Portland, Oregon may be known for its craft beers, independent cafés, and unabashedly weird hipster vibes, but there’s plenty more on offer in this pine green jewel of the Pacific Northwest. A vast abundance of parks and outdoor recreational opportunities, plus an affinity for all-natural solutions to everyday problems, makes Vine Vera Portland a fitting addition to the experience.
Even the story behind Portland’s name reflects its quirky, oddball identity. In the 1840s, two New England settlers, Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy, had come into possession of the land at the confluence of the Williamette and Columbia Rivers. Pettygrove wanted to name the town after his East Coast place of origin – Portland, Maine – while Lovejoy, from Boston, wanted the new settlement to carry his hometown’s name. They flipped a penny to determine whose choice would win out. Portland, of course, took the honor, while the penny itself remains on display at the Oregon Historical Society located downtown.
This rather flighty, humorous founding tale offers a nice representation of Portland’s overall approach to itself and the world. For example, Portland features not only one of the United States’ largest urban nature reserves — the vast, 5,000+-acre Forest Park — but also holds the record for the world’s smallest park, a 2-foot circle of green space called Mill Ends Park.
Mill Ends is good for a joke, but Portland’s parks are serious business. Linked to massive Forest Park is the Japanese Garden, a peaceful green space featuring all the characteristics of a genuinely Japanese garden – a sand garden, cherry trees, and ornamental waterfalls. Within the Japanese Garden is another of Portland’s most famous attractions, the International Rose Test Garden. With thousands of rose varieties planted within lovely, green surroundings, the Rose Test Garden lends credence to perhaps Portland’s most enduring nickname – the City of Roses. With a climate heavy in rain but rarely below freezing, the city turns out to be a perfect habitat for more rose species than one could imagine. With over 10,000 more parks within the city limits and nearby natural beauty including the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Mount Hood National Forest, Williamette River Valley, and more, Portland is ideal for lovers of the great, green outdoors.
One can’t forget the city’s one-of-a-kind shopping experiences, in line with its unique character in virtually every other realm. The famous Powell’s City of Books touts itself as the largest independent bookstore in the world, while wineries, breweries, and cafes offer some of the best tasting and take-home purchases anywhere. When it comes to beer, in particular, one can forget Germany, Belgium, or Ireland – Portland routinely rates among the top five beer destinations in the world, and even vies for the top spot. Large shopping malls won’t disappoint, either, with Vine Vera Portland located in Washington Square Mall. With some of the highest recorded profits for its size in the U.S., Washington Square won’t disappoint for the luxury-minded traveler.
Clearly, Portland has everything and more to appeal to visitors ranging from the sophisticated jetsetter to the dreadlocked punk rocker to the vegan knitting enthusiast, or, maybe most of all, to those who fall somewhere in between.