Written by: Suzette Barnett
This one I had not planned. We finally arrived in Portland after over a week of road tripping from Los Angeles, and I hadn’t booked a hotel assuming there would be tons of options in downtown Portland. As it happens, weekends get booked up quick leaving you stuck with only high priced rooms. Searching for other options, I came across the Camas Hotel. The description said “Romantic European Boutique Hotel”. Over the phone they offered me a room with a great rate, and off we went to Camas. We loved it there.
Camas is actually in Washington state, just a 20 minute drive from downtown Portland. The town makes a great base for exploring the surrounding territory, just as Lewis & Clark did on their expedition west. It’s a small town with a population of 19,000. Camas has interesting shops, restaurants, spas and salons and is also home to Lacamas Lake. It is fantastically quaint but be warned, most everything closes by 6 or 7pm.
The liquor collection there is top shelf and they make an effort to source the best locally-distilled small-batch spirits in support of the micro-distillery trend which is so popular in the Northwest right now. Their wide variety of wine and beers on tap, sourced from across Washington and Oregon states, also did not disappoint. What a hidden gem this place is!I found the one place that was open after 7pm: the Birch Street Uptown Lounge. You have to try to imagine coming in here from the brisk Washington cold just after dusk; the dim lights, a cozy seat at the bar, the tunes of Count Basie playing overhead. I watched their bartender – in a white lab coat – prepare specialty absinthe drinks using the classic French Dip Ritual. I discovered their particular absinthe is a rare find; a super-premium type crafted in the historic Franco-Swiss style from an 1855 recipe.
405 NE 4th Ave
City of Camas:
Birch Street Uptown Lounge:
Diamonds & Rust antiques: