Portland is what you think it would be like; plagued with weirdness, facial hair, mason jars, string lights, food trucks, microbreweries, handcrafted goods, eco-friendly clothing, vegan options... this list could go on forever, really. We scored awesome weather (read: cold, but not raining) and managed to check out a good amount of places in the short time we were allotted.
There we were, 5 UC Davis students with tickets to Portland, cancelled optometry interviews, and three days to explore the gorgeous, crazy city of Portland.
First stop- Tasty n Sons.
Not far from Tasty n Sons is Lark Press, an endearing store with cards, prints, and notebooks. With a press churning away in the back of the store, I took my time sifting through cards picking out some for friends and family. I'm a bit of a sucker for homemade items, especially if I can see it being made right in front of me.
Day one was spent walking around the different downtown areas of Portland. Full days of walking call for caffeine, and in Portland, the fix starts with none other than Stumptown coffee.
Next stop, Powell's Books, easily one of the grandest bookstores I've been into. With physical bookstores becoming more of a rarity nowadays, it was refreshing to see Powell's Books as busy as it was that day. Throughout the several floors of books, I found great light pouring into different corners of the bookstore. Luckily I had this shot clear for a split second to take a picture, (although there was definitely a stranger standing next to me while I took this who was thumbing through a comic book and glaring at me snapping away at books).
The rest of the day was spent meandering in and out of stores, and being pleasantly surprised when I stumbled across ones that I had looked up before our trip. Namely, I happened to pass by Orox Leather and Hand-Eye Supply- two stores that sells handcrafted Portland-made goods.
Orox Leather was a company I had previously researched and remembered because I loved their story. Orox Leather (a combination of Oregon and Oaxaca) is a family owned business that cares immensely about every single product that comes out from their workstation. As soon as you step inside, you're greeted with gorgeous and simplistic bags, pouches, and goodies. Yet, look over the counter and you'll see the goods are being made on a long table covered in tools, machines, and leather scraps. I talked to the owner for a bit about his process in how he made each item.
For once, walking into Orox meant that the person who greets you when you walk in is also the person who is making the products; while this should happen more often across stores, it doesn't. Cheers to Orox Leather who provides an unique experience that is hard to come across nowadays in an increasingly disconnected world.
Hand-eye supply had a lot more goodies to choose from. I was eyeing so many of the items, especially their work aprons that I was hoping to buy for when I'm woodworking. Unfortunately they were sold out of the particular one I wanted, but hopefully I'll be snagging it on their online shop soon.
Portland was such an adventure to explore and had surprises around every corner from eclectic finds to home-y spaces (and eats). I enjoyed Portland so much more than I would've expected within just the first 24 hours of being in the city, although I have a tendency to freak out over just about any new locale, really. Thanks for a great first day, PDX.
Now excuse me while I watch episodes of Portlandia and reminisce about my trip/ guffaw at Fred Armisten's amazing jokes.