Monday, March 9, 2015


Throughout our child-rearing years, my husband had opportunities to take the kids on special trips without me. When our two boys were young, my husband often used Spring Break to take them backpacking. I was teaching at a community college that did not have the same week off, and so I was never included, which was fine by me. I was glad the boys had something fun to do, and I think these are cherished childhood memories for them.
Even now that our boys are adults, their tradition of traveling with their dad to climb mountains has continued. For the last five years or so, the three of them have met up in Colorado for that purpose. Two years ago I went along for the first time, and last summer my daughter and granddaughters came too. (Unfortunately, our son-in-law was on a business trip in Japan.)
My husband has even had a daddy-daughter trip with our daughter. When she was sixteen and hard for him to relate to, he hit upon the idea of climbing Mt. Shasta together as a way of strengthening their relationship.  They trained together, and then just the two of them embarked on a great adventure that marked a turning point for both of them. 
This past summer one of my friends took her four daughters and her daughter-in-law on a girls-only trip to London. It looked like so much fun, and it made me start to think about my personal experiences with our kids. I decided it was time for some much-deserved Mom trips where I would take one of the kids to a place of their choice for a few days. 

I started with Rachael. I didn't have the time or money to do a foreign trip, but I told her we could go anywhere in the States that she wanted to go. For a time we even considered Quebec as she had majored in French as an undergrad, but we needed to go in January before I went back to teaching, and that didn't seem to be the best time to travel in Canada.

Portland, she said. 

Portland? Really?

Yes. Absolutely!

Okay then. Portland it is!  

We started to develop a Bucket List that included museums, parks, shopping, and Important Places to Eat. 
I managed to get my flight routed through the Salt Lake City Airport so that we could travel together, and off we went on our Grand Adventure of January 2015.

The fun began at the Enterprise Rental line up of cars.  We could have had a navy blue Ford, but what fun would that be? We chose a bright yellow Kia Soul.  We had a bursts of giggling every time we came back to a parking lot where we'd left it and one of us said, "Now let's see. Which one of these cars is ours? (Chortle, guffaw.)"  There was just no mistaking it anywhere.
Another big win was our choice of accommodations. My son had been telling me about an alternative to regular hotels called Airbnb, a website where individuals can rent out their own houses, a part of their house, or a small structure on their property. He had used the service several times with great success, so Rachael and I scoured the website for lodgings in Portland and fell in love with the Croft Farm on Sauvie Island, a 26,000-acre island in the Columbia River just north of Portland. The owners were renting out a 300-square-foot casita built next to the their home, which was on an organic farm and bird refuge. How perfect is that?

When we arrived at around 10:00 p.m., the farm looked like an Alfred Hitchcock movie set:
 In the morning, we got a better and more cheerful look at our new digs:

We knew right away, even in the moonlight (especially in the moonlight) that it was a magical place.
 The inside was lovely and included a sitting room, a bedroom, and a little bathroom.
 You GOTTA love a place with a shelf of truly readable books:
 . . . and a bouquet of fresh flowers on the coffee table:
 . . . and dozens of wonderful, artistic touches throughout:
Our mornings were shrouded in fog until our very last day, but that only added to  Shangri-la feel. Here are the views out our windows:
With fog
Without fog
The deck and view outside our door
Remember, this is an organic farm, which means there is a barnyard:

. . . where there are chickens:
. . . and waddling ducks that contributed eggs to our breakfast one morning:
. . . and fat white bunnies:

Several hundred wild Canadian geese were hanging out just down the road from our casita:
It wouldn't be a true farm without a dog, and the Croft Farm has Ruby Tuesday, a redbone hound, who came bounding up to our sliding door to say hello every morning:
We LOVED her. How could we not?
We had a small supply of doggie treats to share with her, so she loved us too:
If I could have a dog just like this one, I would have a dog just like this one.
For a small extra fee we could order a farm-to-plate breakfast that included juice, one fried duck egg and one fried chicken egg on English muffins topped with fresh tomato slices, hash browns, granola, and fruit with honey. Yes, please. It was brought to our room at a time we specified. Yeah, I could get used to breakfasts like this.
If our choice of habitation was an indication of how the trip was going to turn out, we were in for a great time.
Even the bridge that took us across the Columbia River and towards Portland was something special:


  1. Shangri-la...yes! What an amazing place to stay that was.

  2. Well, off on your girl trip and you are already setting new standards. Private house, room service with duck eggs and your own redbone hound. It is already starting to look pretty amazing.

  3. I love this whole one on one time together thing. I'm pretty sure I could talk my kids into it, too. I REALLY like the idea of the Airbnb.