Travel Guide: Portland and the Oregon Coast

Travel Guide: Portland and the Oregon Coast

Before I begin to talk about my trip to Portland and the Oregon Coast, I have to first tell the story of how I met my friend Zeycan (pronounced Zey-John, it’s Turkish).  There are some people that God hand selects to be in your life, and I honestly feel like Zey was a hand-selected gift from God.  I will tell anyone that 2015 was one of the toughest years of my life to date, but 2015 started off a blast.  I was in Vegas, with one of my best friends from college, and we were living dreams.  As part of our New Years Eve ticket package, we received free tickets to an indoor pool party at the Marque in the Cosmopolitan.  While we should have known that the free ticket incentive with the Vueve Clicquot open bar and buffet were too good to be true, little did we know that everyone that had bought tickets to most of the NYE parties had received that same offer.  Needless to say, we ended up at the front of a never-ending line that was being held until what seemed like after the buffet and open bar had ended.  The tickets had only been $15 to purchase, so imagine our disgust, standing in line for what seemed like hours pissed because we could have just bought tickets.

As we stood in line (wearing swimsuits underneath our winter wear), debating whether to leave and party elsewhere, I see this girl step into the line and ask someone  a question.  Somehow our eyes locked, and she came over and explained that she had a ticket to giveaway and that if there were only 2 of us, we could walk in with her since they had decided to buy a section.  Did I mention that we were supposed to be in group of 4, but the other half of our crew had decided to come later that day?  God.  And now that I think about it, that’s just like Zey, she decided to give the ticket away versus just sticking it in her purse and going straight into the club.That day we drunk and partied Vegas style, and typical to current day etiquette, we exchanged numbers to send each other photos back and forth all day and followed each other on social media.


I would sometimes talk to Zey via social media, and it was evident through her posts that she was a woman of faith.  I can be honest and admit that while I prayed sometimes and was a dedicated CME (Christmas, Mother’s Day, and Easter) church-goer, I was also the type of Christian that questioned the bible.  I couldn’t understand how and why so many people would place their faith in this “book” that had been written and put together by man.  And reading The DaVinci code didn’t help.

But when times get hard, and all of our human whims fail, it is in those moments that we learn to lean on God, and in order to lean on God, you learn to turn to the bible for validation and confirmation. As I begin my transition to becoming a believer and coping with my pain, I began to find relevance and solace in Zey’s post.  I also realized that we shared a common pain, matters of the heart.  Even though our struggles were packaged differently, it was through them that we have formed a beautiful friendship sealed in prayer.  So, when she told me that Portland was only a short commute from Seattle, I knew that I couldn’t come to the Pacific Northwest and not visit one of what has become one of my closest friends.  After spending a couple of days in Seattle, I boarded Amtrak to Portland.

Since the weather had been rainy and gray, we worried about whether we would be able to make it to the coast, so our only real plans were to hang out in Portland.  Since Portland is known for their food trucks, that was one of our first stops after she picked me up from the train station.  In Downtown Portland, there are literally hundreds of food trucks.  All you have to do is pick your poison, and in my case it was fajita tacos and rice and beans of which I was too hungry to get a picture.  And from there we drove to Salem to feed the homeless.  Our night would be spent inducting me into Portland culture with beer flights at Hair of the Dog (yea, the name doesn’t sound appealing, I know) and signature martinis at Vault Martini Bar

Even though the next day was forecasted to be slightly cloudy, we awoke to sunny skies and knew it would be a perfect day to visit the Coast.  We started our road trip with a trek up to Multnomah Falls, the second highest waterfall in the United States, and most visited recreation site in the Pacific Northwest.

Multnomah Falls.

And from Multnomah Falls, we began the 2 and a half hour drive to the Oregon coast.  On my train ride to Portland, one of the other passengers told me about a hidden gem called Oswald State Park.  Since it was 5 miles from Cannon Beach, we decided that it would be our first stop with our goal ultimately being to make it to watch the sunset at Cannon Beach.  The beach at Oswald State Park was breathtaking and secluded.

Oswald State Park.

Travel Rule:

When in Oregon during rainy season, wear rain boots to the beach.


After leaving the park and eating a late lunch, we made it to watch the sunset at Cannon Beach.  Our initial plan had been to enjoy it with a glass of wine, but after polishing off 2 bottles the night before, we decided our Dasani was more than enough.


Cannon Beach.

As we headed home, even though we had been on the road for hours, Zey made sure I didn’t leave  without trying VooDoo Doughnuts, which was founded in Portland.  That doughnut was so good, I stuck half in my purse to eat in the airport the next morning.

I have seen some beautiful beaches in my lifetime, but the views from the Coast easily made them the most picturesque.   Even though it took 16 hours to get home due to more oversold flights and the influx of Spring Break travelers, this Spring Break will go down in the record books.  As I traveled the Pacific Northwest with 2 of my closest friends, I’m sure I felt my heart sparkle a little more.

Restaurant Highlight

Since neither of us were familiar with dining on the Coast, we solicited Yelp to aid in our dining decision.  The first restaurant that we visited was closed, so we ended up at the next best selection, Castaways Tiny Tiki Hut.  Since I’m from the South, I’m often skeptical of restaurants that boast about their Creole cuisine, but with a 4.5 star review and a growling stomach, I was willing to try it.  In reading the Yelp reviews, we knew that we had to try the crab fritters that almost every review stated were one of the best things on the menu.  And they did not disappoint.  Imagine crab cakes rolled into balls, lightly battered, and fried before being plated in a fruity sauce.  My mouth is watering even thinking about them, and again, I was too hungry to get a good picture.  Yikes, that seems to be a reoccurring theme!  One of the unique things about the dishes at Castaways was their use of fruit in common Cajun dishes.  Jambalaya with peaches imbedded and curry with blueberries. The flavors were tantalizing, and I’m honestly looking forward to playing with incorporating fruit into some of my dishes.

With Love and Sparkles,


P.S. If you would like help planning your next vacation, click here.


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