Last year, we moved to Portland, OR for about 6 months. I still miss it and here are five reasons why.
1. THE FOREST
We had the pleasure of living about half a block away from a trail head entrance into Forest Park, one of the country’s largest (5100+ acres) urban forest reserves. It was our Wonderland. Ava never stopped looking for fairies and it was easy to believe they could exist there. That forest is magical. The scenery/greenery all over Portland is amazing. Spring is beyond imagination. Every time we went outside we were like, “Whoa – it’s so colorful here”.
2. NEW SEASONS
(image via new seasons)
New Seasons really is the ultimate neighborhood grocery store. We do plenty of grocery shopping and have visited lots of different grocery stores in lots of different cities, but this is the only one I’ve ever found myself missing. It’s sort of like a Whole Foods except there is so much more local stuff – the “Home Grown” produce rocks. Every time we went we found new things to try and were never disappointed with the selection. Love this place.
(image via eric steindler)
Now this place does not look like much from the photo, but trust me, it’s AWESOME. SCRAP is a donation based creative reuse store. You can find pretty much any craft based item here – glue, yarn, paper, boxes of buttons, crayons, ribbons, stencils, wood & metal scraps, buckets of foam, corks, ceramic tiles, etc. (I think you get the idea). A collage artist’s dream. Always new stuff to check out and because they run off of donations, it is super cheap. We filled up our basket one day and spent about five bucks. Score.
4. LOCAL MADE EVERYTHING
The sense of community is abounding in Portland, which is what I feel drives people to make and create. At least half (if not more) of my husband’s and my Christmas gifts were made in Oregon. If you live in Portland and aren’t making or growing something, you’re doing it wrong. A few faves:
Capturing the pure essence of the forest – Juniper Ridge
Self-proclaimed “plant nerds” at Portland Apothecary making amazing teas, extracts, and more
Delicious “farm to cone” ice cream – Salt & Straw
My list of faves could go on for days. The people of Portland know how to get down.
5. PAPER BAGS
Yes, I miss paper bags. Sure, we have them here in Chicago. You see them at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and some smaller shops, but in Portland you get them EVERYWHERE. Even Target. I detest plastic bags. I try to always bring my own shopping totes, but I will admit that sometimes I forget or sometimes I have more items than I have bags. When I have to bring items home in plastic bags I always drop them off to be recycled, but I’d just rather them not be around at all. Don’t even get me started on the recycling issues here – it’s horrible. People have no idea what they can and can’t recycle and where we live, it rarely gets picked up. So yes, I miss paper bags.
And there you have it, five things I miss about Portland. I’m not sure if it’s in the cards for us to move back there, but we will definitely visit again and may even end up somewhere close by.