Portland adventure for 2 friends getting over respective mental crises?
August 26, 2016 1:58 PM   Subscribe

My friend and I have recently been crawling out of some pretty thick mental mud from the past several months, and I was hoping for some suggestions in and around Portland to swing us back into greater health.

I am heading to Portland from the Midwest soon to stay with a good friend of mine for several days. I'm not necessarily looking for specific places to go, which is still fine and well, but rather looking for creative ideas as how to spend our time.

Both of us haven't had the best summer as far as mental health goes. We're both approaching our respective situations with our own solutions. We've also been communicating our experiences with one another, and I thought coming with a solid suggestion to do something to "forget it all" would be nice. I've considered mountain camping all the way to sensory deprivation tanks.

Is there anything specific to Portland, OR that the hive mind might suggest given this? Even unspecific to Portland: Is there a specific activity you have done when your misery has been in company with another, but you ended up having an experience that made you both feel great afterwards?
posted by swoopstake to Human Relations (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
- Borrow bikes and hop the MAX as far as it will go west. Bike to Banks and ride the Banks to Vernonia trail (converted from rails. Car-free. So amazing). Hike & Bike camping on the trail is like $5 if I recollect correctly, no reservation required.
- Rent orange bikes and go park hopping in the city. Portland has some seriously amazing public parks.
- Book a bike tour. I worked at one of the bike tour shops in Portland and people always came back surprised at how much fun they had had. Off the top of my head, they had tours of wineries, downtown, food carts, breweries, etc. There are rides for people of all experience levels.
-Obviously, my mind goes to biking. Let me know if you need any biking-related Portland-specific advice. I have tons.

Basically if I were you, I would be looking for something to do that would physically wear us out. It's fantastic for "forgetting it all."
posted by aniola at 2:44 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Head out to Florence, Oregon. You can camp on the beach. Really great this time of year.
posted by parmanparman at 2:48 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you haven't been to a Korean spa before, now is the time. Jade Sauna in Beaverton. I went with two girlfriends (it's not coed, not sure if that will work for you?) after a rough spring, and we all left feeling like beloved newborn babies, in a good way.

The basics are--you go, you get a little towel, and you hang out in a number of rooms; there is a good description of the process here. If you go, spend the extra $$ to get an exfoliation service. I thought I would be very uncomfortable being fully nude, but the process is...clinical isn't the right word, but after we left we all compared the experience to being treated like a horse being scrubbed after a day in the paddock? Like, impersonal and totally no nonsense, but also thorough and therapeutic?

Anyways, you go in these rooms, it's like being in a womb, you sweat everything out, then you go get scrubbed within an inch of your life and then moisturized and massaged all over, and then you get dressed and just sit in your car for half an hour until your limbs stop being noodles and you can drive home.

If you have questions please memail me; it's just a house in a suburb so if you're used to fancy it seems like it might be sketchy from the outside, but we had a great experience and you can't beat the price (it was $120 for 3 hours including tip last year).

And pro tip, if you end up going; don't do it right before you go dancing or clubbing. You will be SO dehydrated and it will be a terrible mistake. Schedule it for before an evening of chilled spring rolls, sparkling water, and a good book, maybe.
posted by stellaluna at 4:31 PM on August 26, 2016 [6 favorites]

Activities and places in Portland I vouch for helping mental health:
Ride a bike everywhere.
Watch the sunset from Mt. Tabor Park.
Watch the sunset from Council Crest*.
Cups of coffee from Good Coffee, Either/Or, and Coava, paired with a stroll in their respective neighborhoods.
Breakfast at either Pho Hung location (breakfast there is an experience for sure, and best done hungover).
Get stoned and eat some poutine late at night.
Get stoned and play pinball or play pinball.
Hitting up Oceanside always does the trick for me, even just for a day visit.
Go chase some waterfalls in the Gorge. They're almost all relaxing and chill. Save one exception, which is impressive, but more of a tourist trap. Other, smaller falls are nice and chill, and you can sort of hang and think on how awesome they are.

*If you have a car, and are not inebriated, it is sometimes possible to watch the sunset from Mt Tabor park, then haul ass and watch the sunset AGAIN from Council Crest.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:43 PM on August 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

Common Ground wellness center has a lovely soaking pool. You don't have to be a member but a reservation is a good idea if it's a peak time. Clothing optional. I've always felt very safe there, and sit on the left side if you want jets that will push the stress out of your body.

I also love the Peninsula Park rose garden, smaller than the huge one but very lovely.

If you are crafty, you could go to Scrap, get some super cheap craft materials and rid yourself of the difficult experiences through creativity.

The year I moved to Portland, I made a zine about my own trauma story and it was one of the most freeing things I've ever done. The IPRC has open time where folks can come to work on their zines, they were a lifesaver for me.

Best of luck with finding your liberation.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 10:34 PM on August 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

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