Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Explaining That I'm Just Visiting...

…Portland.

I know it's very fashionable to make fun of Portland. That the backlash has already begun. Too self-conscious, too privileged, too young, too caffeinated, too micro-brewed, too organic, too gentrified, too bearded, too tattooed…but I don't care.

You can't tell me that a city where everyone is friendly to the point where instead of asking you how you are, the baristas ask you what you're up to today, where organic food is easily accessed and surprisingly affordable and huge old trees shade neighborhoods clearly proud of their gardens, is worth only ridicule.

I don't care if the clothes are silly, if the folks are nice and I don't care if fixies are stupid, because where else in America do cars give way to bikes? As  far as cities go, Portland gets my vote.

I love that you can walk anywhere (take that Seattle!) and that when you pass people in the street, they nod in acknowledgement and smile (take that Seattle!) and that wherever you go people make conversation with you. There's something sweet and small-town-y about this city, like you already belong, even though you're just passing through.

Right now, might the be the best possible time to visit Portland, because though it's a city known for its roses, it's really the blooms of all sorts that make it a wonderfully lush place. Here in the Southeast it seems like each yard is bursting onto the streets with blossoms of all kinds.

Portland's got a lot going on for me. Some of the most important people in my world live here and I imagine I'll be coming back often to visit them.

There is so much to do, to see, so many people to watch. In many ways it's the perfect urban place for a rural girl like myself, because thought it's a city, it retains a lot of the things I love about the country, making the transition easier.

In conclusion, expect to hear more about Portland in the coming days. My grandma used to enjoy what she called "armchair travel" and I will try my hardest to offer you guys a little virtual journey to springtime in Portland. Pack your bags comfy chairs and coffee mugs...

7 comments:

  1. I feel the exact same way about Portland! It's gotten so stylish to make fun of it that it does seem like oftentimes people forget to look past the stereotypes and remember what a unique city it truly is. It is so silly to write-off a place just because there are lots of bearded dudes riding bikes and drinking fancy coffee in it. As a resident of Seattle (a city that is dear to me, despite our coolness toward strangers), Portland has become one of my very favorite cities to visit, because it does feel so much smaller and intimate. Enjoy your travels there! Looking forward to seeing what treasures you find.

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    1. Sorry, I have lots of beef with Seattle, 'cos I can't ever navigate it and always get into trouble with it ;) It still has lots of things about it that I love. (It's clearly not you Seattle, it's me.)

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    2. Totally! I fantasize about moving to Portland some day, because it definitely feels like a more welcoming place sometimes. I live in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, which feels kind of like it's own city within the larger Seattle--getting to know certain neighborhoods really well makes the rest of the city feel more manageable.

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  2. Hubs and I (and the pup!) spent some time in Portland two summers ago after travelling the Oregon coast, and it really is one of my most magical memories. I don't even know where to start - the restaurant with personal bonfires and hanging swings, or how about the random chalkboard inviting a quick doodle, or the fact we could take our pup with us the bar and watch a projected showing of "Planet Earth". Yep, Portland is awesome.

    Megan

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  3. I'm excited to read what you have to say about Portland (and happy to read these positive comments). We just moved here! The people in Portland have been very friendly to us! But I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Have a wonderful visit!

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  4. It's easy to forget that the reason some things become hip and popular is because they are legitimately good and awesome. Sometimes I get self-conscious about things I like because I am afraid I'm just a giant walking cliche, but to hell with it. Like what you want to like, especially if the thing you like is an kind, eco-friendly city.

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  5. I've always wanted to visit Portland (despite the stereotypes), but if it gets your vote, I simply MUST go there now! :0

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