Design

Vacation Photos: Portland

Portland Vacation Photos

As I’ve mentioned, we just got back from a weeklong trip to Oregon. Man, that state is gorgeous. Everyone is insanely friendly, and you can’t have a bad meal if you try. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…

Portland Vacation Photos

One of our first stops around town was Radiant Human, where a photographer takes a photo of your aura. It was a trip! Alex was mostly blue, which means “Depth of Feeling, Trust, Devotion, Loyalty, Nurturing, Personal Relationships, Supportive, Intuitive, Sensitive,” and I was red, which means “Strength, Will Power, New Beginnings, Leadership, Action, Practicality, Passion.”

Portland Vacation Photos

We rented an awesome house that was super comfy, with three bedrooms and a porch swing where we spent 99% of our time.

Portland Vacation Photos

Portland Vacation Photos

They had an outdoor cat, which Anton completely fell in love with. He called him “my cat” and re-named him “Motato” (rhymes with potato). Like the gentle soul he is, Anton would simply sit next to him and enjoy his company, only reaching over to pet him now and again, when he felt the cat was ready.

Portland Vacation Photos

Right down our street, just a block away, there was a giant lot filled with food trucks — Mexican, Middle Eastern, Scandinavian, whatever you wanted.

Portland Vacation Photos

Each day, we’d go on an adventure to places like the zoo, downtown, or Multnomah Falls, pictured in the frame-worthy shot above, haha.

Portland Vacation Photos

On everyone’s recommendation, Alex went to Voodoo Doughnut for this Bacon Maple Bar!

Portland Family Vacation

We also had great meals around town at Firehouse and Olympia Provisions

Portland Vacation Photos

But our favorite meal — and one of the best meals of our lives — was at Ava Gene’s. Oh. My. Goodness. Grilled bread with sheep’s cheese and giant juicy green tomatoes. Agnolotti pasta that tasted like sweet corn. Prosecco that the wine director described as “a special little wine.” I want to beam myself back there right now.

Portland Vacation Photos

Of course, Portland also had lots of its famous quirk. This sign, above, was near the top of a big hill. How cute is that?

Portland Vacation Photos

And apparently it’s a public art project to tie toy horses to the antique horse hooks around the city. We found these guys near our house, and Anton stopped by every day to say hello.

Portland Vacation Photos

The final weekend, we went to Manzanita, a beach town on the coast. (We stayed in this lovely rental, which I’d highly recommend, as well.) One cool thing about the beaches was how the tide would create little “lakes,” which kids could easily run around in. The boys were in heaven.

Portland Vacation Photos

My mom and Alex’s mom joined us, which was such a treat.

Portland Vacation Photos

And Alex and I celebrated our sixth anniversary. Time flies!

Portland Vacation Photos

Portland Vacation Photos

What a magical trip. Thank you so much, Oregon. We miss you already and can’t wait to come back. xoxo

P.S. 10 tips for traveling with a baby, and how to entertain a toddler on a plane.

(Ava Gene’s pasta photo by Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian. All other photos by us.)

  1. Jessie says...

    Thank you so much for this! I went to high school in Portland and every summer my husband and three daughters and I go back for 10 days. I have never done any of these or been to any restaurants you guys did for your trip. I told my husband next summer we are eating at all the places you guys did and doing all the fun activities.

  2. Laurie L says...

    I love it when a visitor comes to the town I’ve lived in all my life, and finds a place I’ve never been. Gonna try Ava Gene’s for sure, and thanks for visiting the PNW. I might even rent that house because I’ve never lived in one with a front porch.

    • hey Laurie!
      I am from Singapore and we wanna come to Portland in january and wanted to check in with a local – is it very wet in Oregon/ portland in january?
      We are super okay with cold but wet, we gotta see how it goes… :)

      Thank you so much, love from singapore
      michelle

    • Laurie says...

      It is usually very wet in January. We don’t get snow in Oregon either, cause at least that would be a nice change. June through July are our best months, and even October (except this year), if you want to plan a visit around the weather. We do get nice windows of good weather, but you just can’t plan on it.

  3. Megan says...

    Joanna I am so glad your family had the chance to visit Portland. I live just three blocks up from Ava Gene’s and have romanticized over that place since I moved here a couple years ago. Glad you were able to enjoy the city and all of it’s beauty and kindness and good food. Do come back again! And next time you come back, be sure to go to Salt & Straw! A weekly staple food of mine :)

  4. Lisa says...

    What was the first rental you stayed in with the 3 bedrooms and the food trucks down the street?

  5. Manzanita seems to be a really gorgeous place! My sister is planning to move to Oregon next year. Her best friend is there and she feels like she wants to go and explore the state! I will definitely share your post with her! Really cool trip! :)

  6. Stacey says...

    Manzanita is by far the best town on the Oregon Coast! Not that I’m biased or anything – my family has had a cabin there since before I was born :) It’s such a sweet little town – lively enough, but not too touristy, and so, so beautiful.

    • you are pretty right!, I like Mazanita as well!

  7. I just got an aura photo taken yesterday! The first one was completely red, and the second was a mixture of red and blue. :)

  8. Oh, this is so darn cute! I’ve never been, but your restaurant rec is enough to compel me! I love prosecco and good food!

  9. I love that you got a picture of the bike sign! There used to be one on the big Salmon street hill and it would always make me so happy when I got to the top on my bike. Maybe they put one up again!

  10. Megan says...

    What a great trip!!

  11. Audrey says...

    We also just got back from an incredible vacation in Oregon and can’t wait to go back! Great minds…

  12. Oh my gosh, I’m in love with Oregon! We just took a trip down the coast this summer and never wanted to leave! I’m adding your recommendations to my list for our next trip out there!
    Happy late Anniversary!!

  13. Johanna says...

    We just moved to Portland in July and I combed through the comments of your last post and made a list of places to visit (and mostly to eat) as we explore our new hometown. We just went to Multnomah falls this week (as well as a bunch of neighboring waterfalls for some beautiful hikes) and to the coast a few weeks ago. Ava Gene’s is now going to the top of my list!

  14. My boyfriend and I are going to Portland in a month as well as Vancouver Washington. I have been once before and totally fell in love with the people, food, and overall environment. We have a lot of family in that area and are actually thinking to move there within the year. Great post, I am glad you had a great time!

  15. I love this post, Joanna! My husband and I just moved to SF, and we’re excited to head up to Portland now that we’re on the west coast. I will definitely be using your post for tips, especially Ava Gene’s! We went to Seattle last year and completely fell in love with the PNW. Strangely, images of Seattle pop into my head quite often now. There’s something magical about that part of our country. We were pretty close to moving there, but I was afraid I wouldn’t handle the dark and rainy winters very well. I heard Portland is a bit sunnier than Seattle, so I imagine it must be perfect!

    Also, I love the pictures of Anton with Motato! So precious. He seems like a total sweetheart!

    Julia
    http://orchardstreetkitchen.com

  16. EBRU ÖZBERK says...

    Hi :) You are such a cool and nice couple.. wish you many many more years together and such cute kiddos ;) Anton is such an angel with Motato :))) and Toby is always a gentilman ;) i wish to visit one day those places but i am really far from there.. hello from İstanbul, Turkey..

  17. what a pretty couple you make!
    gorgeous you so darn cute kids!

  18. Awww Oregon!! I spent my summer in Portland and I miss it so much! Voodoo Donuts was the BEST (omg Vegan Donuts, thank goodness!), the Food Trucks were a must, and ohh the coast. I can’t wait to go back!
    ~ Samantha

  19. prudence marule says...

    Happy Anniversary!!..
    Holiday pics make me ache to go-away somewhere warm with people who love me or maybe just me… Anton’s really blonde, who does he get from?

  20. Dana says...

    Currently a New Yorker, born but raised a Portlandian… Your post makes my heart ache. My family, husband and two boys, same ages as yours, spend many weeks a year in PDX and my coastal stomping ground. Greatest place ever to be raised!

  21. you are totally moving there! <3

  22. I absolutely love Oregon. It is one of my favorite places to visit as it’s so peaceful and truly beautiful! I have family in Portland! So happy you love it as much as I do!

    http://www.misskaylajane.com

  23. rebec says...

    that is my sign!

    “you are almost at the top! you can do it!”

    we all need a little encouragement! ;))

    glad you enjoyed it!

  24. And I forgot to mention the Oregon Aquarium in Newport is totally awesome!! Luna was awestruck :)

  25. Love seeing your beautiful family on vacation! We were in Portland and the Oregon coast at the same time! I was bummed that we didn’t get to have our auras done but hopefully she’ll be in SF area soon! We enjoyed Portland & Newport so much as well!! I posted my photos today and we definitely plan to go back! Next time you’ll have to take the boys to the indoor waterpark at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum–it’s beautiful! We didn’t get a chance to take Luna in but next time.

  26. Susan M. says...

    Love these. So want to go back to Oregon and see it with more adult eyes. So many good travel ideas. Thanks!

  27. Da says...

    i am headed to Portland in early october – we’re doing a coastal road trip to Astoria and another town TBD, then onto Willamette Valley. Can’t wait!! All the buzz about Ava Gene’s – adding to my every growing list of restaurant recs!

  28. Portland looks beautiful and so much fun. The perfect escape for a week-long getaway. I love the quirky signs and traditions, and that pasta you ate looks incredible. Glad you had fun!!

    -Nicole
    Meet Me in Midtown

  29. Loving on Ava Gene’s – one of my most memorable meals. Glad you had a wonderful trip! xo

  30. Vava says...

    I live in Oregon and feel very fortunate. I love it here and usually don’t travel outside the state in the summertime. (I do fly places in the depth of winter, though!!!)

  31. Teresa says...

    I completely want to repeat this vacation. We moved to Oakland, CA two years ago from Brooklyn and haven’t really been on a vacation since. We have two little ones (3 and almost 1) and this vacation looks perfect for them. Short flight from the Bay Area and the rentals you picked look awesome.

    Did you find yourselves driving everyday and did you drive far distances? My husband and I do not love driving since we’re New Yorkers at heart, but obviously we do it everyday here is Oakland.

  32. Lauren says...

    Just lovely! I love Portland and Manzanita!! It’s great to be able to see exotic sights (evergreen trees on the beach!) and eat amazing food without even leaving the country! Your boys are adorable; I love them!

  33. cathy new zealand says...

    Happy Anniversary. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos. Come and holiday in New Zealand one day!

  34. Erin says...

    Loved this post and am inspired to visit Portland! Glad you had such a great time away! Our next trip is to Charleston. Would love to hear more about your visit to my beloved North Fork.

  35. Looks like you had so much fun! :)

  36. Haylie Swenson says...

    Joanna! I want SO BADLY to hear what you thought about the zoo! I live in DC now, but I worked in the education department at the Oregon Zoo for four years. Most of my best friends still are from that program; they care so much about animals. I’ve never met a more passionate group of people. I’m so glad you went.

  37. Erin says...

    After your amazing, less urban experience, how did it feel to go back to NYC? We are in the midst of an urban vs walkable village dilemma and would love insight!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      When we got back to Brooklyn, there were definitely more cars and smaller streets/sidewalks/etc, but our neighborhood of Carroll Gardens is really walkable and feels like a small town in many ways, so it wasn’t as jarring to return as it used to be when we lived in Manhattan. I remember once coming back from two weeks my grandparents’ teeny tiny fishing village in Cornwall, England, and returning to the West Village during the Gay Pride parade (which I fully support, of course!) and being completely overwhelmed by all the crowds and noise and cars and sirens and music… We definitely had to reacclimate!

  38. Danielle says...

    I have never visited Oregon but would love to. I like the public art project very much! That pasta dish looks so tasty! I’m glad you had such a wonderful time!

    http://www.spring2spring.com

  39. Miriam says...

    What a lovely family, Joana.
    And your mother is so beautiful!

  40. Brooke says...

    Joanna, oh wow, reading your post as a 8-years-Portlander, feels like introducing someone you cherish to another dear person – its so moving and fun to feel your delight. And you guys really got into the heart of life here — staying near Laurelhurst, eating on Division, going to the Zoo and Manzanita – that’s totally how all of us live :). So glad you had a wonderful time – and dropped some of your family’s magic here too.

  41. Pretty sure I melted at your little guy being super respectful of the cat. So adorable!

  42. Emme Levy says...

    Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed our little city!!

  43. I love your photos and the way you do your vacations! Also. That donut. And Anton’s chubby legs. So cute.

  44. Erica H. says...

    Awww. What a lovely post. Born and raised in Portland and now lucky enough to be raising two littles in my beautiful home town. Doesn’t get any better :) So happy you had a fun time! XO

  45. colleen says...

    I think it’s time to adopt a cat! :) BTW – really enjoying “Garlic and Sapphires” from one of the last book posts.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yay, i’m so glad to hear that! i love her. her books on tapes are awesome, too, since she reads them herself! i remember a funny evening when i had a layover in Vegas, and i was sitting in an airport seat, listening to her audio book on my diskman and KNITTING a scarf while groups of bachelor parties walked by. i was definitely the odd man out lol.

  46. Aga says...

    Anton is so cute! He always looks like he’s thinking about something that i couldn’t possibly understand. He seems wise beyond his years.

  47. dana says...

    such a treat to have you in for dinner at ava gene’s, joanna! so glad you got to spend some time in our neighborhood and enjoy a lovely oregon vacation with you family!

  48. Kate says...

    Aww Anton is such a sweet pea!

  49. Alice says...

    I love the way that, through these simple updates of holidays and family life, you share the special experience of your boys growing and exploring and developing. I could’ve guessed Anton would be respectful with that cat, without reading your words. And Toby’s goofy grin in front of the falls seems a classic. You have an open and honest way of inviting readers in to your share wonderful adventures. Glad you had a great trip, and that we got to read about it :)
    Oh, and where are Toby’s shoes from?

    • Kristin says...

      They’re Teva sandals. My daughter had some purple ones and they were great.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww, alice, your comment made my day. thank you :) and yes, they’re tevas and we love them!

  50. Beautiful!! Love Anton with “Motato”!

  51. Janna says...

    Just made a reservation at Ava Gene’s after reading this. Thanks for inspiring this Portlander to finally go there! Perfect “I passed the bar” celebration (one year late).

  52. Can you post a photo of you wearing the Everlane jacket? I’d love to see what it looks like in “real life” as opposed to online. Thanks! :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      totally! i’ll take one this week and either email it to you or instagram it. my mom is actually wearing the jacket toward the bottom of the post, if you’d like to see it on her! :)

  53. Holly says...

    I’ve lived in New York and London and am now raising my kids in Portland. I feel so lucky that we relocated here, especially for their sake. We went to a different park each day of the week this Summer, and the indoor “museums” and play areas are just as amazing during the rainy season. Come back soon!

  54. I used to live in Portland. In the Pearl District. In the building across the street from Whole Foods .. Powells books was a block away .. it was the most perfect place to be :)
    I really loved Portland, it was a lovely time for us .. living there then we moved .. to Argentina :) The complete and total opposite of Portland !

  55. mary Taylor says...

    My Husband is City Manager of Manzanita. we have lived here for 20 years and love it. Glad you had a good time! Mary

  56. lisa says...

    When I read your words, I always feel like your just a friend sitting across the table telling me what’s new. You have a gift and I’m so glad you share it..

    • Aga says...

      I couldn’t agree more! Cup of Jo got my vote in the Bloglovin Awards for best written content!

  57. Jenny says...

    So fun to see my hometown through someone else’s eyes and to even discover new places (I’m currently adding Ava Genes to the growing list of date ideas my boyfriend and I keep on Wunderlist)! You were here during an uncharacteristically cool stretch, but it’s been a wonderful reprieve from the record-breaking temps we’ve had this summer! So glad you guys enjoyed your trip!

  58. What a fun family vacation! Portland is so beautiful, and definitely on my list.
    Happy anniversary! I think that means I’ve been reading for just over six years, because I remember discovering your blog just before you and Alex got married.

    Kristi | Be Loverly

    • Sandy says...

      Same here! So crazy to think about it that way!! It’s been a pleasure to watch your family (and your blog) grow over the years!

      Also, I feel compelled to express an appreciation for how casual and down to earth this post was. Often bloggers will tout about their complimentary hotel rooms or paid excursions which is great for them but tends to leave me as a reader feeling ‘sold’ and questioning whether they genuinely enjoyed their holiday or were just paid to say that they did. So glad you had a wonderful trip and thank you for sharing the details with us!

  59. Emily says...

    I so enjoyed this! Anton’s sweet attitude towards the cat melted my heart. Btw, I just happened to notice that this post was misfiled under “Design”. Happy anniversary!

  60. Amanda says...

    I just love your descriptions, and I’m happy that you all had a nice time. My husband and I took a long weekend trip to Portland last month and enjoyed the city.

    One thing that stresses me out about long-distance travel with a little one is the car seat. Did you and Alex check your car seats, or did you rent them in the city?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      we brought our car seats — anton has a regular car seat, and toby has a booster seat. we checked them at the airport, and when we arrived in portland, after picking them up at baggage claim, we just put them in the stroller and rolled them along; then we pop them into our rental car for the week. hope that helps!! (can’t wait til they’re both out of car seats and travel cribs, though!!:)

  61. lindsay marie says...

    Yes I agree, the people here in the Pacific Northwest are the friendliest people. That beach looks beautiful. But FYI to person above, the summers in the Pacific Northwest are warm and sunny almost everyday :)

  62. Natalie says...

    Yay! So glad you loved it! We live in Portland and feel the same way :)
    Random question, in the photo of Toby and his Grandma, is she wearing the Everlane jacket you mentioned? I’m curious what they look like outside of the website photos.

  63. amy says...

    We had the same meal at Ava Genes!! But we’re piggies so we also got the salad sampler thing. Amazing.

  64. Happy Anniversary! I’m glad to hear that you and your family had such a wonderful time in Oregon… I love everything about the West Coast!

  65. Sarah says...

    Head north to Seattle the next time you’re in the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

  66. Emily R says...

    The places you visited look beautiful, but so cold and chilly! I think I’d be miserable without the sun and the heat in the summer time.

  67. I’m glad you are back! I missed reading your blog every day.
    Moving on to less selfish thoughts, what a beautiful place and trip. I’ve never been there but it seems like a nice place to visit someday. Also, all the comments about delicious foods and menus made me hungry. Haha!

    Alina
    http://www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

    P.S. I was curious to know about the aura ever since you posted the pic. on Instagram. :) Thanks for sharing.

  68. Anton is so zen. I love him.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      haha it’s so true.

  69. What a fun family vacation! Portland is so beautiful, and definitely on my list.
    Happy anniversary! I think that means I’ve been reading for just over six years, because I remember discovering your blog just before you and Alex got married.

    Kristi | <a href="http://beloverly

    • Me too! Which means we must be regulars, right?

      Gorgeous pics of your boys and your Mum is so chic. x

  70. Elisa says...

    How wonderful! We just went to Manzanita on vacation the week before you were there. It was wonderful, we also rented a house, stayed for a week and it was just perfect. We want to go back every summer from now on. Looks like a wonderful trip! My 4 year old LOVED the “beach lakes” and would just hang out as long as he could, splashing around. Also, a very dog friendly, chill beach town.

  71. Rosie says...

    What beautiful photos! I love the one where is Anton very daintily looking at the waterfall.
    They reminded me of one of my favourite ever songs called ‘Far from Portland’. I can see why the song sounds a little sad near the end – who would want to be far from such a lovely place!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HhgbPF5fhg

  72. Sherry says...

    Funny, we just returned from there, too. My husband is from Portland, and we make the trip once or twice a year. I have to admit this time we’re toying with the idea of swapping Brooklyn for Portland. Less expensive, more things for the kiddos to do, and wonderful schools. Oh, and yes, the food…. Joanna, I hope you checked out the amazing farmers’ markets there. My new favorite place is Neskowin Beach–not terribly far from Manzanita. Truly beautiful.

  73. Vanessa says...

    Oh I love Portland, looks like you had an amazing trip! We are actually moving to Portland next month. I just wish real estate prices weren’t blowing up there. 19 bids on one house, craziness! Not to mention coming from Detroit where real estate is cheap, well, needless to say we are overwhelmed, but REALLY excited!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s so exciting! i bet you’ll love it so much.

  74. ashley says...

    oh sweet little anton. i love hearing anecdotes about his “old soulness”…
    looks like you had a great time. we missed you!

  75. Both of your boys seems so sweet, but your descriptions of Anton are exceptionally sweet.

    I can’t believe it’s your 6th anniversary already! It feels as though I was just waiting for you to post about your wedding and admiring your gorgeous J.Crew dress!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, that’s so crazy to hear! and i remember getting cold feet about my dress right before our wedding :) all that stuff feels like yesterday.

      my grandmother always says she still feels like a young girl in her mind. i can see how that’s true, since i still feel like the same person i was in college, my early twenties, etc. time just flies by!

  76. Katharine says...

    This is making me a little teary with homesickness as I munch on lunch. We moved from St. John’s at the beginning of the summer. The pacific northwest is such a special place, so happy you got to enjoy it!

  77. Amy says...

    My boyfriend and I fell in love with Ava Gene’s exactly one year ago yesterday (we ate there twice during our 10 day trip) and we now have the menu framed in our living room. Looking at your pictures brought back such poignant memories of my favorite vacation of all time. Thanks for posting!!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i love that you framed the menu!

  78. Tina says...

    Portland is on my list of must visit places.
    Do I see a move in your future?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oooh that would be incredible. realistically, if we moved out west, we would probably go to san francisco, since we have family there, but i’m not going to lie: we totally looked up portland real estate our third night there, ha! what an amazing place for kids to grow up.

    • Erin says...

      Trying to reply to Joanna’s comment below but I don’t know how. BUT, if you moved to SF, all your fangirls in NY would die, and all of them in SF would rejoice. Personally, I’m in Minneapolis so I wouldn’t mind either way, but it would be so newsworthy! And I use fangirl to describe myself as well ;)

  79. Jenny says...

    I lived in Oregon for four years and loved it. This makes me miss it so much! Two years ago I moved back to my hometown, which is San Diego, so I guess I can’t complain. :)

  80. Rebecca says...

    I’m an Oregonian (grew up 20 minutes from Manzanita) and follow your blog because I love getting a daily glimpse of NYC and Brooklyn. Thanks for reminding me how special this corner of the world is, too.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my goodness, it’s SO special. we couldn’t believe how gorgeous the coast was. those misty beaches, waterfalls, trees, cliffs… spectacular.

  81. Looks like a great city. We didn’t spend much time in Oregon when we were there, but I remember seeing Multnomah Falls and wishing we’d stayed longer

  82. Clare says...

    oh my gosh, i live a block from where you stayed! so glad you enjoyed our neighborhood and the city!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a fun neighborhood! so warm and friendly. and laurelhurst park feels like a forest with those huge trees at the playground.

    • Janna says...

      I live in right by Laurelhurst Park and love it. Now I’m ashamed we haven’t been to Ava Gene’s! Glad you enjoyed Portland- I read this blog every day so it was so fun to see your pics!

  83. My hubby and I just celebrated our first anniversary in Portland and I think we ate at most of the same spots as you. AVA GENE’S 4ever + ever! Still thinking about that meal! xx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      best wishes on your anniversary! ava gene’s… man. i would go back to portland just to eat there again.

  84. Noelle says...

    Now I really want my aura photographed too!! The idea of an aura has always fascinated me.

  85. Claire says...

    These photos are making me so homesick!! Glad you had a great time. And Manzanita is my absolute favorite beach town :)

  86. how fun! now i want to go visit oregon! we live in the SF bay area and everyone seems to be moving up there. seems like you had a lovely trip!

  87. Wonderful trip! Happy Anniversary❤️ You two look so genuinely dreamy and happy in that close-up shot. Glad you enjoyed and glad you’re back.

  88. P.S. Thanks for putting a Travel tab back into your blog header!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes! it’s still a little wonky because we did it ourselves and need a programmer to fix it up, but i’m glad you like it!!

  89. I always enjoy your vacation posts—makes me feel like I’m there too. :)