Adult Field Trip – Portland

Adult Field Trip – Portland

We thought it was about time to share another one of our Adult Field Trips, taking in Portland.  This place is made for an AFT.  , While we have been there a few times, the opportunity to explore had not been present as our main client has an office in the Portland area.  When we finally had a weekend off and the time to see downtown, the focus was on finding what the must do things were.  Beer, bikes, and Blues (well music) were the pieces to put together.

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Safety First

Portland has wonderful museums and galleries, a great place to pick up your cultural requirements but we chose to go the live music route.  Josh is a big fan of Trombone Shorty and could not believe our luck to see he was playing that weekend.  After securing tickets it was time to sort out rest of our weekend.  The cycling culture in Portland is prolific, a part of the very entrenched green living lifestyle.  There are all kinds of resources to find bicycle tours around the area, covering just about any subject you are into.  We found a place that rented bikes and decided that we would try out one of the brewery routes.  Now I’m not gonna lie, I am in no way proficient on a bike and this whole idea was a bit scary.  Amazing how much more confident I got after each stop, LOL.
Josh had participated in a guided bike and booze tour of New Orleans (Confederacy of Cruisers) and says it was the highlight of that trip, I can say that I am now a convert.  In bike friendly cities like Portland this is really the way to see things.  We crossed bridges and peddled through neighborhoods.  There is a delightful amount of street art.  On one of my first trips to Cincinnati my BFF Becky took me on a culinary tour, teaching me the art of trying a signature cocktail and snack at each stop.  It was the perfect way to see and taste the city.  We tried to do the same thing with our brewery tour.  Nearly all of these places served a small menu and it’s a very veggie friendly place.

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In all we stopped by Burnside Brewing Co., Hair of the Dog Brewery, Green Dragon, Buckman Botanical Brewery, Base Camp Brewing, and The Commons Brewery.  After all this a nap was in order, HA.  The Old Town area of Portland is laced with music venues and is a great place to hop around taking in tunes and enjoying even more local beers on tap.

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On day two with the Trombone Shorty concert later we decided to lounge about a bit and search out some of the spectacular food in the area.  I am a HUGE fan of farm-to-table restaurants, mostly because they offer a wider variety of vegetarian entrees.  Downtown Portland is home to some of the coolest boutique hotels available and it was in one that we found the Urban Farmer.  Honestly it wouldn’t matter which one you chose, but I would recommend adding a restaurant within a boutique hotel to your list, it’s a way to see two unique parts of Portland culture, even if you don’t stay at one.  We rarely do, as our travel is a bit different and we have negotiated rates with many large chains.

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While we didn’t visit a VooDoo dounuts this trip, it is a don’t miss.

So here is your list:

1. Portland Breweries, this is a mecca of micro brewing and a wonderful experience, new trends are set here.  There are about 70 breweries in the city proper and over a 100 in the metro, so even if you could try them all, would you remember it?

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-If you are a wine drinker then boy oh boy would Portland make you happy, we didn’t have time to stop at wineries on this trip but we had helped host a wine tasting party earlier this week.

2. MUSIC, it doesn’t matter where you go or really what you find the scene is so much fun

3. Think alternative transport, we got around the entire time on bike and Lyfts

4. VooDoo Donuts, they really are that good

5. Art and green living are essential to Portland life, you will see so many cool ways the two cross and how they like to keep local culture alive.  This is not the land of chains.

6. Find the food trucks!

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Adult Field Trip – Fredericksburg Texas

Texas is always good to us, allots us opportunity to visit with our family and all our rowdy friends. This past spring we set out to see San Antonio via an Adult Field Trip, while in the area Fredericksburg also made the list. Whereas San Antonio is full of historical sites and notable bars, Fredericksburg is all natural beauty and cultural gems. We once again started this AFT with a stop for lunch.

There is always something that makes a community unique, not all embrace it and create a sort of destination from it. Fredericksburg Texas or Fitzburg to some locals, is a flourishing German community in the heart of cowboy country. We have been lucky enough to spend a good deal of time in Ohio and have an affection for German beer gardens, well in Fredericksburg they are truly Biergartens, so we figured it was appropriate to find a lunch spot serving sausage and liters. Silver Creek fit the bill; a little bit Texas, a whole lotta German, and as I gather a little dash of what is Fredericksburg. They have a really lovely outdoor space where live music can be found most days and nights, a unique bar area, along with an actual restaurant space. The menu had plenty of light snacks and just the perfect listing of german fare. As for the beer menu we were able to choose between German brews, some area micros, and for the less adventurous there were domestics. Honestly this place has something for everyone. We chose very well, enjoying the beer, food, and a little music.

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There are a few choices in this area for your enrichment activity, one could spend a poor weather day indoors taking in the National Museum of the Pacific War. We did consider this but the day was absolutely stunning and a hike at one of the many area state parks won out. It was off to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area for us. We do most of our trail miles on mountain or forest paths, dessert and prairie trekking is always unique but big ol’ rock domes are something to see. What is more fun than scrambling up rocks and climbing around openings to see who will go into the crack and crevice? It was a great way to spend a few hours but alas we became a bit, cough couch, parched.

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The plan had been to take the scenic route back “home” and find a winery to stop at on the way. Honestly this is getting easier to do just about everywhere across the country. While this would technically be called a detour, we actually did find a detour. While in route we figured out that we were in the same place as the cool folks of GoPetFriendly.com. Stopping for a brief visit is just the kind of treat you want on an AFT. It didn’t take long to find a winery and winner included a little lesson on the emerging Texas wine industry. While I wouldn’t say that Kerrville Hills Winery is some hidden gem, it was a lovely place. The wines are still made with mostly imported (outside of Texas) grapes but that is changing. This large facility has been built up in anticipation of some interesting prospective growth. According to the proprietor, the soil in this part of Texas (and others) is quite similar to regions in France, allowing vineyards here to establish new growths of some unique varietals. Will be interesting to see how this industry develops over the next 10 years.

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Like many of our other Texas AFTs we were joined by a good friend, Scott is always up for adventure and his work schedule often allows flexibility to come play with us. This trip is a great example of creating an interning and fun day in any area.

SCOTT!!

SCOTT!!

***This is part of a series of posts called “Travel Tuesday“, each covering topics unique to our lifestyle***

Adult Field Trip – San Antonio 

The city of San Antonio has much to offer but when you have only one day off to experience the area what do you pick? On a recent work trip to the home of the Alamo, we found ourselves with short window of downtime to see the sights and our local friends. So here is a little about our San Antonio Adult Field Trip:

 

Our day started by meeting our buddy at Bier Garten Riverwalk, this little German place was the prefect location to finalize our plan of attack. As you can guess we had a nice brew but also enjoyed the sausage and pretzel plates, just a snack to get us started. This spot is not as close to the actual Riverwalk as some other restaurants but is butted against a lovely fountain. There really are so many options in this area to enjoy a bite and a beer, you can’t go wrong.

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It was off to our next stop; the one you can’t miss in San An, the Alamo. Parking in the area can be tough, so instead of driving down there we parked near our last planned stop and took a Lyft over. There are multiple things to do in this area and not fussing with meters or garages has some benefit. What can I say about the Alamo, the biggest tip I can share about this place is to know that it is free and self-guided? There are docents around and guided tours you can go on but for the most part things are there to enjoy at your own pace. Photography is limited only in certain areas but this place is ALWAYS crowed. There is no reason not to take a little time from your schedule to learn a bit more about Texas history.

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Just across the street from the Alamo is the Menger Hotel, made famous by Theodore Roosevelt, but he is not the only notable guest. There is quite a list of US Presidents and Dignitaries whom have spent time at the Hotel and Bar. I have a real love of places like this, where it history is in the walls and in this instance, in the bar stools. Here is a good example of why we call these “Adult Field Trips”. This is one historic location that a parent is not likely to take you as a kid or would really be inappropriate. You aren’t going to enjoy your soda nearly as much as a gin & tonic in the place where Teddy met his Rough Riders.

 

We made one more stop in downtown; it was onto the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum. This place is pure Texas. You get your saloon, albeit as total tourist trap, and two floors of taxidermy specimens from all over the world. Now the latter might not be everybody’s bag but I certainly like it. While I am not a big game hunter, many of these specimens were taken during an era when conservation was viewed different and this is a great way to see animals without keeping them is zoos. Larger collections like this often feature a critter or two that is extinct or incredibly rare. This is just one of the many attractions; there is a penny shooting range, an antler collection, some beautiful dining rooms, and a really nice bar. So it was a brew for my crew (served in a chalice) and onto our last stop.

 

Now many of you know how much we like to visit breweries. We like beer, like craft beer, and I feel like you get a real sense of a brewery by visiting. There is always something special or informative to find when talking to those who work right at the source. This is way we chose Alamo Beer Company as the final stop. This is not the original brewing site but an upgraded and now multi-use facility. This place is HUGE and I’d imagine usually crowed. We were there on a weekday late afternoon. Not only do they have a delightful taproom with engaging staff but local food trucks come by to serve up goodies. I know there are many choices for breweries in the area and this one is a bit commercial but when you don’t have to work hard to enjoy some sun, the suds, and a killer street taco it’s a great choice.

 

So there you go, an Adult Field Trip. We wanted to get a rounded view of San Antonio, while also keeping the day relaxed. Two striking points of San Antonio, the Riverwalk and the Alamo; mixed with some less known culture catching sites, Menger and Buckhorn. Top that off by chatting with locals who share similar interests and we were left wanting a second day off.

Bier Garden Riverwalk

The Alamo

Menger Hotel

Buckhorn Saloon & Museum

Alamo Beer Company