Earth Day with the US National Parks  Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
Growing up in the US, it’s easy to take for granted all the amazing sites and experiences we have right here in our own backyard. Luckily, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation exist to remind us of the amazing geological history that can be seen throughout the country. Scheduled to coincide with Earth Day, NPS and NPF are inviting everyone to celebrate National Parks Week through April 27, 2014.
Visiting one of America’s +400 national parks during this week? Check out one of the live in-person events or volunteer opportunities. Don’t forget to share your experiences!

Earth Day with the US National Parks

image

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Growing up in the US, it’s easy to take for granted all the amazing sites and experiences we have right here in our own backyard. Luckily, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation exist to remind us of the amazing geological history that can be seen throughout the country. Scheduled to coincide with Earth Day, NPS and NPF are inviting everyone to celebrate National Parks Week through April 27, 2014.

Visiting one of America’s +400 national parks during this week? Check out one of the live in-person events or volunteer opportunities. Don’t forget to share your experiences!

Room With A View: Lord Balfour, South Beach, Miami, FLEverything about the Lord Balfour Hotel just screams South Beach. From the music that was playing when we pulled up in from of the hotel, to the design of the room and just steps from the beach!
  The view onto a side street from the window.

  Each room is designed with a similarly bold image on one wall.

  The soap dish in the shower at Lord Balfour in South Beach

 

Room With A View: Lord Balfour, South Beach, Miami, FL

image

Everything about the Lord Balfour Hotel just screams South Beach. From the music that was playing when we pulled up in from of the hotel, to the design of the room and just steps from the beach!

The view onto a side street from the window. The view onto a side street from the window.

Each room is designed with a similarly bold image on one wall. Each room is designed with a similarly bold image on one wall.

The soap dish in the shower at Lord Balfour in South Beach The soap dish in the shower at Lord Balfour in South Beach

 

Good-bye Lent, Hello EasterWith lent coming to an end this weekend, I thought I’d do a quick round of of some of the vegetarian-style meals I have prepared or purchased over the last 40 days. Bon appetit!

  Started off lent with fish sticks, eggplant and grains from the local deli. Not my finest moment.

  This veggie burger from Red Robbin was amazing!

  My own concoction of spinach, tomato, white bean stew topped with gorgonzola cheese.

  This trio of shrimp, crab and lobster half-rolls is from Luke’s Lobster in New York.

  This delicious Indian platter was from IndieKitch near the Flatiron Building.

  Carlos and Pepe’s in Fort Lauderdale makes these to-die-for mahi mahi tacos!

Good-bye Lent, Hello Easter

image

With lent coming to an end this weekend, I thought I’d do a quick round of of some of the vegetarian-style meals I have prepared or purchased over the last 40 days. Bon appetit!

Started off lent with fish sticks, eggplant and grains from the local deli. Not my finest moment. Started off lent with fish sticks, eggplant and grains from the local deli. Not my finest moment.

This veggie burger from Red Robbin was amazing! This veggie burger from Red Robbin was amazing!

My own concoction of spinach, tomato, white bean stew. My own concoction of spinach, tomato, white bean stew topped with gorgonzola cheese.

This trio of shrimp, crab and lobster half-rolls is from Luke's Lobster in New York. This trio of shrimp, crab and lobster half-rolls is from Luke’s Lobster in New York.

This delicious Indian platter was from IndieKitch near the Flatiron Building. This delicious Indian platter was from IndieKitch near the Flatiron Building.

Carlos and Pepe's in Fort Lauderdale makes these to-die-for mahi mahi tacos! Carlos and Pepe’s in Fort Lauderdale makes these to-die-for mahi mahi tacos!

Best Flight Search Websites You Didn’t Know ExistedAs much as I love researching trips, the one thing that have less patience for is flights. It often feels like to matter what you do, no matter how much time you spend searching, you will get screwed when booking a flight. It is as certain as the sky is blue.
Well fear not, friends. I’ve recently been introduced to a few sites that are committed to making the search for flights a little bit easier, no matter how many times you’ve been burned in the past:

KAYAK Explore
  Kayak Explore search results from New York City
A recent addition to Kayak’s flight search service is called “Explore.” You plug in your home airport and hit search to find out where you can go and for how much, with all the results laid out on a map. If you want to narrow down the results, Kayak gives you the option of filtering results by price, season, month, flight time, region of the world, weather and – my favorite – stuff to do. This is perfect when you are still deciding where to go next. Kayak shows you all your options in one place making it much easier to decide which to pursue.

Options Away
  Options Away allows users to hold a flight for up to 21 days while finalizing their travel plans
While I have not yet had the chance to use Options Away myself, it definitely sounds like something that would be perfect when I’m feeling unsure about committing to a flight. With Options Away, you can hold your flight for up to 21 days while finalizing your travel plans. If you decide to go ahead with the reservation, just book the ticket that is on hold. If you choose not to travel, simply let the reservation expire.

FLYR
  Hold a flight for 7 days and be notified of better deals with FLYR
FLYR was created with the idea that buying and exchanging flights should be more like going to a department store – not a life sentencing. As the newest flight search site to come to my attention, I have not had a chance to test it out, but the concept sounds simple enough. When you search and select a flight with FLYR, they will guarantee your reservation for 7 days and notify you if a better deal comes along, giving you a chance to swap your reservation for the better deal before booking.

Flight Fox
  Hire an expert to search and book flights with Flight Fox
Flightfox allows users to hire a travel expert for a fixed finders fee. When you go to their site and upload your itinerary, you’ll be matched with an appropriate expert who will work with you to plan the perfect flight itinerary. According to their website, their prices are better than the major travel search sites. While I can’t verify that, I imagine you are working on a particularly complicated itinerary with lots of stops, this could be a great option.

Be sure to follow my “Travel Search Sites” Pinterest Board to learn about the latest websites to help you save money and ease some stress when booking your next trip.
Did I miss any secret gems? Share your go-to websites for booking flights in the comments below.

 

Best Flight Search Websites You Didn’t Know Existed

image

As much as I love researching trips, the one thing that have less patience for is flights. It often feels like to matter what you do, no matter how much time you spend searching, you will get screwed when booking a flight. It is as certain as the sky is blue.

Well fear not, friends. I’ve recently been introduced to a few sites that are committed to making the search for flights a little bit easier, no matter how many times you’ve been burned in the past:

KAYAK Explore

Kayak Explore Search Results from New York City Kayak Explore search results from New York City

A recent addition to Kayak’s flight search service is called “Explore.” You plug in your home airport and hit search to find out where you can go and for how much, with all the results laid out on a map. If you want to narrow down the results, Kayak gives you the option of filtering results by price, season, month, flight time, region of the world, weather and – my favorite – stuff to do. This is perfect when you are still deciding where to go next. Kayak shows you all your options in one place making it much easier to decide which to pursue.

Options Away

Options Away Home Page Options Away allows users to hold a flight for up to 21 days while finalizing their travel plans

While I have not yet had the chance to use Options Away myself, it definitely sounds like something that would be perfect when I’m feeling unsure about committing to a flight. With Options Away, you can hold your flight for up to 21 days while finalizing your travel plans. If you decide to go ahead with the reservation, just book the ticket that is on hold. If you choose not to travel, simply let the reservation expire.

FLYR

FLYR Home Page Hold a flight for 7 days and be notified of better deals with FLYR

FLYR was created with the idea that buying and exchanging flights should be more like going to a department store – not a life sentencing. As the newest flight search site to come to my attention, I have not had a chance to test it out, but the concept sounds simple enough. When you search and select a flight with FLYR, they will guarantee your reservation for 7 days and notify you if a better deal comes along, giving you a chance to swap your reservation for the better deal before booking.

Flight Fox

Hire an expert to search and book flights with Flight Fox Hire an expert to search and book flights with Flight Fox

Flightfox allows users to hire a travel expert for a fixed finders fee. When you go to their site and upload your itinerary, you’ll be matched with an appropriate expert who will work with you to plan the perfect flight itinerary. According to their website, their prices are better than the major travel search sites. While I can’t verify that, I imagine you are working on a particularly complicated itinerary with lots of stops, this could be a great option.

Be sure to follow my “Travel Search Sites” Pinterest Board to learn about the latest websites to help you save money and ease some stress when booking your next trip.

Did I miss any secret gems? Share your go-to websites for booking flights in the comments below.

Jetsetter.com

 

The Coming Easter Feast Beware: If you are at all squeamish or don’t like seeing what your food looks like while it’s cooking, do not scroll down to the second photo. 

Anyone who knows anything about Greeks knows that we like to eat. A lot. I think that is why Easter has always been my favorite holiday. At the end of lent not eating meat and a week of church during Holy Week, you are rewarded with a day full of eating that starts the moment the clock strikes twelve. The main dish of the night is called Mageritsa, a soup with the organ meat from the lamb we eat Sunday during the day. Delish!
  Some of the treats from our “Cinqo de Easter” celebration last year
Sunday morning, the whole lamb is skewered and starts slowly cooking over charcoal until the skin is slightly crispy and the meat inside is tender and moist. Just thinking about this is making my mouth water.
This is, however, one of those holidays where cultures collide. When I turned seven, my family moved to a pretty typical suburban American neighborhood. It rained during our first Easter in this new neighborhood, so we cooked our lamb just inside our open garage. This meant that our whole lamb was cooking in the front of our house for anyone to see. That year, we found out that one of our neighbors was a passionate animal rights activist. Unfortunately, it took her driving past our house  holding her hand next to the side of her face to block out the view for us to realize how offensive this tradition was to some people.
As you can probably guess, we really left quite the impression!
Now, just for fun, check out what I’ll be eating this Sunday:
  Cooking-up some Easter lamb this Sunday

Jealous? Horrified? Let me know in the comments below. Either reaction is completely understandable.

The Coming Easter Feast

image

 Beware: If you are at all squeamish or don’t like seeing what your food looks like while it’s cooking, do not scroll down to the second photo. 

Anyone who knows anything about Greeks knows that we like to eat. A lot. I think that is why Easter has always been my favorite holiday. At the end of lent not eating meat and a week of church during Holy Week, you are rewarded with a day full of eating that starts the moment the clock strikes twelve. The main dish of the night is called Mageritsa, a soup with the organ meat from the lamb we eat Sunday during the day. Delish!

Some of the treats from our "Cinqo de Easter" celebration last year Some of the treats from our “Cinqo de Easter” celebration last year

Sunday morning, the whole lamb is skewered and starts slowly cooking over charcoal until the skin is slightly crispy and the meat inside is tender and moist. Just thinking about this is making my mouth water.

This is, however, one of those holidays where cultures collide. When I turned seven, my family moved to a pretty typical suburban American neighborhood. It rained during our first Easter in this new neighborhood, so we cooked our lamb just inside our open garage. This meant that our whole lamb was cooking in the front of our house for anyone to see. That year, we found out that one of our neighbors was a passionate animal rights activist. Unfortunately, it took her driving past our house  holding her hand next to the side of her face to block out the view for us to realize how offensive this tradition was to some people.

As you can probably guess, we really left quite the impression!

Now, just for fun, check out what I’ll be eating this Sunday:

Cooking-up some Easter lamb Cooking-up some Easter lamb this Sunday

Jealous? Horrified? Let me know in the comments below. Either reaction is completely understandable.

The Beautiful GameLast week, I had the chance to attend the Kicking & Screening Soccer Film Festival. This 4-day event was another reminder of the universal appeal of soccer, or rather football. The theme of the evening I attended was coaching, with a preview and a feature film highlighting the stories of two international-level coaches, followed by a Q&A session with coaches from the local professional clubs: New York Red Bull and Cosmos.
  A Q&A session with coaches from New York Red Bull and Cosmos at the Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival
I’ve played soccer most of my life. Early on, it was simply a fun weekend and after school activity, but now as an adult, there is a bigger picture. Soccer is the only topic that has a universally positive appeal no matter where you are from, no matter what team you support, no matter what position you play, understanding the beautiful game humanizes people of all cultures, languages and political views.
On the subway home from intramural co-ed games, someone sees our shirts (which have a soccer ball on the front) and starts up a conversation on a nearly weekly basis. Every week. And each time I’m left thinking to myself, “How cool is this?”
There’s not much that can bring two complete strangers together on the subway. You might bond with someone over a their shoes, bag or outfit. More likely you’ll exchange knowing glances and a laugh with someone when you both notice someone dozing off in the seat across from you.
Soccer seems to be the one exception. Somehow, soccer has a way of getting two strangers to actually talk to one another. A drunk guy might let you know who is favorite team is and why he loves them. Another person from Ghana will find enough English words to tell you that he is a defender and his favorite player is Asamoah Gyan, who used to play in the English Premier League. Or a kid from the Bronx asking if you won and how your season is going. Even the Vice President of International Sales of a major international company or the Consul General of a foreign country with whom I spoke to for over an hour about the English Premier League standings and the players who have really proved themselves this season.
At first glance, I have absolutely nothing in common with these people, yet we share at least one passion. It is just enough to create a bond, even if it is a very small one. How cool is that?

 

The Beautiful Game

image

Last week, I had the chance to attend the Kicking & Screening Soccer Film Festival. This 4-day event was another reminder of the universal appeal of soccer, or rather football. The theme of the evening I attended was coaching, with a preview and a feature film highlighting the stories of two international-level coaches, followed by a Q&A session with coaches from the local professional clubs: New York Red Bull and Cosmos.

A Q&A session with coaches from New York Red Bull and Cosmos at the Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival A Q&A session with coaches from New York Red Bull and Cosmos at the Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival

I’ve played soccer most of my life. Early on, it was simply a fun weekend and after school activity, but now as an adult, there is a bigger picture. Soccer is the only topic that has a universally positive appeal no matter where you are from, no matter what team you support, no matter what position you play, understanding the beautiful game humanizes people of all cultures, languages and political views.

On the subway home from intramural co-ed games, someone sees our shirts (which have a soccer ball on the front) and starts up a conversation on a nearly weekly basis. Every week. And each time I’m left thinking to myself, “How cool is this?”

There’s not much that can bring two complete strangers together on the subway. You might bond with someone over a their shoes, bag or outfit. More likely you’ll exchange knowing glances and a laugh with someone when you both notice someone dozing off in the seat across from you.

Soccer seems to be the one exception. Somehow, soccer has a way of getting two strangers to actually talk to one another. A drunk guy might let you know who is favorite team is and why he loves them. Another person from Ghana will find enough English words to tell you that he is a defender and his favorite player is Asamoah Gyan, who used to play in the English Premier League. Or a kid from the Bronx asking if you won and how your season is going. Even the Vice President of International Sales of a major international company or the Consul General of a foreign country with whom I spoke to for over an hour about the English Premier League standings and the players who have really proved themselves this season.

At first glance, I have absolutely nothing in common with these people, yet we share at least one passion. It is just enough to create a bond, even if it is a very small one. How cool is that?

 

Room With A View: Fairmont, San Francisco, CA  A view of Alcatraz and San Francisco from the Fairmont Hotel
The last time I was in San Francisco was a couple of years ago for a work event. We arrived at the Fairmont Hotel in the evening after sunset and I wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to unwind in my room before calling it an early night. In the morning, I woke up to this view and suddenly everything was wonderful. The room itself was lovely too, but this view definitely stole the show.
Planning a trip to San Francisco? Orbitz Rewards members earn $30 in Orbucks with their hotel booking through May 16,2014. 
In the spirit of full disclosure, these are affiliate links, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to make a purchase. TripAdvisor and Orbitz are both companies I know and use myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.
Happy travels!

 

Room With A View: Fairmont, San Francisco, CA

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A view of Alcatraz and San Francisco from the Fairmont Hotel
A view of Alcatraz and San Francisco from the Fairmont Hotel

The last time I was in San Francisco was a couple of years ago for a work event. We arrived at the Fairmont Hotel in the evening after sunset and I wasn’t feeling well, so I decided to unwind in my room before calling it an early night. In the morning, I woke up to this view and suddenly everything was wonderful. The room itself was lovely too, but this view definitely stole the show.

Planning a trip to San Francisco? Orbitz Rewards members earn $30 in Orbucks with their hotel booking through May 16,2014. 

In the spirit of full disclosure, these are affiliate links, which means that I may get a commissions if you decide to make a purchase. TripAdvisor and Orbitz are both companies I know and use myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Happy travels!

 

THEME_Last Minute Vacations-SF_250x250

Portland Recap: A Week of WeirdThanks for checking out this week’s posts about the Hotel Monaco, statues and food scene in Portland. If you are planning a trip to the Weird City City of Roses, head over to Pinterest and follow my “Keep Portland Weird” board with pins from this week’s posts plus new places to check out as I hear about them.
Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting!



 

 
 

Portland Recap: A Week of Weird

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Thanks for checking out this week’s posts about the Hotel Monaco, statues and food scene in Portland. If you are planning a trip to the Weird City City of Roses, head over to Pinterest and follow my “Keep Portland Weird” board with pins from this week’s posts plus new places to check out as I hear about them.

Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting!

Keep Portland Weird Pinterest Board from Katie Goes

 

 
PACKAGE SAVINGS_Save up to $500 by booking flight + hotel together_250x250
 

Portland’s Street Eats and Tasty TreatsPortland is growing a reputation as a foodie destination, not only for its craft beer, but for it’s actual food. While there are certainly plenty of nice restaurants around town, I have to admit that my favorite places may have been less sophisticated, but all of our meals were great.

Food Trucks
Food trucks have been a thing in much of the country as of late, but Portland is the epicenter with an entire lingo to use when discussing your dining options. A single food truck is known as a cart, but multiple carts together are known as pods, and the largest pod in Portland is the Alder Street Food Cart Pod. Our food truck meal in Portland came from Altengartz German Bratwurst.
  Bratwurst from Altengartz food cart at the Alder Street Food Pod.

  A hearty meal for two from Altengartz German Bratwurst.

Sweet Treats
I have developed a bit of a sweet tooth as of late and Portland really didn’t help my cause. The city has a number of great bakeries, but on our first morning, we stumbled upon Pearl Bakery. It was truly an experience. FYI: They had a ton of delicious vegan options for those who are so inclined (this is Portland after all!) 

  A morning bun from Portland’s Pearl Bakery

  A bran muffin and vegan fig cookie from the Pearl Bakery in Portland

There’s also a bit of a rivalry over the title of “Best Donuts” in Portland. The contenders are the widely renown Voodoo Donuts and the more locally renown Blue Star Donuts. Don’t like the fact that Blue Star is less widely held recognition fool you, they make a mean donut and a limited number of them each day. When the store runs out of donuts they close for the day, so get there early. Obviously, I conducted a vigorous taste test at both donut-eries, however, the verdict is still out. I need another round of taste testing to decide 
  A selection of donuts from Blue Star in Portland

  Just a few of the dozens of donut options at Portland’s VooDoo Donut

A Night Out
On our last night in Portland ate in the Pearl District, known for it’s boutique shops and local restaurants. Personally, reminded me a lot of TriBeCa or the Meatpacking District in New York, though admittedly less crowded, though that could have been due to the time of year we were there. The food and our cocktails at the Paragon Restaurant were most definitely amazing!
  Lamb chops from Paragon Restaurant in Portland’s Pearl District

  An entree of pork and sausage from Paragon Restaurant in Portland

Have you been to Portland recently? Where did you eat? Let me know in the comments below.

 


 

Portland’s Street Eats and Tasty Treats

image

Portland is growing a reputation as a foodie destination, not only for its craft beer, but for it’s actual food. While there are certainly plenty of nice restaurants around town, I have to admit that my favorite places may have been less sophisticated, but all of our meals were great.

Food Trucks

Food trucks have been a thing in much of the country as of late, but Portland is the epicenter with an entire lingo to use when discussing your dining options. A single food truck is known as a cart, but multiple carts together are known as pods, and the largest pod in Portland is the Alder Street Food Cart Pod. Our food truck meal in Portland came from Altengartz German Bratwurst.

Bratwurst from Altengartz food cart at the Alder Street Food Pod. Bratwurst from Altengartz food cart at the Alder Street Food Pod.

A hearty meal for two from Altengartz German Bratwurst. A hearty meal for two from Altengartz German Bratwurst.

Sweet Treats

I have developed a bit of a sweet tooth as of late and Portland really didn’t help my cause. The city has a number of great bakeries, but on our first morning, we stumbled upon Pearl Bakery. It was truly an experience. FYI: They had a ton of delicious vegan options for those who are so inclined (this is Portland after all!) 

A morning bun from Portland's Pearl Bakery A morning bun from Portland’s Pearl Bakery

More treats from the Pearl Bakery in Portland A bran muffin and vegan fig cookie from the Pearl Bakery in Portland

There’s also a bit of a rivalry over the title of “Best Donuts” in Portland. The contenders are the widely renown Voodoo Donuts and the more locally renown Blue Star Donuts. Don’t like the fact that Blue Star is less widely held recognition fool you, they make a mean donut and a limited number of them each day. When the store runs out of donuts they close for the day, so get there early. Obviously, I conducted a vigorous taste test at both donut-eries, however, the verdict is still out. I need another round of taste testing to decide :)

A selection of donuts from Blue Star in Portland A selection of donuts from Blue Star in Portland

Just a few of the dozens of donut options at Portland's VooDoo Donut Just a few of the dozens of donut options at Portland’s VooDoo Donut

A Night Out

On our last night in Portland ate in the Pearl District, known for it’s boutique shops and local restaurants. Personally, reminded me a lot of TriBeCa or the Meatpacking District in New York, though admittedly less crowded, though that could have been due to the time of year we were there. The food and our cocktails at the Paragon Restaurant were most definitely amazing!

Lamb chops from Paragon Restaurant in Portland's Pearl District Lamb chops from Paragon Restaurant in Portland’s Pearl District

An entree from Paragon Restaurant in Portland An entree of pork and sausage from Paragon Restaurant in Portland

Have you been to Portland recently? Where did you eat? Let me know in the comments below.

 

MERCH_Top Flight Deals_300x250

 

A Tour of Portland’s StatuesWhen visiting a city for the first time, one of my favorite things to do is take a walking tour of the city. Not only do walking tours ensure you’ll see the main sights with a taste of the history, but it’s also the best way to get a lay of the land before venturing out on your own.
Looking back at the photos I took on a city tour of Portland this winter, I noticed that the album was chock-full of photos of the statues situated throughout town. Below is a selection of my favorite photos from the tour along with a fun fact about each:

The first tour we came across was this guy: a dapper gentleman in a suit holding an umbrella and hailing a cab. As our tour guide explained, this was what the residence believed where Portland was headed back in the 1950′s when it was constructed. Alas, Portland had other, more weird, plans for itself.


Just across the street from our Portland-Don-Drapper, on either side of the courthouse, are two sets of fountains with all different animals that are indigenous to the area. In addition to these beavers you’ll find deer, ducks and a bear feasting on a salmon.


Did you realize that Portlandia actually exists? No, it’s not just the name of a TV show. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of it before. Apparently, the sculpture, Raymond Kaskey, maintains the intellectual property rights to her image and does not allow her face to be reproduced for any commercial use – not on keychains, t-shirts, mugs, etc. She’s also the second largest copper sculpture in the US (the largest is the Statue of Liberty). One last fun fact, Portlandia would normally turn green like the Statue of Liberty, however it is polished regularly to maintain the copper color.


Back in elementary school, I remember the best part of our “computer science” class was when we got to play Oregon Trail, only to later rind out that it was a sneaky way of teaching us American history! The nerve… This particular statue, in one of the city’s many squares, pays tribute to the families who settled the Pacific Northwest. If you look closely at the mother, you can see that she’s holding a doll in her hands, presumably belonging to a daughter who didn’t survive the trail to Oregon. Heavy stuff…


Wrapping this up on funnier note… this is a bit of a controvertial statue in the city. This marble statue is known by many names including Saturday Night at the Y and Three Groins in the Fountain, but in fact it is really called The Quest. Go ahead, it’s OK to laugh. Others have said it depicts an orgy. A writer for The Oregonian said it is a free sex-education lesson for schoolchildren. I guess that’s just Portland for you.

A Tour of Portland’s Statues

image

When visiting a city for the first time, one of my favorite things to do is take a walking tour of the city. Not only do walking tours ensure you’ll see the main sights with a taste of the history, but it’s also the best way to get a lay of the land before venturing out on your own.

Looking back at the photos I took on a city tour of Portland this winter, I noticed that the album was chock-full of photos of the statues situated throughout town. Below is a selection of my favorite photos from the tour along with a fun fact about each:

PortlandModernManStatue

The first tour we came across was this guy: a dapper gentleman in a suit holding an umbrella and hailing a cab. As our tour guide explained, this was what the residence believed where Portland was headed back in the 1950′s when it was constructed. Alas, Portland had other, more weird, plans for itself.

PortlandOregonFountainBeavers

Just across the street from our Portland-Don-Drapper, on either side of the courthouse, are two sets of fountains with all different animals that are indigenous to the area. In addition to these beavers you’ll find deer, ducks and a bear feasting on a salmon.

PortlandiaStatue

Did you realize that Portlandia actually exists? No, it’s not just the name of a TV show. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of it before. Apparently, the sculpture, Raymond Kaskey, maintains the intellectual property rights to her image and does not allow her face to be reproduced for any commercial use – not on keychains, t-shirts, mugs, etc. She’s also the second largest copper sculpture in the US (the largest is the Statue of Liberty). One last fun fact, Portlandia would normally turn green like the Statue of Liberty, however it is polished regularly to maintain the copper color.

OregonTrailFamilyPortland

Back in elementary school, I remember the best part of our “computer science” class was when we got to play Oregon Trail, only to later rind out that it was a sneaky way of teaching us American history! The nerve… This particular statue, in one of the city’s many squares, pays tribute to the families who settled the Pacific Northwest. If you look closely at the mother, you can see that she’s holding a doll in her hands, presumably belonging to a daughter who didn’t survive the trail to Oregon. Heavy stuff…

StatuesFountainPortland

Wrapping this up on funnier note… this is a bit of a controvertial statue in the city. This marble statue is known by many names including Saturday Night at the Y and Three Groins in the Fountain, but in fact it is really called The Quest. Go ahead, it’s OK to laugh. Others have said it depicts an orgy. A writer for The Oregonian said it is a free sex-education lesson for schoolchildren. I guess that’s just Portland for you.

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