Sometimes you just need a mental health day. So one day last week I gathered together some (but not all) of the members of my gang (my mom, Mexican Jenny and Antonio) and we had an impromptu day out. It started with an early lunch at Portland's wonderful and summery Island Café, a floating restaurant in McCuddy's Marina on Hayden Island*. It's nothing fancy - just your basic brew pub and burger fare with a couple fish dishes thrown in (the lobster salad wrap was tasty!), but still surprisingly affordable given its location right on the water AND it looks like a great place to go for happy hour on a warm day. Even better, it is the kind of place where you can get a four year old to pinky swear that he will buy you a houseboat one day when he is grown up and wealthy. I already have mine picked out. Meet my future neighbor:
After lunch, we fed the birds until Antonio fell down and had to be medivac'ed to the Jantzen Beach Target for Spiderman Bandaids and a medicinal ice cream bar. Somehow he also got a soda and new pair of Transformer pajamas (which he insisted on wearing IMMEDIATELY) out of the deal, but what can you do? The newly unsick have to be coddled or they might relapse. Here he is convalescing at our next stop - Portland's International Rose Test Garden.
The rose garden in summer really is one of the loveliest parts about living in this city. Even the bathrooms look like fairy tale cottages. Walking past, you half expect an old crone to come limping out of the door to offer you a poisoned apple or some freshly baked gingerbread that can be yours, if you're just willing to come within pushing distance of her oven.
But, of course, it is the roses themselves that are the star of the show. Can you think of a prettier place just minutes away from a downtown area? If the roses alone aren't enough for you, there are beautiful views of downtown and eve Mt. Hood.
AND it is within walking distance of what my four year old friend tells me is the apex of modern civilization as we know it - a train. This particular track runs between the garden and the Oregon zoo.
Sadly, it was one of the later trains of the day, so we were only able to stay for an hour or so, but we did get to see the bats, which is awesome because they are BATS! and bats are considered good luck in some cultures.I am inclined to believe it is true.
*Note: If you live in Portland, and you decide to visit the Island Café - and you totally should - know that they are only open during the summer months through October and only between 11 a.m. and sunset. Also, even though their website shows pictures touting "family fun" and it IS family friendly in terms of not being inappropriate for children (at least during the day, I haven't been at night - yet), they don't have much in the way of a kid's menu and the waitress seemed a little put out when we asked, so be prepared to share or pay full price for a meal, knowing your little rugrat will probably have a lot of leftovers. On the other hand, the four year old we took LOVED being on the water and watching the boats and feeding all the waterfowl, so it's probably still worth it.