Last month, Alex and I spent a week working remote in Portland and Seattle and then headed to Alex’s family’s lake house in Idaho for a few days of R&R. Up until a few years ago, I hadn’t spent any time in the Northwest. A trip to Sasquatch Music Festival after graduating from college got me a couple days in Seattle and an afternoon in Portland. Enough to make me decide that the Pacific Northwest is probably one of my favorite places in the world. Spending time the past two summers in Spirit Lake only added to my love for that part of the country. Now, having spent a good chunk of time in all of those places again, I’m pretty sure I’m hooked (I won’t speak for Alex, but I think he is, too).
Long story short, I can’t wait to go back. Hell, I can’t wait to move there some day (mega earthquake be damned). We packed a lot of stuff into our 12-days there. Below are photos from Portland, Astoria, Seattle, Spirit Lake, and Coeur d’Alene (and some places in between), and photos of friends we saw and lots of photos of Alex (he’s a good human for putting up with my camera in his face all the time).
First, some words on Portland (after a photos of those beautiful evergreen trees that seem to follow you everywhere in the Pacific Northwest).
Alex has been lucky enough to visit Portland a whole lot to see his sister, Christi. My only time spent in Portland was after a rash decision to drive through the night from Washington and hang out for a quick afternoon before flying home. Needless to say, I didn’t really know much about Portland, and it was nice to really get to dig into it during our nearly five days there. We stayed with Christi and Rich, Alex’s sister and boyfriend, in their cute little bungalow of a home and spent most of our days working and hanging out with Christi and her friends. The weekend before we started our remote-working week, though, was really the highlight of that leg of the trip. We got out of the city and onto the water and into the trees. Saturday night was spent on a boat on the Columbia River Gorge. We ate fish and chips, drank good beer, and watched the sky turn a beautiful pink before the sun went down.
On Sunday we drove two hours to the coast. We had planned on checking out Cannon Beach in Astoria just to marvel at the great big rocks and be able to say, “I went to the Goonies beach!” and then move on to more remote beaches. Lucky for us, that day at the beach was, according to Christie and Rich, a top-ten day. We enjoyed sun, a light breeze (compared to typically constant, frigid gusts of wind), and jumped in the water until we couldn’t feel our limbs anymore.
The rest of our time in the city was spent working at fantastic coffeeshops and finding good food to eat (food trucks, brunch, and tacos sum our food experience up nicely). We met up with our friends Erik and Krista, who were in town from Eugene, and bopped around Mississippi Ave. All in all, Portland was great, but when it was time to leave, we were ready. Turns out remote working is really hard when you’re half-vacationing, so our time in Portland was a little less stellar and a little more stressful than we’d imagined. On Wednesday, we hopped on a train to Seattle.
Every time I visit a new city, I think about whether or not I could live there. Typically, I leave a place thinking, “I could live there for a year,” or “I could spend a few months there.” Few places (Beijing being a primary example) leave a bad taste in my mouth, and even fewer feel like a place I could actually call home. Seattle is one of those places that feels almost like home to me. When I first visited, I remember wanting to settle in and hang out for months, even though I’d barely even scratched the surface.
There are a lot of things I love about Seattle. The weather, for one (even though we didn’t really get to experience that damp, rainy Seattle weather this trip), the food (so much good Asian food and sea food), the coffee, the sights, the skyline, the people. My perfect place is one that has all the amenities of a big city, but isn’t too far removed from nature — or is at least a short drive from a mountain. Seattle pretty much embodies that for me. I loved being able to walk around the city streets, and a half an hour later, be staring at a waterfall.
We weren’t in Seattle long enough. I don’t know if any time spent there will ever be long enough. But during our short two-day stint, we spent time with friends, ate delicious Thai food, visited Snoqualmie Falls, and explored the city before making the drive across the state to Idaho that weekend with Alex’s friend Dave.
After a truly lovely 5-hour drive from Seattle, we finally made it to Spirit Lake for some chill time. This was my third time visiting Alex’s family’s lake house . It was the same as always: a perfect escape. We kayaked and swam and sunbathed for three days, with one afternoon stint in Coeur d’Alene. It was the perfect way to end such a busy trip and, like most trips, ended way too soon.