Reasons Why Portland is Awesome, Part Two

Life is all about embracing weird and wacky opportunities when they come your way. So when I discovered that Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) was leading a 5K run before a book signing in Portland Wednesday night, I signed up.

Thanks to not quite adjusting to the time change and also being inspired by the super healthy lifestyles people embrace in the city, I got up every morning and logged a few miles on the waterfront trail. Running and I have a love-hate relationship, but we were totally in synch. Wednesday would be golden!

Then Wednesday rolled around, along with a colossal amount of rain and The Blerch began to set in. My hotel bed was sooo comfy and warm. The urge to don sweats, scarf a bag of kale chips and crush a bottle of Pinot Noir in bed was strong with this one. But I powered through and trucked over to the Portland Running Company ready to take a leisurely jog through Portland streets.

Rainy RunnerRunning along Portland Waterfront

Flash forward 27 minutes, to me having just run the fastest 5.3K I’ve ever clocked. People of Portland, you are gazelles, albeit super friendly ones. High fives were dished out en mass and one volunteer paced me the last 2 kilometres. Upon completion, I was handed a piece of delicious chocolate cake and a freshly poured beer. I was soaked through but totally inspired – thanks Portland Running Company for pushing me a little bit further and throwing a great party.

Following the run, I refuelled at Boxer Ramen with a bowl of soup that could feed a family of four. This place is quirky – hip-hop soundtrack, funky illustrations on the walls and a simple menu that will crush your hunger. My colleagues and I capped
off the night at the gorgeous Multnomah Whiskey Library. Imagine your favourite cozy library (if your library happens to have wood panelling, a fireplace, ornate chandeliers and good-looking bartenders in bow ties and flat caps, natch) but replace the books with bottles of top-shelf whiskey, scotch and spirits. It was delightful and helped take the edge off the burning pain in my legs from the run…

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit run down and burnt out. This week (while busy) has certainly helped me start to refocus my perspective. Thanks for the hospitality and adventures, Portland.

In the City: Toronto Fringe Festival

An Evening in July

What: An Evening in July, a dark comedy now playing as part of Toronto Fringe Festival.

Where: St. George the Martyr Anglican Church, near Queen and John Streets in Toronto

When: Various times over the next three days; check Fringe Fest online for details

Good to Know: Tickets are $12 online, or $10 at the door (but you take your chances). Also, you’ll be moving around as the audience is “part” of the play. And you might become an active participant, although all in good fun.

The Scene: An Evening in July stars Gwynne Phillips and Briana Templeton from The Templeton Philharmonic as two reclusive sisters throwing a party. One part Grey Gardens, a dash of Toronto humour and improv, and some surprisingly heartfelt moments make for a very enjoyable experience.

Play time with parachutes!

Audience members become part of the action as party guests and wander in and out of the church and its beautiful gardens. And as a nice bonus, there’s a bar open throughout the performance, should you decide to join in and raise a glass to these kooky sisters. You’re also free to wander the set prior to the start of the show and check out the fun props – set aside some time to peruse the diary for a few chuckles.

This was my first Fringe performance (crazy, yes) and I thoroughly enjoyed it – get outside and enjoy the nice weather this weekend and some local talent!

Have you checked out a Fringe performance this year?

Paradise Found – Kaikoura

When on the South Island, if you’re able to, I highly recommend making a stop for a few days in Kaikoura. There’s lots to do both if you have unlimited cash or are on more of a budget (and seeing as I’ve been eating the same thing for three days, I fall into the latter category). I spent many hours each morning sitting on this beach with a coffee and a paper or book, and had many a good naps here too. Just down the road, I spotted dolphins and seals catching some rays. A little piece of paradise, this place was, and I’m very happy that I stopped here.

Also stay at the Albatross – eco friendly and run by some very cool individuals. I loved every minute of my stay here!