Yet Another McMenamin’s

Dear Liza,

Heading home from Long Beach, we stopped at a new-to-us McMenamin’s location. Like most of the McMenamin’s venues, it has an interesting history.

The original Gearhart Hotel opened in 1890, as a golf club and get away for well-to-do Portlanders. It was the first golf course west of the Mississippi River and was very popular.

A second hotel opened in 1910, but by 1915 both hotels had burned down.

The third hotel that was also connected to the golf club was constructed in the 1920s. This grand Oregon coast landmark was torn down and replaced by condos in the early 1970s. The current building was built in the same Cape Cod style in 2012. So the building is not historic, but that doesn’t stop McMenamin’s. They take a story and run with it!

Original paintings by McMenamins’ team of artists are typically colorful and quirky, and here, they mostly have themes of golf. This painting in the restaurant tells a fanciful story of St. Rule making a pilgrimage to take St. Andrew’s ashes to Scotland and this being the basis for the development of St. Andrew’s Golf course there.

As with all McMenamin’s properties, the food was good, the ambience delightful, and the service friendly.

Still, when lunch was over and we made the last leg of our trip, we were happy to be home. And Mousie was glad, too.


Grandma Judy

A Pretty, Chilly, Birthday Part 2

Dear Liza,
The waterfalls and green forests of the Gorge were very pretty, but Grandpa Nelson’s back started bothering him, so we said good-bye to the drive and headed for home.

Plumbing based arbor at McMenamin’s

“I should at least feed you both lunch,” he mumbled as we drove along, feeling badly about cutting the day short. “There’s Edgefield! Let’s go there!”

So Auntie Bridgett pulled off the freeway and we headed to McMenamin’s wonderful country retreat. This is such a unique place!

Art everywhere you look!

In 1980, Mike and Brian, the McMenamin brothers, bought the land and buildings of the abandoned Multnomah County Poor Farm. The Poor Farm had operated from 1911 to 1982 as a place of refuge for folks who had nowhere else to go. It provided room and board, work, training, medical care, and companionship for hundreds of people over the years.

Recycled metal decorations

The grounds have been delightfully landscaped and the buildings repurposed into a hotel, a spa, and a dozen bars and restaurants. There is also a golf course, a brewery, herb garden, wine tasting room, and a large outdoor music venue. And, like all of their properties, there is art everywhere you look.

And of course….

We ate a delicious lunch in the courtyard of the Loading Dock Grill and watched other people’s dogs play. Then we walked around, marveling at the good work the landscapers have done, creating intimate spaces enclosed by trees and rhododendrons connected by neatly paved paths opening onto amazing views. It was easy to imagine, sitting at a table and looking out through the trees, that we were the only people on the property.

A peaceful place to rest

We visited the gift shop, getting some Black Rabbit wine and Herbal Liqueur Number 7, a special favorite of Auntie Bridgett. And then at last we headed home, where Grandpa could stretch out and recover from his birthday.

It felt like sitting inside a painting…

Now that we are almost all vaccinated and the world is opening up, we will certainly return to Edgefield and enjoy another day.


Grandma Judy