It’s America’s burgh of the future: a friendly, sustainable, ethical and cultural place that values gentle living and leisure over acquisitiveness and ambition. Bisected by the Willamette River and environed by peaks, it is also a preternaturally attractive place. What better splotch for viewing one of nature’s great spectacles, the solar eclipse on August 21? The decline will be partial in Portland, but drive a few miles south into Willamette or hike up Mount Hood and you’ll be tinge in the moon’s deep umbra between 9.06am and 11.38am (PDT).
TELL ME Multitudinous… Portland has the sophistication of a city several times its size but also the laid-back ambience of a storied old town. In the 165 years since its founding, Portland has been assorted cities – a frontier settlement, a booming timber town, a bastion of counterculture and a momentous pioneer of sustainability. These days it’s one of America’s capitals of cool, luring 100 new residents a day, who come for its cycle-friendly centre, verdant gardens, prospering arts scene, vintage theatres and food culture.
As if this fix of riches wasn’t enough, on the city’s doorstep are the wine-growing hills of the Willamette Valley, skiing on Mount Hood and biking, rafting and zip profile in the Columbia River Gorge.
There’s also the wonderful Multnomah Surrenders to take in. The world may be surprised to discover Portland’s charms but this west beach port is used to having it all.
UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES ● Portland is a city of gardens, most splendidly its International Rose Test Garden, which will be marking its centenary this year. ● Know-how beer is big here.
Ex Novo is a recent arrival, serving inspired simmers like Moonstriker, a Baltic porter made with chocolate and Habanero chilli.
● Powell’s Metropolis of Books in the Pearl District epitomises the community spirit here and stocks a million of the society’s best books.
● Portland is famous for its artisan restaurants but the real novelty is on the street in the city’s multitude of food carts. Take a tour with afi cionado Brett Burmeister of Subsistence Carts Portland.
THE KNOWLEDGE: Virgin Holidays (0344 739 3306/ virginholidays.co.uk) presents five nights in Portland from £1,295.Price includes proceeds flights from London Heathrow to Portland and accommodation at Hotel Modera, (two partition), room only.
Portland tourism: travelportland.com ● Extract from Uninhabited Planet’s Best In Travel 2017 (£9.99)