He wants to visit Nob Hill, I am drawn to the Pearl District. Trouble is, my energy is limited, so we decided to drive through Nob Hill and limit our visit to Lowell’s bookstore and a seafood restaurant.
“Would you rather I just take you to a dentist?” Ric asks.
“No. You can’t drop in without an appointment, and besides, I’m sure it’s infected – they won’t be able to do anything without clearing that up first. I’ll call a dentist when we get back.”
So, we carry on. Me with my mouth pain and Frankenstein legs, as the ME has flared up again.
It is one of those days where the clouds are piling up in a threatening way, and the greyness of the day does not shine a favourable first light on the city as we approach. The overpasses look old, and there is a lot of industry, and I wonder from this viewpoint how Portland can be considered such a hip place.
All our kids raved about this city, and we have promised to bring back fridge magnets for each of them, but from this vantage point, I’m not seeing it.
The GPS takes us to the corner of 23rd and Lovejoy Street when I ask for Nob Hill. There is a cafe on the corner that bears the name, but no other indicator of where to go. Ric turns right and we are on a narrow street lined with grand old houses.
“I think we’re going the wrong way.”
He pulls over and checks the map, and we drive through the neighbourhood to come out in the other direction. The streets are even narrower and steep, and I am beginning to understand the charm of this city. It reminds us of the Beaches in Toronto, only on steroids.
We pass some shops and quaint looking restaurants, and then enter the city, which is equally as charming. Powell’s bookstore is easily spotted on a corner, and I notice a parking lot right next door. We pull in and the attendant barks orders at us before we have a chance to see the sign that says: No elevator.
The antiquated parking lot has a single lane entrance and exit, with steep ramps and no visibility. A horn honk is the only insurance that metal doesn’t meet metal. We are assigned to a space on the top floor. I don’t count the steps on the way down the endless staircases, but my legs sure do. I’m determined to ignore their protests.
Powell’s City of Books, is just that – an endless book lovers dream. It covers three floors, with various rooms per story, all colour-coded: kids are in the Rose Room, restrooms in the Purple Room, and so on. We find fridge magnets and so much more. On our way out we ask for recommendations to a good seafood spot for lunch.
“There’s Jake’s Famous Crawfish around the corner,” a helpful assistant suggests, pointing the way.
It’s a few blocks to Jake’s, and after the stairs and the bookstore, I have to hang on to Ric to walk. Jake’s is the second oldest restaurant in Portland, and my dad would approve: there are white linen tablecloths and the wait staff wear white and black with towels over the forearm. The artwork is all my parents’ era also, but it is quaint. I didn’t get a snapshot of the outside – it was too rainy to stop – but I did photograph this door which represents the decor.
Ric has a the clam chowder – claims he is on a quest to find the best chowder on the coast – and a crab stuffed salmon dish. I have the trout, and it’s superb.
Filled up with our shopping list checked off, I am ready to go home. We stop at a Whole Foods along the way back to the car to stock up on mushy foods for me. Ric climbs the mountain of stairs to retrieve the pickup, while I wait on the street.
Like every other big city, the traffic is already congested as we head out of the city.
Tomorrow we head further north, for our last portion of the stay in U.S.A… for now.