• Emily Bond

Portland Pilgrimage

Updated: Jun 27

I should probably start by telling you the people of Portland do not appreciate your affinity for Portlandia. They are non-plussed by your cacao quoting ways, and certainly do not feel the show is an accurate representation of what the city truly is. They don’t even bother to ask if you’ve seen the show, because…they know you have. I should also state at no point did Laura (Lulu Lopez Photography), me, or the two furrier ladies (Lola and Jackie O.) ever mentioned Portlandia, except to nod knowingly when a Portland native lamented the show’s notoriety and influx of Ace Hotel devotees flocking to the rosy city. Given Laura and I both are from Texas we’ve experienced our own fair share of misrepresentation in show form – Dallas, Friday Night Lights, Walker Texas Ranger, and of course King of the Hill. As much as I would like to say each of these shows grossly distorts life in Texas, there’s usually more than a shred of truth in each one. I don’t wear a lot of rhinestones, or affectionately call anyone “coach,”but I sure as shit, say “sure as shit.” And just like Hank Hill might bemoan tourism generated from a man that would ever cheat on a lovely Peggy, we didn’t take a girl’s trip to hunt down our 90’s selves.

We went because we both had never been to Portland. We wanted to eat good food, add another notch on Dog Comes With, take beautiful photos (all done by Lulu Lopez Photography), stay at the Ace Hotel Portland, get a proper bang trim, and drink too much. To go on an adventure sans significant others, a long trip. But we didn’t stop in Portland first. We drove for ten hours stopping at a little motel, the Thunderbird Lodge in Redding, CA. It reminded Laura of the show Sons of Anarchy. I haven’t seen the show, but needless to say the experience deserves a separate Dog Comes With (DCW) post. From Redding we made our way into downtown Portland. We stayed one night at the Ace Hotel, and then several at a quiet studio Airbnb N.PDX Cottage close to Alberta and the Historic Mississippi districts. And from Portland we drove straight into San Francisco to stay at friend’s home and meet my husband who was flying back from Nome, AK. Lee (husband) was finishing a month of shooting a show based in Nome, Bering Sea Gold. It was whirlwind trip, and certainly took a week to get a decent fill of the flavor of Portland. And in the spirit of sharing, let’s take a look at the Ace Hotel. They just do stark grunge chic like nobody can. It’s the hipster’s god given right to stay at a Ace Hotel, and although out of the two I’ve stayed at (thus far), the Ace in NYC is my favorite. The Ace Portland had everything you could want. Bloggers with deep red lips, perfectly haphazardly tucked chambray shirts, Stumptown Coffee (which I’m proud to say I can spot by smell alone now), dog friendly rooms, and gorgeous interior design which keeps with the chic starkness mixed with bouts of comfort. The hotel is situated in the old Clyde Hotel building in downtown Portland, making it only a block away from Powell’s Books and a few blocks away from Voodoo Doughnut.

I need to take a moment to get real with you. If you make it to the Pacific Northwest and don’t get a book (or five – I feel very lucky to have gotten Margaret Atwood’s latest – a signed copy, for a ridiculously inexpensive price) or eat more than one donut at Voodoo’s, you’ll probably wake up with cold sweats wondering, what was it – I mean really what was it you forgot and subsequently failed at? Only to realize (after reading this post) it’s that you didn’t go to either establishments, but don’t worry, you still have time.

Back to the Ace.

The Parking – It isn’t great, but not terrible. You park about a block or two away in a lot without coverage. Added bonus though, it’s a great way to get a walk in with the pups.

Grass – Aka the outdoor loo for the dogs. It’s a little more industrial, but not as tricky as some major cities, think more Fort Worth than Dallas. Expect to walk a few blocks, but grab a latte from Stumptown first.

Cost – I have a somewhat skewed sense of what things should and shouldn’t cost. I’m getting better at appreciating a good deal and I feel the Ace for hotel goers is an excellent price, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. But don’t expect Ritz prices, a large room like Superior Deluxe Front, the one Laura and I rented, goes for around $300 a night. We went with the larger room because the rest of the trip’s lodgings would be drastically less, and let’s be serious – go big (with a view Powell’s and a claw foot tub) when you’ve got two dogs and two ladies with some serious baggage (I know what I did there). There are smaller rooms that run a little under $200.

Downtown Portland is a little sleepy in spots. It didn’t feel like we were getting a decent view of the city, and with limited dog roaming spots, I was pretty excited when we arrived at the N.PDX (North Portland) Cottage.

Ace Portland had everything you could want. Bloggers with deep red lips, perfectly haphazardly tucked chambray shirts, Stumptown Coffee, dog friendly rooms, and gorgeous interior design which keeps with the chic starkness mixed with bouts of comfort."

N.PDX Cottage

I would have stayed here for a very, very, very long time. I would have made dog sweaters, sold them on Etsy, and started talking about the cultural climate of indigenous bird populations. I would have morphed into a Portland native and been quite happy (because they all seem, really, really happy), until someone pointed out that I can’t knit worth shit, and find girls that whip out knitting needles at parties to be asking for love in all the wrong places. But the cottage. If we couldn’t fully relax in the Ace, we certainly could in this little studio home. It was plush, soothing, and provided a more local vibe of the city. The little home is an open design with high wood beam ceilings, a full kitchen, and full bathroom.

You have all the amenities of a hotel, wifi, cable, and then some. There isn’t a private yard to let your pups roam in, but there is a front fenced in drive way, in case they need to get out some zoomies! And the location is perfect. We could easily make it back to downtown, or to our new favorite district – the Historic Mississippi District. We could drive under five minutes to the most beautiful cedar filled Whole Foods I have ever seen. We could pick up the dogs fancy Merrick dog food basically anywhere. And we could take them pretty much anywhere, and once we were out of downtown the prices dropped drastically.

The Parking – Front row! You have your own driveway, so no waiting for the valet or walking around pot holes. You’re ready to go!

Grass – Tons of that! And even while you’re walking along the busier shopping streets there’s plenty of little enclaves of grassy spots, even small hidden dog parks to relax in.

Cost – Insanely economical. The cost is about $65 a night, without tax. Although now I’m a little terrified that now this price has been shared, word will get out and I’ll never get a chance to stay at the N.PX Cottage again! Essentially, it’s worth more than $65 a night, but leaves you with a good amount of wiggle room to enjoy Portland’s more decadent spots, like Olympic Provisions – with outdoor seating for you and dogs!

I realize this a long post, so bravo if you’ve made it this far! There’s so much about Portland that is beautiful, friendly, and interesting, I can’t wait to go back. And given the over all vibe of dog friendly spots it’s definitely a place to bring your pups!

-Licks and Kibble Bits, Lola, Jackie O. and their human Emily

Photos by Lulu Lopez Photography


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