PORTLAND AND SEATTLE
May 24th to May 31st
($4350, 7 nights, airfare, tours, taxes, 4-star hotel and included meals)
(Deduct $450 if flying on own and $450 pp if sharing a room)
We will be visiting Portland and Seattle May 24-31st with 4 nights and 3 full days in Portland and 3 nights and 3 days in Seattle. The trip includes 2 meals a day except on day of arrival and day of departure.
The group is flying DIRECT out of Newark 3:55pm to 7:05pm and returning either 10:05-6:28pm to JFK or 1:15-9:51pm JFK, depending on if you want to leave earlier or later on May 31st.
The hotel in Portland is the beautiful 4-star Benson Hotel, one of the most well-known hotels in all of the Northwest. In Seattle, we are NOW staying in the centrally located, beautiful 4-star, 4-Tier Grand Hyatt Hotel. The Grand Hyatt is #6 on Trip Advisor in Seattle. Each room has floor to ceiling windows and is 100sf larger than the Kimpton.
Portland has always been known as a quirky, fun, foodie and music town with a somewhat “Austin” feel to it. In fact, Portland has the same motto as Austin- “Keep Portland Weird.” With its vibrant Downtown and eclectic neighborhoods, Portland promises an abundance of activities for almost any traveler. Foodies flock to the artisanal eateries, shoppers find plenty of design-savvy boutiques and nature lovers appreciate the wide ranging environment.
Lonely Planet just named Portland the 10th best city to travel to IN THE WORLD, 2017. The New York Times named Portland, “The West Coast Capital of Urban Cool,” Food & Wine put Portland in “U.S. and Canada’s Best Places to Eat.”
Note: This is an incomplete itinerary and timeline subject to change. These are just some highlights and set plans for the tour, there are other activities and tours being worked on.
We first take a bus tour through the various parts of the city from downtown Portland to the Pearl District to Nob Hill. See all the attractions including the sites of Pioneer Square and learn about the great diversity found in Portland’s downtown area, the historical importance it has played in the state’s history and the fast-growing culture that exists in Portland. We will learn about many prominent and notable citizens of Oregon. Experience sights of Portland famous food carts, visit the grounds of Pittock Mansion, head over to the International Rose Gardens inside the lush and beautiful Washington Park, featuring some of the most amazing cascade mountain views around. Our last stop is the Lan Su Chinese Garden one of Portland’s greatest treasures and most interesting sites to see while visiting Portland. A result of a collaboration between the cities of Portland and Suzhou, the sister city in China’s Jiangsu province that’s famous for its beautiful Ming Dynasty gardens, Lan Su was built by Chinese artisans from Suzhou and is the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China.
May in Oregon is wine month and the week leading into Memorial Day is a big celebration in wine country! We will head out of town on a wine and waterfall tour, exploring the amazing wineries and waterfalls found in this part of the country during this time of celebration as well as heading to a few tastings to see for ourselves why this part of the country is considered to be the next Napa Valley.
Epicurean tour- A unique and delicious walking tour (1 mile) where you’ll taste food and sip wine while discovering Portland’s amazing culinary scene. Portland has become a go-to destination for foodies. Even though you’ll sample a number of various food and drink items on every tour, the real journey is all about understanding what makes up the food that satisfies us. While having fun, you’ll also achieve an honorary diploma of culinary knowledge as you experience firsthand how fortunate we are to “eat local” and how this locavore philosophy is driving Portland’s exciting food scene. The tour typically visits 7-8 different local vendors and artisan producers in under 3.5 hours and visits farm to table locations as well as food carts and sit down establishments.
We are currently booked at ANDINA the #1 restaurant on TripAdvisor in Portland. This restaurant is #2 on Zagat best restaurant in Portland with a 4.7 rating for food. The website “USA today 10best.com” says, “One restaurant that appears on everybody’s best-of Portland list is Andina. Andina has taken traditional South American cuisine to the level of fine art. Located in the heart of Portland’s Pearl District, Andina has a formal dining room and a more casual bar featuring live, Latin-influenced music every night of the week.” Andina is also listed in the essential 38 Portland restaurants. Zagat lists Andina in Portland’s “Best Restaurant Décor,” and “Portland’s Best Restaurant” list.
We are also dining at HIGGINS RESTURANT– A James Beard Award winner for Best Chef in Northwest, Chef Greg Higgins recipes and writing have been published in numerous periodicals & books as well as his many television appearances. Chef Higgins brings farm to table dining to life. Listed in Portland’s Eater- “Best Restaurants to Eat 2017.” Listed in Zagat best restaurants in downtown Portland, Zagat says, “ This “farm-to-table downtown landmark exudes a professional air from its high-quality menu of sustainably sourced Pacific NW cuisine to the knowledgeable staffers; though it can be pricey, patrons feel it’s worth it for the pride in preparation and care for the ingredients.” And TripAdvisor ranks Higgins # 8 of 3446. Oregon Live lists it in their list of best restaurants in 2016 and they say, “One of the Pacific Northwest’s most influential restaurants.” Higgin’s is listed #7 on 38 Portland’s Essential Restaurants.
Seattle is the 4th fastest growing city in the USA. Travel + Leisure Magazine recently ranked Seattle as being among the “Top Best Cities for Foodies.” Seattle’s epic climb to national food fame has been broadcast globally with being the host city for Top Chef Season 10, featured on The Layover with Anthony Bourdain, and Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern. With Seattle’s unique geographical surroundings of pristine cold waters and hot desert-like climate, it makes for ideal conditions for fresh seafood, incredible wine grapes, and bountiful fresh produce.
After we arrive Sunday as usual we will do a guided bus tour of city covering sites such as Pike Place Market, Olympic & Cascade mountain views, Seattle waterfront, Historic Pioneer Square, Waterfall Garden Park, Chinatown and International District, Lake Washington I-90 Floating Bridge, Space Needle and much more.
After this tour on Sunday we will jump right back into a food coma with the #1 tour group and their top tour, “The Dinner Soiree.” This is a 2-hour lively progressive four-course meal exploring four of Seattle’s top chefs’ restaurants, including several James Beard Award honorees. Each location corresponds to a course – two appetizers, a main, and a dessert. These four chefs have come together to create delicious and unique dishes just for us. The menu for this tour is seafood-centric and each course includes a wine or cocktail pairing. This is a set meal (no changes except for vegetarian in advance). In addition to savoring delectable dishes and drinks, we will also learn about Seattle’s rich food history and the local ingredients and expert preparations in each chef’s innovative dish. We will also learn about each chef’s background, as well as their influences on Seattle’s dynamic restaurant culture, and get a sneak peek inside what it takes to operate these high-stakes kitchens and secrets to success! Our tour is led by the foodiest of all of food tour guides having extensive cooking experience and intimately familiar with the latest happenings in the Seattle food scene. Join us for a fun and delicious evening and learn how Seattle has become one of the country’s top dining destinations.
Current destinations on the Dinner Soiree include-Loulay Restaurant & Bar– Named for Chef Thierry Rautureau’s hometown of Saint Hilaire de Loulay in France, Loulay Kitchen & Bar marries the French influence of his upbringing with modern twist and sensibility to provide an accessible dining experience for everyone. Winner of Seattle Met’s 2014 Restaurant of the Year; Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, D.K. Kodama – Named one of “America’s Best Sushi Bars” by Bon Appétit , Blueacre Seafood- Chef Kevin Davis – James Beard Semi-Finalist Zagat- 4.5, “Kevin Davis has done it again with this Downtown surf ‘n’ turf spot, putting out delectable fare and expect a sleek, expansive space, professional service and bills that many find a little pricey, but “worth it” for the quality” TanakaSan- Iron Chef Tom Douglas’s Asian-American hot spot for dessert.
We will board Seattle’s best boat tour as we sail the Argosy Harbor Cruise. During this narrated cruise, we learn Seattle history, enjoy the ever-evolving Emerald City skyline, explore the workings of the shipping port, get a close-up view of Seattle’s historic waterfront, all wrapped up in the natural beauty of Elliott Bay and the surrounding Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. This live-narrated cruise follows the shoreline of Elliott Bay and the Seattle waterfront.
We will tour of the world-famous Pike Place Market with food samples as we explore the back alleys, narrow corridors, and tiny storefronts in search of the best eats of the market. We will meet the Market’s lively characters and hear their memorable stories, see fish fly, cheese being made, and the “original” Starbucks store. By the end, you will know the best places to eat at Pike Place Market!
Just added- After a scenic half hour ferry ride, our first stop will be Port Townsend the “City of Dreams” which is regarded as one of the best-preserved examples of a Victorian seaport in the United States. While in Port Townsend a local guide will help us look back in time and take a peek into this once thriving city’s boisterous and brawling past. We will see grand the vision for the future by surveying the fabulous buildings and Victorian fantasy mansions. After taking in the scenery and gossip, will have the opportunity to shop and eat (restaurant TBD) along the quiet seaside downtown district, which The National Trust honored for its Historic Preservation with the Great American Main Street Award.
We will then head to The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. This is a place where visitors find peace and beauty in the company of trees, wildflowers, ponds and gardens. The primary purpose of the Reserve is to provide people with an opportunity to enjoy nature through quiet walks in the gardens and woodlands. This 150-acre masterpiece is comprised of 84 acres of second growth forest with the remainder acreage featuring various gardens, ponds and meadows. The Visitor Center, designed as a French country house, on a bluff overlooking the Sound, was constructed in 1931. The Reserve was once the home of the Bloedel Family, who are primarily responsible for its growth and development. The vision of the Bloedels is now interpreted and extended by the Arbor Fund. Prentice Bloedel summed up their vision perfectly with this quote describing the Reserve as “A place where one is reminded of the fundamental bond that exists between man and nature.”
We finish the tour with a spectacular ferry crossing into downtown Seattle. The ride from Bainbridge to Seattle is considered one of the most romantic in all of the United States. Guests will enjoy a panoramic view of the Space Needle, downtown skyline and Mt. Rainier. Truly a wonderful way to end a fantastic day! This is an all-day tour.
This is an incomplete Itinerary. There will be other tours, and many more restaurants that I am working on. Restaurants are usually the last things that I book but rest assured they will be great top restaurant.
Please note: Dinner is not including May 24th our arrival day and Amtrak is taking us from Portland to Seattle.
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