Wanting ways to further explore Portland we stumbled upon a website outlining 10 walks in and around Portland. In looking at the maps we realized that by happenstance we had actually already done one of the suggested walks when we walked from the Pearl District to Pittock Mansion. After reading the article we decided to try the Almeda Ridge walk. It was listed as being difficult mainly because the trail would travel up 400 stairs throughout the neighborhood. I loaded the map on my smartphone and off we went. As promised the walk took us straight up a hill into a really nice neighborhood with unique, interesting homes and equally impressive landscaping. Many of the homes also had ripe tomatoes and squash on the vine peeking out amongst their landscaping. We marveled at how green it is here in late summer when back home in Texas everything is brown this time of year.
On several street corners we saw display boxes. Posted inside each box behind the glass was a poem about the delights of summer. Apparently poems are switched out every season. We enjoyed reading them and later in the walk noticed a much larger display box in front of one home. As we approached we could see a sign indicating this was a “free library”. What a great idea for recycling neighborhood books!
As promised every so often we could see a small greenway with stairs to climb. By the 400th stair our legs were complaining a bit but we really enjoyed the tree lined extra wide streets and sidewalks on this walk. As we returned to our car we passed the Laurelwood Brewery but I had another brewery in mind this day as a special surprise for Sharon. Three different people had urged us to go to Base Camp Brewery. The surprise was a really tasty S’more Stout for Sharon complete with a roasted marshmallow on the glass. We watched as the bartender made a slit in the marshmallow, attached it to the pint glass and used a torch to brown the marshmallow perfectly before pouring the Stout. This beer brought forth big smiles from Sharon and yes, she nibbled on the marshmallow while sipping her Stout for the full s’more effect!
The next day we decided to take another suggestion from the enticing walk article and drove north across the bridge to Vancouver Washington to take the Vancouver's Fort, Downtown and Waterfront Walk.
This was a much easier flatland walk as our legs needed to have a little break. The walk began at Officer’s Row at the Vancouver Historic Reserve (an Army Post from the 1850’s). Officer’s row had beautiful restored officer housing which are now home to businesses and townhomes. One house however was a museum with free hourly tours, General George Marshall’s home. It was a beautiful home and an enjoyable tour.
Next our walk took us downtown into Vancouver where we enjoyed strolling through a more quieter downtown area. From here the trail took us along the waterfront where the last pickings of blackberries beckoned. Sharon had a plastic ziplock for just such an opportunity stashed in her day pack so we braved the brambles for enough bounty for one more blackberry cobbler!
The walk then looped back to another Fort entrance and back to Officer’s Row where we parked the car. Since it was Happy Hour we headed over to Loowit Brewery in Vancouver where I had an nice IPA and Sharon enjoyed a gold medal winning Red Ale. So glad are we that we paused to stay a month in Portland as we have really been able to immerse and enjoy this area.