Portland is about 2 ½ hours from where we live, or 3 ½ hours by train. We thought we’d take the train from Seattle to Portland, but in the end, after factoring in the door to door time with the bus & train as well as the risk of having to walk part way in the rain, I chickened out and decided to drive.
I gave my toddler E a “suitcase” full of his clothes and pjs, let him add a few books and toys & we put it in the cabin of the car with him. We use these Eagle Creek Pack-It Cubes for the kids’ stuff. It keeps their clothing separate from everything else without adding a lot of bulk in the suitcase. I use different colors to make it easy to grab the right person’s clothing. Now that my son is old enough to understand what a suitcase is, having his own makes him feel very grown up. It also helps set the stage & lets him know that we’re headed out of town. I tell him that we’re going on a “big adventure” & clearly explain who will be going and how we will get there. From that point forward, anything unusual that we have to do is described as “a silly part of our big adventure” which helps us get through what might otherwise be tough moments (for example changing into PJ’s in a restaurant bathroom)
We timed the drive such that both kids would nap at least part of the way & stopped midway in a small town where we got gas, lunch, and let the kids stretch their legs in the local library. Overall the drive went well. My little one slept and my big guy is easy to keep entertained with music & talking about the scenery.
We’re staying at the Portland ACE hotel… one of the new class of cool designed budget hotels. The location is perfect, in between downtown & the Pearl district & only two blocks away from Powells and a few more blocks from Whole Foods. There is an excellent coffee shop (serving Portland’s excellent Stumptown coffee) in the lobby.
I was concerned whether the room (furnished with military surplus) would be child safe & of course no room is ever perfect, but it was great. My toddler loved the big, industrial sliding doors & the huge couch & couldn’t wait to head up to the room to play. The crib was a pack and play… too small for a toddler… but we made a makeshift bed out of the extra-large & firm sofa cushions & a hotel sheet. My son couldn’t have been more delighted.
We arrived late in the day, walked around town a little and had dinner at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. It wasn’t the best Sushi I’ve ever eaten, but it was super-fast & easy and my fussy toddler loves being able to choose his own dishes off of the conveyor belt. Sushi Land has the added bonus of also being relatively inexpensive.
Next it was off for a brief run in the children’s department of Powells (can’t wait to get back and check out all the cool used books) and then off to bed. The baby was delighted to sleep with me & contrary to my worst expectations the two of them did not wake eachother up at night! Getting them off to sleep was a different story. It was pretty difficult to get them both down at night & we ended up with a ticklefest one night at 10pm to get their last rambunctious energy out. If I had another night to try it, I would probably get them both to sleep on a long walk and then transfer them into bed back at the hotel.Related Links
Portland With Kids