Posts Tagged ‘Powell’s City of Books’

Exploring the Pacific Northwest: Portland and Seattle with High School Students


UHS Faculty member Maggie Beckman hiking Portland’s Forest Park

I’ve long held the belief that travel is the best kind of education. So when my friend Wes Priest, an English teacher at University High School in Indiana, told me that he was bringing a group of students to the Pacific Northwest with his colleague, art teacher Tasha Barger, I agreed to join them and give a few photography tips.


Wes and the JTerm students at the Witches Castle in Forest Park (photo credit: Maggie Beckman)

These 23 teenagers spent the first part of January studying the art, photography and literature of the Pacific Northwest with Wes, Tasha, and faculty member Maggie Beckman during their school’s January Term (J-Term). During J-Term, the students take a break from their normal studies to immerse themselves in a single subject that interests them. This interdisciplinary class culminated in a trip to Portland and Seattle.


PDX snowpocalypse in Forest Park

I met up with the group in Portland, Oregon while the city was still pretty much shut down after experiencing the biggest snowstorm in 20 years. As a seasoned traveler, I know plans how often plans go awry and you need to embrace that. But I had no idea how a group of teenagers would handle it. Their upbeat attitudes and lack of complaints caught me off guard. It was refreshing. There really is nothing you can do about the weather and the students got to see Portland in a really unique way.

Time lapse of the students working on zines in Portland. What a cool class.

Spending time with this group taught me a lot of great things to do with teenagers in Portland. We hiked through snowy Forest Park to the Pittock Mansion to get a view of the city. We hit legendary Portland institutions including Powell’s City of Books and Voodoo Donuts.


Hiking the Upper Macleay Trail in Forest Park

I learned donuts are very popular with high school students. Top Pot Donuts in Seattle was also on the week’s agenda. The students documented their trip with cameras and used photos and found items to create hand bound zines. It was fun to watch so many young creative minds get busy making art.


Snoqualmie Falls

Spending the week with this group of students was both exhausting and inspiring. They appreciated both cities as well as the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and they reminded me of what it is like to have a youthful perspective.


Eating Ramen at Pine Market in Portland (photo credit: Wes Priest)

Eating Ramen at Pine Street Market was a big hit with this crew on a cold night in Portland.

Watching the students document their trip made me want to include some of their photos and impressions on this blog. Featured below are some images the UHS students shot on their trip to the PNW and their own captions.


I took this photograph of my friends’ and my feet right before our hike at Twin Falls.”- Kathryn Papp

These students came prepared and learned the best way to handle the Pacific Northwest’s moody weather is by dressing correctly. Every one of these students was wearing appropriate footwear. It made for a cute photo opportunity and I was excited that one of the students captured it.


Lily in Capitol Hill in front of graffiti- Erin Webb

The students wandered through Portland, checking out local record stores, thrift shops, and the Portland Art Museum.


I took it because its kind of a perfect depiction of the Seattle vibe. Everyone and everything is accepted, except for lack of acceptance- Lily Hunter

The students broke up into groups and explored different neighborhoods in Seattle, which prides itself on being progressive and a Sanctuary City. I wasn’t surprised the teenagers loved Pike Place Market and my personal favorite, MoPop  (formerly known as the EMP).

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 Gorgeous water fall at Snoqualmie falls in Washington” – Kenzie Binford

Seattle’s weather cooperated with us and the group got to visit Snoqualmie Falls and went for a great hike in Twin Falls.


 “A different perspective of a piece of wood art at Portland Art Museum”- Drej Cosby

It was my first visit to the Portland Art Museum and I thought it was both user friendly and a nice size. There was lots to see without it being too overwhelming.


 “Meowtropolitan cat taking some time to chill”- Drej Cosby

Some of the students visited Seattle’s Meowtropolitan, a Japanese-style cat cafe. I’m allergic to cats but was interested in their take. They really enjoyed it, and seemed to think it was quite a bit of fun for the price point!


 Red and Boji”- Maddie Compton

I was impressed by the student’s genuine appreciation for the post-modern architecture of the the Seattle Central Library. They made me remember just how cool the Rem Koolhas and Joshua Ramus-designed building is.


 “The Seattle Room at the Seattle Public Library”- Elise Zaniker

Seattle’s Central Library is also a great location to take photographs and the kids got some eye catching shots.

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 The modern built Seattle Public Library is home to many of writers and artists that open a portal of literary bliss to anyone. I felt that this was a good representation of the modern architecture that houses the classic tales of our time.”- Serena Patel


  “This was on the bus ride from Portland to Seattle. It was just a nice, quiet moment I wanted to capture.”-Kathryn Papp

The students impressed me with their keen interest in the Pacific Northwest, their manners and the general lack of drama. Travelers have always been de facto ambassadors, and this group certainly made University High School look good.


This bridge that served as our entry point into Forest Park felt like a gateway or portal into another world. Once I crossed under this bridge, I felt like I was in an entirely different universe of snowy bliss. Almost like Narnia.”- Livi Nichols

Spending a week with these kids strengthened my belief that travel is great education. It forces you out of your comfort zone, makes you to think on your feet and switches up your perspective. It was fun being able to share the experience of exploring the Pacific Northwest with these students. Their enthusiasm and curiosity was contagious.


  Michaela laughed as she hoisted herself up to get a better view of Elliott Bay. It was our first day in Seattle and the rain and fog only added to our ‘authentic’ Seattle experience.“- Livi Nichols

I did not just learn from the students. Wes, Tasha, and Maggie are passionate educators who are dedicated to helping young minds develop. They worked hard to plan this trip and make it a positive experience for all involved. I hope these students know how lucky they are to have such fantastic and accessible teachers.


“It was really spiritual and one of the best moments of my life because everybody was helping everybody else. People were cold and tired, but everybody stayed positive and struggled together to get the best feeling once we hit the very top.”- Eli DeBrota

The whole J-Term concept is a really cool idea. Where were classes like this when I was in high school?


The JTerm Crew on the waterfront in Seattle

I have to confess I missed this group once they left Seattle. Hopefully some of them with return to visit. I promise Portland is an entirely different experience without all the snow.


Wes and Tasha at Snoqualmie Falls

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Exploring the Pacific Northwest: Five Fun Things To Do in Portland, Oregon


The Volcano Bowl at Hale Pele

I recently went on a quick girlfriend getaway to Portland, Oregon. Only three hours away from Seattle by car, the Rose City is one of my favorite Pacific Northwest destinations. Here are five fun things to do the next time you get to the town known as Beervana.

1) Explore the Alberta Arts District

Portland is all about the different vibes of various neighborhood. It’s fun to explore them. We asked PDX natives for their favorite spots in the city. Both our uber driver and a local photographer suggested we check out Alberta Street. We loved it!


Rose mural being painted by Pablo’s Murals

On the shopping front, Digs Inside & Out  was a standout for its excellent edit of home and garden items. The air plant section was hella impressive.


Funky bunny street art

The 26 blocks of Alberta Street are known as the Alberta Arts District. They are a great place to see street art, shop in local boutiques, and check out some of the local food carts.


Meh flag and artsy pillows for sale on Alberta Street

Alberta Arts District

The neighborhood centers on Alberta Street, a thoroughfare stretching through the North and Northeast sections of the city and crossing Interstate 5.

2) Take a Trip to a Tiki Bar

Since the Pacific Northwest’s weather is notoriously moody, you can take an instant tropical getaway by going to one of Portland’s tiki bars. Kitschy, retro and totally fun, Portland has a few notable tiki bars. This time we headed to Hale Pele.


Zan says “if you aren’t doing this on way out of a Tiki Bar, you are Tiki Barring wrong”

Hale Pele had an excellent staff and a high theatrical factor. We ordered the Volcano Bowl for the table.


Tiki Bar kitsch on 11 at Hale Pele

Based on recipe from the 1970s from Don the Beachcomber, the Volcano Bowl was made with grapefruit, lime, aged rums, allspice, and set on fire!


Who needs beer? Behold: The Hale Pele Volcano Bowl

We had already had dinner, but the menu looked pretty tasty and we had a fried dough dessert that was good enough to make us want to come back to sample a selection of Pu-Pus.


Instagram worthy cocktails at Hale Pele Tiki Bar

Hale Pele proves Portland is about way more than beer.

Hale Pele Tiki Bar

Address: 2733 NE Broadway St, Portland, OR 97232, United States
Phone: +1 503-662-8454

3. Stop and Smell the Roses


Tending Roses is serious business

One of the many reasons Portland is known as “Rose City” is because it’s climate is ideal for growing the flowers. You can see and smell these floral beauties by visiting the International Rose Test Garden, which is free to visitors.There are well labeled sections for Gold Medal Roses as well as Miniature Rose Test Garden.

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Award winning roses at the International Rose Test Garden

All the roses are clearly named. I did not know there was a Neil Diamond Hybrid Tea Rose until we wandered through this peaceful and beautiful place.


Busy Bees in the rose garden

Address: 400 SW Rose Park Rd, Portland, OR 97205, United States
Phone: +1 503-823-3636

4. Sample Portland’s Foodie Scene

The Pacific Northwest has one of the most dynamic and exciting food scenes in the country. Chef Andy Ricker has won many awards for his unique Thai Street food served at his restaurants. We ate dinner at Pok Pok‘s original location.


Pok Pok’s exterior brings back memories of Thailand

We went for Kai Yaang ($14), half of a locally sourced, charcoal roasted, air-cooled chicken, seasoned with lemongrass, garlic, pepper and cilantro.


Pok Pok’s Kai Yaang chicken and roasted corn.

The bird was served with dipping sauces and sticky rice. It’s served family style. There is even a cool bar in the back of the restaurant.


Drinking vinegars at Pok Pok

Address: 3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202, United States
Phone: 1 503-232-1387

5. Explore the World’s Largest Independent Book Store

Head to the Pearl District to explore Powell’s City of Books. Powell’s has a few locations but the flagship store on Burnside is not to be missed.


Exploring Powell’s City of Books (photo by Whitney in Portland for Flytographer)

I love a well organized brick and mortar bookstore and it’s hard to beat Powell’s. We explored it during our Flytographer session which you can read about here.


How did I not write this book?  (photo by whitney in Portland for Flytographer)

Address: 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
 Phone: 1-503-228-4651

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Super Flytographer Experience in Portland, Oregon


Flytographer Whitney shooting Katie in Portland’s Pearl District (Photo by Jen Pollack Bianco)

EDITOR’S NOTE: all other photos in this post are by Whitney in Portland for Flytographer

Trips with my BFFs don’t happen in my life nearly as much as they should. I am incredibly lucky to have great girlfriends with adventurous spirits who agreed to meet me for a Pacific Northwest girlfriend getaway. Since I live in Seattle, that was a logical place to start. We wanted a “road trip” segment so we headed to Portland for 36 hours in the Rose City.


Just hanging out in the Pearl District

Katie has been my BFF since the first day of Fourth grade in Indianapolis. She was my college roommate and my bridesmaid. When Zan showed up in middle school, we became a power trio. The three of us have had many adventures and a few misadventures together. Now we live in three different cities and don’t get together nearly enough. When planning our PNW girls trip, I realized I didn’t want to be the one behind the lens the entire time. So many of the photos of the three of us have been taken at weddings and reunions. We just did not have enough photos of the three of us simply goofing around and enjoying each other’s company. Enter… Flytographer.


Our Flytographer experience was Yo, Awesome and Rad

We rocked these Sisters of Los Angeles Baja jackets for part of our shoot

Flytographer is a destination photography company whose motto is “some trips deserve more than selfies.” This was one of those trips. I’ve been wanting to try out Flytographer since some of my fellow travel blogger friends have used the destination photography service. Flytographer offers short photo sessions in most major cities and vacation destinations on six continents. The company works by pairing clients with local photographers. Flytographer shoots are a no-brainer for major life events like proposals and babymoons. I went with Whitney in Portland because I liked her photographic sensibility and thought her love of travel made her the right choice for our girlfriends getaway.


The yellow VW Microbus we stumbled upon was a great shoot location

After filling out Flytographer’s request form with relevant info, I got a quick response from a Flytographer Concierge who kept me looped in during the whole process and let me know she was checking Whitney’s availability. Then I read Flytographer’s Style Guide. While we definitely wanted candid photos, I did want us to look like our we had our act together. Zan and I recently bought jumpsuits we love at Bleu Clothing, so we convinced Katie to jump on the jumpsuit bandwagon. We drew our fashion inspiration from fashion icons like Charlie’s Angels and The Pointer Sisters. Sex and the City came up as a style reference as well. But there were four main characters in SATC, and no one in my girl squad is the Miranda.

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Chillaxing in Tanner Springs Park

Props to Katie for finding a red jumpsuit online and rocking it like a young Diane Von Furstenberg! Have I mentioned my friend Katie is crazy resourceful?

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Exploring Powell’s City of Books

My Flytographer, Whitney, was great about suggesting locations for the shoot. We decided to star with Tanner Springs Park and then head to downtown Portland. The Flytographer Concierge put all the details together so we knew where and when to meet Whitney. We had a great time during this shoot. Not only did we have an excuse to dress up and act silly, but we got to explore the Pearl District with a Portland native, which was fun. We wound up in Powell’s City of Books, one of my favorite bookstores on the planet. This was perfect because all three of us girls are still book nerds.

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Obligatory Charlie’s Angels homage

As you can see, the inner child in each of us is alive and well.

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Another classic Charlie’s Angels pose

We did a mix of posed and candid shots with Whitney, who was great at given us direction. Going in, my goal was to get three good shots out of the Flytographer session. I think we wound up with a lot more than that, and we had a lot of fun during our shoot. We finished with a round of Cosmopolitans at Pepe le Moko, a funky subterranean bar that felt like a bomb shelter.


We finished our session with a round of cosmos at Pepe Le Moko

I really enjoyed shooting with Whitney and found myself relaxing in front of the camera for once. The fun continued when I got a preview postcard from Flytographer two days later which included a great teaser shot from our shoot. The link to the final images arrived in my email a few days later.



 We even got a few quick single shots during our Flytographer session

Flytographer sessions start at $250. You can check out their packages here.

I am so grateful to have such lifelong girlfriends who were game for this. We had an amazing Flytographer experience, and it was worth every penny. These photos will make me happy for many years to come, and I think my BFFs feel the same way. Katie is even thinking about booking a Flytographer session for her holiday cards.


Love this shot from Tanner Springs Park

I never regret making time to get together with my girlfriends. We laughed non-stop and agreed we need to do trips like this more often. Flytographer’s mini-photo sessions are a great way to get memorable souvenirs from your next holiday or vacation. Since Flytographer also offers prints, I’m pretty sure Katie and Zan know what they are getting for Christmas this year. I’ve had such a great Flytographer experience I am officially a fan of the brand.


Address: 330 – 517 Fort Street, Victoria BC Canada V8W 1E7
Office hours: 9am-5pm Pacific Time
Phone:  1 (888) 211-7178





Our Portland photographer was Whitney.


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