Situated in the northwest of the USA is the state of Oregon. It’s beautiful place, and I was lucky to visit if for just over a month in 1995. Nestling between the states of California/Nevada and Washington, Oregon is full of history and is a great tourist destination. Oregon was thought to have been discovered in 1500’s and 1600’s, but it wasn’t until 1778 that the coastline was charted and further explored by Captain James Cook when he was looking for the Northwest Passage. The Lewis and Clark expedition arrived in the area in 1805, and this was the start of the area being truly explored. Great Britain’s claim on the region were finally over in 1846 when a dispute between American Settlers and the Hudson Bay Company were finally resolved with the Oregon Treaty.
Portland is the largest city in Oregon, it was founded in 1845, forty years after Lewis and Clark camped there on their original expedition. Nowadays Portland is a bustling city full of things to do, from shopping, to museums, parks and gardens, it a vibrant and exciting city. I visited some great places including, the Portland Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden and Downtown Portland.
The city is full of fantastic restaurants, and there is lots going on especially if you like Museums, Music and Performing Arts. There are loads of great places to visit in the city that highlight incredible art, Portland’s native history and its pioneer origins. Portland is literally brimming with culture.
Spending time in Portland exploring the city with my family, was a lot of fun. My cousins showed me around, taught me how to drive their pick-up truck and introduced me to eating octopus for the first time. The people of Portland are very friendly and I met loads of nice people. We also headed out of the city to outlying areas that included the Columbia River, which has great views across into Washington State.
From there we went to the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area which features the spectacular Multnomah Falls amongst others. Multnomah falls are approx. 620 feet high making them the tallest waterfall in Oregon. A bridge called the Benson Bridge spans the lower part of the falls allowing visitors to get up close the dramatic site. It’s a wonderful place to visit and you have to see it to truly appreciate how amazing it is.
We also drove across the Columbia River, the natural state boundary between Portland, Oregon and Washington State, to Mount Hood, a dormant volcano that’s part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc. In the winter the mountain is a haven for skiers and snowboarders. We visited in summer, so there was no snow, but there was still plenty to see and do on the mountain, with trails to walk and spectacular views all around.
On the west coast of Oregon is the town of Astoria. It meets the Pacific Ocean at the end of the Columbia River. In Astoria we climbed the Astoria Monument. From the top of the monument there are incredible views of the Columbia River, Young’s Bay and even the Pacific Ocean albeit in the distance. The monument was built in 1926 the outside of the monument has a decorative frieze that depicts fourteen significant events in Oregons early history. The Astoria Monument is also one of a number of monuments but by the Great Northern Railway across the USA.
A short drive down the west coast from Astoria we stopped off at Seaside (yes, it’s actually the name of the town!) Seaside is great little town, and the beach was a lovely place to sit and watch the sun set. The west coast is absolutely stunning, and barely ten miles from Seaside is Cannon Beach a breath-taking expanse of coastline that’s full of dramatic waves and sweeping beaches.
Portland and the West Coast of the USA are fantastic places to visit and the above was just a small part of my amazing trip. Next time join me for Part Two; a road trip from Portland Oregon up to British Columbia, where me and my family explored Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
Chrissie is an author who loves history and enjoys travelling and days out exploring. www.chrissieparker.com