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"Put a bird on it!" That may be the most famous quote from the popular IFC series "Portlandia," but it's also Virgin America's goalto put one of their birds on a Portland route. Today, that bird flies SFO-PDX for the first time and we're on board.
LIVE from 32,000' above Northern California:
We are officially airborne and on our way to Portland! The pre-departure festivities at San Francisco's snazzy Terminal 2 were complete with cookies and celebratory remarks by Virgin America CEO David Cush and "Portlandia" mayor's assistant/real Portland mayor, Sam Adams. Kyle MacLachlan, who plays the mayor in "Portlandia," is here as well, so really we just need to have shell art kits in the seatback pockets and all will be ideal.
In a recent video, Mayor Adams, who is the real Mayor of Portland and also plays the Mayor's assistant on the show, explained why the city is willing is to stand behind Portlandia.
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Oh hey do you live in California or Oregon? Well, as if you needed any more reason to be excited for the start of Virgin America flying to Portland, the airline has launched a contest called "Arts and Aircrafts" with IFC's hit show "Portlandia." Of course there's a prize in it: a free flight to PDX and the opportunity to party in an airplane hangar.
To enter, go HERE, pick one of your Facebook photos, then, well, YOU PUT A FRIGGIN' BIRD ON IT (as we've done with this photo). Don't worry if you don't understand the reference, you will soon enough. The top-voted photo winners will get a free trip to PDX on Virgin America's inaugural flight in a few weeks, in addition to joining in on the Portland hangar party.
Yo yo yo. So you know BoltBus, the Greyhound-owned leather seats-and-wifi bus line that drives you to places like Baltimore, New York, Washington DC and Boston? Well, they've gone bicoastal, launching routes between Portland and Seattle starting May 17.
As is usual BoltBus style, the earlier you book your ticket the cheaper the fare. $1 plus a $1 reservation fee is the absolute cheapest, but the average ticket isn't much more at around $10 each way.
Now let's do some comparison shopping. We checked BoltBus.com for a Portland-to-Seattle one-way on May 31 and found four total departure times, the cheapest costing $6. Over on Amtrak.com, the same route by train is commanding $32 for the same date. The length of trip is about the same at three hours-ish. Only the chance of having WiFi on Amtrak is 50% and the chance of having it on BoltBus is 100% (assuming both are working properly). We'll leave the final decision up to you.
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Everything happens in threes, and Virgin America's latest route launches follow the pattern. This year so far it's been new flights to Palm Springs, Philadelphia (launching beginning of April) and nowthe third "P"Portland, Oregon.
Just announced today, Virgin America will begin hopping over to PDX from both SFO and LAX beginning June 5. LAX will get two daily nonstops, while SFO claims only one. Whateverthat's plenty to help "keep Portland weird." Rates start at $99 each way, inclusive of taxes and fees. LA and SF people mixing with Portlanders is usually pretty hilarious, and they're pretty much most of the guests at The Ace Hotel PDX, so Virgin's new flights will just help them make the trip to "where the young go to retire" even easier. But that's not all!
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IFC's hit series Portlandia has been showing us around Portland's neighborhoods for two seasons, and now they are bringing that expertise to bookstores.
Hachette imprint Grand Central Publishing will release “PORTLANDIA: A Guide for Visitors” later this year. The book will be written like a traditional travel guide, but instead of providing practical information, like prices or reviews, it will take readers on a tour of Portland's landmarks, shops, and restaurants in the same quirky tone Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen use on their sketch comedy show.
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Do you want to be prepared for the coming zombie apocalypse? Maybe you need to polish your zombie-fighting or shelter-building skills? Then TrackersPDX in Portland, OR is offering a survival training camp just for you.
The outdoor and adventure specialist have created an intensive 2-day coursetaught by seasoned experts who have fought on the frontlines of the zombie epidemicwhere you will learn all of the essential skills you'll need in the event of a zombie takeover.
Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein will soon find out if they can put a bird on it in Springfield too. The Simpsons has tapped the dynamic duo of IFC’s Portlandia to guest star on an episode, entitled The Day the Earth Stayed Cool, that will air next fall.
Fred and Carrie will voice characters who are part of a “cool” family which moves in next door to The Simpsons from Portland. In the episode Homer will try to be friends with them, but Marge will remain skeptical about being that "cool."
Simpsons executive producer Al Jean said the Portlandia stars are "the best thing to come out of Portland since everything our show took out of Portland," including Portland native and show creator Matt Groening.
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It's the most wonderful time of the year—or at least that’s how the song goes—so what better way to celebrate the season than by downing a few cold ones. The winter ales and lagers have arrived, and it's almost time to enjoy each and every one of them. Pumpkin ales are shelved and there's more winter fun to be had in 2012, but for the remainder of 2011 here’s where to find some of the best seasonal beer festivals:
· Holiday Ale Festival 2011 – Portland, Oregon:
The very best of the bunch might just be in Portland, Oregon, as the annual Holiday Ale Festival is set to arrive in Pioneer Courthouse Square between November 30 and December 4. That’s right—there’s five total days in which to celebrate, and even if you attend each day you’ll probably miss a beer here or there. In total there are more than 40 breweries expected to be in attendance, and they’re bringing stuff you won’t find at the grocery store or bodega. We’re already thinking about Papa Noel’s Moonlight Reserve from Alameda Brewing and Drunken Elf Stout from Columbia River Brewing—although the Chocolate Mint Stout from Gilgamesh Brewing is tempting too.
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In yet another argument for improving the rail network of the USA, we turn to the impressive Union Station in the Chinatown section of Portland, Oregon. Even if you aren't arriving by the Amtrak Cascades, Coast Starlight or Empire Builder trains and you flew in to this here town, the station is worth a visit for its historical and architectural significance (not to mention that sweet Romanesque clock tower).
As you can see in the above image, the stations is undergoing something of a refurbishment. Sadly, this won't be to add more train servicesoh how we'd love to see some hi-speed trains making stops herebut to add housing in places where railroad track used to be.
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What's the first thing you think about when you think Portland, Oregon? Is it Mt. Hood? Maybe it's clean, crisp Pacific Northwest air or coffee snobs. For many however, Portland is a bicycling haven, a dreamworld where bike lanes are spacious and chatting up a stranger with talk of U-locks isn't lame at all.
From the moment a travelers arrives at Portland International Airportmore popularly referred to by its airport code PDXthe biped influence is immediate. Signs lead arriving passengers down to baggage claim, to the oversized luggage claim area and finally out to a sea of airport bike racks, complete with a bike assembly area.
This surprise amenity isn't necessarily just for Portland locals, who've traced elsewhere with their bikes. It's for tourists too, who head out this way with their trusty 10-speeds to test the environment.
Are you a traveler who's gotten over buying souvenirs everywhere you go? Maybe you're even totally done with posing for photos of yourself in front of world landmarks? Regardless, there's one sort of touristy thing weas beyond frequent travelersare powerless to resist, and that's waypoint signs.
You'll find these posts with arrow directions at places like trailheads, airports and heavily-trafficked plazas in urban city centres. It was at the latter we photographed this one, which takes pride of place at the entrance to Portland, Oregon's Pioneer Courthouse Square.
While the statue of Portlandia may only be five blocks away, the opportunity to hug a kangaroo is more like 8,003 miles away. Timbuktu? 6,726 miles. Walden Pond? 2,530 miles. Portland, Maine? 2,540 miles. It never gets old!