Portland and Ashland

Week 7 of 52

Aloha all!!!

Wow, what a week! I didn’t think you could go ‘on vacation’ when you’re retired, but that’s exactly what we did! We just got back to Seattle a few hours ago after a magical week with friends in Portland and Ashland.

Many of you know Margie Boulé, or at least know OF her. She’s quite the celebrity in Portland having been the host of a morning TV talk show there for years and the most popular columnist for the Oregonian (before they slashed staff and she was part of the fallout of that sad situation). She also has many theater performances and singing and emcee credits on her resume. We had so much fun being with her; she’s a wonderful storyteller and knows so much about so many things (and you never know when she might just break into a song; it’s like being in a musical!). Harrison has known her since his days at KING radio in the ’70s.

Margie welcomed us into her and her wonderful husband Dave’s amazingly beautiful home in the West Hills of Oregon (he’s working near Seattle these days so we missed him in Portland but got to see him right before we left Seattle). Margie immediately took us on a driving tour of her beloved city; she is quite the ambassador of this exceedingly charming city and before long, we fell in love with it as well. After spending several days there, we decided if we should move to Portland, the area to be is within walking distance of NW 23rd Avenue. (Think Union Street in SF and you’ll have a good visual.)

That first night we ate at Portland’s oldest restaurant, Huber’s (started over 130 years ago!). Wonderful atmosphere; very rich paneled woods and booths and hearty, good food. BUT! If you have an extra minute (actually one minute, 20 seconds) watch this video of them making these killer Spanish coffees (OMG, were they great!!!). It’s a great drink AND floor show!

Boule Dinner

Harrison, Margie, Pete, Jan

Margie is one of these multi-talented people and is also a gourmet cook (and check out her gorgeous tableware and linens…). The next night she had a dinner party and we got to see her brother Pete, his wife Jan, and her good friend Randall (not pictured but he’s a Shakespeare scholar and lots of fun!). A wonderful feast and good friends; life doesn’t get any better than that.

We spent a half a day at PAM (the Portland Art Museum) and were blown away by the number of exhibits and the diversity of the art. Incredible. Then we went to a movie at a place called the Living Room; you walk in, order your lunch and they bring it to you in your cushy, chic seats complete with trays so you can have your meal (with wine if you want!) while you watch the movie. So civilized, these people!

Harrison with DivaThe last night we were there, Margie designed a progressive dinner for us. Since Portland is known as a ‘foodie’ town, she decided to show us some quintessential places (in hopes to ‘seal the deal’ in having us decide on Portland over Seattle after our year of travel is over). We started out with an appetizer at Pok Pok (most restaurants are very, very small, 4-12 tables, and chef/owner run)… after very tasty Asian chicken wings there, we headed over to Navarre which specializes in small plates so we sampled several and left nary a crumb nor drop of wine… then, we headed to our favorite street—yep, NW 23rd—to Papa Haydn for amazing desserts… after which we waddled home and went to bed!

Does it seem to you like we ATE our way through Portland??????

We got to spend a little time Friday morning with Dave, and got this photo with their very smart dog DIVA who knows 45 tricks including singing and shutting the kitchen cupboard doors….

With Nancy and JimAfter our goodbyes, we headed down to Ashland. It took us 6 hours; this was the longest road trip we had ever taken in our Honda Element (hey, we lived on an island!). We spent the evening and had dinner at the home of our dear friends Jim and Nancy… more HK friends from his KING days, but Harrison was also in business with them after he left Stanford and we have a Hawaii connection with them as well because Nancy was raised on Kauai and she and Jim still have interests there, so we had lots of fun catching up with them. (Note the shaka sign!!!)

Saturday was a FULL day. First we all took a nice walk to the very charming downtown in Ashland and had a hearty late breakfast. Then, walking to the theater, the most beautiful, light dusting of snow started falling… just magical. We saw the most fantastic Shakespeare play (which Ashland is known for in case you weren’t aware; this is the place to go see the Bard in the USA). We saw a contemporary version of Measure for Measure… absolutely one of the best live theater performances I have ever seen. If you have any opportunity for a weekend getaway and get to Ashland, we highly recommend it; it will probably be there through the summer. We stayed at (can you believe it?) The Palm Cottages; yes, it was a done up in a Hawaiian motif and very sweet, so now if you go, you have a place to stay too!

Pahoa ScrambleBut Hawaiiana didn’t stop there. On our (very long) drive back to Seattle, we pulled off I-5 in Vancouver, Washington, just to check out the downtown area. It was Sunday and dead, dead, dead. But we pulled over to a cafe that looked open, went in, and found not only a restaurant decorated in surfboards, shaka signs, and all things Hawaiian, but check out the menu… yes, you’re reading it right, one of the breakfast selections is a PAHOA SCRAMBLE!!!!! So of course, we had to eat there. Who knew our little Pahoa town would show up on our trip!

So, we’re back from our great trip south. Mahalo to all our dear friends who made it so special; it was so much fun to see you. Our Week 7 was wonderful and we have another busy week coming up. We know how lucky we are to be embarking on such a wonderful adventure, so thank you for letting us share it with you. We try to remember to be grateful each and every day for this amazing opportunity and fantastic friends and experiences.

So with that, on to Spring! It’s here!

A HUI HOU!!!!!

Sharene (and Harrison)