Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Oregon Coast

Our journey from Newport to Seaside was only a small fraction of the coast (OK, almost half the coast), so you can imagine how many more wonders abound to the South.

I was lucky enough to drive from Newport DOWN in 2001, when a friend of mine and I decided to drive to San Francisco on Easter weekend. It was a great trip with fond memories and the Oregon Coast was certainly a highlight. I wish I had my old photo albums on me so I could dig out some photos and scan them, to show you The Sea Lion Caves near Florence, the tall, golden hills of sand at Oregon Dunes National Park and the perfect sun easing herself into the Pacific in the Cali/Oregon town of Brookings.

But for now, we'll have to make due with some of my favourite photos of my most recent trip. Enjoy!:














PS Still have my contest going on my other blog - check it out for easy prizes! Your choice: Anywhere But Here :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Newport, Oregon

Newport, Oregon is one of the largest towns on the Oregon Coast and a welcome respite from the sleepy hamlets that surround the town in all directions (except West, duh).

Newport is perhaps most famous for the Oregon Coast Aquarium, one of the top ten aquariums in the US. We didn't end up going to the aquarium, mainly because we didn't have the time and also we have a most excellent one at home - The Vancouver Aquarium...I'm sure you've all seen the pictures of our buluga whales with random kids silouhettes in front.

Anyhoo, though many people come for the aquarium, Newport has some other great attractions such as the ever-present Ripley's Believe it or Not, a Wax Museum, Undersea Gardens and several deep-sea fishing charters - crabbing and tuna/salmon/halibut fishing are very popular.

Newport also has a quaint and lively "old town" area, where you can watch fishermen haul in their daily catch, shop for souvenirs or get a bowl of steaming clam chowder. The restaurant "Mo's" is so popular for their clam chowder, they have two restuarants open across from each other and up and the down the coast as well.

Despite that, they were both chockerblock full, so we found a dark, authentic little cafe down the street called The Whales Tale. It was definitely a hole-in-the wall, untouristy, mom and pop kinda joint which I thought made it that much more interesting. Their clam chowder was amazing, as was their halibut po-boy and shrimp louie (on a grilled English muffin). Yum-O!

Newport has a plethora of nice places stay, including your reliable La Quinta, Shilo Inns and Best Westerns. But it also has more unique and personal accommodations, such as The Grand Victorian Bed and Breakfast...

To the gorgeous rooms at the Anchor Pier Lodge....

Or the Literature Themed rooms at the infamous Sylvia Beach Hotel, where rooms in these heritage, beach-front hotel are named after famous authors. I'm partial to the Edgar Allan Poe room, with it's red velvet and satin adornments, poster bed and what appears to be an axe hanging above it :S

The Sylvia Beach Hotel sits on a bluff overlooking the gorgeous NYE beach...


of which you can see more pictures of HERE, on my other blog :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Eating out in Portland: Thirst Wine Bar and Bistro

I had the joy of being in Portland last week on a gloriously hot and sunny day - the only dilemma was where on earth to eat? Portland is famous for having oodles of cool and affordable dining experiences and with the one night we had to spend there, we wanted someplace that summed it all up.


Through the magic of Apple, I used the UrbanSpoon app for the first time and through the luck of the spin, it suggested Thirst Wine Bar and Bistro.


Thirst Wine Bar and Bistro has one fantastic location, right alongside the Willamette River where you can watch the speedboats zoom along the busy waterway. Touted as the only riverside wine bar in Portland, the place specializes in local ingredients in their tantalizing dishes and has a wide variety of Oregon wines and micro-brews. While the indoors of the restaurant are cool and modern, with local artwork adorning the high walls, outside was the place to be that day. We were lucky to snag a table - indeed everyone else had the same idea - and immediately relaxed in its French cafe-style chairs.


We started off by ordering Blue Heron Ale, a local brew, and the Taste of Oregon Wine Flight. Both were very reasonably priced (remember, no sales tax in Oregon!) and the wine flight was an incredible value at $13. You got a generous 1.5 ounce taste of local Willamette Valley vineyards' pinot gris, tempranillo and pinot noir. Fan-freakin-tastic!


We shared a the cheese trio, with our choice of Maxi Bocage double cream camembert, Beecher's Flagship Cheddar and Tellegio cheeses, which were paired with chewy, crusty bread, with a drizzle of honey and a small dish of spiced nuts.



For a main I had a thick and smokey bacon, black bean and asparugus soup while my man had the thick Thirst Burger. Both were succinct and memorable in their flavours and fully-satisfied our hunger from walking around all day.

To polish things off, we indulged in some fresh and fruity drinks - the Thirsti-to, a mojito with basil, and the Daisy Duke, an utterly refreshing cocktail made from blood oranges. Bliss!


Thirst Wine Bar and Bistro
315 SW Montgomery St.

To read about our adventures at the Portland Marketplace(highly recommended), please click onMy Fashion Blog Link

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Coconuts and Crocodiles

While in Nuevo Vallarta one of the things to do is to take a River Cruise. At the Paradise Village Hotel you can take either the hotel's tour or the privately owned African Queen. I would prefer the African Queen since the wee steam boat seems to be modeled after the one Hepburn and Bogie used in the film.

Luckily we had our dingy with us, which we decided to take up the river on our own little cruise (me as the navigator and my mother as the brave passenger).

The river itself is quite interesting because it beckons you with birds of paradise, real live crocodiles and coconuts.
The Jungle Cruise passes by a floating coconut.

I don't know what it is about coconuts in the water, but just seeing them float past made me very giddy. It really gives you that feeling that you are in a balmy, coco-scented paradise.
Yay a coconut! - Skirt: from Norway; Top: H&M; Sunglasses: Target; Bag: Mango

But enough with the coconuts, onto the jungle tour. The first part of our tour took us past expensive villas with river front views.

Wouldn't you like to live here?

Or here?

Or here?

We didn't see any crocodiles, which was dissapointing, although my mother was happy and she did point out that if the crocs wanted to they could easily puncture my dingy. I have piloted a small boat through croc-infested waters before (in fact it was the most crocodile infested river in the world, in Kakadu National Park in Australia) but that boat was made of metal. We did however, see someothing lurking underneath the murky water and shaking a submerged branch back and forth and that was enough for me to gun the engine and get the hell outta there

And whilst we didn't really see any birds of paradise, we did see a few of the usual herons...

And what made the trip all the worth while...a couple of Vultures, feasting on a dead animal carcass on shore.

Luckily before the vultures turned their eyes on us (the ones in Cabo were eyeing my mother on her birthday last week) we arrived back at the boat safe and sound.

If you wanna read about my recent trip to see Mount St. Helens, please visit my other blog HERE for some shots, history and of course FASHION!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nuevo Vallarta

Nuevo Vallarta is a ¨Tourist Made¨ village, located on the Bay of Banderas (the 2nd largest bay in the world), about a 30 minute drive from the popular city of Puerto Vallarta.

Unlike Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta has little history and basically comprises of two marinas and several large beachside hotels. A world-class golf course and pricey new residential developments also flank the area.

One of the biggest hotels in Nuevo Vallarta is the massive and children-friendly Paradise Village. It has three swimming pools...

Mayan-themed architecture....

Tropical grounds (Nuevo Vallarta itself it situated directly on the Tropic of Capricorn) with free-growing tropical plants such as Coconut Palms, Mangos and Banana trees...

And it even has a zoo (although you can´t help but feel sorry for the Tigers)

The best part of the hotel though, is the fact that over the last few days, we were able to dock at their marina. Located on a crocodile infested estuary (no joke), we enjoyed all the benefits of the hotel, while I was basking in the fact that the boat no longer moves as it is securely tethered to the dock.

Unfortunately, the fact that the marina is extremely busy and usually is booked 6 months ahead of time (we were lucky to even stay here 5 nights), we had to be off the next day to anchor my boat off of the quaint pueblo of La Cruz. Back to being a slave to the ocean swells again, but the only consulation is the fact that La Cruz is an authentic Mexican village that doesn´t cater to fat and arrogant North American tourists.

Hasta Luego!

Hope you enjoyed this tropical punchy post - there is more to come on Nuevo Vallarta this week.

For fashion inspired by The Beach Boys and other summery stuff, please head to my OTHER BLOG: Anywhere But Here (it's my main blog and updated more regularly than this one). Thanks!