Portland's Culture and Northwest Cuisine
Celebrate culture and cuisine as you learn about farm-to-table production, study regional art, take in a concert and savor the tastes of Portland’s renowned restaurants and breweries.
Rating (5)
Program No. 11522RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Chef
Portland, OR
DoubleTree by Hilton Portland

Activity note: Hotel check-in is available from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. During the Registration period, we’ll have a wine reception as well, with one complimentary glass provided; others available for purchase. Orientation: 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Travel throughout the program will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. Scheduled free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a 3-course plated meal with salad, entrée, and dessert, plus water, coffee, tea; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After dinner we'll hear from a local specialty food vendor about how Portland's food culture influences the industry. Over the past decade, Portland has often been called one of America’s best “food cities.” We'll discuss how and why Portland developed its culinary culture from regular suburban fare into a food lover's mecca with a focus on locally grown and sustainable sources.

Downtown Walk, Culinary Culture, Brewery Tour
Portland, OR
DoubleTree by Hilton Portland

Activity note: Taking public transportation; walking up to 1.5 miles, periods of standing. Closed-toe shoes required for brewery tour.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a breakfast buffet with choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, cereals, fresh fruit, juices, milk, coffee, tea.

Morning: To get our culinary adventure off to a start, a local public historian will present an illustrated lecture that will provide historical context about the Pacific Northwest and how food has become part of Portland's culture from Oregon's earliest days. We'll then take Portland's Streetcar to a local coffee roaster to tour their roasting facility and sample some of the coffee Portland is known for around the country.

Lunch: At a local restaurant featuring Pacific Northwest cuisine, enjoy a 3-course plated meal with salad, entrée, dessert, and a glass of wine plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch a local expert will lead us on a walking field trip to learn about the history, art, and architecture of this exceptional Northwest city. See and hear stories behind many unusual details that even many locals miss. Our field trip will end at the hotel. Later in the afternoon we will reconvene and travel via Streetcar to a local brewery. In the 1980s small breweries in Portland began making bold, experimental beers, earning Portland the nickname "Beervana" for boasting more microbreweries per capita than any other city in the world. We will tour the brewery and taste some of the beers.

Dinner: Buffet dinner at brewery will include salad, entree and dessert.

Evening: We will return to the hotel for an evening at your leisure.

Rose Garden and Japanese Garden
Portland, OR
DoubleTree by Hilton Portland

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking up to 1.5 miles. Gardens have paved paths with some inclines.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning’s field trips feature two exceptional gardens in Washington Park where we’ll explore with docents. After breakfast we'll depart by motor coach to the International Rose Test Garden — known simply as the Rose Garden — which overlooks the city. It covers 4.5 acres in Washington Park and features more than 650 varieties of roses producing more than 10,000 flowers each year. The Portland Rose Society was established in 1888. In 1915 as World War I raged in Europe, newspaper editor Jesse Currey persuaded city officials to establish a “test garden” to protect and preserve European hybrid roses in danger of being destroyed. Fortunately, the roses outlasted the war. Portland today is known as the City of Roses. The primary purpose of the garden today is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties. The City of Portland Gold Medal Awards are issued annually to the best introductions. We’ll continue to the Portland Japanese Garden, acclaimed as “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.” There are five distinct areas that help to establish a sense of peace, harmony, and tranquility. A docent will lead our exploration of the garden that includes a Japanese Tea House as well as arbors, bridges, pagodas, stone lanterns, water basins, and an unsurpassed view of Mt. Hood. We’ll then take the motorcoach downtown.

Lunch: Lunch at a favorite local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon is free for you to explore more of Portland on your own. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Go out to see more of Portland on your own, spend time with new Road Scholar friends, or simply relax.

Farmer's Market, Old Church Concert, Art Museum, The Pearl
Portland, OR
DoubleTree by Hilton Portland

Activity note: Getting on/off public transportation; walking up to 2 miles, some standing in museum.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll take the MAX train to the Portland Farmers Market. This non-profit organization actually operates seven farmers markets in different neighborhoods throughout the city, providing direct connections between consumers and more than 200 farms, bakeries, cheese makers, meat and seafood providers, nurseries, and specialty food producers. We will see the abundance of local produce, meet and talk with local farmers and vendors, and spend some time exploring.

Lunch: At the market, vouchers will be provided to choose what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll walk to Portland's Old Church. Built in 1882, it served a congregation until 1967 and was later saved from destruction by dedicated local citizens who wanted to preserve it as an historic and architectural landmark. It is now a concert hall and community events venue. We will attend a concert and as we listen to the music, admire the original leaded, frosted, and stained glass windows, and details of its Carpenter Gothic architecture. Next, we’ll walk to the Portland Art Museum, the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, that has amassed a diverse collection numbering more than 35,000 objects and works of art since its founding in 1892. A docent will lead us though highlights of the museum’s collection. We’ll then hop on Portland Streetcar and ride to the Pearl District. Whether you like the story of pearls discovered in an oyster canning factory or Chinese sailors hiding pearls beneath cobblestones, the Pearl District — known simply as The Pearl — is now a popular neighborhood filled with art galleries, bookstores, cultural institutions, pubs and breweries. A local expert will lead our walking field trip through this former industrial center that became one of the country’s largest urban renewal districts.

Dinner: At a popular restaurant in the heart of the Pearl District, enjoy American brasserie-style cuisine.

Multnomah Falls, Small Farm, Wine Tasting, Chef's Dinner
Portland, OR
DoubleTree by Hilton Portland

Activity note: Drive is approximately 70 miles throughout the day, up to 90 minutes on the motorcoach. Getting on/off a motorcoach; walking up to 2 miles. Historic buildings have optional stairs. Possibility of spray while viewing waterfall. Walking on uneven farm fields.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We'll spend most of today in the Columbia River Gorge. Our first stop will be at the Vista House at Crown Point- a building constructed in 1917 to provide travelers along the Columbia River Highway a place to rest and refresh themselves. This stop is also known as one of the most scenic points along the highway. After a short tour, we will continue to our second stop of the day: Multnomah Falls. At 611 feet or 630 feet — depending on how you measure — Multnomah Falls is one of the most majestic waterfalls in Oregon. It flows year round, fed by underground streams in addition to rainwater and seasonal snow melt. We will view the waterfall from below (possibility of feeling some spray depending on current conditions). Those who feel adventurous and vigorous may hike 2/10ths of a mile up a steep, paved path to a scenic footbridge for a closer look.

Lunch: At a restaurant with views of the falls.

Afternoon: After lunch we will depart by motor coach to explore a small family farm that was named a "Local Food Hero." The owner/farmer will share some of the joys and challenges of running a small farm, what it means to be sustainable, and how they fit into the local food economy. We’ll return to the hotel via our coach with some time to freshen up and relax. Before our farewell dinner, we'll reconvene in a meeting room of the hotel to hear from an expert how Oregon has grown to become a world class wine producer over the past 40 years. This talk will include an opportunity to sample some of Oregon's wine varieties.

Dinner: We’ll head out again on our coach to experience a farewell dinner featuring seasonal, regional cuisine. Enjoy a 3-course plated meal with salad, choice of entrée, dessert, plus glass of wine, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After returning to the hotel, prepare for departure in the morning.

Wrap-up Session, Program Concludes
Portland, OR

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll gather one last time as a group for a wrap-up session to share our favorite experiences and say farewell to new Road Scholar friends. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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