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Stop and smell the roses outside Portland

In this installment of a special series, "Today" travel editor Peter Greenberg takes a three-day side-trip from Portland, Oregon.
/ Source: TODAY

In a special weekly series called “Three-Day Getaways,” “Today” travel editor Peter Greenberg is heading out for a series of mini-vacations from several of our nation's major metropolitan hubs. This week, he made a great escape from the city of roses, Portland, Oregon. Here’s a quick look at some of the suggested stops for this side-trip:

Oregon Coast Aquarium
Phone: (541) 867-3474
On the Octopus Encounter, participants learn what it takes to care for one of these intelligent creatures. Under the supervision and guidance of an Aquarist, participants will have an opportunity to handle an octopus and watch it eat a special treat they've prepared.  The Aquarist will also discuss how they care for these amazing cephalopods. 

The giant Pacific octopus is commonly found in rocky dens from low inter-tidal pools to depths of nearly 330 ft. (100 m) from British Columbia to Monterey, California.  Feeding on crustaceans, shrimp, crabs, scallops, clams, abalone, moon snails, smaller octopuses, rockfish, and sculpins, the giant Pacific octopus often litters the entrance to its cave with empty shells and bones, creating what scientists call an "octopus' garden."

Glass blowing lesson: Pyromania Glass
Phone: 1-888-743-4116
A lesson in glass blowing amidst the colorful atmosphere of the Pyromania Glass Studio. The Studio features some of the many artists who create the rainbow colored floats (floats are the bobs traditionally attached to fishing nets to keep them afloat) that the Coast now uses for its yearly tradition in which these one of a kind floats are hidden on beaches in the area for lucky visitors to find.

Ride the Rocket: Marine Discovery Tours
Phone: 800-903-BOAT
Put on a flotation suit and goggles and board the Oregon Rocket, a high-powered 27-foot inflatable jet boat that provides a thrilling ride skimming above the water. Or opt for the Sea Life Cruise aboard the 65-ft Discovery for a fascinating look at the local marine ecology. Marine Discovery Tours are the official cruise company for the Oregon Aquarium. Meeting all Coast Guard regulations and with licensed and experienced marine captains, they offer narrated daily cruises, marine education, private charters, and group tours. Ask for the Oregon Rocket to insure a thrilling ocean trip like no other!

Sylvia Beach Hotel
Phone: 1-888-795-8422
Set on a 45 ft. bluff above the pounding surf, this is a hotel for book lovers. No TV or radio, but plenty of books and journals. Meals are served family style, and you can choose to stay in a room that is a "best seller," a "classic," or a "novel." Each room is named after an author such as Hemingway, Agatha Christie, Dr. Seuss, Mark Twain, and decorated accordingly. For example, if you choose Edgar Allan Poe, be prepared to sleep with a pendulum above you.

Sandland Adventures
Phone: 541-997-8087
This vast, desert like environment stretches for 47 miles of rolling, wind swept hills of sand. From the top of the highest dunes you can view the ever-changing Pacific Ocean, and the mouth of the Siuslaw River. Take a guided dune buggy tour, or rent a buggy and set out on an adventure of your own.

Sandboard park: Sand Master Park
Phone: 541-997-6006
This 40 acre sand park is the first of its kind. Learn how to sand board (or ski) on the simulator, and try out your new skills on one of the many rails and jumps now available.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Keepers House
Phone: 866-547-3696
The brightest light on the Oregon Coast is still a working lighthouse. At the same time, you can spend the night there and start your day with a gourmet 7 course breakfast. Overlooking the ocean on a cliff with a magnificent view, you can wander the well-worn paths to the lighthouse and the beach.