The next couple of days I’m exploring the Hawthorne district of Portland and Mt Tabor Park. I’m looking forward to my new adventure. My legs are sore from horseback riding the previous day, but I get out of bed and stretch. Feeling a little bit better, I jump in the shower. The hot water feels good on my sore muscles. After I get ready, I make myself a cup of Salada tea, which is my favorite instant tea. I sit by the window at the hand-made wooden table overlooking the patio/garden. I look down at the saying on the teabag and smile. It says: “You’re only young once and if you work it right once is enough.” I laugh and I’m reminded of why for years I refused to drink it.
The reason; Mr. Gilmore, my arrogant, high school principal who would read the Salada tea tagline over the loudspeaker every morning. I vowed to never drink it because it reminded me of him. Years have passed and old wounds have healed. I laugh out loud at the thought.
As I look at the clock, I realize it’s close to the 11 am checkout. I’ve booked another Airbnb in the Hawthorne District of Portland close to Mt Tabor Park. It’s not necessarily the location, but the unique accommodations which I look for. My criteria are quite simple, I want the entire place to myself, it has to be unique, and under $125/night. I do look at the reviews and the location, but as we all know, they aren’t always accurate. I book The Tiny House on the Tiny Volcano, for two nights. The owners converted their one car-garage into an adorable apartment. I’m looking forward to it.
I use my iPhone GPS to punch in the address. It’s only 15 minutes away by car. I take a look around one last time, checking to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind and say goodbye to the house. David the owner isn’t there, but I text him thanking him for the hospitality and the horseback ride.
Traffic is light and I find the house. It’s not to hard to find. Apparently, I can’t park on the street, but I can park on a side street. I find a parking spot not too far from the house. I gather what I’m bringing with me. I’m so glad I bought my High Sierra nylon suitcase for the trip. It’s half suitcase with wheels and a retractable handle and half backpack with hidden straps. It also has an attached daypack, which can be separated via a zipper. It’s perfect for my needs. Small enough to fit in the overhead compartment on planes, yet large enough to carry my essential belongings. I hear Elaine’s voice from Seinfeld describing it in detail from the Peterman’s Catalogue.
I decide to use it as a backpack so my hands are free to gather a few more items from the car. It’s a nice walk to the house. The neighborhood is charming with older homes and manicured lawns. It’s almost as though the homeowners are in a contest to see who has the most beautiful gardens.
The owners aren’t home, but I have the lockbox code. Once inside I look around. I love it. It feels as though I’m on a boat. The curved balcony on the second-floor reminds me of the bow of a ship. Even though the house is only 12 feet wide by 22 feet long (my estimation), the stained concrete floors, high ceilings, and natural light create a larger than life tiny home.
It’s simply furnished with light yellow painted walls and stained wooden trim. A comfortable contemporary blue-grey couch with striped pillows are against the front right wall near the French doors. Two small wooden square posts do double duty as coffee tables and seating. To the left, a corner gas stove with a small metal table and a modern wooden chair. A large black & white photograph depicting the famous triangle building in NYC hangs on the wall.
I walk towards the back of the home and deposit my suitcases on the floor near the wall. A funky staircase separates the kitchen entrance from the curved breakfast bar. Again the feeling that evokes memories of being on a ship. I haven’t seen this type of stair before. I grab the railing and gingerly walk up. It reminds me of walking on a cross between an elliptical machine and a stair master.
I walk up and down a few times getting my bearings. Once I’m comfortable with the stairs, I throw my suitcase on my shoulder and hop up the stairs. I place it on the chair near the curved balcony which overlooks the living area and the front patio. Tucked in an alcove is the queen size mattress. Natural light enters through the skylight and then through a 30” round tempered glass floor porthole. Ingenious, what a great way to bring in natural light to the kitchen below.
I walk carefully down the stairs and check out the kitchen and bathroom. I love the layout. A four-foot high refrigerator and pullout pantry is on the back wall. The kitchen is laid out in a C shape pattern. A metal drying/hanging rack for dishes and pans are against the wall to the left of the small sink. A small counter for preparing food is to the right of the sink next to the two burner gas cook-top. A microwave is under the cook-top in the base cabinet. Small yet functional, perfect for my needs.
I’m hungry so I check out cafes on Yelp another online review site which I rely on. The Tabor Bread at 5051 SE Hawthorne Blvd is walking distance and it has good reviews. It’s a cape style building with nice architectural features. There are a few tables outside near the street. Inside it’s filled with delicious baked goods. The aroma of freshly baked bread wafts through the air. So many choices, but I finally decide on the smoke turkey Havarti sandwich with fruit mustard, herbed Havarti (a semi-soft Danish cheese made from cow’s milk), and fennel on a red wheat bread. I couldn’t resist the chocolate chip cookie and so I compromised by getting water for liquid refreshment.
I enjoy my delicious lunch at the outside seating on this lovely spring day. After lunch I walk around the tree-lined streets, taking in the sites of the beautiful array of brightly color flowers. With iPhone in hand, I click away. I just can’t get over how perfect people’s gardens are. They must pay a fortune to maintain the gardens since it’s a full-time job.
I stumble upon Mount Tabor Park and decide to explore it. There is an extensive trail system throughout the park. A paved road meanders up through the naturally wooded hillside. At one point I come to a long row of concrete stairs built into a hill. I look at them as they beckon me forward. I decided to jog up. By the time I reach the top, I’m huffing and puffing. Who needs the gym when you have stairs like these?
After I catch my breath, I look around and realize I’m on the plateau. A variety of beautiful trees line the top. According to Tabor Friends, there are 57 species of trees in the park. Enormous Douglas Firs flank the hillside. Clumps of flowering trees of pink and white remind me of graceful ballerinas. Benches strategically placed to take in the views of the valley and the city below. Mt Hood can be seen in the distance.
As I sit and take in the views, I’m reminded how peaceful it is. There is a plaque on the ground which reads: Take time to relax and watch the world around you – David M. Hansen, 1918-1994. I’m following his advice.
I read somewhere that it’s an extinct volcano, whatever that may mean. Hopefully, it won’t come back to life anytime soon. I ponder that thought as I continue walking. On the other side of the hill, I discovered large, open water concrete reservoirs. They look quite old. At the corner of the reservoirs are turrets with Romanesque style windows. I can see where the water came from as it cascaded down the steep concrete embankment. Some have water in them and others are almost bone dry with just a trickle.
I see a construction sign which reads that they are looking for the exact locations and depths of the pipes connected to the reservoirs. I think most cities have an issue with old pipes. I walk around and take more pictures studying them. It’s a beautiful park and I highly recommend exploring. I only touched upon a few trails, I will have to come back another time.