A McMenamins Edgefield Glassblowing Demonstration
Monday 7 November 2016 — Category: Outings
Today’s article is the last in a five-part series about my two-day 2016 summer solstice celebration at the McMenamins Edgefield property in Troutdale, Oregon, on the eastern edge of the Portland metro area. For the previous four articles, see:
While I was in between tours of their distillery and winery, as I was wandering around the property, I came across a glassblowing demonstration in The Gorge Glashaus.
I had seen some glassblowing more than 20 years ago, but had been separated from the craftsmen by a wall with windows. This time I and a few others were right there in the same room, up-close and personal. I was fascinated by the process, which the two artisans briefly explained as they went along.
I spent the next 30 minutes capturing each step of the process with many photographs. Suddenly I had a strong urge to get out of there as soon as possible. It was almost like a voice in my head saying: “You need to leave ... NOW!”
As I stepped outside, I started to feel dizzy and disoriented. The sun seemed very bright, and surrounding noises seemed to fade away. I felt so ill that I wasn’t sure if I would make it the 160 or so feet to the nearest hotel entrance.
Forcing myself to walk, I slowly made my way to the side of the hotel. When I saw the five or so steps I had to climb, I wondered again if I could make it. Somehow I did, then opened the door and found a wooden bench to sit on in the hallway.
I felt like I would vomit, which would not have been a nice souvenir to leave for the hotel staff. Sounds were muffled and far away, as if I were underwater. When I looked out the window above the door, my pupils would not contract in the brighter light, which meant that my pupils were dilated — a bad sign. I wondered if I should find a restroom, but felt as if I couldn’t move.
I had never experienced anything like this before. I was afraid that I was having a stroke, and that I would suddenly keel over dead! All the same, I kept looking at my watch as the 3:00 PM winery tour time approached, wondering if I was going to miss the tour.
Getting out my water bottle, I took a few sips. After a few minutes my hearing returned to normal, although my eyes continued to be dilated. By this time it was 2:58, and I realized that if I didn’t stand up right then and walk to the winery, I was not going to make it to the tour in time.
So I forced myself to stand, and willed myself to walk to the other end of the hotel, out the door, down the stairs, and around to the back of the building where the winery is located. Right as I arrived, the last of the two dozen or so tourist were just heading inside. Although I still felt somewhat woozy and wobbly, I had made it!
The wine cellar was the best place I could have gone in my condition, because aside from the walk-in refrigerators and freezers, this is the coolest place on the property. As the tour progressed, I felt myself reviving. Thank goodness I had not actually fainted or vomited!
Once I got home I did a bit of research, and I believe that I had been suffering from heat exhaustion. Even though it was the summer solstice, it was not a very hot day. But I guess I didn’t keep myself adequately hydrated.
I suppose standing for half an hour in the same room as a two furnaces, each over 2,000°F, didn’t help matters much. I don’t recall feeling hot in the Glashaus because an entire wall was open to the outside, and they had a number of fans blowing. Still, that intense heat must have affected me without me realizing it until it was too late. Thankfully it wasn’t so late that they had to call an ambulance!
Despite getting sick at the end, I was very happy to see the glassblowing demonstration, and to get lots of great photos of the action. All in all, I took a total of 89 pictures during my 30-minute stay. The best 42 can now be viewed in the McMenamins Glassblowing 2016 album.
Of course, the glassblowing was just a tiny part of my Edgefield experience. For the rest of the story, be sure to read the other four articles linked above, and browse the photos in these related albums: