Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday five: so long, summer in Portland, and thanks for all the fun!

We were sitting here this morning, eating breakfast and watching the rain fall, realizing that summer really might be done, when another realization hit me - we missed last night's Last Thursday! That was one thing we had never done when we lived here, and I was bound and determined to go this year (especially since we're within walking distance at our housesit). Last night was our last chance...

Oh well. It's always good to have a reason to come back someday, right?

Here are five Portland summer "musts" we didn't miss this summer, in no particular order:

1. Berry picking on Sauvie Island - blueberries, strawberries, marionberries, blackberries, raspberries, yellow raspberries... If you can name it, chances are pretty good that you can pick it every summer at one of the numerous U-Pick farms on the island that's just minutes from downtown.

(peaches, cherries and other stone fruits also available)

safety first!

We didn't go too nuts due to limited freezer space and no freezer after October 5, but suffice to say we're still eating berries.

2. The annual Mississippi Street Fair. I used to enjoy visiting this street fair every year - there are always new artists doing something kitschy or interesting. With no "kitschy" budget this year, as well as a big aversion to consumerism and unnecessary "things" given our current lifestyle, and OMG ALL THE PEOPLE, it wasn't so enjoyable.


But I'm glad we went because we now have a fond memory of the "Gentrification is WEIRD" t-shirt stand (if we did have a "kitschy" budget it would've gone to this guy), and we did enjoy the last Miss Delta hush puppies we'll probably ever eat.

3. The Vaux Swifts watch at Chapman Elementary School. Bring a picnic dinner and a blanket, hunker down on the school lawn, and watch the show. Thousands of swifts swarm around an old chimney, avoiding the clever hawk(s) as they descend in a giant funnel to roost for the night.

roosting here for more than 30 years

Some nights the hawk(s) catch one or two; other nights the swifts rally and chase the hawk(s) away. It's pretty amazing. The Audubon Society has a great educational program every night in September, too.

4. Beer festivals! They're year-round, but the most widely-known and widely-attended festivals occur during the summer. Patrick volunteered at the North American Organic Brewer's Festival and the Oregon Brewer's Festival this summer...

the OBF attracts quite a universal audience

good pour, sir!

We've also hit up several craft breweries in town, but that's a story for another post.

5. A summer show at the Edgefield. The annual line-up varies pretty widely; there's usually a show for every musical taste. But nothing says summer to me like sitting on the grass watching the sun set while an awesome locally-grown band plays for their hometown.

thank you... Troutdale!

This summer we enjoyed Mr. Meloy & Co's cheerful, charming bantering with two (also cheerful, charming) friends who had never seen the band live before. The McMenamin's beer is almost always crappy and the parking lot after every show is almost always a zoo, but it's definitely always totally worth it.

Portland(ish) people - what's on your summer "must" list?


  1. I had the same thought this morning as the sound of rain pounded on the roof. You list is a pretty good one. I would add the Japanese Gardens which close for the winter, I think. Such a beautiful place that takes you out of the hustle and bustle of every day life.

    1. Great addition, Dawne! Those gardens are so close to downtown but you'd never know it. Thanks!

  2. I really want to see the swifts - we haven't made it yet. Berry picking is on ours as well. As well trips to the river and the coast, running through the sprinklers at Reed, bike rides, ice cream from Cloud City....

    1. Great additions, Ali - thanks! Hope you make it to the swifts one year.

  3. Swifts were on my list, too, and I'm so glad we went! I'm jealous of your berry picking. We might have to just do the pumpkin patch this year, which will probably happen sooner than later, since everything's coming early.

    1. Ah yes, the pumpkin patch and corn maze - another Sauvie Island favorite. Thanks Kelley!

  4. The Swifts are one of my favorite brief seasonal highlights to point out to people as it really is unique, and unlike some of the other highlights, you don't need to fight crowds as you can spread out to watch the "show"!

    1. Exactly, Pech! It's always crowded but it never *feels* crowded...

  5. Such fun things! We rarely get out to concerts, but the last one my husband and I went to was at Edgefield (Billy Idol!!!)