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It has been a busy summer, and as autumn begins, I once again have the opportunity  to return to my simple indoor pleasures. The garden has, for the most part, run its course, travel has slowed down (though it never really stops), and I can reflect on the places we have gone and the things we have seen.

We try, and always succeed, in seeing each of our five children scattered across the country at least once a year. This summer we joined our daughter’s family from Minnesota, and our son’s family from Maryland on the Oregon coast for a most fantastic vacation. My next several postings will be devoted to our trip and the many things we saw, and the many things we did.

Our first stop was Portland, “The City of Roses”. Our three families flew into Portland, where we spent several days exploring the city, getting a feel for its inhabitants, and relaxing in a small house, on a corner lot, in an old and historic neighborhood.

What a charming little place to spend time with family.

Portland is the largest city in Oregon. It is located at the foot of Mt. Hood, and at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

Before European settlement, many Native Americans of the Chinook made this area their home. The thousands of Chinook from the Clackimas and Multnomah bands made this area the most densely populated on the Pacific Coast.

When streams of settlers traveling the Oregon Trail began arriving on the west coast of the American Northwest, they could not help but notice the vast forests. Two of these settlers, William Overton and his friend, Asa Lovejoy staked out a claim, cleared many of the trees in a business venture, built roads, and erected the first buildings in the area. Eventually, Overton moved on, selling his share of the settlement to Francis Pettigrove. As the settlement grew and prospered, it was called  “The Clearing”, and “Stumptown”, but finally, in 1845 it was decided by virtue of a coin toss between Pettigrove and Overton, that the town would be called Portland.

Early settlers found vast forests in the area that now encompasses the city of Portland.

By 1850, Portland had approximately 800 residents, and the town was incorporated in 1851. Industry in the area was benefited by its location on the newly laid railroad. Workers in Portland made their living in lumber, fishing, growing wheat, and raising cattle. Over the years Portland has grown to be the second largest city in the Northwest.

A few scenes from Portland…

Our first big outing was to the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland’s Old Town…what an amazing place. We wandered around the garden for quite some time, marveling at the beautiful flowers and plants and enjoying the kids as they enjoyed the huge koi! But one of the best parts of this visit was our lunch at the Tea Room. We ordered several items and shared them all around.

Both the grandchildren enjoyed watching the fish in the pond…

and our granddaughter could have stayed right here for hours listening to the soothing, beautiful music…

Another day we traveled to the International Test Rose Garden in Washington Park. Pictures do a much better job than words ever could to describe this beautiful place…

We met friends of our son’s at Washington Park to give the children an opportunity to play on the  playground. While they played, and wore their parents out, I took a walk along one of the paths and realized for the first time that I was actually in the rain forest…

We wandered around Portland for several days, enjoying the sites using their mass transit. One of my favorite places to visit was Powell’s Books, the largest independent book store in the world. I cannot believe I did not take a picture…guess I was too busy buying books, and wondering how on earth I would get them all home in my luggage…on a plane with weight restrictions. I did it, but it wasn’t easy, and Jim’s luggage was suddenly heavier than he remembered it on the flight here. And to round out one very busy day, we stopped for some of Portland’s famous Voodoo Doughnuts. Oh, how the two kids enjoyed those!

And on our way out of Portland, we stopped at another of their magnificent parks for a picnic lunch…as we headed to the coast, and a beach house on a hillside. But more about that in another post!

Tired kids, tired grandpa…on our way further west…

Sweet Cherries…Sweet Treat

Some of the best sweet cherries, known as Bing cherries, are grown in the American Northwest. Here is a slightly adapted recipe for a sweet cherry caflouti from the Portland Farmers Market. A caflouti is a custrdy cake which originated in Southern France…and it is really delicious.

Sweet Cherry Caflouti


  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk, warmed just a bit
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. amaretto (optional; you may substitute 1 Tbsp. of pure almond extract)
  • 1 lb. of sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • a bit of confectioners sugar


  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, and make a well in the middle.
  2. Add the milk, eggs and amaretto.
  3. Stir the mixture together with a wooden spoon until well combined. The batter will be similar to heavy cream.
  4. Butter the bottom of a cast iron frying pan with the butter, and cover evenly with the cherries.
  5. Pour the batter over the cherries and bake at 375 degrees on the middle rack of the oven until the clafouti is firm, about 35- 45 minutes.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  7. Dust with a bit of confectioners sugar. and serve warm.