Portland, Oregon: Paradise Unanticipated - My Family Travels
Landscape around Portland.

Imagine my dismay when I learned that our Summer Vacation Destination was to be Portland, Oregon.  I had previously hoped to vacation on some tropical island and finally even out my tan, so needless to say I was less than enthusiastic.  I recalled from Geography class that while Oregon was indeed situated on a coastline, it wasn’t exactly beach-topia.  No, Oregon had forests.  Oregon had mountains.  And I was doomed to reside there for an entire week, helpless, hopeless, and most tragically of all, beachless. 

However, when my family and I arrived in Portland, my preconception of Oregon drastically changed.  The city was beautiful, and the skyline towered majestically on the horizon.  I kept my admiration for the city to myself, knowing that the revelation of my secret would illicit a chorus of “We told you so’s” from my family.  Even more beauty awaited us at the hotel, which was situated right on the Willamette River.  Outside of our hotel was a lovely river walkway, lined with quaint shops and restaurants.  My sisters and I made frequent stops at the ice cream parlor, which was renowned for its cherry ice cream.

The next day, we toured downtown Portland, where we fell in love with the largest independent bookstore in the world, Powell’s Books.  We browsed for hours, at first overwhelmed by the sheer size of the place.  In fact, I nearly got lost on several occasions in the labyrinthine bookstore, despite the numerous maps that were at my disposal.  My family was still oblivious to the fact that I was enchanted by Portland, and I did my best to conceal it from them, as I was not quite ready to swallow my pride and admit that Portland was a stellar vacation spot.

We embarked the following day on a white water rafting expedition.  This was a completely new experience for me, as I hail from the Midwest, an area where river rafting opportunities are somewhat scarce.  I am pleased to report that our watercraft did not capsize, due to our skillful guide’s adept rowing.  After switching out our wetsuits for regular apparel, we drove to a coastal town called Cannon Beach, (Yes, finally a beach!) which featured a plethora of art galleries, specialty stores, and bistros.  The town’s picturesque landmark, Haystack Rock, jutted out from the sea and was absolutely stunning.  I doubt I’ll ever forget gazing out at the sheer splendor of the Oregon Coast.  One doesn’t forget something like that.

On the plane ride home, I came to grips with the fact that I had been wrong about Oregon.  I had stalled long enough, so I finally decided to commend my father for the excellent destination selection, and admit my error in judgment.  After I made my confession, I was shocked to learn that my dad had known about my feelings all along.  Apparently I had uttered an astonished gasp upon seeing the panoramic skyline, thus blowing my cover.  In my defense, I don’t know a soul who could keep silent in the face of such beauty.                

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