn and candy. Additional menu items will be delivered to the balcony seats, thus improving the flow of foot traffic into the viewing area.

The Bagdad’s much ballyhooed 1927 opening changed the face of the neighborhood and brought the allure of Hollywood to Southeast Portland. Through the years, this landmark property’s role grew as a favorite destination for folks from all over the region. We hope you continue to enjoy the historic, elegant Bagdad Theater as the people of Portland have for nearly ninety years (and counting).

This marvelous relic of Hollywood’s Golden Age is a movie palace full of wonder and surprises. For nearly four generations now, the Bagdad’s Mediterranean/neon persona and daily films have made it an icon of Portland’s vibrant Hawthorne District. The interior is an attraction in and of itself, with barreled arches, ornate wrought-iron fixtures, brilliant mosaics and painted Mediterranean designs and characters.

Kick back in the theater for enjoy a slice of pizza and a handcrafted ale during the show, or come early and enjoy dinner in the casual pub that fronts the theater – but beware,  outdoor tables in the summertime may be hard to come by! It’s some of the best people-watching seats in the whole city.

Review:

As part of my Portland adventures I knew I had to check out the World Famous Bagdad Theater and Pub on Hawthorne.  How could I not?  Just for the exterior alone – this theater was sure to whisper me stories in the dark.   If I listened close enough it would tell me the secret as to why it was still standing all these years.

It did.  The secret was in its unique ambiance, awesome customer service and cheeky stance in a time where the world outside is far grimmer than decades past when it first opened.

I settled in to watch ‘Interstellar’ whilst I was in town checking out the Bagdad Theater and Pub.  I made my way up to the balcony which I was told by one of the ushers is the best place to see the immense screening.  She was right.

I was sat comfortably right in the centre of the first aisle by the balcony.  The seats were comfortable and you were actually able to lounge without zapping the person behind you.  I popped my phone on the table ledge in front of me and instantly felt like a VIP.

I was sat beside a really sweet couple who were eager to fill me in on the history of the Bagdad and also the furnishings of the space.  We both marvelled at the gorgeous antique chandeliers which I was told takes over 4 hours to clean and outfit with new bulbs once a year.

I loved the Mediterranean meets almost Middle Eastern feel of the space.  It felt appropriate and vintage without the shabbiness.

‘Interstellar’ was over three hours long so it was neat to see what people around me were eating without feeling distracted.  There were people indeed eating pizza and other pub fare.  The fare was ordered and then brought to the patrons at their respective seats once numbers were placed at their tables during the film.  It all felt very civilized and made me wonder why we don’t have something similar back home?  By the way, there are two menus:  One for Counter Fare and the other for the Balcony.

It was great to see that the drinks, cocktails and candy at the traditional concession stand were affordable and diverse.  You may think you don’t want anything to nibble or sip on but as soon as you see that concession stand those thoughts will get tossed out the window super fast.  Brilliant marketing!

Even though we were all sitting in a grand space it didn’t feel cramped nor did it feel like people were going to get into your business once the film started.  Everyone was in for a good time and indeed a lot of people watching was in full effect.  Portland has such interesting characters.  There were young people, middle aged folks and even some seniors.  Clearly, Bagdad veterans.  No nonsense.  All business in the name of a good cinema time.

Did I enjoy watching ‘Interstellar’ at the Bagdad Theater?  I did!  It was tremendous and for the price it was a neat experience as a visitor to Portland.  We can all boast about how great our Theaters are in our hometown.  But I much rather brag about how I went to the Bagdad Theater and Pub in Portland whilst travelling and took in classic film experience that only people in Portland know to do with flair, cheekiness and a good time with a pint in hand.

Bagdad Theater and Pub

3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.

Portland, OR 97214

Pub: (503) 467-7521

Movie Line: (503) 249-7474 x1

bagdad@mcmenamins.com

http://www.mcmenamins.com/219-bagdad-theater-pub-home

Japanese Garden

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Who knew I’d love wandering around gardens in Portland taking photographs?  Well I didn’t.  Th adventure of doing so brought me some much joy and also time to reflect on me, my own healing and why taking time off is so important.

I enjoyed my visit to the Japanese Garden and I encourage you to check them out too when you have a chance whilst in Portland, Oregon.

Let me tell you about the Five Gardens at the Japanese Garden.

The Flat Garden (hira-niwa) is an example of how gardens in Japan have continued to develop the dry landscape style of the karesansui garden over time. In a garden such as this one, the designer worked to balance the relationship between the flat planes (the ground) and the volume of stones and clipped shrubbery and trees to create a sense of depth of space. The garden is meant to be seen from a single viewpoint either from within the Pavilion or from the veranda. The whole is framed by the sliding shoji doors if viewed from inside or by the veranda itself if viewed from outside. This framed view can be appreciated in much the same way we would appreciate a landscape painting—perhaps a view of a shoreline across the water of the raked gravel plane. Mountains and hills are depicted in the rounded shapes of the azalea shrubs. The Flat Garden also provides a distinctively seasonal beauty in all four seasons. The Japanese laceleaf maple is more than a century old and can be said to represent autumn, while the weeping cherry signifies the spring. Winter is represented by the black pines and summer by the imaginary cool “water” of the raked gravel surrounding the Circle and Gourd Islands, which symbolize enlightenment and happiness.

The Strolling Pond Garden (chisen kaiyu shiki teien) consists of Upper and Lower Ponds connected by an enticing stream. The Upper Pond features a Moon Bridge, while the Lower Pond has a zig-zag (yatsuhashi) bridge through beds of iris against the backdrop of a stunning waterfall.

Strolling pond gardens were intended as recreational sites for the wealthy and were attached to the estates of aristocrats and feudal lords (daimyo) during the Edo period (1603–1867), when this style of garden was at its height. These gardens were sometimes created to be reflections of a landscape of some distant place once visited, or the place of one’s birth, or even a famous place in China. An earlier style of pond garden called chisen senyu shiki was popular during the Heian period (794–1185), but the earlier gardens were typically viewed from boats floating on ponds rather than strolling along pathways near the water. Both of these styles have served as inspiration for poetry and art, but in Edo times the larger scale and grand style of the Strolling Pond Garden served the daimyo’s interest in luxury and the display of wealth.

A Japanese tea garden (cha-niwa or roji) is a place for quiet reflection on the beauty of nature and the art of living in harmony with one another and with all things. Amid a wooded setting, a pathway with carefully placed stepping-stones and lanterns leads through the rustic garden to the teahouse. The gardens are designed to present a peaceful, natural space that serves as an interval—both in space and time—a place to detach oneself from the hectic everyday world before entering the teahouse and the tranquil world of chanoyu (tea ceremony). This spiritual and aesthetic practice focuses on achieving a heightened awareness of the beauty of the present moment through the simple act of sharing a bowl of tea with friends in a tranquil setting.

The tea garden consists of a pathway (roji) that leads to Kashintei (Flower-Heart Tea House), connecting inner and outer gardens, separated by a simple bamboo gate. The outer garden path (soto-roji) leads guests to the machiai (waiting place), until the host greets them and invites them to enter the inner garden path (uchi-roji). Here guests pause at the tsukubai (arrangement of stones around a water basin) to rinse their hands and mouth, symbolically removing the dust of the real world behind. The path through the gardens represents a journey that is so important to the creation of the proper state of mind for the tea ceremony that the word roji has become synonymous with tea gardens themselves.

Kashintei (literally “Flower-Heart Room”) is the name of the Tea House. The structure was made in Japan by master craftsmen employed by Kajima Construction Company. It was constructed using wooden pegs rather than metal nails, in the style of traditional structures in Japan. Kashintei was dedicated on June 1, 1968. Tea houses are composed of several strictly defined spaces. There is an anteroom (mizuya) where the utensils for the ceremony are readied beforehand. The actual sitting room (zashiki) is where the tea ceremony is performed. There are mats (tatami) on the floor; in fact, Japanese rooms are measured by the number of tatami they contain.

While the Tea House is an authentic structure, it is also unusual as it has walls of sliding papered doors (shoji) around the tatami mat area, a surrounding slate floor, and outer walls of sliding doors, making it useful for tea demonstrations as well as tea gatherings in our Garden. Most tea houses are 4.5 tatami mats or smaller and are enclosed by solid walls with very small, paper-covered windows. Most have a tiny door that requires guests to crawl into the inner space. The sense of enclosure and intimacy help the participants focus on each other and the tea ceremony.

Kashintei Tea House is small, as most tea gardens are, built historically in urban environments. Yet the experience of walking through the roji to the tea house was meant to give a sense of traveling a considerable distance: out of the city and deep into the mountains to the hermitage. As the guest walks the winding path, all his cares drop away. He arrives at the tea room composed and serene.

This garden itself was renewed in 1998-99. Artifacts were relocated and a new fence was installed. Renovation was conducted in collaboration with a Japanese landscape consultant and members of local tea schools. The tea garden is appropriately more rustic than most other garden styles. This is particularly evident in the use of naturally shaped stepping-stones. Tea gardens were the first kind of garden in which stepping-stones and lanterns were used.

The Natural Garden was created to be an environment that encourages visitors to rest, relax, and reflect on the very essence and brevity of life. This garden in its current configuration is the most recent addition to the Portland Japanese Garden, and it is also the most contemporary style, referred to as zoki no niwa, a style which includes plant materials that fall outside the list of plants traditionally associated with Japanese gardens. Notable is the use of vine maple, a shrub indigenous to this region. The garden focuses primarily on deciduous plants and is laid out to present seasonal change, from the budding new leaves of spring to the coolness of summer shade, the changing colors of autumn to the naked trees of winter.

Originally called the Hillside Garden, referring to the steeper terrain in this part of the Garden, the denseness of the trees and shrubs create an immediate difference in atmosphere, something wilder yet equally tranquil. The flow of energy (ki) through the garden refreshes and restores all those who walk there. While the flow of ki is primarily directed by the waterway, note that nearly all the deciduous trees lean slightly in the same direction that the water is flowing. This garden was originally planned by the Garden’s designer, Professor Takuma Tono, as a moss garden, but the plants proved difficult to maintain. The garden was redesigned in the early 1970s and then again in 1990, due to damage from earth movement.

Gardens of raked sand (or gravel) and stone are referred to as karesansui (literally, “dry landscape”) gardens. This style was developed in Japan in the later Kamakura period (1185–1333). Many Chinese landscape paintings of the Southern Sung dynasty were imported to Japan in the 14th and 15th centuries by Zen Buddhist priests, and they were emulated by Japanese artists like Sesshu (1420-1506). An important Japanese aesthetic principle underlying both landscape paintings and dry landscape gardens is yohaku-no-bi, literally “the beauty of blank space.”

While dry landscape gardens are sometimes referred to as Zen gardens, it is more accurate to refer to them as karesansui. In Japan, often this style of garden is part of a Zen Monastery, such as the famous Ryoan-ji in Kyoto (although it does occur elsewhere). Often attached to the abbot’s quarters, this style of garden was not meant for meditation (zazen), but more for contemplation. Care of the garden is part of the monk’s practice, as is every other action in their lives. For those who interpret these gardens as vehicles for contemplation, they may offer a cosmic view of the universe represented in sand and stone.

This karesansui was designed by Professor Takuma Tono in the 1960s, when Zen Buddhism was little known or understood in this country. Professor Tono was inspired by a tale that’s said to be over 2,000 years old. A tale of a previous incarnation of Buddha, the Jataka Sutra originated in India. It is recorded on a painted panel in the Horyu-ji temple at Nara, and it depicts the Buddha facing the dilemma of saving a starving tigress and her cubs trapped in a bamboo ravine. The Buddha’s self-sacrifice to save starving creatures is a lesson in compassion on the path to attaining enlightenment.

There is so much to take in at the Japanese Garden – make sure you give yourself a lot of time.  It will be well worth it.  Bringing a camera a long is a must to capture the beauty and to take it away with you for future reflection.

http://japanesegarden.com/

The Forest Park Conservancy

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Native American settlement of the area now known as Forest Park is believed to date back 10,000 years. The first Euro-American explorers arrived in the Willamette Valley with the Lewis & Clark expedition in 1806. By the mid-1800’s, most Native American people living in the area had been removed by state and federal authorities in favor of Euro-American settlers.

In 1903, John Charles Olmstead and his brother Frederick Law Olmstead, sons of the designer of New York’s Central Park and many other iconic green spaces in the United States, proposed that the densely wooded hills above northwest Portland be designated by the City as “a forest park.” In the early 20th century, the park narrowly avoided large-scale residential development, largely due to its geologic unsuitability. After nearly half a century of advocacy and hard work by visionary community leaders, Forest Park was eventually dedicated in 1948. That same group of civic-minded individuals formed an organization that continued to advocate and work for the preservation and protection of Forest Park; that organization is now known as The Forest Park Conservancy.

Review:

I already had it in my mind to check out the Forest Park Conservancy in Portland regardless of the terror seen in the film with Amanada Seyfriend called ‘Gone’.  ‘Look how bad could it be?  I’m sure there aren’t any kidnappers lurking in the bushes.  Forest Park seems like such a friendly park,’ I thought as I packed up my bag for the day’s trek.

I was right; there was nothing to worry about.

I’m new to hiking.  I love it and it’s so good for me especially when work wears me down.  I have been hitting the treadmill most nights after work and who knew all that prep would serve me well trekking the Wildwood Trail at Forest Park.

The Wildwood Trail, designated by the Secretary of the Interior as a National Recreation Trail, meanders for 30.2 breathtaking miles, from the southern end of the trail at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington Park to the Northwest terminus of the trail at Newberry Road. Starting at the Vietnam Memorial/Oregon Zoo, the trail is marked every quarter-mile by blue, diamond-shaped blazes stenciled onto trees about six feet from the ground. The mile markers are located approximately two feet above the blue diamond, and show the distance from the Zoo/Vietnam Memorial trailhead. The Wildwood enters Forest Park proper when it crosses West Burnside St. at about Mile 3.  That last bit I didn’t read well enough.

As I started my trek from the top of Pittock Mansion, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Sleepy trees, clinging onto a soupy mist with indeed an air of creepiness lying ahead.  But in typical brave Leo fashion, I took it all in stride.  If anything I couldn’t believe I was there.  I felt similar feelings trekking around Muir Woods in San Francisco over 6 years ago.

It had just rained and was still spitting so I was careful as I tend to walk fast.  It felt like the trails would collapse into one another as I went lower and lower but it never did.  There were times I felt close to the trails edge but I didn’t feel nervous at all.

I would often look up and with a grin stared at the tall tree giants and they waved back at me.  I hugged many a tree.  They had seen a lot and I wondered what they thought of me as I kept walking with my head turned up towards the heavens.

I can’t express how much beauty I saw.  It was so beautiful and indeed ‘so Portland’ as a local had said to me upon viewing my pictures from Forest Park.

I was alone trekking in Forest Park but I didn’t feel an ounce of loneliness.  I guess because I had some lovely trees looking down on me egging ne on.  I wasn’t alone.

I was told if I took the Wildwood Trail it would lead me to the Japanese Garden.  In my romance of looking up at the tall trees, feeling teary and overwhelmed of a year past, wishing my parents could see this, thinking about things loved and lost – I didn’t see any markers for the Japanese Garden.  Instead after trekking for close to an hour I came to a scary highway and thought the trail had ended.  In fact that road was Burnside Road.  I had to cross it to trek for another hour and a bit to get to the Japanese Garden.  I wish I knew that!  Oof.  Regardless, I don’t think I would have made it.  My energy was waning and my legs were feeling like Jell-O.

Instead I trekked back up to where I started to Pittock Mansion which took me another hour.  Luckily I had a banana in my purse which was much-needed fuel to get me back up the elevation to the top.  It was hard work. I wanted to cry.  I really had to concentrate and remind myself I was on vacation and this was all part of the fun.

As the elevation climbed, I really had to work hard at breathing and my heart was beating fast.  My inexperience showed.  But I did it!  Exhausted and I still had a way to go home to the Pearl District by bus.

It was an experience, next time I will prepare a tad more for the hike.  I had an amazing time and it was worth revelling, taking photos and breathing in the lovely air at Forest Park.  I will never forget it.

Forest Park Conservancy

210 NW 17th Ave. Suite 201

Portland, OR 97209

Office hours vary, please call before visiting:

503.223.5449

http://www.forestparkconservancy.org/

Lan Su Chinese Garden

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Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of Portland’s greatest treasures and most interesting sites to see while visiting Portland. A result of a collaboration between the cities of Portland and Suzhou, our sister city in China’s Jiangsu province that’s famous for its beautiful Ming Dynasty gardens, Lan Su was built by Chinese artisans from our Suzhou and is the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China.

Much more than just a beautiful botanical garden, Lan Su is a creative wonder — a powerfully inspiring experience based on a 2,000-year-old Chinese tradition that melds art, architecture, design and nature in perfect harmony.

Once inside the garden’s walls, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled through time to another era in a faraway world. Lan Su is a window into Chinese culture, history and way of thinking. Ever changing, Lan Su always has something new to offer – by the minute, by the hour, and with the seasons. Enter the wonderland.

The garden’s name represents this relationship: sounds from both Portland and Suzhou are combined to form Lan Su. “Lan” (蘭) is also the Chinese word for “Orchid” and “Su” (蘇) is the word for “Arise” or “Awaken,” so the garden’s name can also be interpreted poetically as “Garden of Awakening Orchids.” (蘭蘇園)

Review:

Outside the wall the mountain stretches an indigo blue;

In front of the gate a rivulet carries the flowers’ scent.

— Exterior couplet, Reflections in Clear Ripple Pavilion

During November, Lan Su Chinese Garden will be packed with more than 500 potted chrysanthemums artistically displayed throughout the garden.  The Lan Su Chinese Garden is calling it Mum-Vember.

More than 50 different chrysanthemum varieties will unfurl in all colors, shapes and sizes including: spiders, quills, spoons, regular incurves, irregular incurves, reflexes, semi-doubles, anemones, brush, thistle, exotics and more! Take in the oranges, reds and yellows of autumn to unusually bright pinks, pale lavender, lime green, and even stripes of the chrysanthemum.

I enjoyed my time at the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  The air smelled sweet and clean while I was still well within Portland’s city limits.  The relaxing vibes coming off the beautifully manicured garden, still waters and ornate small buildings transplanted me far away from Portland for a few hours.

I found myself lingering under a Persimmon tree, peeking glances into ponds for fish, thinking about how much my Mum would love to see the Mum’s in full bloom, feeling the urge to paint and draw my views, winking at the Weeping Willow tree and thinking of one of my favourite songs by The Verve and trying my best to keep my mind still.

The Lan Su Chinese Garden is tucked away in Chinatown and worth a visit the next time you are having a meal or coming off your Voodoo Doughnuts high from down the road.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

239 Northwest Everett Street, Portland, Oregon 97209

Phone: 503.228.8131

http://www.lansugarden.org/

Museum of Contemporary Craft: ShowPDX A Decade of Portland Furniture Design

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Founded in 1937, Museum of Contemporary Craft (MoCC) in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art is a vibrant center for investigation and dialogue that helps expand the definition and exploration of craft. Through dynamic exhibitions and provocative public programming, supported by the Museum’s collection and archives, the Museum advances the conversation on the role of craft and design in contemporary culture while at the same time honoring the history of the studio craft movement.

The Exhibition Galleries, 4500 square feet on two floors, at any time feature multiple exhibitions that look to the present, future and past of craft through the focused viewpoint of today. Along with featuring some of the leading contemporary national and international artists, exhibitions frequently draw from the rich archives of the MoCC collection, a public legacy of over 1000 objects that documents the active role of both the Museum and the Pacific Northwest in the evolution of craft over the last seven decades.

In addition to the exhibitions on view, the MoCC experience is complemented by The Gallery at Museum of Contemporary Craft—one of the primary destinations in the Pacific Northwest for purchasing exceptional contemporary crafts. The Gallery represents craft artists from across the nation working in ceramics, glass, wood, metal, fiber and mixed media. Gallery artists routinely visit the Museum for public gallery talks and hands on demonstrations.

Review:

ShowPDX: A Decade of Portland Furniture Design

Created by Jennifer Jako and Christopher Bleiler of fix studio

October 31, 2014 – January 31, 2015 Curated by: Nicole Nathan

ShowPDX Innovative + Functional Furniture Design is a biennial exhibit presented by fix studio. Show2014 displays over 60 examples of unusual and stimulating furniture design while providing designers/fabricators/makers with a place and resource for peer and public recognition, support and dialogue.

In 2001, small group exhibits by local designers and fabricators inspired the birth of a regular venue for furniture design in Portland. Created by designers Jennifer Jako and Christopher Bleiler of fix studio, Show2002 was the first of its kind in Portland. The exhibit was a curated show of furniture design, featuring local designers, fabricators, and makers. Through the spirit and support of the ShowPDX curatorial group, Show2014 continues to fuel collaboration, inspire students, create dialog amongst colleagues, promote business and inspire events by other independent designers and regional designers at locations across the country.

In October, Show2014 opens to the public. ShowPDX: A Decade of Portland Furniture Design at Museum of Contemporary Craft is the first retrospective of this landmark juried invitational. The exhibition will bring together ten-years of ShowPDX, showcasing the evolution of furniture design in Portland.

I loved the space at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and especially the ShowPDX: A Decade of Portland Furniture Design.  It was easy to navigate without a hipster nose up in your business.  I really enjoyed Portland’s ode to nature and the using of natural fibres and materials.  This makes so much sense and I feel drawn to waning to create by observing a tree stump made of manmade materials, an interesting coffee table to house art books, a woven stool, a bark desk nook and a fantastic purposeful desk.

The works were contemplative, interesting and rich with ideas that perhaps you can emulate into your home and workspace.  It’s always since to see what designers are bringing to the table.  Perhaps we may not be able to afford it (just yet) but we sure can ponder its relevance in our lives.

Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with

Pacific Northwest College of Art

724 NW Davis Street

Portland, Oregon 97209

Tel: 503.223.2654

Fax: 503.223.0190

info@MuseumOfContemporaryCraft.org

http://mocc.pnca.edu/

Voodoo Doughnuts

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So Portland is weird.  I know it now.  The day I decided to try to find Voodoo Doughnuts in Chinatown it was raining cats and dogs and I got lost and stuck on Burnside Bridge.  Oof.  Typical.  But as luck would have it, I found Voodoo Doughnuts and boy was I ready to get sugared up.

When you walk into Voodoo Doughnuts you know you are walking into something albeit very Portland weird but also kinda fun.  I loved the space.  It smelled of freshly baked doughnuts which I could see from my place in line.  It was interesting all the tourists in line were lined up like they were getting ready to meet the Soup Nazi.  People were speaking in low whispers.  It was weird.

The walls and front counter were plastered with memorabilia, posters, a life-size doughnut hung from the ceiling and various wild and wacky gadgets and objects acted like magpies.  They were making my doughnut choice even more overwhelming.

I chose the Maple Bacon Doughnut.  Eventually.  A perfect mix of sugar and a small percentage of protein.  How could a girl resist?  This thing was going to help me get through my Forest Park trek in all its caloric goodness.  The Maple Bacon Doughnut was soft, yummy, generous with a maple layer of smothering and the bacon was the perfect mix of crunchy, salty and sweet.  It went right to my head.  I felt loopy.

Vegan Doughnuts are also featured along with a rotating and frequently changing menu of specialty Doughnuts and unusual variations.  The company offers over 100 varieties, in total.  Unconventional ingredients include Cap’n Crunch, grape flavored Tang, M&M’s, Oreo cookies, and marshmallows.

Indeed quite the tourist trap, but if you are in Portland – you have to check out Voodoo Doughnuts otherwise you would not have been in Portland.

  1. Voodoo Doughnuts on SW 3rd

22 SW 3rd Ave., Portland, OR 97204; 503-241-4704 voodoodoughnut.com

  1. Voodoo Doughnuts on NE Davis

1501 NE Davis St., Portland, OR 97232; 503-235-2666 voodoodoughnut.com

http://voodoodoughnut.com/

The Mark Spencer Hotel: Downtown Portland’s Hotel to the Arts

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The Mark Spencer Hotel is the perfect choice for your visit to Portland, Oregon. Each room is unique, personally accessorized to create a comfortable homelike atmosphere with the added benefit of our hotel services. A wide variety of spacious studios and one-bedroom suites await your selection – impeccably serviced and complemented with kitchen furnishings and ample closet spaces. The hotel is completely non-smoking and features select pet friendly rooms.

Hotel guests enjoy daily complimentary continental breakfast with selection of espresso coffees, copy of The New York Times, Wi-Fi, afternoon tea and cookies, and evening wine reception. Additional amenities include room service, individualized voice mail, 24 hour fitness center, an on-site laundry facility and dry-cleaning services, hair dryers, iron and ironing board. On-site parking available for the lowest fees in town including discounts for hybrids.  Check in time is 4pm and check out time is 12 noon.

Our convenient city center location allows you to enjoy Portland’s vibrant downtown and we can set the stage for your cultural enjoyment. Our knowledgeable concierge team will guide you to fine arts packages, opera, theatre, museum and dining reservations. Situated where Portland’s fashionable West End meets The Pearl District, Mark Spencer hotel guests are just steps from unique boutiques, diverse restaurants, famous food carts, galleries, teashops, cultural attractions, parks, and tax-free shopping. No trip to Portland is complete until you have visited the world’s largest new and used bookstore – Powell’s Books – only one short block from the Hotel or VooDoo Doughnuts featuring unique flavors and shapes including the renowned maple bacon breakfast doughnut.

After your day of exploration is complete, retreat to the respite of the hotel with a relaxing cup of afternoon tea in our classic Euro-style library, or enjoy an evening glass of local wine and a slice of cheese in our Atrium lobby. Rest assured, our gracious hospitality will bring you back time and time again.

Review:

When I travel my goal is to feel comfortable, taken care of and swaddled in luxury with absolutely no effort on my part.  I feel I achieved all of those goals and more when I stayed at The Mark Spencer Hotel in Portland, Oregon a few weeks ago.

The Mark Spencer Hotel is located in the Pearl District in Portland’s city centre.  It was a perfect fit to be able to walk to Portland’s hot spots but also offering me a quiet respite when on holiday.

The Mark Spencer is a boutique, vibrant, locally owned, Arts hotel featuring 102 guest rooms and suites at exceptional value.   I much rather patronize a hotel like The Mark Spencer hotel when I travel mainly for their attention to detail, their local flavour and modern aesthetic.  Sometimes it’s not about getting points and travel rewards.  I want an impeccable experience upfront.

Right from the start – my trip from Portland’s airport into the city was roughly 49 minutes.  The Mark Spencer was a hop skip and a jump away from where the Max stop dropped me off.  Which was perfect if you are carrying a bag or two and want to be instantly entranced by what Portland will be offering you in the days ahead.

Did you know you could bid your own price to stay at The Mark Spencer Hotel?

Indeed you can!  Talk about an interactive experience.  If you know your travel dates and you are ready to get the best deal possible, submit your offer through The Mark Spencer Hotel’s safe and secure Bid Your Own Price website.  They guarantee a fast turnaround response to your bid and you may save even more!

I took advantage of this offer and I saved a lot of money and stayed within my travel budget.

My successful bid guaranteed me a King Guestroom with a Kitchen.  The Standard room with King sized bed room came with premium luxury linens, a large closet, full private bath and fully equipped kitchenette with refrigerator, cook top and sink.   I felt like I was in my own private Portland apartment for the 4 days I stayed at The Mark Spencer hotel.  It was a tremendous experience!

There were a few days I had leftovers from a restaurant that I warmed up in my microwave whilst using the cutlery provided in my kitchen cabinets and drawers.  The kitchen room option again is a great way to save money whilst travelling.

I appreciated being able to take nice hot showers in my gorgeous bathroom after a long day.  The water pressure was fantastic and I felt soothed and pampered after every jaunt.  The bathroom was also very clean and the towels were decadent upon use.  I felt like I was having a spa experience when I got ready for my day every morning.

The Standard room with King sized bed room also came with a Flat screen TV, AM/FM clock radio, hair dryer,  iron and ironing board.  I looked forward to every morning having the TV on to check the weather and then come back to my hotel room after a long day and watch a film before falling asleep in my heavenly bed.  The decadence was overflowing.

I particularly appreciated the complimentary Breakfast, Wi-Fi and Evening Wine Tasting Reception.

Imagine when you are on holiday and don’t want to think about breakfast.  Being able to stroll down to the main lobby where there is a pretty breakfast nook and seating set up for you to enjoy eggs, toast, bagels, hot tea, coffee or other specialty drinks, fruit etc. at your leisure.  If you miss breakfast the hot drinks flow all day long.  I noted the fact that The Mark Spencer stocked Stash Tea and some lovely cappuccinos.  There were some mornings I packed a tea up in a travel cup and I was on my way.  These moments made my vacation days even more special whilst staying at The Mark Spencer hotel.

Having the NY Times dropped off at my door every morning was a treat.  To be able to linger in bed with my tea and have the morning news on or music playing before I started my day was truly luxurious.  The Wi-Fi in my room was fast and never without an interruption.

There were a few times I was back at the hotel in the afternoon and indulged in some tea and cookies.  Again perfect relaxing and indulging moments that broke up my day courtesy of The Mark Spencer Hotel.  These moments helped especially when I was rushing around and needed a breather – coming back to The Mark Spencer for a tea break did my mind and body good.  The Mark Spencer Hotel being local and in the Pearl District helped in me being able to return back to the hotel mid day as well.  The location was indeed everything!

I also enjoyed the evening locally sourced wine tasting and cheese reception.   Again, a perfect grounding experience when I felt like my mind was racing and I had a packed day still in front of me.  I loved having a glass of yummy and robust wine on the house and some cheese and crackers to keep me feeling free from any worry.  These small details really made The Mark Spencer Hotel stand out.  Think world-class hotel, interested and compassionate staff, superior rooms and a level of customer service that is 5 stars – you are guaranteed these details when you stay at The Mark Spencer Hotel.

All of my travel needs were taken care during my Mark Spencer Hotel stay.  If you are travelling alone on vacation or for business The Mark Spencer Hotel will ensure the luxury, comfort and relaxation elements are perfectly curated for your needs.  Your job?  You just need to show up!

Mark Spencer Hotel

409 SW 11th Ave

Portland, OR, 97205, USA

hospitality@markspencer.com

503.224.3293

503.223.7848

http://www.markspencer.com/

Thirty Four Flavours Goes to The Pacific Northwest: Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington

So after weeks of writing posts hinting to my upcoming holiday – I’m sure you must be wondering, ‘where is this girl going?’. Well I’m going to Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington next week!

Like my NYC trip last Fall, I have organized a finely curated journey between both cities and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you.  I won’t tell you specifics right now – but let’s just say there will be lots of surprises.  My schedule is brimming to the surface with fun stuff.  So stay tuned!

As of this upcoming week – I will be off to Portland for 5 days and then Seattle for another 5 days.  I will be back in 10 days time with reviews, pictures and notes of adventurous shenanigans for your perusal.

In the mean time – check out my daily Twitter feed for thoughts and snaps at cool sites in and around Portland and Seattle.  Feel free to send me tips, comments and good energy.

See you soon!