One day, two young travelers put their stuff in storage, packed their little GTI, and drove north along Highway 1 to Portland. They celebrated the New Year at Brasserie Montmartre and spent the next few months hiking the Gorge, drinking Moscow Mules at The Secret Society, eating voodoo dolls at Voodoo Doughnut, and playing shuffleboard and “sitting in detention” at The Kennedy School.
As much as they enjoyed their time there, something felt amiss. This Portland, with its flannel shirts, backyard chicken coops and Woolly Mammoth mustaches, was too hip for these travelers. Or rather, they were not hip enough for this Portland.
Over the next two years, they wandered around the U.S. and abroad looking for a place where they belonged. They went to Mexico and Alaska; they got married in the Finger Lakes; they spent six weeks in New York City and three months in Costa Rica. They saw a lot of places but through it all they couldn’t shake the feeling that “the other Portland” might be just what they were looking for.
After two years, they once again found themselves traveling north along Highway 1 toward Portland. This time, they read books at Willard Beach and watched the sailboats come and go from port; they strolled along fisherman’s wharf and ate breakfast at The Porthole Restaurant; they indulged in The Holy Donut.
While there were still enough flannel shirts and mustaches to staff 1,000 college town coffee shops, the hipsters in this Portland were somehow friendlier—they made eye contact and weren’t self-conscious. They minded their own business and accepted outsiders. They were hip but they didn’t require that of others.
While both Portlands would scoff at being called “the other Portland,” only one felt like a true port town, only one was on the ocean, only one had four seasons, and only one was a place that these travelers thought they might one day call home.