Northeast vs. Pacific Northwest

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST 

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to see most of the states in the USA.  While I love living in NE, I must admit… the Pacific Northwest has my attention.  I’ve always been enamored by the heights of the mountains, the depth and cleanliness of the lakes and the mighty Pacific Ocean.

Most of my visions prior to the past five years were from books, movies and magazines. But since then, our youngest Daughter Julia decided to head west after college and that gave us a great opportunity to see real life in the PNW up close and personal.

Two days after Labor day, we departed Logan Airport headed to Portland, Oregon for a 6 day visit with Julia. Portland itself isn’t quite as weird as it is made out to be.  It is a beautiful city with very green spaces and about 11 bridges that divide the East and West sections of the city.

After a Portland style Vegan lunch, Joan and I drove to Bend Oregon for the first two nights.  Think North Conway, NH… except a lot cooler (in vibe that is)!  Beautiful homes, great downtown scene and the Deschutes River for beauty, fishing, rafting and surfing… yes Surfing.  The people of Bend take their surfboards to the river near a section of mid-range rapids and surf it like it was a man-made surf park.  When winter hits, it is a 20 minute drive to a classic western ski mountain known as Mt. Bachelor.

After two days in Bend, it was time to head back to Portland to rescue Julia from her Data Analytics job and join her for a very fun, action packed weekend.  The ride was as beautiful. Mountains straight up to the heavens right from the side of the road and gorges and canyons second only to the Grand Canyon.  The Crown Jewel, Mt. Hood is a whopping 45 minutes outside of Portland. 

We didn’t head to the base of the ski area of the Beautiful Lodge, but on this mountain, the lifts never close.  The U S Ski Team along with numerous ski camps practices there all summer. The best view of the mountain is from Trillium Lake.  A pristine small body of water freshly fed from the run off from Mt. Hood.

To me, the most striking memory of the Portland area is the trees and shrubs.  Nearly the same exact species that we see here in NE, except a lot larger.  The growing season is a bit longer and conditions are less harsh giving these monsters time to grow beyond their NE capabilities.  The icing on the cake was a trip through the Portland Japanese Gardens.  One of the oldest and grandest Japanese gardens in the USA… I was spellbound.  In fact, I may have found my next career in designing Japanese Gardens.  Stay tuned for more news from the Nap Team… it may include photos of my Japanese Garden which is already in the rough design phase.