As fall paints life’s landscapes with the rich hues of crimson and gold, the crisp air calls us to hats, scarves, warm mugs and donuts! One of Portland’s best donuts is found on the West-side at Donuts Plus. The name is nothing extravagant, the establishment itself is quite simple, the slogan genuine and true. On my first trip to Donuts Plus I ordered a maple bar. I have always been a fan and was pleased to see upon opening my little white goodie bag that they had thrown in a second donut for me to sample. First, the maple bar. I am accustomed to eating primarily the maple frosting but was delighted to find the cake equal to its maple counterpart. Second, the mysterious sample, which I discovered was blueberry. I had never had a blueberry donut and if you haven’t either, now is the time to try! Perfectly dense, sweet, melt in your mouth goodness; the blueberry donut at Donuts Plus will leave you wanting more!
13500 NW Cornell Rd, Portland – (503) 644-2168
The Hoyt Arboretum is a 187 acre living museum of trees and plants. Located in Washington Park it is conveniently located just 2 miles west of downtown Portland. It is easily accessible by car (the Zoo exit off of Hwy 26), bus or the MAX light rail which stops just down the road from the Arboretum (the Washington Park zoo stop).
What was once the hunting and gathering grounds for the native Atfalati tribes and later the site of a “Poor Farm” and sanatorium for people with infectious diseases and mental illness, is now a beautiful “green jewel” in the middle of a major metropolitan city. Thanks to the vision of Portland’s civic leaders the area has been preserved as a public park dedicated to the growing and conserving of tree species from around the world.
Whether you are looking for a quick botany lesson or just a peaceful escape to enjoy the beauty of nature the Arboretum is the perfect spot. The grounds are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and there is a visitor center. Check the Arboretum website for their hours.
Pick up a map at the visitor center for one of their guided walks.
The trails are well marked and you can identify some of the over 1,000 different species of trees and plants using the plant markers on many of the trees.
Many of the trails are wheelchair accessible too.
“He who plants a tree plants hope” – Lucy Larcom
American Dream Pizza is located across the street from Providence Hospital in SE Portland and has been around for as long as I’ve lived in Portland which is over 23 years. If you find yourself in the area or anywhere near Laurelhurst/Hawthorne areas you will want to stop in. It is even worth a special drive over from the West side of town.
Not only is American Dream serving up some great pizza but lots of local SE color too with a bright, primary, romper room color scheme. Everything from the tennis shoe art on the ceiling…
to the pizza box art on the walls will keep you entertained while you wait for your pizza.
Whether you want a whole pie or just a slice American Dream lets you build your own. Each slice is cooked to order. You can pile on the toppings as high as you want. Their yummy crust is strong enough to support it!
Their crust is my favorite and it is given a bath of garlic and butter before being served. I ate my crust and my husbands!
So next time you need some pizza now – check out American Dream!
One of the best things about Oregon is access to local, organic produce! Nothing tastes better, and nothing is better for you! The Cedar Mill Farmer’s Market offers several vendors who provide delicious organic produce. It’s a routine of mine to buy most, if not all of my produce at the market during the season. Not only does the food taste great, but I feel good knowing I am supporting local farming and feeding my family healthy food!
Magnolia Park is one of Hillsboro Parks and Recreation’s newest public gems. Built and dedicated within the last year, Magnolia Park is still a secret that only the locals have discovered. It is ideal for young families, parties, picnics, hot days, or a lazy checkers game. That’s right, I said checkers! Enjoy cozy seating for two across a checkered tabletop.
Play on the swings, climbing structures and a in the fountain. It’s not one of those over grown, child scaring fountains mind you, but a low, toddler friendly fountain. One more secret you’ll need to know…how to turn the fountain on! Just look for the button on the ground, and hop on it (shown below).
3552 North Mississippi Ave Portland
Whether you are looking for a great date night or a family outing on a rainy Saturday, Mississippi Pizza will not disappoint. Started by a husband/wife team eight years ago Mississippi Pizza is one of North East Portland’s local gems. A place only the locals know about and known for their signature gluten free, organic, and vegan pizzas Mississippi Pizza offers Portland so much more.
Fostering a love of learning, Mississipi Pizza hosts child and adult spelling bees. They aren’t your mother’s vocabulary words either! Two of their loosing contestants went on to win nationals. If spelling’s not your thing check out one of their concerts or join them on Sunday for football. Starting October 1st, Wednesday will be trivia night.
I cannot say enough about my own experience here. Not only was I greeted by friendly staff and delicious pizza, but I was charmed by the eclectic ambiance and comfortable nature of this restaurant. A pile of games caught my attention and beckoned me to stay awhile. So, if you find your self in North East, craving a slice, be sure to pay a visit to Mississippi Pizza.
Spelling Bee- Adults Monday @ 7 Kids Saturday @ 1
Check out events and get more info by visiting them here.
For the last fifteen years between 20-40,000 Vaux Swifts and been roosting in the chimney at Chapman School in NW Portland. Chapman School is located at NW Pettygrove and 25th in Portland.
During the month of September you can view the show every night at about dusk (approx. 6:30 p.m.) as thousands of birds descend into the school’s chimney to spend the night.
Hundreds of people come to watch the show every night. Grab your lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner if you like and enjoy the show!
Bring along a piece of cardboard and the kids can entertain themselves by sliding down the hill behind the school.
A pair of binoculars come in handy too!
It is an amazing show each night at dusk as the birds circle around the chimney. Their circling gradually picks up speed and then Swoosh – into the chimney they go!
The story of the Swifts at Chapman School is endearing.
When the Swifts first arrived fifteen years ago the school children and teachers at Chapman School loved it. They even adopted the Vaux Swift as their school mascot. As the Fall weather arrived and temperatures turned colder the students and staff would wear coats to class so that the furnace did not need to be turned on until the Swifts had left.
Eventually the school, along with the Audubon Society, raised enough money so that that a gas heating system could be added to the school and the chimney left for the Swifts.
For more information about Vaux Swifts you can visit the Audubon Society.
There is still plenty of time to see the show so head on down – it’s free!
When I asked one of the market coordinators what was unique about The Cedar Mill Farmer’s Market, she didn’t hesitate to point me in the direction of African Sweet Treats. I spent a few minutes chatting with the owners, nibbling on their signature Coconut bread samples all the while! I was impressed to discover that all the recipes are native to Africa and are as authentic as you can get! Treat yourself to a cultural delight and stop by the market tomorrow for a loaf of their home-baked bread!
Visit them here.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza located at 304 SE 28th Avenue, just off Burnside is a result of the popular Monday pizza nights at Ken’s Artisan Bakeryin Northwest Portland. Because of their success Ken decided to open up a seperate pizza restaurant where Portland could find his pizza every Tuesday through Saturday evening. They are open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
If you are looking for a little more upscale pizza experience Ken’s is definitely the place. But expect to wait, so be there right when the doors open at 5:00 p.m.
Ken’s features local and seasonal ingredients and each pizza is cooked to order in the massive beehive-like wood oven.
Our favorites are the Spring onion featuring mozzarella, roasted spring onions and fresh herbs.
And the meat lovers in my family loved the Soppressata which is tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy soppressata (pepperoni like) and basil – yum!
Please remember that the menu does change seasonally.
We also enjoyed a delicious CaesarSalad and the Lamb & Pita – both which were wonderful.
Because the pizzas are prepared in a wood burning oven you get a crust that is crisp yet chewy.
There is inside and outside dining. Because the weather was nice we chose outside – it was a delightful, relaxing and delicious dining experience.
Do you have a favorite pizza restaurant in Portland or the Portland area – please let us know here at Homebased Portland by leaving a comment below.
The Esplanade is 1.5 miles long along the Willamette River, extending north from the Hawthorne Bridge, past the Morrison and Burnside Bridges, to the Steel Bridge with connections to eastside neighborhoods as well as across the river to Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
It is a perfect place to walk or bike. The Esplanade begins at SE Water and Hawthorne Blvd. and there is plenty of parking in the area – very close to OMSI.
We chose to ride our bikes along the Esplanade following it all the way down to the Steel Bridge where you can cross over the river and continue along the Tom McCall Waterfront. If it is Saturday, it will take you right to Saturday’s Market.
If it’s a hot day you can stop and cool off in the Tom McCall Waterfront fountain!
Along the Esplanade you can enjoy the sensation of walking on water as you walk across the 1,200 foot floating walkway which is the longest of it’s kind in the United States.
The view is beautiful as you take in downtown Portland as well as the many bridges crossing over the Willamette River.
For a fun date night as a couple or with a group of friends we have taken a folding table and chairs down to the Esplanade, brought along some candles and treats and played cards – right there along the river! The lights at night from downtown Portland are amazing!
Enjoy the beauty of downtown Portland from the Eastbank Esplanade.
If you have a favorite place in the Portland to see or play please leave us a comment and let us know!