PORTLAND, Ore. In 1851, two New Englanders stood atop a hill in
the Oregon Territory and imagined a shining city rising up from the
banks of the river below. Asa Lovejoy wanted to name this new city
after his hometown, Boston, Mass. His partner, Francis Pettygrove,
wanted it named after his hometown, Portland, Maine. To end the
impasse, the two decided a coin toss would settle the matter. The
toss went to Pettygrove and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Portland, Ore., consistently rates in national surveys as
one of America’s most livable cities. And the opportunities for
romantic getaways are as abundant as the roses the city is famous
for. So tell your clients to grab a loved one and their rain
slickers and get to know Portland.
Funky Charm and Plenty to Explore
Often overshadowed by San Francisco to the south and Seattle to the
north, Portland has a charm and allure very different from these
two giants. Its human scale and well-planned layout allow for a
combination of activities that would be hard to put together in any
For instance, how about spending a day in the woods and a night at
the opera? Portland’s Forest Park is the largest urban wilderness
in the nation, with over 5,000 acres of hiking and biking trails
just minutes from downtown. And Portland’s cultural scene includes
a variety of opera, theater and music.
If your clients’ idea of romance includes a Shakespearean sonnet or
two, then they should spend an afternoon at Powell’s City of Books.
Aptly named, Powell’s is the largest bookstore in the country, and
is to book lovers what Broadway is to theater lovers.
Cafes have been synonymous with romance for centuries, and in
Portland there’s no shortage of cozy places to snuggle around a
latte or a brandy. And let’s not forget brewpubs. Portland started
the trend two decades ago and is still the microbrew capital of
America. Finally, Portland put Northwest cuisine on the map. Here,
the emphasis is on fresh local ingredients prepared in innovative
and eclectic ways.
Portland’s romantic accommodations run the gamut from elegant
hotels in the heart of downtown, to luxurious 19th-century mansions
in grand old neighborhoods.
Topping many lists is the Hotel Vintage Plaza. With its Tuscan
decor, rich, jewel-toned lobby and sofas surrounding a marble
fireplace, it’s easy to understand the Vintage Plaza’s reputation
as one of the best places to kiss in the Northwest.
On a clear night, clients will never forget a stay in one of the
Starlight rooms that feature solarium-style windows with electric
blinds for nighttime stargazing. The Garden Spa rooms offer
secluded outdoor Jacuzzis. And if your clients want to go big, they
can’t beat the Romance Package in the bi-level Townhouse Suite.
With chilled champagne, rose petals scattered on the king-size bed
at turndown and breakfast delivered when they call, they might not
find a reason to venture outside.
If bed and breakfast is more their style, then consider the
MacMaster House in Portland’s historic King’s Hill neighborhood.
Dating from the 1880s, this Queen Anne-style mansion will make
visitors feel like they are back in the Gilded Age. Each of its
seven suites is handsomely adorned with a variety of antiques. Most
have separate sitting areas and four have fireplaces. The largest
and most attractive is the MacMaster Suite, decorated in a safari
theme with carved-wood furnishings, a private deck and four-post,
canopied wicker bed.
Portland’s version of New York’s hip Tribeca and Soho neighborhoods
is the Pearl District. Once a home to warehouses and breweries, the
Pearl, as it has come to be known, has experienced a renaissance
over the last decade. Trendy and seductive, the Pearl has embraced
its past, preserving much of the area’s character and architecture
while adding a healthy dose of funky chic. Not far from the Pearl
is Portland’s famous Northwest 23rd Street, home to an array of
boutiques, cafes and stylish eateries.
A Valentine’s Day specific: From February11th through the 20th, the
city becomes a jazz lover’s paradise as the Second Annual Portland
Jazz Festival comes to town. With some of the biggest names in jazz
and more than 75 performances and events, this festival is fast
becoming one of the West Coast’s premier musical events.
The week features a Valentine’s Day Jazz Dinner and Dance with
Valerie Day and the Knights of Swing. And when the evening seems
just too early to end, clients can take in a late night jam while
gazing out at the glittering lights of the city, or they can ease
into the weekend with a Jazz Brunch and Cruise along the Willamette
River on the Portland Starlight.
Sure, it’s likely to rain in February, but hey, if your clients are
looking for excuses to snuggle, Portland has them covered.
Portland Oregon Visitors Association
Hotel Vintage Plaza
Portland Jazz Festival