McMenamin’s Grand Lodge

Dear Liza,

I have told you about the McMenamin brothers an all the wonderful hotels, restaurants, bars and concert venues they create by restoring historic properties.

This weekend we drove clear out to Forest Grove and saw The Grand Lodge. This property was built in 1922 as a retirement home and care facility for members of the Masonic lodge. It has a large hotel building, smaller out buildings, and large gardens.

The Masons struggled to keep it open through the 30s, and it suffered major roof damage in the 1962 Columbus Day storm. In 1999 the McMenamin brothers bought and renovated it, creating a hotel with a spa, soaking tub, two restaurants and five bars and lovely gardens.

The hotel is delightfully quirky. The main floors are bright, with murals telling about bits of local history. There are incredible mosaics and artifacts from Asia, reflecting the women’s auxiliary of the Masons, which is known as the Eastern Star.

The basement also has rooms to rent, the spa and soaking tub, and even The Doctor’s Office Bar.

But the third floor is the weirdest of all. The walls and ceilings are painted dark and the rooms have names like “The Left Hand of Darkness”. I took a bunch of pictures, not really knowing anything about the place. It was creepy but beautiful.

Once we got home and I looked at my pictures, I saw odd green circles in some pictures from the third floor. These are called “ghost orbs” because they sometimes show up in pictures of haunted places. The thought is that they show the energy of spirits hovering around.

Auntie Bridgett did some research and learned that this floor is said to be haunted by a lady named Rose, a resident of the Masonic home who passed away just shy of her 100th birthday. She was known to use lavender cologne and sometimes her scent lingers in the hallway.

Of course, being on the top floor, there are delightful windows bringing sunshine into the spookiness. I don’t know that I would want to spend the night up there, but it sure was fun to visit!

I love learning about new places!

Love,

Grandma Judy

Out for a Drive

Dear Liza,

Since we have lived in Portland, we have used our car less and less. I thought of this as a good thing …. Less pollution, less wear and tear, more exercise. Right?

As it turns out, cars need to be driven. Some electrical parts of the car are always on, and need electricity from the battery. Driving generates power which charges the battery. Therefore, if you don’t drive the car enough, eventually the battery will die. This happened to us a few weeks ago and we decided that if we are going to keep Miles, we needed to take him out more.

Heading home, Grandpa Nelson found us a new (to us) McMenamin’s venue for lunch! It is called the Grand Lodge and used to be the Masonic Lodge’s retirement home in Forest Grove. As with all the McMenamin’s, it was delightfully quirky and historic. I will tell you more about it in the next blog.

We are still in blinding bright Fall sunshine along with below freezing temperatures. On the drive home, Mt. Hood loomed like a ghost, enormous and covered in snow.

Love,

Grandma Judy