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Traveling with my camera.Our trip to Portland, Oregon

Travel Guide: Our trip to Portland, Oregon

My husband and I are both artists. When he told me that he was going to travel to Portland, Oregon to be a guest artist at the tattoo shop, Tiger Clue. I wanted to join him on this adventure. Oregon has been on my bucket list of places to photograph.Before we left for the trip, I put together a list of places I wanted to check out. You will see that I was able to hit most of the spots.

Here is my adventure in Oregon.

Day 1: It was a long day of traveling. We left the BWI airport at 2:00pm and arrived at the Charlotte, North Carolina airport with a 2 h 53m layover. Our gate changed three times before we finally got on the plane to head to Oregon. We landed at 9:05pm. Super tired, but it was time to find our bags and head to Thrifty car rental. Word of advise when renting a car, don’t book a car by the airport. It was over $180 for additional taxes and charges.

Finally were off to the airbnb. We booked a spot located in South Tabor. We had our own private entrance and backyard. With beer magazines, tour posters, and plenty of room to relax after a long day, Jason’s spot is a great place to call home for a few days!

Day 2: Waking up early with an empty stomach, I knew we needed to start the day with coffee and donuts. First stop, Pip’s Original Doughnut & Chai shop. I ordered a caramel chai latte and my husband ordered a mocha iced coffee. We also had to try their famous donuts. We picked out these flavors: Nutella & Sea Salt, Cinnamon and sugar, Raw honey with sea salt , and the chopped bacon with maple. This donut shop is adorable. I could spend hours just sitting there with my cup of coffee. The donuts are small, but you will fill up fast. If you really love coffee, they also offer an iced chai flight.

My favorite: Cinnamon and Sugar

After fueling up from the coffee, we headed over to the Japanese Garden. (Heads up, it cost $18.95 for Adults / $16.25 for seniors and $13.50 for kids.) This garden was designed in 1963, it encompasses 12 acres with eight separate garden styles, and includes an authentic Japanese Tea House. The garden sits nested in the hills of Portland, Oregon’s iconic Washington Park. This place is just breathtaking. As you take a walk around the garden, you will see waterfalls, large choi fish, Japanese maple trees, meandering streams and statues.

The Japanese Maple Tree

We were heading back to the car when we noticed the beautiful view of Portland. When we started to walk towards the stairs, we noticed another garden. Lucky for us, it was the Rose Garden. The garden is open to public from 7:30am-9:00pm and free! We love free things! Portland has a love affair with roses, as do we. This garden is worth checking out. There are over 10, 000 rose bushes of approximately 650 varieties. One last stop of the day to grab some dinner and drinks, we went to the Great Notion Brewery. The award -winning brewery is known for a passion for hops, and the patience for sours. Food was good, the beer was yumm

Day 3: My husband, Carl was a guest artist at the tattoo shop called Tiger Clue Tattoo (Located at 1909 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR.) If you’re looking for a clean, fun , and a group of talented artists, you need to visit this shop!

Check out the following artists from the shop on Instagram: @KyleStacher , @ZakClueless , @Jaboc , @JeffTarinelli_Tattoos and @JoakimTattooing or visit them online at

I took him to the shop to start his day. With him being booked all day, I wanted to explore Oregon with my camera. Got back in the car and off I go……

First stop: Multnomah Falls.- Oregon’s tallest waterfall. This place is a popular spot, but worth checking out. To avoid most of the crowds, go early in the morning. Give yourself at least two hours to hike around and explore. The hike to the very top is about 11 switchbacks….I only made it to 5. Whomp Whomp!

Second stop: I wanted to see Mt. hood so I started to travel towards Buzzard Point. Unfortunately I got lost and ended up at Trilium lake. Since it was raining and foggy, I couldn’t see Mt. Hood from the lake. On a clear day, you should be able to view it from there. But, the view was still breathtaking. And, if you really want to get adventures, you can go off roading in the mountains.

Trilium lake, Oregon

Before I head back to the city, I drove up the windy mountain to the Timberline Lodge. Right before I got to the lodge, I noticed a rainbow over the pine trees and connecting to the mountain in the distance. It was so beautiful to see! I didn’t stay long at the lodge. But, I heard the following day they got snow in September!

After picking up my husband from work, we drove over to the Ex Nova brewery that’s only 4 miles away from Tiger Clue. The idea of Ex Nova began in a garage in 2012. This brewery was top on my list to visit. Why? Their a non-profit brewery. Isn’t that cool? Their mission as a brewery is to donate 100% of their profits to those building a better world and bringing hope to places where it is scarce. Food was yummy, beer was great, and they also have awesome merch to buy! #isupportnonprofits #ilovebeer #exnovarocks

Day 4: More coffee and friends! I was meeting up with a badass local photographer named, Hayes Peterson. Need portraits, videos, weddings covered… he’s the person to hire. And, our friend Gus that used to live in Baltimore and now lives in Portland. We grabbed a coffee and snack at the Little T American Baker. Coffee was amazing

Filled with coffee, it was time for Hayes and I to go on our adventure.

First stop: St. Johns Bridge. This beautiful bridge spans the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, between the Cathedral Park neighborhood in North Portland and the Linnton and Northwest Industrial neighborhoods in Northwest Portland. It is the only suspension bridge in the Willamette Valley and one of three public highway suspension bridges in Oregon. The cathedral park is a great place for a morning walk on a fall day.

Second stop: Rocky Butte Park. If you’re looking for a view of the city, this is a great spot! You can see downtown Portland from afar, and also the airport. Fremont Bridge, Columbia River, Mt. Hood (on a clear day), Helens, Larch Mountain , and the tip of Mr. Jefferson. It’s an easy walk to the top, make sure you stop by and check out the view!

Third stop: The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, The Grotto. The Grotto is a internationally – renowned Catholic shrine and botanical garden located minutes away from downtown Portland. This 62-acre shrine has many stunning views. Constructed in 1924, the sanctuary covers 62 acres, set both at the foot of, and atop, a 110 feet cliff. With a small admission, you can take the old elevator up to the botanical gardens.

The Grotto shrine, also features the Pieta.

Fourth Stop: My last stop with my Hayes was called the Sandy River. This 56-mile tributary of the Columbia River in northwestern Oregon is a great place to go swimming, or fly-fishing. It started to pour and our time was limited. But, I was able to snap a few photos of a man practicing his fishing skills and an old train-track bridge.

Well, it was time to say good-bye to my new photographer friend. He dropped me off at Tiger Clue tattoo. Since I had some time to kill while my husband was still working, I decided it was time to explore more local breweries.

I grabbed an uber and headed over to the Culmination Brewing Company. The beer was delicious, and the bartender was super rad. This brewery was built around great beer, with good food and community can be brought together in one concept, under one roof. With a recommendation from that super rad bartender, I paid my tab and it was time to check out the next spot.

With a short walk, I ended up at the Migration Brewing Company. Lucky for me, the brewery was having a beer release. I was told that end of the September/ early October is a great time to visit Portland if you love beer. The farms have fresh hops and every brewery is getting their hands on it. The atmosphere at this brewery was awesome. I actually sat next to one of the bartenders and head chef of the brewery. They were super cool and gave me ideas on what beer I should try. They give you a postcard to fill out what beers you want on your flight. Lucky for me I was able to try six different beers. If you want a cool spot to hang out, go check them out!

With beer in my tummy, it was time to head back to the shop to get my husband. Later that evening we went to the Alberta Street Pub to hang with some of the tattoo artists and their friends. And, lucky for us, there was a grilled cheese food truck across the street. You could even sit in an old school bus to eat your preschool grilled cheese sandwich. The cool thing about Portland, it’s known for having some unique and really good food trucks. You must try a few while visiting.

Also, if you love beer (like me), there are currently 58 breweries in Portland, 84 in the Portland metro area, 23 in bend and 31 in Central 0regon an 14 in Eugene. Portland currently has the most breweries of any city in the world. It’s like beer heaven!

The day was finally over and it was time to head back to the air bnb.

Our last day: Woke up, bags packed and it was time to grab some breakfast before heading to drop off the rental car. I knew I had to check out the other famous donut spot, the Voodoo Donut and lucky for me, right across the street is the ‘Keep Portland Weird” sign. The line at the donut shop can get pretty long, but its totally worth the wait. These donuts are off the hook. I got a cream and raspberry filled donut. I could eat 100 of these donuts. They were fluffy and filled with magic. Make sure you add this place to your list of things to check out in Portland.

Belly filled, time to head to the airport and say good-bye to Portland. I can’t wait to go back again. September was a great time to visit. If you love fall weather, you will love it there. Peace out Portland, ill be back soon!

More pictures from my trip will be available on my website at or check my instragram out @NicoleCaraciaPhotography

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