North America

Guide to Portland, Oregon

I spent a week in early January in Portland with my sister Carly & friend Abbie who’s recently moved out there from Australia. It’ was my first proper visit to the State but despite the all but typical rainy weather, we managed to see, eat, explore & enjoy all that Portland has to offer.

If you’re a fan of the TV series Portlandia, you’ll have heard the reference “Portland is stuck in the 90’s”, and the more you explore the town, the more true this becomes. With quaint coffee shops at every turn and more wooden interiors than you can imagine, Portland is every little bit laid back, simple and indie.

Here’s some of my favourite places we visited & recommendations for the city. My biggest tip would be to hire a car and head up into the Mountains which was by far the most magic moment of our week. Dress warm, stay caffeinated, try everything and make sure to enjoy a happy hour or two.

Watch my Portland video

 

STAY

JUPITER HOTEL

The Jupiter Hotel is a sweet little spot perfect for exploring Portland. It’s located East of the river and is a really short stroll to Downtown Portland. The boutique hotel has a vintage/70’s/Jetsons vibe and comes complete with an art gallery, free wifi & coffee in the mornings. It’s located next to the Doug Fir Lounge which is a bar and restaurant where they have gigs, a photobooth and all those good things like fireplaces & cosy American diner food. What I loved most about the Jupiter Hotel was that the doors in the bedrooms were chalkboards which you could create art on. The outdoor area is a sweet chill out spot during the day and a really nice place to have a drink in the evening and escape the rain.

All of the rooms are themed/decorated differently with wall art and has a really relaxed vibe about it.

800 E BURNSIDE ST, PORTLAND, OR 97214 | www.jupiterhotel.com

 

TO SEE & DO

MALTNOMAH FALLS

A 35 minute drive from central Portland & so worth it. Make it a day trip and drive back the longer way through Mount Hood where you’ll see the most spectacular works of Mother Nature and tall snow covered trees as far as your eyes can see. Make sure to have traction tires or chains on your car in Winter months as it gets quite snowy and icy up there.

 

MOUNT HOOD SKI RESORT

I couldn’t really believe my eyes when we headed up into the mountains. We had blue skies, powdery snow and white dusted trees as far as my eyes could see. The most spectacular drive up there even if you’re not going to ski or board.

 

POWELLS BOOKSTORE

The world’s largest independent and second hand book store. I could have spent hours here just wandering about. They have a coffee store and a special one-of-a-kind rare book room and over 1 million books spread across four levels.

1005 W BURNSIDE ST, PORTLAND, OR 97209

 

THE MEADOW

Salt, chocolate, flowers, himilayan salt slabs, bitters. This place is a wonderland of goodies.

Multiple locations | www.themeadow.com

 

HAND EYE SUPPLY

Brick & mortar store catering to the creative with a variety of work clothes, high-end shop tools & books. I attended a launch party here and the wooden interiors & knick knacks are so rad.

427 NW BROADWAY, PORTLAND, OR

 

WILD FANG

Women’s clothing store for badass women. Tomboy style.

1230 SE GRAND AVE, PORTLAND, OR 97214

 

ALDER & CO

Home interiors to die for.

616 SW 12TH AVE, PORTLAND, OR 97205

 

UNION WAY

Little indoor laneway with a tonne of cool stores (also where Boxer Ramen is located).

1022 W BURNSIDE ST, (between NW 10th and NW 11th avenues), PORTLAND, OR

 

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EAT

SWEEDEEDEE

The best brunch in the whole of Portland serving farm to table food in a really cute setting.

5202 N. ALBINA AVE. PORTLAND, ORE. 97217

 

POR QUE? NO

Cheap, cheerful & really delicious Mexican food

3524 N MISSISSIPI AVE, PORTLAND, OR 97227

 

OVEN AND SHAKER

Pizzas & cocktails (make sure to visit during their happy hour)

1134 NW EVERETT ST, PORTLAND, OR 97209

 

STUMP TOWN COFFEE

The best brew

Multiple locations | www.stumptowncoffee.com

 

BLUE STAR DONUTS

Everyone raves about Voodoo donuts in Portland but I think the star of the town is Blue Star. Their interiors, chatty staff & selection of both vegan & non-vegan donuts make this place my #1 donut stop in PDX.

Multiple locations | www.bluestardonuts.com

 

BOXER RAMEN

Sweet beats, beer & the very best Ramen.

1025 SW STARK ST, PORTLAND, OR

 

SALT AND STRAW ICE CREAM

You absolutely can’t visit Portland without paying a visit to this ice creamery. Salt and Straw have the most unimaginable combinations imagined and they are all so incredible. Honey lavender, honey mimosa sherbet, almond brittle with salted ganache, pear and blue cheese- the list goes on and you should try get your hands on as many as you can.

Multiple locations | www.saltandstraw.com

 

The North Branch Inn, Catskills NY

The North Branch Inn felt like arriving home. As soon as we stepped through the doors, we were welcomed with the aroma of home cooked food and warm smiles of the kind hearted staff that run The North Branch Inn. 

We arrived to The North Branch Inn up in the Catskill Mountains late in the afternoon after a drive through Phoenicia. Nb- You must stop for lunch at Phoenicia Diner. 

When we entered the property, afternoon light flowed through the windows of the Inn and brought the rooms alive. From the crisp white linen to the huge white tiled showers, the smell brewing in the kitchen downstairs & all the small details which make this place feel so enchanting, we couldn’t wait to explore and relax. The rooms are open & homey with so many special details- a vintage ‘nap timer’, local publications & local cider await in the rooms.

The North Branch Inn is a 9 room property, divided between two buildings opposite from each other on a quiet small town street. One one side, the reception area, bar (stocking all American alcohol), restaurant, 100 year old bowling alley, small vintage cinema and our rooms. In the other building, a Library chill out area, hammock chair on the balcony, fireplace (accompanied by books, comfy sofas, home baked cookies & sweets), the other salon rooms and all with modern yet rustic decors.

We spent our evening at the North Branch Inn relaxing and dining in the restaurant and feasting on delicious farm to table meals (Risotto w/ farro, butternut squash confit and watermelon radish, Duck breast w/ winter vegetable, cabbage, crème fraiche and Troutw/ grits, kale, compound butter), warm cocktails and of course finishing off on a sweet tooth with Butternut Squash crème brulee w/ burnt maple sugar and apple w/ biscuits and cream.

In the morning breakfast is served in the bar room downstairs & features seasonal and local produce. We feasted on pistachio & cranberry granola, hot coffee, orange & grapefruit juice, fresh bread, eggs, yoghurt, salad, fresh grapefruits and tea cakes. To say I was in breakfast heaven is an understatement. Breakfast is my favourite time of the day and waking up to this lush breakfast spread was such a treat.

The North Branch Inn is a perfect getaway from New York City, it’s a short two hour drive and as soon as you get into the mountains, you feel completely refreshed & relaxed. We loved the property so much we wanted to spend all our time lazing around but if you do fancy to explore, there is a lot in the area to do- Alpaca farms, brewers & distilleries, hiking, swimming holes, skiing, farmers markets, exploring the local towns, chatting to locals and soaking up the fresh air.

A special thanks to Tess & the team at the Arnold House who made us feel at home & welcomed us with open arms. Your kind hearts and smiles made a huge impression on us and we can’t wait to come back and visit soon.

 

The North Branch Inn

869 N Branch Rd
North Branch, NY 12766
845-482-2339
info@northbranchinn.com

www.northbranchinn.com

The Arnold House, Upstate NY

After our stay at the North Branch Inn, we ventured 20 minutes into the mountains to their sister property, The Arnold House. While the properties have the same owner, both hotels have such different vibes & aesthetics. Stepping into the Arnold House was so warming as you walk through the open lounge before reaching reception. The vintage fireplace, board games (a wooden Monopoly board!), home baked goods, blanket throws and books make this a spot you don’t want to leave. It’s the perfect spot to sit with your laptop or a book and enjoy the crackle of the fire and the peace and quiet. You’re surrounded by nature, mountains, lakes & I felt so inspired being in this environment.

The Arnold House has nine guest rooms in the main inn a 3-room garden suite, Tavern restaurant, 1960’s dining room, spa treatment facilities, lake house and gardens.

When we checked into our rooms, there was a hand written welcome note accompanied with a mason jar of bourbon and some home baked cookies & fruit cake waiting for us. The rooms at The Arnold House have a really cool vintage vibe. The building itself is over 100 years old which has been restored and feature the original baby pink & white bathtub & bathrooms. I loved the cork floors in the rooms and the rustic cabin like details. The beds here are beyond comfortable & it’s safe to say I spent most our our time here lazing out in the bathrobe, reading & enjoying some time to breathe.

My favourite part about our stay at the Arnold House was spending our evening in their restaurant downstairs which had a pool table, juke box & bar. I love spending times in the woods & it felt really cosy down there. It was a Friday night and the restaurant & bar was almost full, it was such an amazing vibe to be around and only made better by the delicious food that we had- warm cocktails, burgers, root mash, brussel sprouts, cheesecake, chocolate mouse, hot toddies & local ciders.

The Catskills is an area that I am so glad I got to explore- i’ve been to New York so many times but underestimated just how easy it is to hire a car (We rented through Turo which is like AirBnb for cars) and within two hours you’ll find yourself in the Catskills. I loved chatting to the locals- many of who are originally from New York and have moved up to the Catskills to escape the city. The people we met were so incredibly friendly & chatty and it’s things like these which I love most about traveling.

The best part about the drive home from the Arnold House in the morning is that you’re leaving with a belly full of Arnold House breakfast. As a breakfast connoisseur, waking up in the morning to a waffle station had my jaw on the floor. We were so spoilt for choice with waffle toppings- bacon maple jam, bourbon infused maple syrup, lemon curd, fresh local butter (we were spoilt for choice). The breakfast spread also had eggs, frittata, bread, fresh fruit & juice, coffee, teas & all those good things that make waking up all the easier.

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While we stayed here in January and spent our time curling up by the fire, the Catskills area is just as amazing in the Summer months where you can also explore the outdoors, swim in the nearby rivers & enjoy the sunshine.

Thank you so much to all the staff at The Arnold House that made our stay so incredible!

The Arnold House

839 SHANDELEE ROAD, LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY. 12758

www.thearnoldhouse.com