Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Oregon Files: The destination

Every journey has a final destination. For our anniversary that destination was the McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon.



The Grand Lodge was originally constructed as a retirement home for Masons in 1922. There is also an orphanage on sight for children of Masons. The facility was used until 1997 and then purchased by the McMenamin brothers, renovated and reopened in 2000 as a European style hotel with on sight restaurants.



If you've never been to a European style hotel, you're really missing out. We had a queen size room with a small sink vanity and a closet. There are nice tall windows to allow in a lot of light and wi-fi.That's it. No high end bathroom with a whirlpool tub or TV or radio. The McMenamin properties are all about entertainment and getting away from everyday living.

The Grand Lodge boasts a restaurant called the Iron Grillworks. The food is excellent and the portions generous. We mostly ate from the happy hour menu which as I mentioned provides generous portions and of course the low prices associated with happy hour.

Except for the two beers, all this food was $12. That burgers were roughly $3.50 each, the garlic fries, $2.50 and the salad was the other $2.50. The beers (brewed on sight) were $3 each. This was a really great way to eat while we were there. We had actually purchased a package called the Hammerhead (named for one of the micro brews they make on sight) which gives us $20 credit towards breakfast on our check out morning and $50 credit towards dinner on our final full nite.

The Grand Lodge has movies and live music on the second floor in the Compass Room theatre. The basement has a billiards room and vintage pub in the Doctour's office.
The Compass Room Theatre
There  is outdoor/casual dining at the Yardhouse Pub, which serves many of the same foods offered in the Ironworks Grill. There is seating inside, but you won't really want to sit inside. The outdoor dining has four times the seating and there are large propane heaters and blankets available for chilly days and evenings.


Outdoor seating at the Yardhouse Pub.

The hallways boast a lot of local artwork and concert posters for musicians and bands that have played the Grand Lodge in the past 9 years. There is a Frisbee disc golf course on site and time for relaxation later on in Ruby's Spa or in the outdoor soaking pool.

Forest Grove is a college town so there are plenty of things to see and do locally and for a fair price.

During our stay there was a medieval faire put on by Pacific University. The grounds were made to look like a small village with demonstrations in fencing, archery, royal court protocol, medieval cooking, crafts, book-making and more.

My favourite part was being able to walk the ground with a tall pint in one hand and a cigar in the other and not being chastised for it.

Here in Washington state, we are forbidden from smoking indoors in any building, in public parks and within 25 feet of doorways and ventilation openings. Basically we can smoke in our homes or our cars only. While I no longer smoke cigarettes anymore I do like a cigar or smoke a pipe periodically and don't like to be hassled about it.

There are more than enough wineries within the Willamette region as well for tours and tastings. The Tillamook valley is an easy drive for tours of cheese facilities on your way to the Oregon coast for a dip in the Pacific ocean.


 This is just one of many Chinese dragon's in the hotel. This one is in the Ironworks Grill. There is another at the entrance of the hotel. As you can see behind the dragon there are quite a few books available for reading. I actually did find myself doing some reading while there relaxing and just taking in the fact that I was out of state and away from my everyday world.


This statue greets you at the entrance of the Ironworks Grill.I think this was my favourite. I seem to be attracted the past few years to symbols of Eastern religions. I'm sure it has to do with being about inner peace, serenity and being closer to the earth and all that it brings to us and the need for harmony between earth and humans. Something that I find I want more of in my life as I get older.

Tomorrow I'll write on our visit to McMinnville and the Hotel Oregon which is also a McMenamin's property.