Tomorrow (Sept 18) marks exactly one month since I returned from the Pacific NW. I have had enough time to decompress and reflect on my Pacific Northwest Trip. Love that part of the country. The scenery is great, people are wonderful, food is excellent. Here are some of the superlatives:
Best Town (less than 100,000): Bend, OR – What’s not to love? Great city with everything I love: scenery, neat people, trails, mountains, clean, funky. Bend is sort of summarized in this blog post.
Honorable Mention: Eugene, OR and its cool university; Poulsbo, WA with its Norwegian flair; Florence, OR and its dunes and Old Town.
Best City (over 100,000): Vancouver, BC – the hosts of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver is cosmopolitan and diverse, trendy and funky. Downtown Vancouver is compact has neat neighborhoods like Yaletown, Chinatown and Gastown. How can you not like a city that has a huge park downtown, skiing and beaches within the metropolitan limits and Whistler with its world-class slopes and mountain bike trails less than two hours away?
Honorable Mention: Victoria, BC – walkable, quaint with great history and architecture; Portland, OR – bike friendly, lots of parks and home of Powell’s.
Best Drive: Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park – every overlook reveals another perspective of Crater Lake and makes you just want to stop. The drive is scenic and spectacular.
Runner-up: Pacific Coast Highway between Brookings and Bandon, Oregon
Best Drive I didn’t drive: Pacific Rim Highway (Hwy 4) between Port Alberni and Tofino on Vancouver Island
Best View: Newberry Crater (with Pauline and East Lakes) from Paulina Peak, Newberry Volcano National Monument
Honorable Mention: Crater Lake from Wizard Island Summit; Bend from Pilot Butte (see photo above "Best Town"); looking up at the Redwoods.
Best Beach: Cox Beach, Tofino, BC
Runner-up: Secret beach near Brookings, OR
Favorite Mountain: Three Sisters, Oregon- Actually three mountains: South Sister, 10,363 ft; Middle Sister, 10,047 and North Sister, 10,085 are not the highest in the central Oregon Cascades, but together are awful pretty to look at when driving or from Bend. (note: Mt Ranier is still my favorite, I just didn't go there on this trip)
Honorable Mention: Mt Hood
Favorite Island: Vancouver Island- it has it all, a great city in Victoria, awesome National Parks, skiing and then best surfing in Canada.
Honorable Mention: Wizard Island, Crater Lake National Park
Best Coffee: Human Bean Coffee, Bend, Oregon
Best Coffee Shop: Townsends Tea House, Bend, OR – okay, they don’t serve coffee, but it’s a great shop that hangs great art on the walls and is a nice place to work or relax. Plus, the Kashmiri Chai almost makes me never want coffee ever again...
Honorable Mention: Dragonfly Coffee, Portland NW
Best Bookstore: Powell’s City of Books, Portland, OR – go get lost in Powell’s, it’s very easy to do and some time well spent.
Best Breakfast: Victorian Cafe, Bend, OR – the Warsaw was amazing!
Honorable Mention: Willie’s Bakery, Victoria, BC
Coolest Restaurant: Cornucopia, Eugene, OR - wonderful lunch specials
Best Norwegian Themed Restaurant: The Crazy Norwegian, Port Orford, OR- the best fish and chips!
Favorite Brewery: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR- hooray Black Butte Porter
Best Single Place for a variety of food: Richmond Night Market, Richmond, BC
Best Hostel: Hostelling International Vancouver Downtown- Large, but comfy, clean and safe.
Honorable Mention: Olympic Hostel, Port Townsend, WA - Great location
Favorite Hike: Dutton Creek, Crater Lake National Park
Runner-up: Mirror Lake, near Mt Hood, Oregon; Wizard Island Summit, Crater Lake
Favorite bike trail: Tumalo Falls Trail, Bend, OR- the climb is made easy by all the waterfalls you pass; the downhill fast, twisty and fun.
Runner-up: Voodoo Trail, part of Phil’s trail system, Bend, OR
Best Boat Ride: Wizard Island drop-off, Crater Lake National Park
Runner-up: ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver
Favorite City Park: Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC- with its beaches, aquarium, marina, views, hikes, Stanley Park has everything all within walking distance of downtown Vancouver.
Honorable Mention: Wallace Park, Portland, OR; River Park, Bend, OR; English Beach, Vancouver, BC
Favorite State Park: Cape Blanco State Park, Oregon coast
Runners-up: Tumalo State Park, near Bend, OR; Honeyman State Park, Florence, OR
(note: Oregon's State Park system is first class. North Carolina could take some notes).
Favorite Bridge: Lion’s Gate Bridge connecting North Vancouver with downtown Vancouver
Runner-up: St. John's Bridge, Portland/St. Johns, OR