Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

July 3-6, 2022

As well as learning more about the history of the places that we visit and experiencing the food and the culture, we have been keen to explore the music and particularly, the North American blues and folk music. So we were excited that our visit to Portland would coincide with Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival. We were able to go to the last day of the festival which was on the 4th July. Lots of people were celebrating Independence Day on their boats on the Colombia River and to have the music of the festival as their holiday soundtrack. The border between Oregon and Washington states is in the middle of the Columbia River.

Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival

There was a great line-up at the festival and we enjoyed seeing lots of bands and performers including: Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, Brett Benton, Judith Lee, and Toby Lee & Timothy James. It was particularly good to see Cedric Burnside again (who we had last seen in 2019 on home turf at Dingwall’s in Camden, UK – supported by the one and only Jimmy Regal and the Royals).

We’d treated ourselves to a stay in a nice hotel in Portland rather than the usual 2 star motel. The Hotel deLuxe, and it was worth it as we had a nice comfortable (if compact) room. There was a lovely hotel bar and an outside games area (Connect 4 (5/6) anyone?). After a bit of a lie in the day after the festival, it was time to explore Portland. First off, we visited Pittock Mansion, a historic house museum. The house was built in 1914 and the museum gave us a good overview of what it was like to live during Portland’s development from pioneer town to industrial city.

Anyone for a game of Pong?

We walked around the city in the afternoon and particularly enjoyed exploring Powell’s City of Books, Portland’s rightly famous sprawling independent bookstore. It is a wonderful place and if we’d had room in our luggage we would have bought a lot of books! As it was, we restrained ourselves to buying a travel guide for the next stage of our trip, ‘Moon’s Pacific Northwest Road Trip’ which covered the next stage north, and had a good section on the Olympic Peninsula.

One of the great activities which kept us entertained in the evenings in both the Western US and in Canada (as well as live music, stand- up comedy, the odd game of Yahtzee and searching for the perfect cider) was the retro gaming arcades and board game cafes. In Portland, we found a great place called Ground Kontrol. We had great fun playing classic arcade games such as Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Bust-a-move, lots of pinball and Pong (a mixed electronic/analog version). As for food options in Portland, we had great pancakes for breakfast at the Urban Creperie and dinner at the Brix Tavern in the Pearl District as well as classic festival food such as Elephant Ears.

We thought Portland had a really nice vibe and was a city that would be very easy and pleasant to live in but, all too soon, it was time for us to move on and so we headed back to the coast.

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