12 May 2010

cloud nine

In need of a weekend escape, but don’t want to venture far? Hop aboard the Amtrak Cascades (Toot! Toot!) and descend upon our urban sister, Portland, in less than four glorious traffic-free hours.

Stay at The Nines, the hip new(ish) digs that takes up the top nine floors of the legendary landmark Meier & Frank Building. Located near Pioneer Courthouse Square (named one of the 10 Great Public Spaces in the USA by the American Planning Association) it’s easy to feel like a pampered princess at this modern eco-conscious urban oasis that somehow manages to still wax nostalgic. Low-flow faucets, “Green Seal” certified cleaning products, and 100% of energy from renewable sources, such as wind power and carbon offsets are all part of the property’s full court press to receive LEED Silver Certification.

The hotel’s pricey, but worth every penny restaurant, Urban Farmer supports Pacific Northwest artisan purveyors, as well as ranchers, farmers and fishermen, including Kookoolan Farms, Strawberry Mountain, and Painted Hills Farm.

The only thing better than exploring Portland on foot, is by bike. Brave mucky winter elements and participate in the annual Worst Day of the Year Ride in mid-February. The 18-mile asphalt adventure has become a bit of a cult tradition for a few thousand Rose City residents and guests.

Wanna Try
Amtrak Cascades, round-trip train service from Seattle to Portland, $56.
The Nines, 525 SW Morrison, Portland, (503-222-9996).
Urban Farmer, 8th Floor, Meier + Frank Building, (503-222-4900)
Worst Day of the Year Ride

Small Changes Add Up
If 10,000 Seattleites took the train to Portland instead of driving round-trip, it would keep the weight of nearly 29 rail cars (unloaded) out of the landfills

Photo courtesy of The Nines, A Luxury Collection Hotel

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