I recently was able to tick something off my U.S. travel bucket list that I had been wanting to do for a while- a visit to the Pacific Northwest. Last summer Ethan and I made a trip to Santa Monica so I had been West but never to the storied North states. I visited Portland, Oregon (PDX to the locals) and it did not disappoint.
The moment I stepped out of the airport to catch a cab to the hotel it was literally a breath of fresh air. Low humidity and temps in the lower 70’s so much cooler in Texas where we are creeping into the 90’s as summer approaches. Oregon has the most trees per capita of any state in the U.S. and even in urban Portland there are lush ever greens every where. Mountains serve as a beautiful backdrop to the city.
Portland immediately gives off a very cool vibe and if I had to compare it to anything I am familiar with it would be to Austin, Texas. Like Austin, Portland has a great local food and music scene, is an active and health conscious city, is a big supporter of local businesses (not many big chains in sight), and also is extremely environmentally conscious. Also, like Austin they had some transitional areas in their downtown. Portland is it’s own city though. They have a huge local coffee and beer culture that is not as prevalent in Austin and with the gorgeous mountains and rivers nearby their outdoor life is their own. Portland is a cool, hipster city, but as someone who is decidedly unhip I did not find the vibe to be obnoxious or off putting. It’s just a city who loves living healthy and cares about keeping their city clean and loves expressing itself through unique drinks and eats, music, and outdoor life.
I was in town for Indulge Conference and it was held at the Hotel Monaco which is part of the Kipton family of hotels. This hotel sums up everything that is cool about Portland for me and was a great choice for the conference. The decor is funky and eclectic but attractive. I roomed with my food blogger buddies Joanie of Zag Left and Carrie of Frugal Foodie Mama whom I also attended Mixed Conference with last year. The room had two queen beds in what was the “bedroom” which had a real sliding door to separate it from the living area as opposed to a curtain. The sitting area featured a fold out couch and desk. There were also funky animal print robes and a yoga mat in the closet. (This is Portland, people.)
The fun and vibrant decor starts in the hotel lobby. All of these styles and pieces that you would never think to put together, form a funky welcoming vibe to the hotel. The hotel also has a huge Jenga game in the lobby sitting area, daily beer and wine happy hours, an afternoon coffee break, and if you are lonely the hotel has two pooches for you to love on or you can request a companion fish for your room. (Yes, you read that right. A companion fish. So Portland.) I found the hotel staff friendly and helpful. We were 3 sharing a room and they had no problem splitting the tab and were quick to get me a cab when I needed one. It also had a great room for the conference with an alcove for a drinks and snack area, power outlets at the tables and a good quality presentation set up.
And you need travel no further than the hotel restaurant for delicious food. The Collard Greens in the Red Star Tavern were the best I’ve had since my granny’s and the Chorizo hash I had for breakfast was a delicious Tex Mex dish in an unexpected place.
FYI I didn’t see a lot of kids at this hotel but it’s in the heart of downtown where most of the activities and eats are more for the grownups anyway. If you’re coming for a getaway with the significant other or a group of mom (or dad) friends I definitely recommend Hotel Monaco.
Food Blogger Friends: I highly recommend Indulge Conference. It was a well planned, great conference at a great price. It was also the perfect size for networking or connecting with friends you already know like I did with Carrie from Frugal Foodie Mama or Kendra from Simply Darrling. The sessions were great and we were learning from the best like photography from Foodie Crush Magazine, Gimme Some Oven, and She Wears Many Hats. Rumor has it Indulge Conference will be in Napa next year and I’m penciling it on my calendar looking forward to a new travel destination and more fun and learning with food blogger friends.