Monday, September 10, 2018

Visiting a Cathedral: Astoria OR

A great thing about Pacific Northwest destinations is that no matter how many times you visit them, you can always experience something new.

That holds true for Astoria, an easy two-hour drive from Portland on Hwy. 30 along the Columbia River. 

So for the umpteenth time I set out for this historic port city. Once I arrived, I had the urge to see a sweeping view, which led me to the Astoria Column. From the top of Coxcomb Hill, I admired the iconic panorama where the Columbia River meets the Pacific. 

A toll booth employee was on break, and we struck up a conversation. She proceeded to clue me into to a short hike right off the parking lot that leads to the Cathedral Tree

This charming woodsy hike descends into shady greenery and leads to a hollowed-out tree that does indeed resemble a hobbit-like cathedral. 

And just a few feet away is a weathered wooden bench – a kind of pew I guess – where one can sit quietly near the Cathedral Tree and soak up the restorative energy of the forest.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Along the River and Through the Woods: Salmon River OR

On that particular day, hiking along the Salmon River was pretty magical. Puffy white clouds floated above, occasionally covering the sun to create a lovely play of shadow and light, adding to the woodsy wonderland experience.

And let’s not forget the swiftly flowing whispering river just a stone’s throw away. Or the tangled moss in various shades of green dangling from old growth Douglas Firs. Or the delightful sunny spots nestled between fallen trees and lush ferns.

Pardon my descent into purple prose, but seriously – on that April afternoon, Mother Nature did not disappoint.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Society Hotel: Portland OR

It was just one of those days. Light winds and clear blue skies – a perfect day to visit the rooftop bar at the Society Hotel, a small, hipster-ish boutique hotel in Portland, Oregon’s Old Town.

And the Society Hotel is equally appealing on a cold and rainy day. On the ground floor is a very inviting cafĂ© and lounge area. Its high ceilings and large windows let in tons of natural light and provide a lively view of the surrounding street life, plus there’s a cozy hearth complete with fireplace.

IMHO, it seems the Society Hotel has struck a pleasant balance between old and new Portland. Although the patrons are predominantly millennials and the interior is low-key industrial chic, the building’s historic feel is enhanced rather than overshadowed by trendiness.

I also like the coffee, plus the baristas are always friendly and helpful. I often pop in after I meet a client that's a block away.

I am a bit concerned, however, that the spanking new Starbucks kitty corner to the hotel might steal some of the Society's coffee business. Don’t get me wrong – Starbucks has its place (Speed! Convenience! Consistency!) But if you have the time, I encourage you to skip McStarbucks and settle into the Society Hotel for a more personalized and intimate experience. 

The Society Hotel, Cafe, Bar & Lounge