Seattle and Portland
Trains, Buses, Ferries, Card Games, Reading, Reminiscing, Hiking, Photographing, Shopping, Fun, Friends, Family and Eating delicious fresh food. That sums up this years Spring vacation to Seattle and Portland.
We took the Amtrak Empire Builder from Glenview, Illinois to Seattle, Washington. Usually a 46 1/2 hour ride. With freight train traffic it took a little longer. That left us more time to play with our newly made friends Iris (6) and her lil’ bro Prospero (3) and their parents. We’d booked a sleeper which made the ride as good as it gets these days. We were greeted with mini bottles of Champagne and sparkling cider and found dark chocolate/orange candies on our pillows at bedtime. Meals were served in the dining car and the selection was quite nice and far better than I’d expected it would be.
A little back story. When I was about 10 years old, my parents, brother and I rode the rails from Chicago to Riverside, California on the last run of the Santa Fe Super Chief. Upon settling into our rooms there was a knock on the door and I remember a man dressed in a white jacket telling us we’d been invited to dine in a private dining car. Turned out my Dad’s college roommate who happened to be President of Santa Fe at the time caught wind of our trip and treated us to an unforgettable experience.
On the second night the adults were invited to a wine and cheese tasting. We sampled 2 white and 2 reds all from Eastern Washington state and Oregon, cheeses from Wisconsin. It was a little treat and a chance to meet yet more people. I sat with a woman and daughter from England who’d been to Seattle many times and gave me pointers on what I should see. Another kind woman offered to drive us to the famed Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, where she lived, if we decided to take the ferry out there one day. Mid week we boarded another train to Portland arriving in time to hit Powell Books in the Pearl, then on to our friends home where Jennifer was preparing dinner. Kale chips that ended up being mixed in with pasta and ricotta and vibrant purple cabbage cooked to perfection with a side of chicken sausage. I wish I’d noted the micro-brews I tasted.
We met so many delightful people on this trip and indulged in SO much delicious food. Fresh crab on a bed of bibb lettuce with avocado and grapefruit, baguette with creamy butter and rhubarb preserves, fennel and black pepper salami with mozzarella sandwich from Salumi, homemade peppermint patties from a mint farmers stand, dinner at two different Tom Douglas’ restaurants, homemade dinners with family and friends, micro brews, strong coffee, Pikes Market and Portland’s Saturday farmer’s market treats all served up with the breathtaking surrounding beauty of the Pacific Northwest. If you’ve never been, GO. It’s not to be missed.