Portland Bound: Another Weekend Escape in Oregon

Weekend Escape Canopy by Hilton
Back to Portland for another weekend escape, but this time my visit took a more Urban approach to the city. It began with a stay at the recently opened Canopy by Hilton, a hotel I would describe as very ergonomic but in a superior way. Our visit took us to the Portland Art Museum and a day trip to McMinnville to tour the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum and the home of the Spruce Goose.

Visiting in the Fall

A highlight of a fall visit to Portland includes watching the Swifts bed down for the night in the Chapman Elementary Chimney. People rush over around 7 P.M., glaring at the chimney stack as birds swarm above. On a clear day, the skies changing colors at sunset makes for the perfect backdrop to observe the flittering wings descend from everywhere. This event only occurs when the Swifts are migrating to the southern hemisphere. Make sure you get there early because parking can be scarce.

Swifts at Chapman Elementary
Watching a glorious sunset as the Swifts swarm at Chapman Elementary.

Portland Art Museum

One would not expect the immense size of the Portland Art Museum. The museum was founded in 1892 and the oldest art museum on the West Coast and also one of the eldest in the entire US. My visit featured an exhibit of Richard Diebenkorn: Beginnings, 1942 – 1955. Viewing his early works, I never realized the influence of cubism, surrealism, and abstract expressionism played a part in his work. The artwork displayed was so different than his California landscapes and Ocean Park Series that we typically equate to Diebenkorn.

Not only was this exhibit a treat, but a stroll through the museum and, in my case, glimpsing primarily at the artwork of the late 1900s to the 20th century. Many art pieces of well-known artists were depictions of art not typically seen. For example, the oxen and cart painting in hues of muted browns and grays did not flaunt Van Gogh’s wild brush strokes. Currently, through April, there is an exhibit on Modern American Realism featuring works of art from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Portland Art Museum
Portland Art Museum


McMinnville is situated in Yamhill County and about an hour’s drive from Portland. The quaint town center is known for its fabulous winery tasting rooms and is a must for Pinot Noir lovers. McMinnville also houses an extensive museum dedicated to Aviation and Space.

Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum

The Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is a must-see. The museum consists of two separate architecturally pleasing hangar-type buildings, one representing aviation and one designated to space travel; the museum lets you journey through the history of aviation and space. In the space museum, you sense the enormity of the rockets, especially the Titan II, and what man conquered in the early days of our country’s space program.

The highlight of the exhibit is, of course, the Spruce Goose. Going on board, I wondered on the plane took off. The scale of the aircraft is so large and massive. Just looking inside, the wing, which was designed for someone to walk through you, captures the size of this plane.

Titan II and Spruce Goose
Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum: Titan II and Spruce Goose

Dining in McMinnville

Our weekend escape took us to lunch at the Bistro Maison. Owners Jean-Jacques & Deborah Chatelard created a French Bistro in a charming McMinnville Cottage. The atmosphere is friendly. If you are on a Gluten-Free diet, we enjoyed a creamy butternut squash soup made from a chestnut base. I enjoyed a salmon salad while my husband had the Quiche. Don’t forget to save your strength and room for cracking the fresh hazelnuts that come with your bill.

Bistro Maison, McMinnville, Oregon
Bistro Maison, McMinnville, Oregon

Staying in Portland

One of the hip areas in Portland is the Pearl District. Fitting in with eclectic restaurants and bars, the Canopy by Hilton is ideally located. This modern urban structure is filled with local art and fits into the Pearl District environment. With its urban loft feel, the hotel promotes an environmentally friendly atmosphere.

Weekend Escape to the Canopy by Hilton

The Canopy collection of hotels is a new concept that started two years ago and currently features five hotels, including the Canopy in Portland. The concept of the canopy represents a cover or shelter, and the hotel has got you covered for all sorts of activities with your hotel stay. You will find the canopy over your bed. The closet area acts as a kind of shelter. Hence, there is a canopy over the hotel entrance.

I found my suite very pleasing to the eye and the bed extremely comfortable.

Guest Suite Canopy by Hilton
Guest Suite at the Canopy by Hilton

The hotel is a Leed Gold certified hotel. One of my favorite features is the water dispenser. No plastic water bottle allowed. Instead, find a glass bottle in your room and the water dispenser on every floor. Every morning and night, I would go out to the hall for some deliciously fresh water. I wish more places had that water dispenser (even Portland Airport features this system).

Canopy by Hilton Water Dispensor
Canopy by Hilton Water Dispenser

The food at the Canopy is fresh and local. I enjoyed one of the best hotel breakfasts during my stay. Every morning sample a frittata made fresh daily. The breakfast bread pudding looked very inviting. Even the coffee and tea in your room is local. The hotel feels each guest should get a taste of Portland.

Breakfast Buffet at the Canopy by Hilton
Breakfast Buffet at the Canopy by Hilton

Other Features of the Canopy by Hilton

Need to store your luggage before leaving for the airport. Check out the local art displayed on the storage lockers. It is an art mural transformed into locked cabinets.

Locker Art at the Canopy by Hilton
Locker Art at the Canopy by Hilton

If you bring Fido along, the Canopy by Hilton is pet-friendly, and your dog gets abed and water/food dish.

Pet-friendly Canopy by Hilton
Pet-friendly Canopy by Hilton

After checking in, humans get a welcome treat, a yummy local white chocolate-covered macaroon.

Every Friday night, the hotel hosts a wine tasting featuring an Oregon winery. During my stay, it was Montinore. Wine is served from 5 to 7 pm. Furthermore, tasting four wines from Montinore Estate enticed me to visit the winery during another portion of my trip.

Friday Night Wine Tasting with Montinore
Friday Night Wine Tasting with Montinore Estate

Finally, the hotel’s location in the Pearl District makes it easy to park if you do not want to utilize the valet parking provided by the hotel. I found plenty of street parking.

You will be extremely happy choosing the Canopy by Hilton. I know I would go back without a blink of an eye.

Dining in Portland

The Picnic House is the perfect place to stop for lunch. The cuisine is picnic-inspired offering seasonal foods created in a New American style. One finds an array of sandwiches, salads, and soups. I enjoyed a salad that combined sunrise beets, carrots, spinach, dried apple rings, and chicken with a citrus poppy seed dressing.

Picnic Hous Portland Oregon
Lunch at Picnic House Portland, Oregon

For those who want to experience something a little different, the Brazil Grill is a great place for meat lovers. Located in the arts district, you will find an array of meats that are all carved tableside. The restaurant utilizes the Churrasco grilling method, a roasting style making meats very succulent. The restaurant concept resembles a buffet-style eatery, so come prepared for a big meal with many items to sample.  Try not to fill up on the salad bar. Leave room to taste the grilled pineapple. I especially liked the Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon, the marinated scrimp, and the tri-tip steak.

Brazil Grill Portland Oregon
Dining at the Brazil Grill

If you like Spanish cuisine, and I do not mean tapas, the Pearl District’s Can Font offers a relaxed atmosphere with excellent Catalan-inspired dishes created in a modern style using local products. I enjoyed scallops that were done to perfection.

Scallops at Con Font
Scallops at Con Font

Also, to read the article about my first-weekend escape to Portland, click here.

Note: Common to the travel industry, this writer was hosted at some attractions during her weekend escape. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.