Friday, July 9, 2010

Our Northwest Loop

I'm baacccckkk!

During the last two weeks, Joe and I traveled around the northwest, visiting our favorite places and some of our favorite people. We began with a long weekend in Portland, Oregon and then sauntered over to Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast for a few days. From there we took a scenic route up to Port Townsend, Washington to visit our good friends, Brig Knauer and Kris Morris. Roger and Lynn O'Leary-Archer joined us all there as part of their car trip with Toby and Tyler through national parks. Next, Joe and I completed the loop back to the Portland area to see Tari Brand and Dean Smith and Tari's daughter, Madeline Rabinovitch, in their new rural setting near Sandy, Oregon. We flew home yesterday after a great, great vacation.

Here are some of the highlights:

Blue skies, cool summer temps and balmy winds were a perfect backdrop for our stay in Portland. The whole downtown area gleamed. We walked everywhere, visiting our favorite places, including the Portland Art Museum, Powell's Books, the Pearl District, the riverfront boardwalk, and Changes (a women's clothing store), where I went alone and Joe should have come with me since I wasn't in a "less is more" mood.

Portland is on the cutting edge of urban trendsetting and good environmental practices. These sleek bus stop seats made us want to sit right down to wait for public transportation!

Here's a great screenprinted poster we saw on a downtown Portland business door.

Our favorite store in the Pearl district is Cargo, a huge warehouse crowded with creative imports of every kind from all over the world. These two boxes are filled with hand tooled scissors of every size and shape. Even some for lefties.

On Monday, we drove to Cannon Beach, just two hours from Portland. We began our stay with a long beach walk. This is the famous Haystack Rock there, with my favorite cool wet atmosphere.

Another day, new weather. Day Two in Cannon Beach brought sunshine and clear skies. We went for another long walk on the beach. Lots of people were there but it wasn't crowded in the least. Leashless dogs pranced and kids built sand castles. Because of an especially low tide, we got to see lots of small creatures in the tide pools around Haystack.

We love staying at the small, European style Cannon Beach Hotel.

I'm convinced all residents of Cannon Beach have green thumbs. Lush gardens everywhere.

Crows, 2009
Hanne Greaver

We came across a great group exhibition of prints at the Cannon Beach Art Association. Among the many great works, I was particularly excited about two etchings with chin colle by Sherrie Funkhouser. A second show of prints will go up in August, including the beautiful etching above. The prints and paintings of Hanne Greaver and her husband, Harry Greaver, can be seen at Greaver Gallery, on Hemlock Street. I got to chat with Harry there: They moved to Cannon Beach over thirty years ago, hauling their 1000+ pound lithography press with them.

We left Cannon Beach on a grey, rainy Thursday, headed to Port Townsend. It is approximately ten miles north to the Oregon-Washington border. The Columbia River separates the two states and a low bridge spans the wide mouth of the river.

The historic port town of Astoria rests on the hilly banks of the Columbia River on the Oregon side. Colorful clapboard houses, built long ago, butt up against the busy highway leading to the bridge. I'd like to explore this area someday.

Welcome to beautiful Port Townsend, Washington! This is a view of the town and the bay from Brig and Kris' house. Gorgeous, isn't it?!

On our first day in PT, Brig, Kris, Joe and I went for a hike in the woods around Fort Flagler with Dorie and Chloe (hiding in the shadows). A bench with a stunning visual backdrop provided a perfect setting for lunch. Have you ever eaten Safeway's chewy double chocolate chip cookies? They are a chocoholic's dream. (I had two.)

On our way to the farmer's market the next day, we encountered one of the many deer residents. I was reminded of an early morning walk with Roger on a previous visit to Port Townsend in which we saw a deer approach a big bed of rose bushes in someone's front yard. Within minutes, all the beautiful blooms were eaten. I got a kick wondering what the home owner's surprised reaction would be...

Gorgeous leafy greens at the Port Townsend Farmer's Market.

If there had been a Best Dressed Contest, this little girl would have received first prize. Think I'll start shopping for some sparkling pink tutus and ballet slippers of my own...

Come to think of it..... I HAVE SPARKLEY ITEMS ALREADY! These are my favorite shoes... saved for special artsy occasions. They sparkle! I love them! Hmmmm... maybe I should wear them more often. Find that pink tutu and wear them together! Frequently!

Just a thought.

Now, back to the trip.

Many options abound at the Market for lunch, including fresh clams and oysters. Delicious!

Kris gave us a tour of the Northwest Maritime Center. What an impressive place! They sponsor training programs, career education, recreational events, sailing and kayaking clubs and the yearly Wooden Boat Festival in September. This is the boat building arena.

Meet Tugnacious, Brig and Kris' new 26 foot Nordic Tug.

We sailed around Protection Island in Discovery Bay on Tugnacious and got to see every kind of sea life except whales.

On Sunday, the Fourth of July, we attended Fiddle Tunes, a concert marking the beginning of the annual festival drawing fiddlers from all over the world. The concert was held in this former airship hanger, built during World War I and now converted to an amphitheater.

Pilar McCracken's letterpress Fiddle Tunes 2010 Poster. The image is from an original woodcut print. I'm inspired, because I've registered for a letterpress class at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena in August. I'm looking forward to learning a new (to me) process.

On the drive down from PT to Sandy, Oregon, we stopped for lunch in Kamala, Washington., a sweet little town full of antique stores. We asked someone why there are so many antique stores there and were told, "Kamala is an antiques destination!"
Well, alrighty then! We took some time to explore a few of the stores before heading back to the road. It was fun.

Tari Brand, Dean Smith, Joe

Our last stop was the new home of Dean Smith and Tari Brand, located in a stunning woodsy and pastoral spot near Sandy, Oregon.

You may recall my post in May 2009 about their wonderful wedding in Long Beach and their gradual move north, a special challenge because Dean is a sculptor of large metalworks and has lots of heavy stuff. It took a long time to get all that heavy stuff up to Oregon, but now, it is pretty much there. I asked Dean for an update of the final tally: he said the move took two semi-truck loads and 5 smaller truckloads. Plus, the semis were too big for the last narrow windy road to their house and had to be unloaded a few miles away, with contents carted in from there. What a project! This reminds us once again that the life of an artist is not all glamour.

Tari and Dean's new home in Oregon.

Some Neighbors

Anyway, once Joe and I arrived, we decided to stay forever. I think I could have lounged on their porch aaallll daayyyy watching the expansive front yard activities. Bunnies hopped through. Deer wandered in to ravage the blueberry bushes. Bugs buzzed. Birds floated over. Gofer holes popped up through the grass. Rain sputtered on and off. The sun moved across the sky. Shadows evolved.

Do anything more than that? Why?

But we did. On Tuesday, the four of us took a drive meandering east from Troutdale on the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway, originally built in the early 1900's. Edged with the original 1913 rock guardrails and winding through the original tunnels carved out of big granite boulders by hand and hard work, the highway is a beautiful way through the woods along the river.

We stopped for breathtaking views at Vista House at Crown Point, built in glamorous art deco style in the early 1900's and recently restored to all it's glory. Note the beautiful stained glass windows.

Our final destination was Multnomah Falls, the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States. We had a good time hiking up to the bridge and through the woods along the side.

On our last night with Tari and Dean, we had dinner at their favorite restaurant, Rendezvous.
It was delicious and we had a great time. The owner took a picture of all of us, which I'll post it here soon.

The next day, Joe and I flew home after a wonderful vacation. Cheers!


  1. What a lovely trip! I really enjoyed seeing Port Townsend--spectacular! Also, the Crows etching by Hanna Greaver is amazing.

  2. Well, that was worth the wait (for your blog post). I loved Cannon Beach when we were there. I've never been to Washington State at all and Port Townsend is definitely on the list when we get there. Great to see friends and new places!

    (I notice you said "grey". Do you think "grey" is darker than "gray"? I do.)

  3. Thanks for your comments, Expats!

    Cathy, I looked up gray/grey... "Gray" is how it is spelled in American English while "grey" is how the British spell it. So, I think you are right about "grey" being darker than "gray" due to the reputation of British weather.

  4. Annie - regarding the tutu and the shoes - look at your mother's blog entry for today!

    I'm pretty recent to the concept of having fun with clothes. My default mode is practical.

  5. But, Cathy, I recall a photo of your wonderful red shoes posted on your facebook page...