Off to Portland

P1170341 We took a day off and are spending a 3-day weekend in Portland – lucky us. No specific plans … just relax and enjoy the nice things the city has to offer.

The first event of the day was our trip down. Instead of driving – or, perish the thought, flying – we took the Amtrak Cascades train that runs all the way down the coast from Vancouver, BC to Eugene, OR. It was actually my first train ride from Seattle, in almost 10 years. Trains are not a very common mode of transport in the US. The network is much sparser than in Europe, and trains run much less frequently. It’s nice to see light rail being introduced in Seattle, but for longer trips it’s unfortunately still rarely a viable option.

But at least the Seattle to Portland connection is good, and the trip is very scenic too. There weren’t quite as many coastal views as I’d hoped for: you do get some really nice impressions of the Puget Sound area around Tacoma, but then the line heads further inland through forests and agricultural area. Still, it’s a very pleasant 3 hour ride.

Once in Portland, we made our way to the White House – our swanky bed & breakfast inn. Yes, we’re living it up this weekend. It’s a beautiful mansion built in 1911 as the summer residence of one of the local lumber barons. It’s been really nicely maintained and furnished throughout with antiques. Lumber must have been a very lucrative business, back in the day. As a matter of fact, the whole neighborhood consists of really amazing houses from that period, along with fabulous old trees lining the roads. Seattle must have had many areas like this, but unfortunately they have essentially all been lost to short-sighted development. It’s nice to see that Portland has not made the same mistake.

Now it’s off to dinner. We’re looking forward to some excellent local fare at the Farm Cafe.

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