Juicy Olive

The quest for “the good life” should never be complete but it should definitely begin now.

X’s and O’s to PDX June 17, 2009

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A few weeks ago I visited Stephanie in Portland, Oregon. It had been years since I was there. Boy, can that city impress. The weather was remarkable, the beer was delicious and the scenery was breathtaking.

Since returning, I’ve reflected frequently on that visit, and I can honestly say I really love Portland. The people there really have the right idea about how to live. For the most part, everyone I met had great jobs and professional ambition. But unlike other cities, it truly seemed that people’s careers were important, but not center stage. Instead, Lifestyle (with a capital “L”) was the star. Everyone was focused on fitness. Around each corner of The Pearl neighborhood was a health food store or a fitness retailer. People got up early on the weekends so they could take a hike – a real one…on a mountain. Instead of racing from one party to the next, everyone seemed very content with hanging out on someone’s porch the whole afternoon or having a quiet dinner and calling it quits for the night.

Sometimes living in a big city does me in. The pace, the people, the frenzy…they can overwhelm and underfulfill. Now, even a few short weeks after my return from Portland, I’m struggling to figure out how to retain the Oregonian mindset here in hectic Chicago. How can I find a slice of the simple life? Where can I find gorgeous outdoor scenery that isn’t packed with people?

I suppose until I find those little nooks in the city, I’ll recall my fun weekend in Portland. For anyone considering a visit there sometime soon, let me know. I’ve got a wealth of recommendations for you. Whether it’s the delicious beer in the Brewery Blocks, the hidden gem Italian food at a neighborhood trattoria, a hike through Multnomah Falls, wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, watching the windsurfers in Hood River or trying on the darling hats at Bonnet – there’s something for everyone in such a beautiful city.

A gorgeous setting at Multnomah Falls

A gorgeous setting at Multnomah Falls