Our Japanese exchange students at Lewis and Clark are wrapping up their year abroad, and my friend Mary Ann and I’ve been trying to get to things on their bucket lists.
The girls hadn’t been east of the city yet, so we first went to Crown Point State Scenic Corridor.
Good Lord it’s pretty out there.
For those not familiar, Crown Point is an elevated lookout with panoramic views of the Columbia with Washington state on one side, Oregon the other.
It’s lush and postcard-worthy, and only about 25 minutes from my house.
When we were visiting this weekend, the winds whipping through the Gorge were so strong that the Vista House, the spectacular building at the end, was closed.
Apparently it’s too dangerous to stand on its upper deck and check out the views.
According the Vista House website, Samuel Lancaster, Assistant Engineer for Multnomah County, oversaw the building of this in 1913.
The house was built on the perfect spot for “an observatory from which the view both up and down the Columbia could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite”.
Crown Point was a big hit — and I loved hearing the girls shrieking as their hair and clothes whipped around in the gusts of wind.
Next up, Multnomah Falls.
Everyone who visits Portland wants to go there, and on a unseasonably warm (82 degrees!) day this weekend, it was packed but still manageable.
I stood in front of the girls as I wanted to see their “aha” moment as they turned the corner and saw the waterfall in all its beauty.
The waterfall has two major drops, and you can hike up a small hill to reach the bridge that bisects the two.
Charlotte and I aren’t a fan of heights so we checked out the lower pool while the girls took the pics from above.
Afterwards, soft serve cones and chipmunk chasing at the base.
We knew they really like to eat at our homes so we all went back to Mary Ann’s for a big Middle Eastern feast.
We’d also invited Nouf and her family; she’s a Saudi Arabian student at Lewis and Clark too and she brought along her husband Khalid and their four children. What a lovely bunch they turned out to be.
We had so much food.
Mary Ann is a wonderful cook and baker and together we put on quite a spread: chicken kabobs, lentil salad, taboule, homemade hummus, roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, and tzatziki.
We feasted and talked and then ate some more.
What fun we had.
To make the deal even sweeter, we all went home with lots of leftovers.
Like dinner the next night.
And because I’d made probably four times more lentil salad than I needed to, the next day I wrapped it all up in takeout containers.
I’m happy to say that a lot of friends and neighbors got fed too because of the opulence of that feast.
Who doesn’t love an unexpected drop-off?
So thanks to Mary Ann, husband Robin and her family for hosting. Thanks too for Aika, Rio, Fumie, Nouf, Khalid and family for spending the day with us. You all are so wonderful.
I love using food as a bridge between different cultures, and it’s always so fascinating to hear the thoughts and perspectives of someone from another part of the world.
Ladies, I know our time together is winding down, but we’ve got one more trick up our sleeves for you.