Thursday, November 05, 2009

Things to do in Portland on a rainy, blustery day

Muriel is leaving in the morning, so we planned our day today by choosing places to visit that included places Muriel had seen before and wanted to visit again and someplace she had never been that I thought she would enjoy. She chose Old Wives Tales for lunch. Mmmmm. One of my favorite Portland restaurants. It is simple, homey and I always have their Hungarian Mushroom soup, which is the best thing in the world on a rainy day.
After lunch we went to the Monticello Antique Marketplace, which Muriel remembered from a previous visit. It is always fun to visit and take a stroll through our childhood memories! I took this photo especially for my cousin, Ginger, who grew up in Lakeview, Oregon. I wonder if she remembers this old sign.

I am always surprised to see beautiful old photographs like this one for sale in an antique store. Don't we all treasure our old family photos? I can't imagine selling them to people who have no connection to the photo.

We found nothing we could not live without, but enjoyed looking and remembering when and where we had seen similar items before. Funny how a little ceramic figure of a southern belle can conjure up the memory of a kind-hearted childhood neighbor, or a well-worn stuffed toy seems to tell a whole story.

We ended our big adventure at McMenamin's Kennedy School. I can't believe I'd never thought to take Muriel there on any of her previous visits.

The McMenamin brothers are brewers who have transformed many, many historic properties into pubs, breweries and hotels. Their style is eclectic and quirky, while being respectful of the history of the old buildings they occupy. The Kennedy School, probably my very favorite McMenamin's, was an elementary school, built in NE Portland in 1915. Architecturally, it remains as it was, with classrooms turned into lodging, the gym into a movie theater, and various other rooms into a restaurant and small bars. The walls are lined with large historic photos from the school's history as well as wonderful paintings based on many old photos. We started, as most people do, by wandering the halls and marveling at the art.

"Passing on the torch of knowledge"

I really love this painting of the girls with their birdhouses. If you'd like to see more McMenamin's artwork, there is a flicker set someone has posted here. You can see more and better photos of the Kennedy School here. You must really see their pubs to fully appreciate the wealth of artwork the McMenamins have commissioned. Even the plumbing pipes and the electrical boxes are painted with faces, critters or quirky designs.

Muriel and I ended our visit to the Kennedy School in one of the old classroom bars, with a glass of wine and a plate of their wonderfully greasy french fries. Then we headed home to warmth and light and a comfy chair where we could rest our weary bones. It was a fun, and inspiring day.


  1. I have been to that particular McMenamins and it was wonderful. I have also been to the one in Eugene in the little Victorian house. Always lots of fun so thanks for the photos.

  2. I love the Kennedy school! It was a blustery day here yesterday as well--I could have used a day with a sister and a good friend and a glass of wine and some greasy french fries! Glad Muriel could come and spend some time with you.

  3. Oh Terry! How I wish I could be in your shoes (and head) for one day! This day must have been perfect. I love, love, love Old Wives Tales. Their menu is incredible and the Hungarian Mushroom soup to die for.

    Also, Monticello Antique Marketplace is a favorite of mine (and my good friend). Not sure if they had one of those green houses back in the back, made from old windows and doors (my idea for my back yard green house). My friend bought one and decorated it up as a tea house. Some day, I'll take you to my friend's house (not too far from yours). You'd love it (and so would she).

    I've never spent a lot of time just looking at the artwork at McMenamins -- on my next trip, I'm sure to do it. Thanks for helping me see what I've managed to miss all these years.

    Excellent post!

  4. Definitely a day of art -- art of friendship, art of food, art at McMinnimens (sp). I wonder which of the bird house makers turned into artists. Nice tour!

  5. I'm a big fan of the McMenamin brothers and what they've done with their properties. But I'd never heard of the Monticello antique place, though I've probably driven right past it. I'll have to check it out.

    Last night we went to an open house at Community Warehouse, which we've supported with donations now and then, and checked out their Estate Store for the first time. That's where they sell items they receive that they figure have resale value as collectibles, as distinguished from the basic household goods they distribute to families in need. I noticed an old photograph of a man in an oval frame that looked like the companion piece to that portrait of a lady you saw. "Instant ancestors" was my first thought.

  6. Sounds like a great day. Do you know if the McMenamin brothers have worked any property magic in Eugene?

  7. What a wonderful day! In NJ they would have torn it down to make a parking lot. Sounds like a must-do if I ever get to Portland again!

  8. I hope I get to play tourist in Portland some day. I hear it is such a progressive city.

  9. Susan LT5:32 AM

    Thanks for this great post. Now I have a new restaurant to try! Love the McMenamin's magic. Can't wait to see your next message.

  10. One more thing...if you're in downtown Hillsboro, try the Stratford House --- the best Hungarian Mushroom soup. A lovely place, too, with adjoining antique shop (not to mention all the antique shops in downtown Hillsboro). It's right across the street from the courthouse. 203 E Main St

  11. I love mushrooms and am 1/4 Hungarian. I looked at that recipe with THREE pounds of butter and almost TWO GALLONS of sour cream. Yum! (OK - it does serve 12-14 but still that's a lot of dairy!)