elisabeth, family, oregon, thoughts, vacation

Cousin Weekend

When I tell friends about my cousin Laura, I always say that we’re kind of like blog pen pals. She writes at Farm Girl in MD (which is an invitation-only blog, but I’m sure she’d love to meet you) where she journals small town life on the family farm on the eastern shore of Maryland. It’s a beautiful haven tucked away between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Since Laura and I both blog, we stay caught up on family happenings and leave comments on pretty much every post as a way to stay in touch. She’s literally about 60 miles from the Atlantic, and I’m about 60 miles from the Pacific. And at the beginning of July she flew to Oregon for the first time so we could have a long weekend together.

As soon as Laura arrived, she brought out a huge bucket that she had somehow managed to fit in her carry on. I couldn’t believe her packing skills.

The bucket was filled with blueberries from Pop-pop’s bushes on the farm. {This pic was taken after we’d eaten about half of the berries!} I can’t think of a more meaningful gift. She literally brought me a piece of the farm. More than that, it was a piece of family–of Pop-pop. Stephen made blueberry pancakes for us, just like Pop-pop used to do.

Friends are amazing, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world, but there’s something extra special about the blood bond of family. I told Laura that I’m a little envious of the deep roots she has in the Eastern Shore. Our family has been there for generations. I’m somewhat of a wanderlust gypsy at heart that can’t wait to move on to the next place. But I also long for deep roots. This place here in Oregon seems like somewhere I could dig down and stay for a long while.

I loved showing Laura the life God has given to us here in Oregon. First off, Oregon is such a gorgeous state that there’s way too much to see in one weekend! We explored downtown Portland visiting the Saturday Farmer’s Market filled with picture worthy displays of berries, flowers, veggies and honey. I had my first taste of a pork steamed bun, and Stephen finally was able to try the much sought after Pine State Biscuits

Next we hopped on the streetcar to Powell’s bookstore. It fills an entire city block and houses more than 1 million books. We then stopped off for a taste the famous-for-good-reason Salt & Straw ice cream. Brynn’s flavor was the Oregon Wasabi and Raspberry sorbet. Contrary to what you might think at first, it wasn’t at all spicy. S&S uses the floral part of the wasabi plant, and the sorbet was heavenly! I got a cone of the Coava Coffee and Cloudforest Craque. Yum! We finished our downtown tour with a ride through the east side and then walked across the new pedestrian/train Tillikum Crossing bridge.

Sunday was a special time of worshiping at Hinson and introducing Laura our church family. That afternoon we hit up Pip’s for their melt-in-your-mouth mini donuts and then drove up the Columbia River Gorge.

We drove up on the Oregon side, and back on the Washington side. The salmon were running through the fish ladder this time.

Monday was our girls’ day at the coast. We started with a tour of the new Tillamook Creamery where cheese samples were in order.

In Garibaldi, we found a local seafood dive, Fisherman’s Korner, right off the waterfront for some fish & chips and a crab & shrimp sandwich. I bought some fresh picked crabmeat from the shop next door to make Mom-mom’s crabcakes.

The drive along the coast is always beautiful. We discovered the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad as the steam engine was chugging its way right alongside us. The views of the Pacific coast were breathtaking.

At Cannon Beach Laura made sure to call home so Chuck could be fully envious of her visiting the place where The Goonies was filmed–one of Chuck’s all time favorites. I haven’t watched the movie, but now it’s high on my to-see list.

We explored the tide pools filled with anemones and sat on the beach for a long talk while watching the waves.

After snagging a few souvenirs at the beach, we ate a cozy supper by the fireside at the Camp 18 lumberjack restaurant on the way home. We almost ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere, but thankfully we made it to a gas station off the beaten path in Vernonia.

I have to say that our talks were the best part of the entire visit. Laura and I talked through family history and stories throughout the years. She had just finished the enormous task of scanning all of Pop-pop’s slides and sent everyone flash drives with the treasured pictures on them. It was fun to go through them together and reminisce family lore. The heart-to-heart honest conversations we could have as cousins who have known each other all of our lives were precious to me. I admire her fierce loyalty to family and her unconditional love for me.

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