What's most charming about the Pittock Mansion is the ease with which you can pretend it is your very own summer home. Richer than god at the time, Henry Pittock was the publisher of The Oregonian at the turn of the century and built this palatial castle in 1914. With a regal red tile roof, wraparound decks, and a sprawling, well-kept lawn, the place is perfect to commandeer as your very own summer retreat. The mansion is open for public tours during the day, but tourists clear out in the evenings and leave the place to you and your date.
On W. Burnside, one mile west of NW 23rd; take a right onto NW Barnes; another half-mile and turn right on Pittock Ave. Call 823-8623 for info. PB
Kelley Point Park
While this park has seen its share of bad press because of those pesky dead bodies, it's actually quite a nice place to visit, even when you're not a serial killer. Where the Willamette River meets the Columbia, you can take a long walk through woods, down beaches, across meadows, near the slough (EWWW!), and chill out on the many benches at the tip of the peninsula. From Portland, take I-5 North to the Marine Drive Exit #307. Follow signs to Kelley Point Park. KS
Picnic with the Dead
Hands down, the best place to have your picnic is in a cemetery--preferably the oldest one in your area. One advantage is that pretty much the only other people around are dead. This is especially preferable to the park scene, where parents chase around screeching, Popsicle-smeared kids. Thankfully, the only kids you'll find in cemeteries are mostly decomposed, and mourners are similarly quiet. Otherwise, cemeteries have all the advantages of a park, and they're infinitely more romantic and entertaining. After you eat, poke around and read the tombstones! It's creepy and fun, and this is why old cemeteries are far superior: the stones and markers are generally more elaborately crumbly and gothic. Also, in the olden days, medicine was inferiorly developed, as were safety codes; people died young and freakishly, and sometimes the stones will say how. Yeahhhhh For starters, try Pioneer Cemeteries, 2115 SE Morrison. MS
The best park in Portland for my money, Cathedral Park offers a great view of the St. John's Bridge, rolling hills, and weird weekend events that bring a trailer selling soft ice cream. Most fun however, night or day, is to head out on one of the park's floating docks and ride the waves when the huge tankers and barges come down the river especially when you're on drugs, which you would never do, so never mind. Take Lombard west into St. John's. Park is under the bridge. KS
Pinched between the Columbia River and the Multnomah Channel, Sauvie Island is a mix between remote countryside and serene beaches. Skip the yuppie grocery stores of Portland and drive straight to the fruit stands and U-pick farms that line the roads on Sauvie Island.
From Route 30, drive one mile past Linton. Turn right onto the spindly bridge that crosses the Multnomah Channel. From here, go right or left; both roads lead to the same place. At the far northeast corner of the island (or, at least as far as the paved roads go), continue along a gravel road to the sandy beaches along the eastern shore.
A parking permit is recommended ($3 at Cracker Barrel General Store, immediately to the left of the island's bridge). PB