Last week we got to celebrate Grandpa Nelson’s Birthday. I won’t say how old his is, but the Beatles wrote a song about it…
The day started with presents on the couch and snuggles with Mouse. Bamboo straws, left-handed soap (” Smells like weird scissors!”) and a book about wine from Auntie Bridgett’s Mom, Donna. Also, a new Irish cap to replace a lost one from Trinity College.
On our trip to visit Aunt Bea a while back, Grandpa Nelson had noticed all the wineries south of Portland, so off we went to Mcminnville. Spring has made the country even more beautiful, a hundred shades of green accented with pink dogwoods.
We found the closest McMenamin’s establishment, the Hotel Oregon, built in 1905, and enjoyed a good lunch. The building was old and quirky, with the good food, friendly, easy service and artsy touches we have come to expect from the McMenamin brothers. The views of the Willamette Valley from the rooftop bar were lovely and green.
Walking the streets of the delightfully funky Old Town area, we saw a turn of the century Elk’s Lodge and other historic buildings, housing art galleries, cafes and wine tasting rooms, as well as stores selling books and art supplies for students at nearby Linfield and George Fox Colleges. Also, founding fathers hanging out in the sun.
Grandpa Nelson enjoyed a flight of red wines from Willamette Valley Vineyards and we watched people go by and thought about how lucky we both felt to be alive, happy, and together.
We found the Currents Art Gallery, and chatted with Sharon Cook, the artist staffing the place. She and Auntie Bridgett talked about art and the art business, for quite a while. It’s always good to hear other people’s ideas.
Feeling the need of some greenery, we headed for the local park and had snacks…fruit, water (to combat all the wine) and peanuts. We saw historic grist mill stones from the mills that helped establish McMinnville back in the 1840s. Loving the history, we were also delighted to see a tiny maple seedling starting to grow in a crevice in the stone.
Heading back north we stopped at Walnut City Winery. McMinnville used to be a major walnut growing area until the famous 1962 Columbus Day Storm literally ripped many trees from the ground and threw them around. New trees would take 10 years to produce, while filberts, also called hazelnuts, can be ready in 3 years. Needing to make a living, the folks planted filberts. Now Oregon grows almost all of the filberts in the country, and 30 percent of all the filberts in the world! So it was a good move.
We enjoyed the last wine for the day and continued on our way, stopping at Newburg for a tasty dinner, then drove home….tired, over-wined, and ready to be done. We had a quick video chat with you and your family, watched the Giants win their game against the Reds, and we all went to bed.