Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Travel Without Kids!!!! Exploring Portland, Oregon

Travel without kids. Travel on my own. Professional learning trip.   Girls only trip. These are all the things I experienced for the first time in my life.  This past weekend is the first time in over 12 years that I traveled all by myself, without the kids or the husband.  It was so exciting! I  traveled with four other ladies to Portland, Oregon.  We went to see the Opal School and to attend their Reading the World Conference.  One of the ladies, Kelly, and I’ve known each other for years.  Kelly is a SPSD colleague that I look up to and hold up with high regard.  The other ladies, also early childhood educators, I had just met a few times but was excited to get to know them on a professional and personal level.  We all got along super well and I truly feel I’ve developed some new friendships.


 

 

Here are some of my favorites from the weekend! 

 

Opal School/Children’s Museum

I am not going to spend a lot of time giving you the details of the conference but I will say that it was truly inspiring for me.  We spent time learning from their educators and exploring their classrooms.  They truly embody and practice the idea of “children as competent learners” in everything that they do.  I have a lot to share with my teachers at SPSD and am looking forward to pursuing some of these ideas as I mentor teachers and also when I return to the classroom in a year and a half.  If you go to Portland with children, the museum is a MUST see, and I think the zoo would be a place to visit as well.



 

 

Forest Park

This was the highlight for me.  I went into the forest to a few times on my own to run during lunch while at the conference.  It is breath taking.  To be so close to the city and yet so far into the forest, surrounded by  trees that reach high above, touching their branches up to the skyline.  You know there are roads nearby but get lost in the beauty of the natural world and wonder.  THIS IS A MUST!!!  Kelly and I spent 2. 5 hours hiking the forest and taking various trails that led us to explore the ‘winter garden’, ‘rose garden’ and Washington Park.

 

 

Oregon Holocaust Memorial

The Holocaust Memorial in Washington park was haunting.  Kelly and I were happily taking in the beauty of the day when we suddenly and unexpectedly  came upon it the memorial.  Our mood immediately changed as we took in all the artifacts that were scattered around.  A beautiful bench sprinkled with rose petals caught our eye first and then the baby that was clearly laid to rest there as a symbol of all the young lives lost.  We paused and  noticed that the pathway leading up to the large stone memorial was scattered with discarded  items to represent all that was lost and taken from the Jewish people.  An opened suitcase.  A teddy bear.  A violin, that once produced a beautiful melody now laid broken like the people who once owned it.  A young child’s boot.  The large head stone was filled with words t of the horrors that once were.  It was a time of quietness, respect, of grief, and  of reflection.  We allowed  ourselves to feel and be swept by the horrors of the past.  As we continued our hike, we found ourselves taking time to walk in silent reflection and gratitude. 


 

 

Powell’s Book Store

I love books so this was a must see.  Powell’s book store is stocked with books and takes up one whole city block.  Being teachers, we mostly spent time browsing in the kids section for new picture books to inspire little minds.



 

Tom McCall Waterfront Park & Saturday Market

Kelly and I ran a 5km loop on the first day down by the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.  It was a perfect way to stretch our legs after hours on the plane and to see the cities bridges. The path was filled with runners, bikers and walkers which was lovely to see.  On Saturday morning we all headed down towards the Tom McCall Waterfront Park for their Saturday Market.   We weaved in and out of people and  vendors filled with crafts, jewelry, art, food, nick knacks and so on.  Many of us walked away purchasing the softest sweatshirt and shirts of Portland form a local vendor.  I got my girls and I matching ones J


 

Accommodations, Food and Wine

 

We stayed in a beautiful Mark Spencer Hotel in downtown, which is also the last independent hotel in the downtown area.  The rooms were modern, with a stunning bathroom, modern kitchenette and beds that you could spend hours laying in, which we opted out of 😊.  They also had a great light breakfast every morning, and a wine and cheese happy hour that we took advantage off before venturing into the city streets. 

For all the foodies out there, the city will not disappoint!


My favorites were:

 

 

Imperial Restaurant: Food was unique and a classy evening out.

 

Petunia’s Pies & Pastries:  The cakes were to die for and the coffee was excellent and GLUTEN-FREE!!! 

 

Teardrop Lounge:  Fun little lounge with a variety of drinks to choose from.  An excellent place to stop after a nice dinner and before heading back to the hotel.

 

Voodoo Doughnuts:  I am not a doughnut person but these were AMAZING and a fun experience.  I got a fritter, drizzled with chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate chips.  Can you say sugar overload?!?  I ate almost ate the whole thing.


I feel rejuvenated both professionally and personally.  I was struggling with the winter blues that seemed to be hanging on and getting away like this for five days was an incredible gift.  Getting off the airplane and seeing my little families smiling faces was the icing on the cake. 


 

I know that traveling big cities, exploring new territory, is something I want to continue doing.  Though I love all inclusive beach vacations, I feel ready to do some new types of travel here and there, when we can afford it. 


 

Tell me your favorite travel destinations with and without kids. 


11 comments:

  1. What a fun trip!! I have a girls trip coming up in a few weeks that I am so excited about. That park looks so pretty and those donuts look amazing!! The best feeling in the world is coming home to your family. Sierra~Beautifully Candid

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    1. Sierra, how exciting! Where are you girls off to? It was great to miss the family, just a reminder of how much I love them and being taken away from the day-to-day makes you realize how special these years are.

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  2. You were so close to me! Portland is about 3.5 hours south of my house. It's a really fun, eclectic city!

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    1. I know!!! I have an aunt in Seattle that I love dearly and would love to go back to visit them. If only I had a $ tree and travel was free. :)

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  3. I live in the Portland area, you definitely hit some wonderful highlights, especially Forest Park! Have you heard of the Wildwood Chronicles children's book series? A local author wrote a fantasy series that takes place in Forest Park, it's really neat!

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    1. Kelsey, I totally fell in love with Portland and would definitely recommend it to people traveling with children as well. I haven't heard of those books but I am going to check them out on Amazon right now, sounds like something my children might enjoy reading. Thanks for the tip!

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  4. Love having little trips without the fam- makes you feel good as an individual and then miss the kids and in the end everyone wins! I have never been to Portland- I've heard good things.

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    1. It was so good for my soul. I was in a funk. Feeling dissatisfied when I knew how much I had to be grateful for. It was so good to get some clarity and disrupt the routine.

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  5. Sounds like such a fun time! Me time is always important!

    http://www.mylittlenest.org

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    1. Thanks Ruth. I am very thankful for this opportunity.

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  6. Fantastic! Thank you for linking up on my Fancy Friday linkup party!

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