Simple Joys of the Week: Oregon

We've just come back from a whirlwind tour of Oregon. We drove over 1,100 miles starting at the top of the state in Portland, heading out east to Hood River, going south to Bend and  Crater Lake National Park and then returning to Portland via the coast.  I'm so excited to share a brief glimpse of our vacation in hopes of recruiting you all to plan your next adventure in this beautiful state.

Last year when I recapped my vacation to Utah, I paid homage to Starr Struck by doing a Simple Joys of the Week blog. Every Friday she posts her favorite moments of the week via the 5 senses: Smell, Touch, Taste, Sound and Sight. Without further ado, these are our Simple Joys of the Week: Oregon style!

SMELL - Pine Trees
On this vacation, we had the privilege of renting an SUV with the largest sunroof I've ever seen.  It was perfect for our long drives and for seeing the stars at night. The weather was beautiful and we were usually driving with the windows open. All we could smell for miles were pine trees.  It was like Christmas in September.   It's by far my husbands favorite scent ever.


TASTE: Live Nachos at Blossoming Lotus
Usually when we travel, we are hard pressed to find any vegan food but not this trip. In Portland, vegan restaurants, bakeries and stores are in abundance.  I had over 20 places I wanted to visit.  Sadly, one of the best things we ate was a chocolate toffee hazelnut bar from Back To Eden Bakery but I didn't take any photos... So, the close runner up was the Live Nachos from Blossoming Lotus.  My husband ordered these and could not stop talking about them. The live (raw) chips are topped with nacho 'cheese' sauce, pecan chorizo diced avocado, cashew sour cream, red onion, tomato, scallion and cilantro. Vegan, Raw and Delicious. 

TOUCH: Water at Crater Lake
Crater Lake National Park might not be one of the best known parks but it certainly is one of the most beautiful. The crater was once a mountain that erupted and eventually caved in creating this massive hole.  From years of rain and snow, the crater filled up to form a steely blue lake. Since there are no water sources going in or out of the lake, the water is some of the purest in the world.

After taking a 33 mile trolley tour around the rim, we decided to hike down into the lake.  The steep descent offered amazing views.  Once we got to the bottom, we saw a few people congregated on top of a rock.  Some were jumping off while others were building up the nerve.  I decided right then to do it myself.  I was all bundled up because the weather was cold and breezy that day, so I took off my top layer of clothing and jumped in. The water was freezing. Like stop your heart cold.  But I was so glad that I did it. You mostly regret the things you don't do, right ;)

SEE: Oregon Coast
To pick the best thing I saw throughout my entire vacation is asking a lot.  There were so many beautiful places but if I HAVE to pick one, I would say it was the coast.  Oregon's coast is very similar to California's with the cliff-side beaches and crystal blue waters but it has a charm all of its own.  We drove from Florence all the way up to Cannon Beach, a four hour drive but we didn't mind it at all.  We saw whales at Camp Foulweather. Beaches with black stones instead of sand. Elk at Ecola State Park. And huge rocks (monoliths) rising from the waters. I couldn't just pick one photo.

HEAR: Fans at the Portland Timbers Game
On our last day in Portland, we decided to go to a MLS Portland Timbers game.  The game was sold out and we ended up scalping tickets (first time ever!) and got the most amazing seats. My husband and I are always by the book so we felt like little rebels. Anywho, the stadium was packed and everyone was wearing the team colors of white and green.  As soon as we sat down, people were chanting and screaming.  The energy in that building was incredible.  I'm not a huge soccer fan but you couldn't help but get caught up in the magic.  It was like nothing I've ever experienced at a sports event.  Kudos to you, Timbers fans.

If Oregon hasn't been on your vacation radar, please add it.  This state is spectacular. I only gave you a small taste of what we did and what they have to offer. If you need any recommendations, feel free to ask me!  Until next time, Oregon.