Posted by on Jan 30, 2018 in Gallery, Oregon, Travel | 36 comments

Portland is renowned for its gardens—it has an authentic Japanese garden, an authentic Chinese walled garden, acres and acres of forest preserves and botanical wonders, and spectacular neighborhood gardens. It’s no wonder Portland is so lush and green and flower-bountiful because it rains ALL OF THE TIME.

Not really, but it’s not much of an exaggeration, especially from mid-October until June. But even in the rain, Portland is beautiful and fun and we never run out of things to do.

Walking the River Loop Trail in the rain

The reward for walking in the rain

The ideal time to visit is in the summer and early fall when the weather is generally near perfect. But that doesn’t always fit in with our traveling schedule. And with family and good friends living in the city, Portland is a place that we frequent at least once a year.

Each time we return to Portland, we look forward to visiting some favorite places and discovering new favorites. I’ve always wanted to catch the peak fall colors in the Portland Japanese Garden. We missed it again in mid-October, this time by about a week. Still, it was gorgeous. The garden has recently completed extensive renovations, including building a new cultural center where we happened upon a traditional tea ceremony.

The new entrance to the Japanese Garden

Cultural village in the Portland Japanese Garden

A traditional tea ceremony

A miniature spruce in the bonsai garden

The first fall colors in the Japanese garden

In Portland, you can bet the stone lanterns will be wearing moss-covered caps

The Circle and Gourd Islands in the sea of white gravel symbolize enlightenment and happiness

The Pavilion Gallery hosts various artists throughout the year focused on Japanese art and culture

A show of Japanese Noh theatre masks and costumes

We also visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden with Eric’s sister Peggy. The little jewel box of a garden is an authentic Ming Dynasty style garden, built by artisans from China. It covers an entire city block in the historic Chinatown district. The free tours are excellent, and there are often special events, like the tea tasting the day we were there.

The lovely Lan Su Chinese Garden

The courtyards and pathways are composed of intricate stone mosaics

A traditional tea house overlooks a small lake

The garden is an oasis of tranquility in the midst of downtown Portland

A traditional family altar in one of the garden pavilions

Tea tasting event at the Chinese Garden

The dragonfish roof ornament protects against evil influences

An artist’s sketchbook in the garden

Eric and his sister Peggy in the garden

Good food is never far away in Portland. The biggest problem is choosing between all of the enticing options. A new discovery this trip was the Kasbah Moroccan Cafe, conveniently near the Chinese Garden. Lunch was delicious, and the proprietor took great care in showing us how to correctly pour our tea. Moroccan mint tea is traditionally made with gunpowder green tea, fresh mint, and sugar. We asked for it to be made with half the amount of sweetener, and it was still plenty sweet.

The correct way to serve Moroccan mint tea at the Kasbah Cafe (if you have good aim)

A delicious lunch transported us for the afternoon to Morocco

No visit to Portland is complete for us without a trip to the farmers’ market. The Portland State University farmers’ market is our favorite, and we dragged ourselves and Amanda and Findlay out in the rain to peruse the offerings on a stormy Saturday morning. It was colorful, as always. We invariably find new things that we’ve never seen anywhere else.

Fall colors at the Portland Farmers’ Market

Findlay brought his life’s savings to the market

Fall harvest time, all that rain grows beautiful vegetables

Purple napa cabbage! So pretty!

Amanda and Findlay choosing tea at a neighborhood tea shop

A rainy day art project at the tea shop

A cozy evening at Amanda’s fixing dinner together

Enjoying a wonderful evening with friends Tom and Georgina at their beautiful home

Portland is such a great town. And with such a great vibe. And always, unique.

We don’t eat doughnuts, but the Voodoo Doughnut sign makes me want to

Gotta love a city where you can practice archery in your bathrobe in the city park

Cheers to our Pacific Wonderland!

About the RV Park
We stay at Pheasant Ridge RV Resort every time we visit Portland because it’s the most convenient for us for visiting family. It only takes about 15 minutes to drive into the city, and somehow we always seem to be going against the flow of traffic, which works out just right. The park is immaculate and tightly run; sites have concrete pads, grassy lawns, and attractive landscaping. Full hookups, very nice laundry and bathhouse, good Verizon coverage (their wifi is terrible), propane on site. Ask for a site toward the back of the park (it’s the furthest away from the road and quieter).

If you’re interested, here are a couple of previous posts on Portland:

The City of Roses: Portland, Oregon

Enjoying Portland, Even In The Rain

Next Up: The Central California Coast: Monterey, Morro Bay, and Ojai