This longtime Southerner loves the summer heat, but sometimes a gal just needs a hiatus from temps in the high 90s. I spent a week in Emma's Portland office last month, and it proved to be the perfect opportunity to escape the stifling Nashville weather and complete the next installment in our city guide series.
Behold, Portland. The land of locally-owned shops, quiet wooded retreats and glorious food — the food cart options and list of "must visit" restaurants teeter on the edge of overwhelming for a visitor like myself.
Sure, you probably already have a list of Portland must-dos: sip coffee at Stumptown, bite into a sugary confection from Voodoo Doughnut, peruse the miles of titles at Powell's Books. But consider venturing off the beaten path and visiting some Rose City gems that also happen to be Emma customers.
4000 SW Fairview Blvd
Start your day with a walk in the woods. The mix of cityscape and nature is one of the best things about Portland (and there are a lot of best things). In fact, you can take mass transit to Hoyt Arboretum and be transported to 187 acres of ridge-top trees and 12 miles of trails. No matter how much time you have for a quiet walk in the woods, Hoyt Arboretum has a downloadable trail map to guide you.
2136 NE Alberta St
After communing with nature for a spell, scoot over to the northeast side of town and visit the shops on Alberta. Indulge your DIY side and check out the offerings at Bolt, where colorful prints can't help but inspire you to take to your sewing machine.
1408 NE Alberta St
Oh, you didn't bring a sewing machine on your trip to Portland? Never fear, Modern Domestic is just a few blocks away. Part sewing machine retail shop, part sewing studio, Modern Domestic rents studio time by the hour and hosts Friday night sew-cials for sewing enthusiasts to gather and get crafty.
Pacific Pie Company
1520 SE 7th Ave
For lunch, I recommend a favorite among Emma staffers: Pacific Pie Company. The menu boasts Australian savory pies, pasties and sausage rolls. Chris Powell and Sarah Curtis-Fawley are the "people behind the pies," and this husband and wife team are dedicated to local ingredients and making customers feel right at home in their new southeast Portland location.
718 NW 11th Ave
Pop down to the district known as the Pearl for some window shopping, and well, maybe some real shopping too. I recommend a stop at Solestruck, where you'll find a perfectly curated collection of shoes for men and women, including kicks by Jeffrey Campbell and Dolce Vita. You can even continue the Solestruck experience long after your trip to Portland by visiting their online store. Free shipping worldwide? Don't mind if I do.
Equinox Restaurant and Bar
830 N. Shaver St
Portland is a city that knows how to do happy hour, and Equinox Restaurant and Bar is no exception. The chickpea crepe and beets & bleu are a perfect accompaniment to a house cocktail like the Garden of Eden (think summer: basil, cucumber, lime and of course, vodka). Fair warning though — the laid back vibe and comfortable courtyard are enough to make you want to stay for dinner.
3713 N. Mississippi Ave
A jam-packed day of Portland fun is best capped with a treat from Ruby Jewel, just a short walk from Equinox. Ruby Jewel offers artisan ice cream made from locally-sourced ingredients, scooped into handmade cones and topped with sugary treats or pressed between two cookies to make a sandwich. I recommend the fresh mint flake ice-cream sandwich with the double chocolate cookies, followed by a good night's sleep and sweet dreams, of course.
Here's hoping your summer travels are filled with delicious food, inspiring shopping and of course, trees. We have more city guides up our sleeves, and if you missed our Austin guide, catch up on it here.