One of our ongoing family activities is “urban hikes” – a chance to get out and about, and introduce the girls to all of the different neighborhoods in Portland. There are so many cool places that even I’ve never seen, and I’ve lived here most of my life! Each different part of the city has a different feel, and it’s fun to talk about what it must be like to live there, how it’s different (and the same) from where we live, and to explore the shops, parks, and foodstuffs (we’re particularly always on the lookout for cupcake shops!)
Last weekend, we chose NE Alberta Street – known in Portland as a hip, kinda edgy, up-and-coming neighborhood with a lot of young people. We found Green Bean Books, an awesome independent bookstore tucked away in a tiny little house that specializes mainly in children’s books. We also found a crafting mecca, in the form of Collage, Modern Domestic, Bolt, and Close Knit – I’d died and gone to fabric and yarn heaven! We passed up Salt & Straw
(and the long line, even on a chilly day in March) to visit Random Order Coffeehouse and Bakery – an interesting combination of a (liquor) bar and a (pie) bar owned by someone we went to law school with (a much better career choice than becoming a lawyer, I’d say!) The pie was AMAZING – of course, we only sampled the chocolate cream (my entire family being chocoholics), but the many other varieties looked incredible, too.
We rounded out the day by getting my oldest daughter’s ears pierced (well really, just one ear – she got them pierced for her 12th birthday, and one had closed up, so we rectified that) and window shopping up and down Alberta between 12th and 26th. The weather cooperated – just barely – but it was too cold for a longer walk to one of the nearby parks. There were several restaurants along the way – all pretty much hole-in-the-wall establishments – that I’d love to come back and try another day.