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Portland Getaway – Inner tubing on Mt. Hood

December 24, 2010 2 comments
Inner Tubing at Skibowl at Mt. Hood

Inner Tubing at Skibowl at Mt. Hood

It’s a common misconception that if you don’t ski or snowboard, there isn’t a lot to do on Mt. Hood.  In fact, there are a number of places to go where you can rent inner tubes on Mt. Hood and have a fantastic experience in the snow.

This year we decided to give three of the major Mt. Hood inner tube options a try and see which one is best.  The most well known innertubing on Mt. Hood is Mt. Hood Skibowl .  Skibowl sells passes for two hour sessions which start on the hour. This can be a royal pain if you arrive on the half hour, as you either have to wait thirty minutes to hit the mountain or lose a full quarter of your time. Read more…

Portland Getaway – River Rafting on The Deschutes

August 21, 2010 No comments
River Rafting on the Deschutes River

River Rafting on the Deschutes River

We’ve been looking for great adventure getaways, so we were excited to see a discount for the Imperial River Company in Maupin, Oregon pop up on Groupon. Over the summer Groupon has featured a number of enticing activities, and rafting down the Deschutes at half-off was way too good to pass up.

Up at 6:30 am, we were on the road by 7 and in Maupin by 9:15am. The just over 2-hour trip on Highway 26 brings you up and over Mt. Hood and through the high desert near Maupin. It’s a nice drive and the fairly close proximity makes it possible to go down to the Deschutes River for rafting in the morning (check-in is at 9:30am) and make it back home in time for dinner.

While the Groupon made a float down the Deschutes River a smoking-hot deal, the regular rates at Imperial River Company are extremely reasonable.  The 18-mile all-day adventure, which runs 6 hours and includes lunch, runs $99 (or $80 for kids). Considering that they run rafts with only 6 people in each raft and you get your own personal guide, transportation from the river, and lunch, it’s a pretty great value for an entire day’s activity.

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Portland Getaway – Great Wolf Lodge

August 17, 2010 1 comment
Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge

In our continuing series of quick and easy getaways, we have a look at Great Wolf Lodge, Grand Mound Washington. Located an hour and forty-five minutes north of Portland, just outside Centralia, Washington, Great Wolf Lodge is one of the few water parks in the Northwest. Unlike many water parks, Great Wolf Lodge is not open for day use. In order to use its massive indoor water structures, you must be a guest of their hotel.

Great Wolf Lodge claims that this keeps the number of people in the water park down, but with so many rooms we found that even on off days the crowds can be significant. Read more…

Portland Getaway – Lincoln City and The Oregon Coast

August 14, 2010 6 comments
Lincoln City Oregon

Lincoln City, Oregon

In our continuing series on easy Portland getaways, we have a look at a fairly easy trip that’s only a few hours away – Lincoln City.  You don’t have to own a beach house to enjoy the Oregon coast. Using services like Vacation Rental By Owner or Home Away, it’s easy to book a few nights at a beach house. We picked a house that could accommodate a family of five and a dog. It’s surprising how many of the options available are pet friendly.  The house was situated just up the street from Bella Beach in Lincoln City (just north of the 101 near a big Safeway, Bi Mart and Grocery Outlet).  Bella Beach is a nice size and access to the beach is pretty easy, so there’s less of a need to stay right on the beach.

When looking at activities in, near, and around Lincoln City, I was surprised at the lack of feedback and reviews online.  After calling around to several charter fishing companies, I narrowed it down to two options, Yaquina Bay Charters (541-265-6800)  in Newport and Dockside Charters (541-765-2545) in Depoe Bay.  I liked how both companies presented themselves online and over the phone, and both had positive ratings among the limited reviews out there.  We ultimately went with Dockside Charters because Depoe Bay was closer and Yaquina Bay Charters was all booked up for their bottom fishing trips.  It’s a good idea to book these trips at least a week in advance to ensure a spot.

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Portland Tub and Tan – An Urban Escape

August 13, 2010 No comments
Portland Tub and Tan's Disco Room

Portland Tub and Tan's Disco Room

We had such a positive response to our Portland Staycation piece that we’ve decided to seek out more quick, easy and affordable ways to get a quick escape without having to plan or spend for a big vacation.

We didn’t quite know what to expect from Portland Tub and Tan, located in the Montavilla neighborhood of SE Portland. The business is only a stones throw away from less than fantastic neighborhoods beyond 82nd Avenue. But Montavilla is going through quite a revival and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with our time at bars, restaurants and movie theaters in the neighborhood. So we decided to take the plunge and give Portland Tub and Tan a try. Read more…

Portland Mini Staycation

June 24, 2010 No comments

One of Portland’s top industries is travel. It’s no wonder – our food, lifestyle, transportation system and sights are frequently covered in The New York Times, Travel Channel, FoodTV and other national media outlets. From late May through September, Portland sees a surge of visitors from around the world.

Living in Portland, it’s easy to overlook some of the amazing things that the city has to offer. With busy lives, it’s hard to carve out time to get away, so we decided to do a mini staycation – one evening after work through mid-morning the next day – something most people could do time-wise and within a modest budget.

The cornerstone to our mini staycation was the Garden Spa room at the Hotel Vintage Plaza [422 Southwest Broadway, (503) 228-1212].  Situated right in the heart of downtown, this hotel was a perfect base camp for our quick break.

We signed up for the ‘romance package’, which was just a little more expensive than the standard rate but well worth it. Mid-week room availability was really good and so were the rates.

Hotel Vintage Plaza Rose Petal Covered Bed

Hotel Vintage Plaza Rose Petal Covered Bed

The Garden Spa room at the Hotel Vintage Plaza was perfect – quiet, clean with every detail taken care of. As part of the romance package, the bed was sprinkled with rose petals, we had a complimentary bottle of champagne, and a $30 credit to Pazzo Ristorante or for room service.

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