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OR/WA Vacation this month!!!
Old 09-01-2010, 10:22 AM   #1
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OR/WA Vacation this month!!!

We are flying into Medford, OR - will be staying in a treehouse (ziplines!)the first couple nights, then driving up the OR coast for a few days. Spending 2-3 days with friends in Vancouver, WA/Portland, OR (microbrewers/ww rafting/hiking), then heading up to Seattle (oyster festival 1st wknd of Oct/space needle/fish market), flying back to NJ from Seattle.

1. Recommendations for lodging along the coastal Oregon part of the trip?

2. Anything we definitely want to put on our list of things to do?

3. Anyone interested in meeting for dinner/drinks who might be on our route?

Fireup
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Old 09-01-2010, 11:56 AM   #2
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My husband and I are planning a very similar trip in 2 years, but adding Alaska on the backend.

I'd love to know where the tree houses are and how that works for you, as that is something we would try! (and hope for good weather those nights!)
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:25 PM   #3
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Make sure you take drive throught the Columbia Gorge and see the waterfalls. It is only about 45 minutes outside of Portland. There is a "scenic" drive that goes along the top of the gorge on the Oregon side and that is what you want to do instead of taking the Interstate. Coming back if you take the interestate there is a neat fish hatchery on the Columbia where you can see very large sturgeon swimming in aquariums.
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Old 09-01-2010, 12:37 PM   #4
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Treehouses are here: Welcome to Treehouses.com ziplines, hikes, etc. available here as well for a nominal fee!

And thanks to whoever posted the www.airbnb.com site - this is where I found a downtown Seattle loft 1 BR apartment for far less than any hotel in the vicinity! (and she gave us a military discount!)
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Old 09-01-2010, 01:29 PM   #5
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Mt. St. Helens which is on the way from Portland to Seattle.
As a previous poster suggested, The Columbia Gorge outside of Portland. Plan a hike among the falls. Waterfalls of Oregon - Columbia River Gorge Regional Map
There is an experimental rose garden in Portland that is beautiful.
In Seattle, take the ferry to Bainbridge island. Wasn't there someone on this forum who lived there?

We vacationed in the Pacific Northwest just once and loved it. Enjoy!
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Old 09-01-2010, 03:04 PM   #6
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I have not been to Oregon but have but to Seattle a few times and love it there, at least when the sun is shining!

In the Seattle vicinity, my favorite things to do are:

1. Olympic National Forest - probably my favorite place on the planet. The views are breath taking on a clear day and the are deer every where that just walk along around you when you hike the trails. Mountains, lakes, waterfalls, lush scenery everywhere.

2. Ride the Ducks - a really fun tour on land and water.

3. The Harbor boat tours. We went on one that went past Bill Gates house.

4. Northwest Animal Trek - off the beaten track. A wildlife park with a walk around part and tram tours.

5. We went to a Japanese Garden in Seattle where you can feed the fish and that was fun. I don't remember the exact name of it.

6. We ran out of time but you can rent canoes somewhere around the University and that looked like fun.
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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I'm the Bainbridge xpat, and Oregon native.

As long as you are going to Medford go to Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival and see Crater Lake National Park (U.S. National Park Service). The lake is the remnant of Mt. Mazama, before it exploded (St. Helen type event) it was the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range.

I have no particular favorite Oregon coast motel, we just find a place when we get tired but try to find a room on the beach with an ocean view. I prefer to drive 101 south because it is easy to stop at the overlooks. The views all along are stunning (the road goes inland infrequently). All of Oregon's beaches are public up to the vegetation line, walk them. Sea Lion Caves are worth the stop particularly if you can hear the sea lions bark.. but they are stinky. The coast weather is the reason why our state uniform is a sweat shirt. Be sure to bring a fleece jacket AND a windbreaker. I have one caution, however, our ocean is not a place for swimming. It is cold, there are undertows, and sneaker waves. From time to time a log will wash up on the beach, take care around them because the same ocean that put them there can pin you under them. Along the same line stay behind safety fences and do not try to climb sea cliffs. We like our visitors to make return trips.

http://www.oregoncoasttravel.net/ Hgy 101, 'mile-by-mile'

Oregon State has a marine science center at Newport. The center and the town are worth exploring. Oregon Coast Aquarium - Newport

Cannon Beach is a very popular town, you will see lots of tourists and locals.

Seaside was the town the teens would go to in my youth to cut-up, little has changed. It is only an hour's drive from Portland.

I see you have friends in Portland metro, if they take you to Washington Park via Park Place give me a wave, maybe stop for a glass of wine.

A must-take drive is up the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River (take the scenic route if you have time, do not miss Multnomah Falls http://www.oregon.com/attractions/multnomah_falls), then south around Mt. Hood, dinner at Timberline Lodge (a reservation is wise, or call from your cellphone about an hour out for a table). The Lodge is well worth an overnight stay. Timberline Lodge Skyvue was referring to the fish hattchery at Bonneville Dam. http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/b/home.asp which is on this route.

I have mixed feelings about stopping at Mt. St. Helens. I am not sure that the visitor's center is still open and, frankly, nature has done a great job reforesting the mountain.

Seattle: Washington State Ferries provide the best cruising value going, $6.90 RT for Bainbridge or Bremerton foot passengers. If you are 65 or older buy your ticket at the ticket office and be sure to ask for the senior discount (half price). http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/ The Bainbridge run takes 35 minutes each way, departs roughly 45 minute intervals. If you take that trip walk up the hill and take the path mid-way to the left, the "Walk Around". My favorite watering hole was Doc's, Doc's Marina Grill. If you just want to watch the scenery take the Bremerton run, it takes about an hour each way. When you pass the fish farm in Rich Passage look up the hill closely to see my former home. The photo to the left was taken from my study.

At Seattle Center Seattle Center - Create your Seattle Center Experience! you will find the Space Needle and adjacent The Experience Music Project Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum and Ride The Ducks Tour Ride the Ducks of Seattle - 206-441-DUCK.

I enjoy Seattle Art Museum: Home Page , they have a branch Asian Art Museum that is great.

Ivars is the local seafood restaurant chain, but THE seafood restaurant is Ivars Salmon House on Lake Union Ivar's Seafood - Seattle's Best Seafood and Chowder

I could keep going, and going...
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:40 PM   #8
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Brat tells it quite well. I might add that if you come up to Volunteer Park to see the Asian Art Museum (#10 Capitol Hill Bus, catch on Pike St just W of 5th Ave), also walk a little bit farther N to Lakeview Cemetery where you can see the graves of Bruce and Brandon Lee, as well as most of the Seattle pioneers as well as Princess Angevine, daughter of Chief Sealth.

Pioneer Square just south of central downtown is the old center of Seattle, and the jump off and staging point for the Klondike Gold Rush. There is a low key funky free museum of the gold rush down there, as well as a charming square (Occidental Square). Lots of bums though. Many nice art galleries and Persian carpet dealers are in that area. You can ride there for free by going into the bus tunnel (entrances in mid-town Westlake Center on Pine St. between Macy's and Nordstrom, or University Street just south of there and taking any southbound bus, getting off at Pioneer Square. One stop farther south and you are in the International District which for my money is a good way to spend some low key but interesting time. Portland and Seattle both have old taverns from Pioneer days that are really interesting, but it takes a long time to find and enjoy that kind of stuff.

Brat mentioned SAM, Seattle Art Museum. Depending on exactly when you are here, there is a Picasso traveling exhibit that I think should be open. It may be hard to get tickets, I already have several days. SAM is just South of Pike Place Market, between University and Union on 1st Ave.

The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field south of downtown is very interesting if (and only if!) you like planes, and it can be reached by bus. Down on Alaska Way at the ferry docks and all the tourist development down there (which I like) you can buy books of tickets for events like Duck Tours, Harbor Tours, Museum of Flight and likely many other things too. I never met anyone who didn't like Duck Tours, especially on a nice day. Also the Seattle Aquarium is down there, and I like it a lot. I think those ticket books are also sold at Westlake Cewnter, at 4th Ave and Pine St.

I definitely recommend the Olympic Sculpture Park, at Broad and Western Ave, at the north end of Belltown and just SW of Seattle Center. Great sculpture (Calder, etc.,) on a beautiful grassy expanse overlooking the north end of Elliot Bay. If you get tired of city noise Myrtle Edwards Park near the sculpture park has a nice walking and bike bath, a pier, etc. You can buy an all day bus pass for $4.50 if you might be going around on busses a lot on some particular day. Seattle also had a high class shopping district with Barney's, Tiffany, Marios, Nordstrom of course and others in that class, all right downtown.

Enjoy your stay! And I will be guide for You and SO to some nice Happy Hour action. I even know a few nice restaurants, but some are expensive ( I get taken occasionally by my son). Do avoid the MacDonalds at 3rd and Pine, likely everything will be fine but the place is a real zoo. Some reasonably priced good food in the Public Market. An outdoor oyster bar where I eat a lot is Jack's Fish in the main alley behind 1st Ave just N of Pike St in the market. Ambiance nada, but good oysters, steamed clams and mussels, sometimes Alaskan King crab or Dungeness Crab. Kind of grim on a cold rainy day since it is open air.

Ha
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:06 PM   #9
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Do avoid the MacDonalds at 3rd and Pine, likely everything will be fine but the place is a real zoo.
Ha
Oh ya, THAT MacDonalds.

On the other hand the MacDonalds on the street level at the Seattle Ferry Terminal serves Tillamook Ice Cream cones. That is a wonderful treat if you have a wait for a boat.

In the Pioneer Square area there is a very interesting 'Underground Seattle' tour. Until I took that tour I didn't understand that downtown Seattle was in fact re-graded. Fascinating.

None of us mentioned the Pike Place Fish Market and the salmon tossers.

As I said we could go on, and on, and on.. Olympic Park (mentioned earlier), Port Townsend, Deception Pass, floating Snake River Canyon, Kah-nee-ta, Wallowa Lake, Sun River, High Desert Museum ...
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:18 PM   #10
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Just in case you might not know, eating at the Space Needle is very expensive. Much better meals are available elsewhere.
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:34 PM   #11
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Not only that but if you are inclined to motion sickness you could loose that expensive meal.
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Old 09-01-2010, 08:57 PM   #12
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We are flying into Medford, OR - will be staying in a treehouse (ziplines!)the first couple nights...
Here, I can't be the only reader wondering:
Quote:
The bathrooms are on the ground floor (50 ft. away) complete with showers, sinks and toilets (see Central Amenitrees).
One of them specifically claims to have a toilet in the tree.

But, guys being guys, I wouldn't go for a romantic stroll under any of these structures after dark...
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:39 PM   #13
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An outdoor oyster bar where I eat a lot is Jack's Fish in the main alley behind 1st Ave just N of Pike St in the market. Ambiance nada, but good oysters, steamed clams and mussels, sometimes Alaskan King crab or Dungeness Crab.
This is definitely what we are looking for! Local good stuff! They do serve alcohol, right?
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:40 PM   #14
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But, guys being guys, I wouldn't go for a romantic stroll under any of these structures after dark...
Maybe we'll get romantic...and if the tree is shakin'.....
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:53 PM   #15
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I see you have friends in Portland metro, if they take you to Washington Park via Park Place give me a wave, maybe stop for a glass of wine.
Absolutely!

Quote:
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A must-take drive is up the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River
I think this is where we will be rafting

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Ivars is the local seafood restaurant chain, but THE seafood restaurant is Ivars Salmon House on Lake Union Ivar's Seafood - Seattle's Best Seafood and Chowder
Just checked the links - and OMG - I believe we will be there for Sunday Brunch! Mmmmm!!
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:20 PM   #16
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What many of our visitors miss is the value of the communities established before the arrival of Europeans on our environment and culture. Ivar's Salmon House is a grand introduction. If you had time I suggest you visit the museum in Victoria Exhibits & Galleries - Royal BC Museum - they provide a great introduction to these communities and the Hudson Bay Company.
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Old 09-02-2010, 01:01 AM   #17
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Consider a drive to Astoria down the Columbia River. Come back on the other side.
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Old 09-02-2010, 03:21 AM   #18
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If in Portland: the blogger of Unconventional Ideas: Living Meaningfully in a Period of Epochal Change has a list of -as he writes- enjoyable and affordable food places / restaurants.
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:05 AM   #19
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I saw this in the library yesterday
Pacific Revival - Budget Travel

This has turned out to be a great thread. We should publish the Early Retirees travel guide!
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:29 AM   #20
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Speaking of affordable dining in Portland: Food Carts Portland
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