McMenamins Edgefield resort is simply one of the coolest places in Oregon if you enjoy art, history, music, food, and drink … which ought to just about cover most of the human population. It has more pubs (of various shapes and descriptions) per square acre than anywhere else I can think of, and art where nurses climb out of TV screens or pipes float mystically above matchbook flowers. Black rabbits peer out at you from everywhere, much like the “hidden Mickeys” in Disneyland.
We suggested it as a meeting point for a business colleague, which gave us a great excuse to spend a night. Just outside of the mythical Portlandia, its vintage buildings and gardens are gorgeous, and every building has at least one elegant restaurant or kitschy bar. There is also a brewery, a winery, and a distillery. The sketch above is the view from the Black Rabbit Bar in the main lodge, looking down into a courtyard- even when it’s pouring rain, there’s plenty to sketch. We had a gourmet dinner, (included in the “Hammerhead Package” price), followed by a free bluegrass concert in the Blackberry Lodge next door featuring “the Howlin’ Brothers”.
Another reason to go there: McMenamin’s Restaurants have a “passport” promotion going on, (the kind of marketing hype we usually avoid , but this is really fun), where you get a stamp in your passport book every time you visit a different location. After ducking in to every bar on the property (and you don’t have to buy anything to get a stamp), we got a $20 gift certificate! Many locations also have an art treasure hunt, so we shed our thin veneer of sophistication, wrote down the clues, and our inner 10-year-olds went skipping off to find Seamus McDuff hiding in a painting… and when we found him, we got a prize: a really nice corkscrew and a bag of freshly-ground coffee.
The sketch above was made in the Library of the main lodge. I was practicing interior perspective, and trying to convey just how rich in color and pattern the whole place is. While I sat at a table there, a parade of interesting people buzzed around me, including the very damp staff of Oregon Brides Magazine as they set up a wedding photo shoot outside in the rain…
WHAT were they thinking when they scheduled that?! Poor girl was shivering even before they cranked up the dry-ice “fog machine”- it looked like a Pagan Sacrifice more than a wedding… Rain or shine, though, Edgefield is a fun place to spend a couple of days.