Keeping Portland Weird with the Quirky Portland Tour
Even before the popular TV show Portlandia aired last year, Portland was a weird place, just a lesser-known one. It’s true, a lot of people have chickens in their backyards and homemade pickling stations in their basements next to the fixed gear bikes and beer brewing equipment. Portlanders can seem snobby about things like reusable grocery bags and braking for pedestrians, but really, we are notoriously friendly for “city folk”. Just this morning, I did the daily crossword puzzle with my policeman friend at (one of) the (many) cafe(s) near the hostel. Halfway through the crossword, the barista brought us free cookies. It doesn’t get much better than that.
The quirkiness is something we love about this place, so why not show it off! Many travelers visit Portland with the goal of seeing the weird and wacky, so with the help of our volunteer, Caroline, we’ve created the “Quirky Portland Walking Tour”. The inaugural tour was last Thursday, and it included the Lovejoy Columns, North Park Blocks, Mary’s (Portland’s oldest strip club—didn’t go in, but pointed it out), Ground Krontrol Barcade, 24 Hour Church of Elvis, Waterfront Park, Made in Oregon sign, Voodoo Donuts, and ended at Portland City Grill for a drink. The next tour will include Mills End Park (the World’s Smallest Park) and the Pecularium. Caroline also discussed history and interesting facts about Old Town and the Pearl District.
I can’t imagine Portland losing it’s weirdness anytime soon, so the material for the Quirky Portland tour will only grown from here on. From the mustache donuts to public statues of Zoobomber bikes, let us show you what keeps Portland weird and lovable!
Nomading Film Festival Winter Recess in Portland
Ten years ago, the idea of filming yourself eating live octopus in Korea and then submitting the footage to a film festival would have sounded absolutely ridiculous. But now, thanks to the smart phone phenomenon, anyone is able to capture anything on film, anywhere in the world, and share it with everyone. This is the premise of the Nomading Film Festival.
NoFF was created with the belief that anyone with a camera, fancy or not, can be a filmmaker. In the words of the NoFF team themselves, “We believe that stories caught on film, while traveling, are some of the most entertaining, educating, beautiful, and authentic. These are stories which should be shared, acknowledged, and awarded”.
Last summer, the Nomading Film Festival had their inaugural event in New York City at Hostelling International-New York. The event was such a success, with over 80 films submitted and 11 chosen as finalists, the NoFF team (Mikey, Bassam, Josh and Andrew) decided to put together a Winter Recess on the west coast. Luckily for us, they chose Portland! The event was held last Saturday, January 28th.
NoFF’s Winter Recess included a day of screening the 11 finalists films from their event in NYC, a raffle, and a question and answer session with three of the filmmakers (Caitlin from Travel Yourself, and Tawny and Chris from Captain and Clark) held at the McMenamins Mission Theater. Over 100 people attended, a great turn out. The collection of films were entertaining, inspiring and creative, and no two were alike. One of the most astonishing films was of a newborn baby elephant taking its first steps with the help of its mother.
After a break in the afternoon, the festival-goers reconvened at Boothster in NE Portland for the Benefit After Party. Ticket sales went to the various non-profits supported by NoFF: Teen Living Programs, ProjectExplorer.org,100 Cameras and Matador Youth Scholarship Fund.We danced, drank free Widmer beer, and hung out with travelers and filmmakers from the Northwest. Hostelling International USA even gave away 3 free hostel stays to a couple lucky raffle winners!
All in all, it was a fantastic festival, bringing people together to share the love of travel with the creativity of independent film-making . Plans for NoFF WinterRecess 2013 are already in store. We’ll keep you posted!
Check out the photos, courtesy of Jennifer Harju
500 Facebook Fans!
The HI-Northwest Portland International Hostel reached 500 awesome facebook fans earlier this week, and to celebrate we hosted an all-you-can-eat ice cream sundae social in the main kitchen.
Currently, the hostel is filled with musicians visiting town for Portland’s Old Time Music Festival, and the sound of guitars, banjos and basses fill the hallways and common spaces throughout the afternoon and evening. It definitely livens up the hostel during the winter months!
Holidays at the Hostel
Traveling during the holidays can be hard for some, being away from close friends and family. You might not celebrate in the same tradition as if you were at home, but, as hostellers know, being away from home for the holidays opens the door for new opportunities to create new traditions with new friends from around the world.
Here at our HI-Northwest Portland Hostel, we have a few ways of bringing together the travel community during the holidays. Locals and hostellers alike are welcome to our events, connecting our many international guests to travel enthused Portlanders.
This year, we hosted a gingerbread house decorating party, our 9th Annual Holiday Glühwein Party (see previous post), and a potluck Christmas dinner. Each event was a huge success, and it is safe to saw we made one of the most beautiful and creative gingerbread houses in hostel history!
Check out some of the photos from the gingerbread house party and Christmas dinner below.
Wishing you happy holidays, safe travels, and much adventure in the new year!
Gingerbread House Decorating Party
Potluck Christmas Dinner
9th Annual Glühwein Holiday Party
Check out the photos from our 9th Annual Holiday Party! Glühwein, spiced cider, bratwurst and cookies around a warm fire in the Secret Garden. December 21st, 2011
Jim getting served a delicious bratwurst
Murphy, Tanya and baby Milo
Tracy and Mays
Party-goers in the Secret Garden
Adam, Simone and Clare around the fire
Tessah, Libby and Simone enjoy their wine and food
Martin and Steffen from German, Walter from Brazil
Martin, Steffen and Libby
Hostel Field Trip: GoMio World Hostel Conference 2011
It was a whirlwind trip for the HI-Northwest Portland Hostel crew. 325 miles and many bathroom breaks/co-op pit stops later, we arrived in Vancouver, B.C. for the 10th Annual GoMio World Hostel Conference.
There were six of us total—the owners, Jim and Britta, their 2 ½ year old daughter Maja, staff members Mary Liz and Tessah, and the French intern Charline. We all piled into the big green van and headed north for our first staff road trip. After a night in Seattle at the City Hostel Seattle, headed to Vancouver B.C. The first stop was the Naam restaurant, an institution for the city’s vegetarians.
After checking into the HI-Downtown Vancouver hostel, we made our way to the opening reception for the conference, which was located in a bar on Granville Street, next to HI-Vancouver Central. The long event space, with its exposed brick walls and dark, candle-lit tables, quickly filled with conference attendees from around the world. 160 people from over 16 countries were present, representing Hostelling International, other hostel networks, independently-owned hostels, travel booking sites, social media organizations, and much more. The evening was spent mingling and getting to know the inspirational and fascinating group of people who have chosen to make the mission of hostelling their life’s work.
With a variety of presentations spanning from hostel operations to social media marketing, and everything in between, it was an interesting and informative 2 days. It was great to learn about the creative innovations happening within the hostel movement.
Anthony, from the Planet Traveler hostel in Toronto, spoke about having the greenest hostel in Canada, complete with solar thermal hot water, photovoltaic energy, wastewater heat reclamation, and many other green building features.
Max and Dan, two climbers in their mid-twenties, recently opened the Crash Pad Hostel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They also focus strongly on being green and are tracking for LEED Gold Certification. Their craftsman, custom-build hostel features hand-made furniture from recycled materials and an amazing outdoor pavilion.
Other notable hostels: The Matchbox Hostel in Singapore, which stood out for its brightly colored design and sleeping pods for ultimate privacy. The Getaway Hostel in Chicago, with its library, music room, media room, and 20s mobster theme is sure to make your stay in Chicago unforgettable. Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem, Notso Hostel in Charleston, S.C., Equity Point Hostels based in Barcelona, and the Firehouse hostel, soon to open in Austin, TX, plus many more.
Aside from interesting presentations from innovative leaders in the hostelling and travel industry, the conference provided space and time to share ideas, tour Vancouver, and make friends from around the world. The hostelling business has many perks, but one of the greatest is that no matter where in the world you travel, there are always friends to visit and free places to stay!
We had a great time at the World Hostel Conference and wish to thank the GoMio team for their amazing efforts in putting together such a memorable event. Can’t wait till next year!
Check out some of the photos from our trip. The rest are on our Facebook page.
Why Buy New? Our Guide to Thrifty Shopping
There are multiple arguments for buying clothes second hand. 1. It’s cheaper. 2. The clothes are pre-washed, thus guaranteed to still fit after you take them home. 3. You aren’t contributing to more “stuff” filling the world, just re-using what’s already out there, and 4. Fashion recycles itself, right? So technically nothing ever goes completely out of style.
Luckily, Portland has over 50 second-hand shops for your thrifty shopping needs. Whether you’ve just arrived in Portland and need to pick up a plaid flannel (staple pdx garb) or are heading to a Big Lebowski-themed birthday party and are missing an oversize bathrobe or bowling team uniform, a thrift store is bound to be just around the corner.
photo by Matt Houlemard
For your convenience, the shops are organized by location. Let’s start near the hostel in the Northwest neighborhood.
William Temple House Thrift Store NW 22nd and Glisan Street
This is closest second-hand shop to the hostel and also happens to be one of the best. It’s nothing glamorous, but generally has amazing deals, as well as a great selection of jewelry and miscellaneous household items. Best of all, sales go to support William Temple House’s mental health counseling and emergency social services to individuals and families in need.
What’s Upstairs? NW 23rd and Johnson
Definitely more high-end merchandise than William Temple house, with a large collection of designer clothes, bags and accessories. Even with the barely used couture goods, the prices are fair.
Pop-Up Shoppe NW 23rd and Lovejoy
It’s easy to walk by this shop a hundred times without noticing it, but once you do, it is impossible to get in and out in under an hour. This basement space is crammed with antiques, vintage apparel and accessories, classic old toys, trinkets you’d expect to find in your Grandparents’ house, jewelry, and much much more. It seems unorganized and cluttered, but digging around is part of the fun.
Goodwill NW 22nd and Burnside
Most people are familiar with this thrift store chain. Nothing fancy, but you can always find something good!
Buffalo Exchange SW 10th and Burnside
Conveniently located just across Burnside street from Powell’s Bookstore, this shop has a great selection of the newest trends and styles for men and women. It isn’t necessarily cheap, but you can get great deals on things like designer jeans, shoes, and jackets.
Magpie SW 9th and Washington
Huge selection of vintage clothes, jewelry, purses, shoes, sunglasses, and costumes. Everything from Grace Kelly gowns to wild west cowboy boots, and it’s all in great condition.
Buffalo Exchange SE 37th and Hawthorne
Larger version of the shop on 10th and Burnside in downtown.
Crossroads Trading Co. SE 37th and Hawthorne
Similar feel to Buffalo Exchange, with trendy, hip clothes, but with better. Friendly, helpful staff, laid back atmosphere, and a great selection of men’s and women’s clothing. One of the best consignment shops in Portland.
Red Light Clothing Exchange SE 36th and Hawthorne
Huge store with a huge selection of recycled clothing, both modern and retro, plus fun extras like vintage bathing suits, top hats, scarves, and a whole sections of funky vests. Give yourself time to get through it all!
Rock n Rose 6th and E. Burnside
A vintage consignment shop with both new and used clothing for men and women. Great shoes and boots, sunglasses, and sweaters, plus a selection of locally-made jewelry, greeting cards, and graphic tees. Make sure to check out the sale rack out front for extra good deals.
Modo Boutique 7th and E. Burnside
A very small store that isn’t overwhelming like many other second-hand shops. Even thought the selection is limited, it is all high quality. Definitely a spot worth checking out!
Rerun 707 NE Fremont St.
Amazing selection of clothing, household goods, furniture and much, much, MUCH more. It’s nearly impossible to leave without buying something, especially because the prices are great and it’s just too fun to keep looking around. Everyone’s favorite (not-so-secret) best kept secret in Portland.
It was another successful Thanksgiving feast at the Northwest Portland Hostel and Guesthouse! Thanks to dedicated staff and volunteer helpers, as well as many of our dinner guests, we enjoyed quite the spread. Two turkeys, stuffed with homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, cornbread muffins, brussel sprouts and green beans, salad, two types of gravy, PLUS guacamole and chips, fresh fruit, and a whole smorgasbord of desserts—needless to say we all walked away stuffed.
Whether it’s on Thanksgiving or any other day, it’s nice to sit down with others (friends, family, coworkers, travel buddies, or random bunkmates) and share what you are thankful for. Tonight, many hostellers expressed their love of travel and how thankful they are to have this opportunity to see the world, explore new cultures, and meet so many interesting people. Not everyone has the chance to have international adventures, so it is definitely something to be thankful for.
From all of us at the Northwest Portland Hostel and Guesthouse, thank you to all you hostellers, travelers and adventurers out there! Keep exploring!
Winter Warmers- the Best of the Northwest Holiday Beers
The Halloween decorations and zombie costumes are back in the garage, and it isn’t quite time to start cooking the Thanksgiving turkeys, but true Portland beer enthusiasts know exactly how to celebrate this time of year: holiday brews!
These dark, malty beers are perfect for the change in season, often with more alcohol content to keep you warm and added flavors like fruit and spices to pair with the holiday season. Whether you’re sipping yours in front of the fire or in a crowded bar with friends, these hearty brews will keep you toasty all winter long.
Recently released Portland beers:
Stingy Jack Pumpkin Ale- Laurelwood Brewing
Snow Day, American Black Ale, 6.2%- Concordia Ale House
2011 Abyss Imperial Stout- Deschutes Brewing
Abominable Winter Ale- Hopworks Brewing
Strong NW Saison (aka ‘Saison de Roxana’)- Breakside Brewing
C-Sons Greetings- Lompoc Brewing
Sleigh’r- Ninkasi Brewery (Eugene, OR)
Jubelale- Deschutes Brewery
Vinter Varmer- Laurelwood Brewing
Brrr- Widmer Bros. Brewing Co.
Ebenezer Ale- Bridgeport Brewing Co.
Santa’s Little Helper- Cascade Lakes Brewing Co.
Try them for yourself!
Portland’s 2011 Holiday Ale Festival will be held Wednesday, November 30th through Sunday, December 4th at Pioneer Courthouse Square. With over 40 breweries sampling their special selection of handcrafted stouts, porters and barelywines, you will be sure to stay warm and toasty while you enjoy the holiday festivities.
Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the special 2011 Holiday Ale Festival beers:
Deschutes: Super Jubel
Bridgeport: Vintage Old Knucklehead
Hopworks Urban Brewery: Kentucky Christmas
Laurelwood Brewing: Bonaparts Retreat
Lompoc Brewing: Cherry Christmas
Lucky Labrador Brewing: Candied Scottish Holiday
Rogue Ales: Rogue Creamery 75th
Widmer Brewing: Peppermint Paddy Porter