Category Archives: Other States – OR

The Grotto, Portland, OR

IMG_1055The Grotto, also known as  is National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is a 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden which is administered by the Order of Friars Servants of Mary.

The Grotto is lovely and peaceful. By far the most unique part is the elevator, which is built adjacent to the 110′ cliff and has only two stops. I got on at the bottom, the location of Our Lady’s Grotto, a gift store, and the largest of the churches. and got off at the top, the site of the gardens, other smaller churches and religious artwork.  The grotto is a rock cave carved into the cliff and feature a life-size marble replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta.

The complex is free to visit, but there is a $5 charge to take the elevator. It’s well worth it. To learn more, look here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Embassy Suites, Portland Airport

Embassy Suites, Portland Airport is really nice. I stayed on the 8th floor.The breakfast buffet was robust and there are snacks in the evening. The picture of the orange with flowers is of our center piece at dinner.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Portland

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I told people that went to visit the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland, Oregon they corrected me and explained that I meant Japanese Gardens. No, they are Chinese Gardens, the most authentic Chinese Gardens outside of China. My friends and I got to the gardens by hopping the light rail in the rain. A short walk from our stop took us to downtown Portland’s China Town/Old Town where the gardens occupy a city block. The cities of Portland and its sister city, Suzhou, China worked together to create this tranquil and lovely oasis. The gardens opened in September 2000. They feature 500 tons of rocks from China, but no plants because of import bans. Instead all of the plants were located in Oregon nurseries and gardens. The tea room featured a menu of teas making me wish I could have tried several.

I-84, Oregon

20131213-200808.jpg

So I spent some quality time on I-84 today. It runs along the Columbia River on the Oregon side and is really a pretty road. Most importantly it had virtually no snow, though the waterfalls along the way were frozen and that was pretty cool. I stopped to get gas and remembered again that I’m not allowed to pump my own gas!

20131213-200751.jpg

McMenamins Grand Lodge

There are eight McMenamins hotels and last night we stayed at the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, Oregon.

http://www.mcmenamins.com/426-grand-lodge-home

This lodge features a full restaurant, a movie theater where food and drink from the restaurant are offered, a soaking pool, small bars and 77 European style guest rooms. The building was constructed in 1922 as an Masonic and Eastern Star home. In 2000 the building was renovated and opened as a McMenamins. The history of the building can be seen in the historic photos and original art hanging on the walls.

We checked into the Lodge around 4:00 and had dinner, watched the most recent Harry Potter movie (yes, it is that dark) and enjoyed the soaking pool. This morning there was a Continental breakfast. All in all, a delightful, relaxing time away.

This morning I was traipsing around taking photographs and the desk clerk noticed me. He asked if I had a shot of the theater and I said kind of (I took a cell phone photo during the movie, really it was an awful photo!). He said it was much better to take a photo during the day with the lights on and then he took me upstairs and unlocked the theater for me! How nice is that!

Powell’s City of Books

 

With word that Borders Books is restructuring and one of my favorite smaller Seattle bookstores is closing, I wasn’t sure what to expect during my visit to Powell’s City of Books in Portland. I was pleased to see that it was very, very busy! Everywhere I looked there were folks perusing books.

Powell’s main store is located at 1005 W Burnside, Portland OR and is one of the world’s largest bookstores. The building contains 73,000 square feet of retail space and more than 3,000 people visit day. Their stores feature more than 1.5 million books, of which 65% are used (they buy 5,000 used books each day).

http://www.powells.com/