Shop, or eat a great PB&J in a playful Portland neighborhood

Karl Samson,  – December 29, 2004

Photographs by Pete Stone

In Beverly Cleary’s popular children’s books, Henry Huggins and his dog, Ribsy, often wish something exciting would happen. If your kids or dog are wishing something exciting would happen this month, head out for northeast Portland’s Beaumont-Wilshire neighborhood, which served as backdrop for some of Cleary’s best-loved books.

Start the day at Grant Park, running around the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for Children. The playful bronze statues of Henry, Ribsy, and Ramona Quimby can be found near the corner of N.E. Brazee Street and N.E. 33rd Avenue.

After working off some excess energy, walk over to Jim & Patty’s Coffee (5015 N.E. Fremont St.; 503/284-2121), where the whole family can relax. Try lattes or flavored steamed milk (or doggie biscuits) and the best coffee cake in Portland. With its books and board games, the cafe is a fun place to hang out.

Brush up on Henry and Ramona’s adventures at A Children’s Place bookstore (4807 N.E. Fremont; 503/284-8294). Then poke your nose in at Bella Flora Studio (closed Sun; 4439 N.E. Fremont; 503/866-3009), where artist Elaine Falbo creates enchanting fairy furniture, just 6 to 12 inches tall.

At lunchtime, pull up a kid-size chair at Peanut Butter & Ellie’s ($; breakfast, lunch, and dinner Mon–Sat, brunch and lunch Sun; 1325 N.E. Fremont; 503/282-1783), where the menu is packed with children’s favorites made with mostly organic ingredients. Afterward, stroll one block south of Fremont to N.E. Klickitat Street, where Ramona and Henry lived.

If your energy level flags later on, grab a chair by the fireplace at Foxfire Teas (closed Mon–Tue; 4605 N.E. Fremont; 503/288-6869). At Criollo Bakery ($; closed Mon; 4727 N.E. Fremont; 503/335-9331), stock up on dog biscuits for Fido and pastries for yourself.

As any child can tell you, no outing is complete without ice cream, so be sure to stop for gelato at the new Parisi’s ($; 4605 N.E. Fremont; 503/287-7444). I’m sure Ramona and Henry would approve of this addition to the neighborhood.


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