Oregon 2014: Sea change

“This reminds me of when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and ferns covered the whole planet and stuff.” – Me (re. the Hyde Arboretum)

“Yeah, I remember that like it was yesterday.” – Heidi

The amount of planning and thinking and doing on this trip is absurd. I’m enjoying myself immensely, but I almost feel like I have to work to keep the good times rolling. Am I crazy? Yes, but perhaps moreso than I thought. In any event, I have tomorrow mapped out and I’m thumbs-up.

Today was beautifully varied. It was so unbelievably cold this morning that I took about an hour to FINALLY get out of bed after waking up. When I stumbled into the breakfast room at 9:00 this morning, it was the perfect throwback to my high school days – minus the attitude and hating everything before the day began, of course. I cheerfully enjoyed some Italian wedding soup crafted by Kip, one of the people who own the house, and felt ready to take on the day. Little did I know that I would be joined by my fellow housemates/AirBnBers, Farukh and Heidi!

We began the day by trekking (yes, this is accurate) to the Portland Japanese Garden. Alas, this was closed until 12:00, so we knew we needed to find alternative entertainment until such time. Protip about Oregon (and possible everywhere else): always check what time things open! Our first stop was the Hyde Arboretum, a neat little sanctuary of various trees (duh) that yields trails ranging from ridic-easy to pretty intense. While the late winter/early spring climate is mostly just making the entire place green (very apt for SPD today), there was still a lot to see and it truly captures the beauty of pac-northwest foliage.

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We next ventured to one of the quintessential Portland sites, Pittock Mansion. As I was previously unfamiliar with Oregon’s history, it was actually really cool to see this and to learn the little tidbits about the Pittock family. While I couldn’t personally imagine living in a house with 10 other people (oh wait…), the sort of arrangement they had made the livin’ pretty easy. My favorite part? Either the Turkish smoking room or the music room that just screams Louis XIV:

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While the beauty of the place was immediately apparent, I’ll never forget setting eyes on the little gem upstairs in Henry Pittock’s bathroom. Seriously, I don’t even want to post the picture I have of it, because a) I’ll ruin it and b) it’s hilarious; you just have to see it for yourself. Let’s just say that I’m thankful for modern bathing devices that don’t look like something out of the Saw series. The whole Pittock outing took around an hour, so bear that in mind if you go visit.

We finally ventured back down to the Japanese garden for about 45 minutes of pure awe. This is probably the most picture-heavy section I’ll have in this entry, because I just can’t explain it any other way. This boasts to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan – I guess I’ll just have to go to Japan next year and do a little comparison! 🙂

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Now, you can imagine after all this beautiful scenery-overload that we were pretty hungry. As my new friends and I needed to go our respective ways for the afternoon, we decided to first give Portland a last hurrah with a scrumptious meal at Tasty ‘N’ Alder, another downtown hotspot. With a trendy, Scandinavian-modern-meets-pacific-northwest decor, I could see why it fit into downtown so well. What was unique about this place is that it’s entirely family style. In addition, our menu was brunch-based, so I pretty much starting doing cartwheels at that point. As such, my friends and I ordered three dishes, all for sharing:

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Haley’s Choice: The Whole Toad – baked egg bread pudding
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Farukh’s choice: Tasty ​Steak & Cheddar Eggs – beef ​with cornmeal pancake & jalapeno butter
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Heidi’s choice: Cast Iron Frittata ​with cauliflower, olives, carmelized onions, feta & sundried tomato coulis

Either I’m a terrible food critic or I hit the jackpot once again, because each one of these things was fantastic. I have to say, however, that I was a bit biased towards my own dish. I had never before heard of egg bread pudding, but I’m fairly certain that it’s the food of the gods.

After saying a bittersweet farewell to my new friends, I made an easy afternoon trek to the town of Seaside, approximately two hours away.

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An excerpt my controversial gallery show, “Responsibly Taken Landscapes”.

With an ethereal, chillwave soundtrack and literally zero traffic, this was easily the most enjoyable driving experience I’ve ever had. I ended up at my adorable rental condo that sits 100 feet from the beach around 5:00 pm. It was windy and California-Cold, but I managed to snap a few shots of the coastline. Far-reaching and a bit solemn, the seaside coast in late spring has a significantly different feel from any other beach I’ve visited, even others in the north. Maybe it’s the goldish grass that grows. Maybe it’s the ever-churning, heather gray waves that always seem to be crawling to the sand. Maybe it’s the misty cliff that hangs over and the end of the promenade. It’s almost haunting.

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Tonight’s meal was a bit quieter – I took the easy route and simply went with the recommendation given to me by the owner’s of the complex I’m staying at: Maggie’s on the Prom, situated in a skinny little inn right on the 1.5 mile “Prom” that Seaside is known for. The food was great and certainly put a great ending to a day of transitioning to another chapter of this journey, my Oregon Odyssey. At least 75% of this was due to the fact that I got a free bananas Foster dessert.

I will say this about Seaside: as I’m not seeing it in its full-swing, summer-outing phase, the town has an almost dormant feel. It’s definitely a tourist town, and the energy it has is probably entirely derived from this activity. Is that to say that I’m not happy to be staying here? Not at all – it’s a mere observation. If you’re planning on visiting the O-coast to see new and uncharted things, this is not it, Lewis and Clark. That said, it’s worth a see, especially since it’s not crawling in other “mes” (tourists) until the summer. I’m excited to get a full experience of Oregon’s northern coast tomorrow – which, by the way, requires sleep. Which I’m going to take now. 🙂

For good measure and accountability, I am posting tomorrow’s agenda on here. Honestly, who knows what of all of this I will hit. Maybe all of it. Hopefully more than it. For your viewing pleasure:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/haleyobryan/13237802345/

Oh, and I’m not doing these 1:00 am entries any more.

– H

p.s. I have actually started a Flickr photostream, yayyyyy! Every picture I take while in Oregon will be located here. Please note that I am not a photographer and some or all of the pictures may suck horribly. But guess what? They’re mine. If you don’t like them, better motivation for you to go see it for yourself!

Thought of the day: Find something that makes you almost obsessively-focused when you’re doing it. That may be the answer. 

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