Melissa Wilmot

Correspondent

  • Portland, Oregon, USA

Melissa Wilmot is a Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent who lives in Portland, Ore. and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Wilmot writes about luxury travel, lifestyle, wellness and dining. After time spent heading up communications at the Portland Japanese Garden and at a major public relations company, she founded her own communications firm. Born in South Africa, Wilmot has travelled to every continent except Antarctica. A few years ago, she and her husband took a luxury safari trip with their infant son and now Wilmot can’t wait to take both of her young sons to explore the world further.

  • On June 9, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best activities in Portland?

    Forest Park Conservancy Portland is a phenomenal place to explore… rain or shine! While a novel could be written about all there is to do in and around this city, here are just a few activities you should make sure to check out:

    BrewCycle: Grab some friends and be prepared to experience Portland’s best breweries in a whole new way. Combining Portland’s love of handcrafted beer and biking, the BrewCycle will take you, as fast as you can pedal, to your next pint.

    The Portland Timbers are the hometown MLS team with one of the best fan bases in America. With a season that runs into October, you'll have ample opportunity to watch some spectacular soccer, try Timbers signature concession items, and witness the palpable excitement of the crowd.

    Shopping: No sales tax in Portland. Need we say more? Oh yes, also really good to mention the plethora of fantastic designers featured at fashion retailers like Frances May, Mercantile and of course our Northwest favorite, Nordstrom. If it’s art you’re in the mood for, prominent galleries like the Elizabeth Leach Gallery feature talented and established artists, including some of the Northwest’s best.

    Running, Walking or Hiking Trails: You’ll find a trail perfect for whatever you have in mind, all within Portland city limits. You can’t beat a leisurely stroll to the top of Mt. Tabor to enjoy beautiful vistas of the city, or running the shady trails of Forest Park.

    Upscale Bowling: Now, don’t laugh, it’s true, Grand Central Bowling could possibly be considered “luxurious.” The lounge features sleek couches overlooking modern lanes with all the latest technology. Want even more? Try the VIP bowling experience to enjoy private luxury seating and two exclusive bowling lanes. And we haven’t even mentioned the food and drink options. Let’s just say sushi is on the menu — and it’s really good!
  • On June 9, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best activities in Portland?

    Forest Park Conservancy Portland is a phenomenal place to explore… rain or shine! While a novel could be written about all there is to do in and around this city, here are just a few activities you should make sure to check out:

    • BrewCycle: Grab some friends and be prepared to experience Portland’s best breweries in a whole new way. Combining Portland’s love of handcrafted beer and biking, the BrewCycle will take you, as fast as you can pedal, to your next pint.
    • The Portland Timbers are the hometown MLS team with one of the best fan bases in America. With a season that runs into October, you'll have ample opportunity to watch some spectacular soccer, try Timbers signature concession items, and witness the palpable excitement of the crowd.
    • Shopping: No sales tax in Portland. Need we say more? Oh yes, also really good to mention the plethora of fantastic designers featured at fashion retailers like Frances May, Mercantile and of course our Northwest favorite, Nordstrom. If it’s art you’re in the mood for, prominent galleries like the Elizabeth Leach Gallery feature talented and established artists, including some of the Northwest’s best.
    • Running, Walking or Hiking Trails: You’ll find a trail perfect for whatever you have in mind, all within Portland city limits. You can’t beat a leisurely stroll to the top of Mt. Tabor to enjoy beautiful vistas of the city, or running the shady trails of Forest Park.
    • Upscale Bowling: Now, don’t laugh, it’s true, Grand Central Bowling could possibly be considered “luxurious.” The lounge features sleek couches overlooking modern lanes with all the latest technology. Want even more? Try the VIP bowling experience to enjoy private luxury seating and two exclusive bowling lanes. And we haven’t even mentioned the food and drink options. Let’s just say sushi is on the menu — and it’s really good!
  • On June 7, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best attractions in Portland?

    OMSI, Darryl Moran Portland boasts a plethora of things to do all year long, indoors and out! It's what makes the city one of the best places in America to live, and keeps tourists returning again and again. On your next visit, make sure to tick off the following:

    The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has a little something for every visitor. From fantastic, educational exhibitions to hands-on experiments, kids and adults alike should be prepared to spend a better part of a day at OMSI. And, beginning June 14, the Mummies of the World exhibition opens to the public. Ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years will be on display in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.

    Stroll along NW 23rd’s tree-lined sidewalks and shop in fantastic boutiques, or stop in one of the many delicious eateries along the way. From Bamboo Sushi to delicious crepes at Vivace, you should make sure to come on an empty stomach.

    Set aside an hour to explore the five distinct Japanese gardens immaculately maintained at the world class Portland Japanese Garden. You’ll love the views of the city, and the simple calmness the gardens inspire. Right below the Japanese Garden is the world renowned International Rose Test Garden. Stroll through the hundreds of bushes and make sure to stop and smell the roses… this is the “City of Roses,” after all.

    The South Park blocks near Portland State University are the place to be on Saturdays. The Portland Farmers Market is considered one of the best in the world, and for good reason… Beautiful bouquets, delightful fruits and veggies and some of the best pesto spreads around!

    You can’t visit Portland and miss out on Pioneer Courthouse Square. On any given day the Square may be featuring a concert, craft beer tasting, or an appearance from our hometown favorites, the Portland Trailblazers NBA team.

    Pittock Mansion is a century-old French Renaissance-style “château” nestled in Portland’s West Hills, 1,000 feet above the downtown skyline. Originally built as a private residence, it now is open to the public. Its 23 perfectly and lavishly decorated rooms could capture your attention for hours, but don’t miss walking outside and savoring the absolutely stunning panoramic views of the city and Mt. Hood in the background.
  • On June 7, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best attractions in Portland?

    OMSI, Darryl Moran Portland boasts a plethora of things to do all year long, indoors and out! It's what makes the city one of the best places in America to live, and keeps tourists returning again and again. On your next visit, make sure to tick off the following:

    • The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has a little something for every visitor. From fantastic, educational exhibitions to hands-on experiments, kids and adults alike should be prepared to spend a better part of a day at OMSI. And, beginning June 14, the Mummies of the World exhibition opens to the public. Ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years will be on display in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.
    • Stroll along NW 23rd’s tree-lined sidewalks and shop in fantastic boutiques, or stop in one of the many delicious eateries along the way. From Bamboo Sushi to delicious crepes at Vivace, you should make sure to come on an empty stomach.
    • Set aside an hour to explore the five distinct Japanese gardens immaculately maintained at the world class Portland Japanese Garden. You’ll love the views of the city, and the simple calmness the gardens inspire. Right below the Japanese Garden is the world renowned International Rose Test Garden. Stroll through the hundreds of bushes and make sure to stop and smell the roses… this is the “City of Roses,” after all.
    • The South Park blocks near Portland State University are the place to be on Saturdays. The Portland Farmers Market is considered one of the best in the world, and for good reason… Beautiful bouquets, delightful fruits and veggies and some of the best pesto spreads around!
    • You can’t visit Portland and miss out on Pioneer Courthouse Square. On any given day the Square may be featuring a concert, craft beer tasting, or an appearance from our hometown favorites, the Portland Trailblazers NBA team.
    • Pittock Mansion is a century-old French Renaissance-style “château” nestled in Portland’s West Hills, 1,000 feet above the downtown skyline. Originally built as a private residence, it now is open to the public. Its 23 perfectly and lavishly decorated rooms could capture your attention for hours, but don’t miss walking outside and savoring the absolutely stunning panoramic views of the city and Mt. Hood in the background.
  • On June 7, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best attractions in Portland?

    OMSI, Darryl Moran Portland boasts a plethora of things to do all year long, indoors and out! It's what makes the city one of the best places in America to live, and keeps tourists returning again and again. On your next visit, make sure to tick off the following:

    • The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has a little something for every visitor. From fantastic, educational exhibitions to hands-on experiments, kids and adults alike should be prepared to spend a better part of a day at OMSI. And, beginning June 14, the Mummies of the World exhibition opens to the public. Ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years will be on display in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.
    • Stroll along NW 23rd’s tree-lined sidewalks and shop in fantastic boutiques, or stop in one of the many delicious eateries along the way. From Bamboo Sushi to delicious crepes at Vivace, you should make sure to come on an empty stomach.
    • Set aside an hour to explore the five distinct Japanese gardens immaculately maintained at the world class Portland Japanese Garden. You’ll love the views of the city, and the simple calmness the gardens inspire. Right below the Japanese Garden is the world renowned International Rose Test Garden. Stroll through the hundreds of bushes and make sure to stop and smell the roses… this is the “City of Roses,” after all.
    • The South Park blocks near Portland State University are the place to be on Saturdays. The Portland Farmers Market is considered one of the best in the world, and for good reason… Beautiful bouquets, delightful fruits and veggies and some of the best pesto spreads around!
    • You can’t visit Portland and miss out on Pioneer Courthouse Square. On any given day the Square may be featuring a concert, craft beer tasting, or an appearance from our hometown favorites, the Portland Trailblazers NBA team.
    • Pittock Mansion is a century-old French Renaissance-style “château” nestled in Portland’s West Hills, 1,000 feet above the downtown skyline. Originally built as a private residence, it now is open to the public. Its 23 perfectly and lavishly decorated rooms could capture your attention for hours, but don’t miss walking outside and savoring the absolutely stunning panoramic views of the city and Mt. Hood in the background.
  • On June 5, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best kid-friendly restaurants in Portland?

    Portland's first "eco-brewpub," Hopworks Urban Brewery, not only serves up some of the finest brews and food in town, but also has a terrific space for kids. Get a table in view of the kids' corner, order up your meals and organic beers and then enjoy a little "mini" date!

    If you're in the mood for good diner food and want to bring the kids along, look no further than Skyline Restaurant. Situated along the very scenic Skyline Boulevard in NW Portland, this cash-only diner opened in 1935 and still offers some of the best burgers, fries and shakes around. There's a good collection of toys for kids to play with, great kids' menus, and friendly staff that make sure the whole family is happy.

    Las Primas Peruvian Kitchen features a mouth-watering menu with such favorites as the empanadas, butifarra sandwiches and yuquitas. Their bright, open space in the foodie neighborhood of North Portland definitely caters to families with children. The foosball table is an obvious draw, but the Etch A Sketches are also big hits with kids of all ages.
  • On June 4, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best bars in Portland?

    Departure Without even diving into all the fantastic breweries and distilleries that Portland has to offer, we could spend quite some time on our favorite bars. Whether we’re ordering off the happy hour menu, tasting a wine from our own Willamette Valley, or listening to great live music, these are some of our favorites.

    Beaker & Flask is well known as one of Portland's finest craft cocktail spots. Friendly and creative bartenders are constantly making new creations. Sit at the bar to talk to the master mixologists and sip on concoctions like the "Whitesnake:" pisco, pineapple, tawny port and lime angostura bitters. The menus rival the drinks, so eventually move from the bar to a table and keep the experience going.

    Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub is home of the largest St. Patrick’s Festival in the Northwest. On top of that, they offer great beers and live music year-round.

    Take in Portland from 15 floors above street level at Departure’s happy hour. Sitting outside with a cocktail in hand is the best possible way to wind down your day.

    Brix Tavern offers a classic tavern vibe in the heart of the Pearl District. In addition to a great selection of beer, wine and cocktails, they’re known for some amazing good ol’ American comfort food. Read: Baked truffle mac & cheese and chicken pot pie.

    Blocks from the Rose Quarter and home of the Portland Trail Blazers, Spirit of 77 is bringing the American sports bar back to life. If you’re not there to watch your favorite teams on the big screen TVs, make sure to stop by en route to, or from, a Blazers game.

    Established in 1879, Hubers is Portland’s oldest restaurant. In addition to this claim to fame, they are known for their signature drink — the spanish coffee, prepared tableside with great flair.
  • On May 29, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best bookstores in Portland?

    Portland, Oregon is truly a literary city. The fantastic Literary Arts is a community-based nonprofit literary center located in downtown Portland, with a 29-year history of serving Oregon's readers and writers. They foster readers and writers as early as the high school level with their innovative programs, so it's no wonder this city loves its books. Break away from your Kindle for a little while to experience the many terrific independent bookstores Portland has to offer. And, start with these two:

    Hands-down one of the best bookstores in Portland, and indeed the northwest, is Powell's Books. Opened in Portland in the early 1970s, the store now has four full-service locations, including the flagship store bordering Portland's Pearl District. What sets Powell's apart is the combination of old and new books, paperbacks and hardcovers, all on the same shelves. When you visit, ensure you have allotted yourself enough time to browse... you'll want it.

    Another fantastic independent bookstore that Portland can boast about is Annie Bloom's Books. Located in the charming neighborhood of Multnomah Village in Southwest Portland, this bookstore has a wonderful selection of travel, fiction, current events and cooking literature. Their staff is some of the friendliest and most helpful around.
  • On May 27, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What restaurants have the best views in Portland?

    Noble Rot Thirty floors above Portland sits the Portland City Grill. With arguably the best views this city has to offer, including outstanding ones of Mt. Hood on a clear day, this restaurant also features award-winning cuisine with Northwest, Island and Asian influences. Happy Hour at the Portland City Grill is one of the best in the city. Sample the rice paper spring rolls and spicy basil chicken while sipping a pomegranate mojito.

    Papa Haydn, situated on the charming NW 23rd Avenue, is the perfect spot to people watch, savor incredible Sunday brunch, and try delectable desserts. Well known for their cakes, order several pieces and everyone can try a little bit of each. Some of our favorites include the carrot cake, chocolate truffle cake and the lemon chiffon cake. Pick a warm, sunny day to sit outside and soak in NW 23rd and you won't be disappointed.

    Noble Rot wine bar, located on the east side of Portland, is renowned for their food and wine selection. But, what makes this spot one of the best are the fantastic views of downtown Portland and the West Hills. Time it right and sit out on the patio to watch the colors splash across the sky as the sun sets behind the West Hills.
  • On May 27, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best day trips near Portland?

    Rex Hill/John Valls Soak up Portland as much as you can, but also leave a little time to hop in your car and take day trips outside of the city. Just 40 minutes southwest of downtown is the start of world-famous Oregon wine country. Make sure to spend time at Rex Hill Vineyards: soak in the gorgeous views of Oregon's coast range, and gain a full appreciation of the 17 acres of one of Oregon's first vineyards, with some vines now more than 30 years old. Head indoors to the tasting room that features great education about the wine growing region and process, as well as opportunities to taste the award-winning wines themselves.

    Drive an hour east of Portland and you'll enter the Columbia River Gorge. Enjoy some of the best walking and hiking trails in the state, up-close views of the stunning Multnomah Falls, or drive a little further and visit Hood River. Home to amazing wind surfing and other water sports, Hood River is a wonderful town to explore on foot and boasts beautiful views of the river, as well as a booming craft beer industry.

    Just about an hour's drive west of Portland is the Oregon coast. Beautiful any time of the year, visitors enjoy exploring charming beach towns, browsing for art at the many galleries, strolls near the famous Haystack Rock, and delicious seafood. Need to stay the night? Check out The Wayside Inn in Cannon Beach, just a quick walk away from the shoreline.
  • On May 23, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What is the best time to visit Portland?

    Autumn in Portland is pretty hard to beat. Fall foliage colors range from bright pinks to deep goldens; it typically has not started raining; and there’s the perfect fall crispness in the air. Because it’s not quite umbrella or rain jacket weather yet, people are very much outdoors as much as possible. Dining al fresco is still an option, long walks on shaded trails are a must, and of course strolling along NW 23rd or SE Hawthorne is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

    Autumn is also a great time to visit wine country, just a 30 minute drive outside Portland. From fancy tasting rooms and unmatched views of colorful hills, to some of the best wine in the world, you won’t want to leave. And, that’s alright. Stay the night at the luxurious The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg and pamper yourself at the spa voted one of the best in the nation. You’ll be disappointed when all the leaves fall and the temperatures begin to drop, but there’s always next year!
  • On May 22, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best clothing boutiques in Portland?

    The Portland, Oregon metropolitan area boasts several past winners of Project Runway, proving that we're a fashionable bunch! And we're lucky to have some of the best clothing boutiques around to indulge our tastes. The following are just a handful of the many apparel boutiques Portland has to offer, but you can't start shopping in better places than these...

    • Mercantile Portland is one of Portland's premier women's designer apparel retailers offering young American and European designer collections along with great handbags and accessories. The service is unparalleled and with such a great selection of clothes, you won't leave without purchasing something.
    • Anne Bocci Boutique & Gallery is nestled in the cute Southwest Portland neighborhood of Multnomah Village. It may be a small space, but Anne Bocci carries some of the best clothes in Portland, including designs from Seth Aaron Henderson and Michelle Lesniak Franklin, two former Project Runway winners.
    • Frances May features the best of the best from innovative independent designers. With a great mix of trendy and timeless clothing, the grandmother/granddaughter owner combo successfully curates an incredible collection of men's and women's apparel.
    • With locations on both NW 23rd and SE Hawthorne, Sloan Boutique is a locally owned boutique carrying a wide selection of women's apparel, shoes and accessories. In addition to nationally recognized brands, Sloan Boutique also carries several smaller, but equally fashionable lines.
  • On May 21, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best kids activities in Portland?

    Portland boasts many family-oriented activities that make traveling with kids easy and fun. Enjoy some of the following, and you'll understand why so many young families make Portland their home!
    • Rose Garden Children's Park is quite possibly the best outdoor play area in Portland. Built in 1995 with $2 million in donations, it features a huge, colorful play structure complete with swings, slides, ramps and more to keep kids entertained for hours. It is also designed to accommodate all children, including those with disabilities.
    • Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) is a big hit with people of all ages, and definitely captivating to kids. The museum is a scientific, educational and cultural resource center that makes learning experiences fun and entertaining, and the hands-on exhibits will get the whole family engaged.
    • The Oregon Zoo sits on 64 acres in the West Hills of Portland and features elephants, flamingos, polar bears, giraffes, lions, wild dogs, and so much more. It's stroller accessible and truly a kid's dream destination. Treat yourselves to elephant ears while you sit on the lawn, or walk through the terrific lorikeet walk-through aviary.
    • Jamison Square in the Pearl District is a great place to take a picnic lunch, and if the temps warm up, let the kids run around in the water fountains with their shoes off.
    • The Portland Children's Museum is home to some of the best hands-on fun Portland has to offer kids (especially on a rainy day!). And, running May 25 through September 22, the museum will be host to the Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice exhibit. The only disappointed kids leaving the museum's doors are ones who aren't ready to go home yet!
  • On May 20, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best restaurants in Portland?

    Where to even start? Portland absolutely has something for everyone. A divine, scrumptious dining experience can be had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert and the summary below simply scratches the surface. But, if you must start somewhere, this is the place!

    1. Las Primas: True confession: I lived in Lima, Peru for 2 years. What that means is that I know great Peruvian cuisine, and this is it. The signature sandwich, the butifarra, will make your taste buds thank you forever. Pair it with the yuquitas, yucca dough fritters topped with a creamy pepper sauce, and make sure to order the super-flavorful empanadas. Peruvian dining isn’t complete without an accompanying pisco sour drink and Las Primas goes one step further in their creative and unique pisco cocktails – you’ll need multiple visits to try them all.
    2. The Painted Lady: Looking to explore some of the fine dining a mere 40 minutes outside of Portland in the heart of the Willamette Valley? Look no further than The Painted Lady restaurant. The best of seasonal and local ingredients are showcased in the delectable five course tasting menu featuring options like potato gnocchi and wild mushroom ragout, pistachio crusted filet mignon with potato puree and spring vegetables, and orange scented souffle with Grand Marnier creme anglaise. Since you're in Oregon's famed wine country, make sure to sip on some of the many local wines The Painted Lady offers to complement your meal.
    3. Ox: What do you get when you add the wood-fired grilling tradition of Argentina, the culinary heritage of Spain, France and Italy, and a nod toward the palate of the Pacific Northwest? One of Portland’s hottest restaurants. Ox is known for its prime local meats and fish as well as seasonal produce, all prepared in a thoughtful manner. The wait for a table is worth it, and once in, make sure to sample the bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber and shiso, the maple-glazed heirloom carrots, briar rose chèvre, tarragon and truffle-salted pistachios, and the grass-fed Uruguayan beef ribeye.
    4. Le Pigeon: This is a must for Portland dining. The elbow-to-elbow experience is part of the charm, but the tasting menus are what set this restaurant apart and allow diners to “have it all.” The yogurt-grilled prawns, goat cheese gnocchi and crusted pork cutlet are some favorites, but don’t limit yourself. Top off the experience with the espresso pot de crème, and you’ll already be dreaming about your return.
    5. Grüner: Located in Portland’s hot and burgeoning West End, the Alpine-European cuisine at Grüner isn’t what you would expect. No heavy, greasy food here. Instead, you’ll find an amazing attention to detail with flavor combinations you haven’t sampled before. Start with the tarte flambée, an Alsatian “pizza” topped with sweet onions, smoky bacon, fromage blanc and chives. Follow that with the choucroute garnie entrée. Bratwurst, saucisson, cider-braised pork belly, cured pork tenderloin, sauerkraut and yukon gold potatoes are taken to the next level with sweet (and spicy in the right way) mustard. Pair your meal with one or two recommended German beers from the extensive drink menu.
  • On May 18, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best activities in Portland?

    Forest Park Conservancy Portland is a phenomenal place to explore… rain or shine! While a novel could be written (and probably has) about all there is to do in and around this city, here are just a few activities you should make sure to check out:

    • BrewCycle: Grab some friends and be prepared to experience Portland’s best breweries in a whole new way. Combining Portland’s love of handcrafted beer and biking, the BrewCycle will take you, as fast as you can pedal, to your next pint.
    • Shopping: No sales tax in Portland. Need we say more? Oh yes, also really good to mention the plethora of fantastic designers featured at fashion retailers like Frances May, Mercantile and of course our Northwest favorite, Nordstrom. If it’s art you’re in the mood for, prominent galleries like the Elizabeth Leach Gallery feature talented and established artists, including some of the Northwest’s best.
    • Running, Walking or Hiking Trails: You’ll find a trail perfect for whatever you have in mind, all within Portland city limits. You can’t beat a leisurely stroll to the top of Mt. Tabor to enjoy beautiful vistas of the city, or running the shady trails of Forest Park.
    • Upscale Bowling: Now, don’t laugh, it’s true, Grand Central Bowling could possibly be considered “luxurious.” The lounge features sleek couches overlooking modern lanes with all the latest technology. Want even more? Try the VIP bowling experience to enjoy private luxury seating and two exclusive bowling lanes. And we haven’t even mentioned the food and drink options. Let’s just say sushi is on the menu — and it’s really good!