The Pied Cow

Dear Liza,

I have told you about the delightfully quirky, slightly spooky coffee house in our neighborhood called The Pied Cow. But now I have learned more about it.

The J. C. Havely House at sunset

The Pied Cow is in the house and yard of the J. C. Havely House, built in 1893 by Mr. Havely, who is called a railroad tycoon because he made a lot of money building railroads around the Northwest. It was a mile and a half out of town at the time, reached by trolley car or wagons over muddy roads. It is a Queen Anne Vernacular Style, and has lots of decoration. A square tower with balconies and a roof like a pyramid, and details my Momma called “gingerbread” give it a really unusual look. It is currently painted a shade of green that looks like faded moss.

During the 1890s and early 1900s, the house hosted Suffragist meetings. That means people met here to plan how to change laws to allow women to vote.

After the Havely family moved away and sold the house sometime after the 1920s, I can’t find out who lived in it until the early 1960s when it was used by historic restorers Ben Milligan and Jerry Bosco as a storage place for architectural bits and pieces they used in re-building old houses.

Auntie Bridgett likes The Pied Cow!

In 1979, Ben and Jerry offered the building as a place for some friends’ new restaurant, Buttertoes. The friends, three sisters named Carolyn, Charmon and Cherous, ran Buttertoes for ten years, using family recipes. The popular, story-themed restaurant also hosted children’s tea parties and was known for making delicious pastries.

It was during the Buttertoes years that the ghost, Aunt Lydia, was discovered. The sisters reported that someone would walk into the back room, which had no exit, and there would be no one there. The people who rented to upstairs apartment reported furniture moving by itself and having strange dreams. A spiritualist was called in and confirmed that a spirit was presence.

Aunt Lydia, in the Belmont Mural

Maybe it was the spiritualist who gave the name Aunt Lydia to the ghost, and described her as wearing a black, high collared dress with her hair pinned up. I still have no information on WHOSE Aunt she might have been.

When Ben and Jerry passed away in 1989, the sisters closed the restaurant and sold the building to the owners of The Pied Cow. They opened Buttertoes Gift Shop down the road on Hawthorne, which ran for another 13 years.

The Pied Cow has been a funky place to have coffee, drink sangria, smoke a hookah, or have some of the best ginger cake ever for almost 30 years now!


Grandma Judy




Last Friday in Portland

Dear Liza,

Tiny bird….


I will be coming to Salinas to stay with you for a while, so last night was my last Friday in Portland for about 2 months. To make sure I didn’t miss my new city too much, Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett took me out to some of my favorite places.

During the day, Bridgett and I walked down to the Belmont Library to return some books. We enjoyed the decorations in the Sunnyside neighborhood. We always see something new!

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Wall Mosaic in Sunnyside

Since it was very dark and rainy when we left the house, I wore my light-up coat and Bridgett wore her new light-up HAT! We were colorful, I tell you. But we were easy for drivers to see.

We walked down to the Hobnob, a funny, friendly place on SE 34th and Morrison. They have good food, the drinks we like (including stout beer for me and Absinthe for Auntie Bridgett) and a really comfortable atmosphere. There was a birthday party going on for a fellow and we got to sing with all his friends. There were french fries for Grandpa Nelson, a pulled pork slider for Auntie Bridgett, and a cup of roasted pepper chicken soup and some macaroni and cheese for me. Yummy!

Then, since I had filled my pockets with quarters, we walked around the corner to The Belmont Inn, where our favorite pinball game lives. Monster Bash! We played 2 sets of five games each and had a lot of fun. It wasn’t a great night for scoring though…. we only got one monster to wake up.

As we were walking home, we noticed…wait, could it be? Yes, The Nerd Out, which we had been watching since the Belmont Street Fair in September, is finally open for business! We HAD to go see it!

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First impressions were very good, as there were a half dozen Vespas and other scooters out front. The space is full of small tables, people, conversation, and comic stuff. One long wall is wallpapered with pages out of comic books and a shelf running all around the place is full of action figures. There is a full bar and a good menu. We were full of dinner and drinks, but they have desserts!

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Grandpa Nelson had an Un-birthday Cake, and Auntie Bridgett and I shared a Seasonal Cream Brulee, which had wonderful diced apples on top of the hard shell of sugar. We talked to Mitch, the owner, chef and head Nerd. We had met him at the street fair, and it was wonderful to see him running the business he had dreamed of. He was so excited to tell us about his upcoming events, a Grand Opening on January 18th and a Cosplay night on the last Thursday of the month.

I am sure we will come back to the Nerd Out.

See you soon!


Grandma Judy

Belmont Street

Dear Liza,

Yesterday we went for a long walk down to Hawthorne Street, looking at a house that is for sale and getting the feel of the neighborhood. Parts of the house were very nice, but there was a lot of work that needed doing….old damp carpet in the attic indicated possible roof problems, for example, and the basement had some weird plumbing going on.

On the walk home, we left Hawthorne and walked up to Belmont Street. It isn’t as full of shops and restaurants, but it feels more livable. There are lots of lovely houses in that area, as well, so we have made a note to keep our eyes peeled.

On Belmont there are also interesting businesses. The biggest is Movie Madness at Belmont and 44th. This isn’t just an old style video store, as I had thought. It rents video, and cds, to be sure, but it is also a museum! There are artifacts used in movies, costumes, and posters. The dress Julie Andrews wore while singing “DoRe Mi” was right there on a mannequin!

Besides the wonderful costumes and things from movies, there are thousands and thousands of movies to rent, both vhs and cd format. The “Horror” section alone is two long walls, and Christmas is the whole foyer. Many of these movies are old, rare movies that you can’t find anywhere else. This is a real resource for movie buffs in town.

A few months ago, Movie Madness was going broke, on the edge of going out of business. A local movie theater , The Hollywood,did a Kickstarter online fundraiser, which made enough money to keep Movie Madness in business.

We enjoyed our walk through Movie Madness and will go back again, I am sure.

The other business we visited was Never Coffee, at 43rd and Belmont. Their decor is colorful and their folks friendly, and the coffee is good. But what cheered us up on the chilly day after our long walk was their sweet treats! They have muffins and cookies, pastries and bars. We enjoyed some spicy ginger cookies and felt much better for our long walk home.


Grandma Judy