Tag Archives: Oregon

the things of autumn

autumn in Oregon

Yes, it’s really a new post! I can barely believe it myself. The last two months have flown by with many good intentions to write in this cherished space, but all my writing energy ended up going towards other projects. But here I am, is anyone still out there?

We’re now in the midst of November and on the brink of the holiday season. The weather in Portland was incredible all October, endless sunshine and warmth with a hint of chill in the air. All this led to extra crunchy leaves, pleasant bike rides, hiking every weekend, and lots of gatherings with friends.

At the end of the month, we flew to Mexico for the wedding of two friends from Amsterdam. It was a perfect dose of sunshine, sea, lounging by the pool, and reuniting with friends from the Netherlands. After the wedding, we headed north on the Baja Peninsula to spend the second week of our holiday in La Ventana, La Paz, and finally hiking in the Sierra de la Laguna. Unfortunately, the trip was cut short when Marcus sprained his knee windsurfing and we had to head home early. Bummer! But we’re happy for the time we had and to be home again.

Anticipating: My first Thanksgiving with my family since 2004! Marcus’ best friend from Berlin will be visiting us over the long weekend. He actually lives in New York now. And lived in Amsterdam while we were there. They like to follow each other around the world, I think.

Studying: I’m currently taking the NovoEd course from the Stanford School of Business The Finance of Retirement and Pension. It’s completely outside my normal area of interests, but it has been really interesting to learn about life annuities, coupon bonds, and how to make smart choices to ensure a financial future. Important stuff!

Reading: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The first book of a trilogy that was quite popular in 2006. I’m a little late to the party, but am enjoying it so far.

Watching: You guys. This documentary about ducks is so great. Not only because they call it a DUCKumentary, but also because it takes a unique look at one of nature’s most familiar creatures.

What have you enjoyed this autumn? Any reading tips for the coming winter? It’s good to be back, friends.

Images from my Instagram (clockwise): leaves covering Director Park, banana pancakes for breakfast, pappardelle with chanterelle mushrooms foraged in the Willamette Valley, a waterfall found while hiking in the Tillamook State Forest.

Suttle Lake

  SuttleLake1At the end of May, Marcus and I drove to Central Oregon to spend my birthday weekend at The Lodge at Suttle Lake. The resort has a beautiful main lodge and boathouse restaurant, with private cabins scattered around the premises. We rented a small cabin a short walk from the lake and dined the first evening at the restaurant. Due to a mixup, our reservation was lost, so the manager opened the second floor and gave us a private meal with a view over the lake. The ambiance was amazing, complemented by delicious food and a bottle of wine. After our meal, we headed back to sit around the fire and roast birthday s’mores.

The next day, my parents joined us for a hike around the lake, although the water was too cold for a swim. In the evening, we cooked a meal of chili, cheese sandwiches, and roasted kale over the fire. With s’mores for dessert, of course. On Sunday, we headed to the nearby town of Sisters, an Old West style town with a mountain range for a backdrop. We visited a few antique shops, enjoyed lunch on a sunny terrace, and grabbed coffee at the legendary Sisters Coffee Company. And then, we headed over the mountain and back to Portland.

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on the lake

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only adventure awaits

Gearhart Beach

It was a Saturday afternoon, sunny and the warm air thick with pollen. We had rented a car for the weekend and were preparing to head to my sister’s house for a dinner party. Marcus turned to me and upended our plans to drive to the beach early the next morning with a question: “Shall we go tonight instead?” Suddenly preparations to pack our sleeping bags, park on the beach, and sleep in the back of the car began to take shape. And, why not? Didn’t we uproot our cozy life in Amsterdam to be closer to nature and adventure in Oregon?

We began the drive from Portland to the beach well after 9pm. Headed west, we witnessed the sun setting behind the Coastal Mountain Range and then were pitched into darkness on the winding roads. As Marcus drove, I studied a map to decide where we should set up camp. For long stretches, we would lose mobile phone reception completely, nearly unheard of in Western Europe.

As we entered the small town of Gearhart, there were self-reprimands that we should have planned the trip better. After several failed attempts, we came upon a beach access point for cars and drove out onto the sand. There were small groups of people up and down the beach, gathered around bonfires as the tide drew near. We crawled into our sleeping bags, rolled the window slightly to avoid asphyxiation, and settled back to the sound of the waves.

Pacific Way Bakery

The early morning light woke us at 5:30am and we staved off our hunger until the Pacific Way Bakery opened. After rounds of coffee and pastries, we returned to the beach for a gloriously sunny day. As the tide went out, we came across a multitude of sand dollars still intact. A sight I’d never seen before.

The move across the world hasn’t been easy and the last months have surfaced doubts, worries, and fears that I didn’t anticipate. The transition will take time and we’re trying to fully embrace life in America without sacrificing the European values we hold close. I have learned to trust Marcus in ways I never had to before and I know that as long as I say yes, only adventure awaits.

back to the wilderness

When making the decision to move back to the States, one of influencing factors was the beautiful nature of Oregon. I have traveled to many countries, but am still astounded by the beauty of my homestate. There is an amazing variety here: mountains, forests, beaches, deserts, peaceful lakes, roaring rivers, and waterfalls. Marcus and I have been taking full advantage of our proximity to nature since our arrival three weeks ago.

Little North Santiam
In our first week here, we went on a hike with my sister Alyssa and our dog Tauri to the Little North Fork, along the winding Santiam River and through the thick forest. It’s an easy hike with clear pools and waterfalls.

Shellburg Falls
On the first weekend, we hiked with my parents and Tauri around Shellburg Falls. It’s an easy 2.8 mile hike past two impressive waterfalls.

Maxwell Butte Snow Park in the Willamette National Forest
On the second weekend, Marcus and I drove to the Cascade Mountain Range to go snowshoeing at Maxwell Butte in the Willamette National Forest. It was our first time snowshoeing and it took some time to get used to walking a bit off kilter. Next time I will definitely start with fewer layers – you get warm fast! – and go on a day with a denser snowpack.

Hoyt Arboretum
After brunch with friends last Sunday, we met Alyssa and went to Hoyt Arboretum, a forested area in Portland’s Washington Park. I have always loved the Wildwood Trail, but this time we also explored the Magnolia Trail, lined with the namesake trees, which were about ready to bloom. Definitely a reason to return in the coming weeks.

Oregon Coast: Pacific City and Neskowin
On Monday, Marcus and I went to the Oregon Coast with Tauri. Our destination was Haystack Rock at Pacific City. We were greeted with blue skies and warm winds. We hiked down the beach, Tauri and Marcus running through the waves, and had a picnic in a remote dune area. We returned and treated ourselves to a pint on the terrace of the Pelican Pub & Brewery. Then we headed to Neskowin, a quiet beach area with a view on Proposal Rock.

an autumn walk in Hoyt Arboretum

On the last day of our trip home, Marcus and I went for a walk with my parents in Hoyt Arboretum, nestled above downtown Portland. The temperatures had dropped significantly during our visit, turning the bright autumn colors a duller, winter version. We wandered over the hills as the late-afternoon air turned cool. Finally when our fingers were numb, we headed for dinner at Serratto and then back to Amsterdam in the morning.

autumn in Oregon

Oregon is beautiful in all seasons, but autumn just might be my favorite. After my trip to Casablanca, I returned to Amsterdam for a few days before departing for Portland. The occasion was my father’s 60th birthday, which we celebrated with abandon. My father declared his birthday a season and has been celebrating the past several months with fishing trips to Bend and explorations of hidden lakes. We take birthdays seriously in my family.

The actual celebration of his birthday lasted about three days, starting with a large party on Saturday, complete with live music and an array of baked goods by yours truly. On Sunday, my parents, Marcus, and I went on a long walk through the orange-leaved trees in surprisingly warm weather. We wore summer clothing and sat outside, drinking lemonade and eating watermelon. On Monday – my dad’s actual birthday – we turned in our ballots, went book shopping, and gathered around the table for a family dinner. I’m thankful for such a wonderful family, a dad who has humor and wisdom, and especially for the love of nature he has inspired in each of us, which comes in especially useful each time I return home to Oregon.

Above, a few images from Instagram (clockwise): sunset over the Willamette River taken while hanging out with my two sweet nieces; the sun shining on the leaves of a maple tree in my parent’s garden; the Stayton-Jordan covered bridge; and the view from the Wildwood trail at Hoyt Arboretum.

summertime in Oregon

Home is always sweet, but perhaps even more so in the summertime. After Ottawa, I traveled on to Oregon to visit my family for a week. It was 38°C / 100°F on the first day and I relished the heat.

The week was spent playing with my nieces, swimming, barbeque dinners on the terrace, roasting marshmallows, harvesting tomatoes from my sister’s amazing garden, eating fish tacos, boating on Foster Lake, enjoying conversations with my parents and sisters, and drinking my first root beer float in years. Yeah, it was pretty amazing.

Oregon in August is just about as good as it gets.

at the Portland Farmers Market

The first morning I was in Portland, my sister Alyssa and I began the day at the Farmers Market at PSU. She lives downtown and we woke early enough to scout out our breakfast from individual vendors. Chocolate milk, strawberries, and Bavarian-style croissants. Finished off with coffee at Stumptown.

Even with all the impressive markets we have in Amsterdam, there was something special about this market. Perhaps it was the fact that I hadn’t been to a Portland farmers market in years. I also appreciated the space that allowed for people to walk uncrowded. My sister also knew many of the vendors, like the bread bakers who are trying to learn German. Such a perfect start to my trip home.

here and there

Dutch people often ask me what the weather is like in Oregon and my response is that it is quite similar to Amsterdam. Four distinct seasons with a good dose of rain. Spring in Oregon tends to be unpredictable, while usually very pleasant in the Netherlands. Our weather here turns chaotic, cool, and rainy in the summer, while Oregon is more consistently warm and summery.

The difference between an Oregon spring and a Dutch spring were at there extremes yesterday. At my parents home in the valley, they had a blanket of snow. My mother sent me photos of the white landscape and I rode around Amsterdam with a light coat and sunglasses. I’ll take one Dutch spring and one Oregon summer please.

Snowy photo by my cute mother. Spring photos by me.

a return from the Northwest

From my home in Oregon to my home in the Netherlands. I’m back in Amsterdam after a trip to the Northwest for a wedding, reunion, and time with family and friends. Photos to come, but for now I’ll leave you with several items celebrating my favorite state (above necklace by truche).

Put a bird on it pillow by lovecalifornia

Oregon poster by aruppel, a personal favorite

stories of the past

A few days ago my sister posted this photo of my mom, at 18, having caught a big fish like a true Oregonian. I have seen this photo dozens of times throughout my life, but I can’t seem to recall the details. Did she catch the fish herself? Was she fishing with my dad (an avid outdoorsman)? I think they had met by the time she was 18, but I can’t recall specifically. Was she holding his catch? Was she flirting with him in her nonchalance?

Inspired to dig into my small archive of scanned photos from the past, I came up with these great photos: my Dad in his hometown Chicago, my parents on a road trip across the US, my parents by a lake, and a photo of me hanging out in a backpack while on a hike with my Dad. I love these glimpses from the past, but they’re not enough for me. I want to know the stories of each photo, the details, emotions, and a description of what happened before and after. Maybe it’s time for my dad to start writing the biography that my siblings and I have been trying to convince him of for years.

photo echo

I’ve been following the photography of the two sisters behind Photo Echo for a while now. The concept is the ‘call and response’ of an image taken by Kelly and Erin each in their own location: one in Portland, Oregon and one in La Rioja, Spain.

Beautiful, simple and I always get a touch of home in the images from Oregon. This is probably my favorite photo diptych so far, the image on the right of a sign bearing my family name in front of an old stone wall. And the image on the left showing signs in an Oregon forest, one pointing towards the library, the other pointing towards the trail (perfect!).

Weekend Links #16

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things from the week, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed this week:
1. Seeing over 40,000 photographs over the course of the last week
2. Interviewing photojournalist David Burnett, Geo director of photography Ruth Eichhorn, critic for The New Yorker Vince Aletti and photographer Heinz Kluetmeier http://bit.ly/fs55tx (image above of the studio)
3. Listening to Adele’s new album 21 on NPR. Just beautiful.
4. Remembering the Oregon fog in images (pictured below, via for me, for you)
5. Reading about the wonder of winter and enjoying the final moments of the season
6. Listening to the new album by Avalanche City (via home.town.treasure)

Detroit and the Land of Stumps

On our return trip through the mountains, Marcus and I stopped at Detroit Reservoir, enticed by the tree stumps exposed when the waters are released from the dam each winter. During the summer, the lake is alive with boats, skiers, and campers enjoying the water and sun. I might just prefer the quiet winter version of the emptied lake, the still air, and clouds of fog resting between the trees. (Mushroom photo taken by Marcus.)

Over the Mountainpass

During the holiday to Oregon, Marcus and I headed across the mountains to visit some friends in Bend, a small town located in central Oregon. Getting there requires a crossing through the Cascade Mountain Range and, as nervous as I was to drive through snow for the first time in many years, I was excited to show Marcus the beautiful mountains of Oregon in the wintertime. Our route took us past the Detroit Dam and Reservoir (pictured above), up the Santiam pass (first picture below), past Suttle Lake (second picture), and through the town of Sisters (third picture). Ridiculously beautiful, isn’t it?

New Year’s Eve Masquerade

New Year’s Eve was such a fantastic night that, 12 days later, I still want to share some photos. The evening started with an early dinner at Jake’s Grill followed by a 7pm performance by Pink Martini at the Arlene Schnitzer concert hall in downtown Portland. A NYE tradition, it was my second time attending the show, a wonderful mix of favorite songs and Christmas songs.

After the show, my parents, my sister, my brother-in-law, Marcus and I headed over to the Benson Hotel for music and a masquerade. Dancing in masks was actually a bit tricky, but we rang in the New Year with style. Shortly after midnight, I petitioned that we head outside for a Berlin-style, on-the-street celebration. Maybe even fireworks? It wasn’t how we imagined and we reached the hotel sooner than expected. Which was when we grabbed our champagne and headed out to enjoy the fire on the terrace. How did you celebrate?

Weekend Links #11

Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things that I have enjoyed, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed during a very Portland week:
1. Eating a sumptuously creative dinner at Castagna, the Portland restaurant of 2010 (pictured above, a baked apple with black walnut, smoked milk, and cinnamon sticks)
2. A lazy afternoon of relaxing at Löyly Sauna
3. Ringing in the New Year with some of my favorite people, kicking off the eve with a performance by Pink Martini at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
4. Book shopping at Powell’s Books
5. Mourning the closure of Berbati’s Pan, an old haunt where I used to interview bands then get kicked out for being underage
6. Enjoying a taste of Lovejoy Vodka, a creation of a local Portland distillery, at the Night Light Lounge (pictured below)

Home for the Holidays

As in past years, my little blog goes a bit quiet around the holidays. Especially this year, which brought me home for the first time in two years. With the last Christmases spent in Berlin, it’s wonderful to be home again.

Written on the first morning:
After a long but smooth flight, I have arrived in Oregon and am ready to throw myself completely into the holidays. Writing at 5am in the quiet kitchen of my parent’s home, I have fresh cantaloupe and warm coffee with a view of a blooming poinsettia and the gingerbread house my mom made with my little niece. Soon my younger sister and our black lab/boxer Tauri should begin to stir and we will bundle up for a morning walk to the ridge over a Christmas tree farm with a range of mountains as a backdrop. The main task of the day is to send a Christmas package to my grandmother.

Okay, all is not perfect. I have serious jet leg from the nine-hour time difference and also need a bit more time to adjust to the general American cheerfulness in place of the more blasé attitude of the Dutch (which I really do love). The layover in Seattle was a bit of a shock to my system. In any case, it is so good to be home.

Weekend Links #10

I hope everyone enjoyed a festive holiday celebration. A Merry Christmas, Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Vrolijk Kerstfeest to all! Weekend Links is a collection of the interesting bits and pieces that I’ve come across on the streets and online. The weekly post is my chance to share with you a few things that I have enjoyed, in a list compiled during the weekend. I hope you enjoy them as well.

A few things I enjoyed over the last week:
1. Reading the article Why Making Dinner is a Good Idea (via something changed, image via Skånska Matupplevelser)
2. Finding two lists of the best articles and essays of 2010 (via spaceships)
3. Eating an ocean roll at The Sparrow Bakery in Bend, Oregon (image below)
4. Dancing to Sufjan Steven’s Come On! Let’s Boogie to the Elf Dance with my family on Christmas morning
5. Watching Thomas Balmes’ documentary Babies, which follows four little ones in four different countries around the world

And then it was December

Time has flown and we now sit in the midst of December. Tomorrow I am off on a plane to Portland – the city of roses and the gateway to a world both familiar and foreign to me (image via fieldguided).