Oregon Part 4: Portland Japanese Garden
Having travelled what felt like the entire width of the state in three days, we returned to Portland. While my parents were spending the next week exploring the Willamette Valley wineries, my flight was leaving the next evening. I went out with some friends to explore some of the bars at the Kennedy School. If you don’t know anything about this place, it’s an old elementary school owned(?) by the McMenamins brothers and converted into a community center of sorts, with different bars and restaurants in each room, a brewery, a hotel, an outdoor soaking tub, community gathering rooms and a $3 movie theater in the old auditorium. The two brothers have transformed other landmarks in a similar fashion up the west coast, including a few locations in the Seattle area.
We had had remarkable weather most of the weekend, but in true Portland style, it was pouring rain on my last day. We made the requisite trip to Powell’s Books, were we nosed around for a few hours (there’s something relaxing about a used (and new!) bookstore on a rainy day), ate lunch at Pok Pok Thai (finally getting to try some of their famous…and delicious, chicken wings) and strolled through the Japanese Garden, which was also very pleasant. The sun peaked out for a few moments, but the day was mostly gray–which is actually sometimes ideal photo conditions! All in all, it was a great (though whirlwind) trip filled with great friends, amazing food, lots of wine, beautiful scenery, heated arguments and moments of sheer torture–what more could you ask from a family vacation?