Brian's Photo Blog — Article 630
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Star Wars at McMenamins Grand Lodge
Tuesday 28 February 2017   —   Category: Outings
As part of my continuing McMenamins Passport adventure, in August 2016 I met my son at the Grand Lodge to watch Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens out­side, at night, under the stars.

Because this was my first visit to Grand Lodge, located in the western Portland metro suburb of Forest Grove, I arrived about five hours before the movie was to begin so I would have time to explore this historic, beautifully-​restored, grand prop­erty.
My first stop was the Ironwork Grill, the main restaurant on the property, for an early, light supper. Once I was seated I glanced across the room and noticed a nice sunny corner that looked very app­eal­ing. I was grateful that they let me change tables.
Because I wanted to save room for pop­corn later on, I chose a starter rather than a main dish. The lamb skewers, with feta cheese, tzatziki sauce, and salad greens was really awesome! I am definitely go­ing to have to have that again ... and fig­ure out how to make it at home too!
With the lamb skewers I had a Brewer’s Salad with blue cheese crumbles, mar­i­nat­ed red onion, hazelnuts, and Ruby-​raspberry vinaigrette. Dee-lish!
Of course I had to have something to wash all that down! After considering the options, I chose a pint of their #Spirit of 77 Breweries CDA beer. According to the brewer:

“#Spiritof77Breweries is a collaboration between homebrewer and filmmaker John Lovegrove and McMenamins’ Crystal Brewery. In August of 2015, with a film crew in tow, John visited 77 Portland-​area breweries in a single day, ending the epic mission at the Crystal Ballroom Brewery. This CDA re­flects the achievement. Two percent of this beer is made up of 77 different specialty grains, one for each brewery. Mosaic Hops cap off this roasty and aromatic Cascadian Dark Ale.” Meas­ure­ments: 6.1% ABV • 44 IBU

My notes from that day read: “It was dark like a stout, but not quite as thick or strong ... pretty good.”
In order to get a Passport stamp for a McMenamins hotel, you have to find a certain piece of art or an object and take a selfie in front of it. The clue is generally found at the front desk, like the one shown here.
While wandering up and down the hotel corridors looking for the subject of the clue, I took the time to admire the abun­dant artwork for which McMenamins is so famous.

According to their Walking Guide (PDF), in this painting “Kolieha Bush portrays a pop­u­lar resident nicknamed Dutch playing an accordion for an au­di­ence of two spirited ladies of the Home, Cookie and Nina.”
Once I had matched the clue to a piece of artwork, I grudgingly took the oblig­ato­ry selfie with my iPad Mini, which barely suf­fices as a camera.

As I wrote the last time I was on a hunt, “It is really ironic that I need to take selfies in order to participate in a hunt, because I al­most never  take a selfie. I have even writ­ten an article ranting about the stupidity of selfies. And now, here I am, taking selfies!”
After seeing much of the main hotel build­ing, I went outside to explore the rest of the property. The only venue serving food and drink outside of the main building is Pat’s Corner, which is named after the Mc­Men­a­min brothers’ mom. The ceiling is plastered with al­bum covers, while on the turntable an actual LP record provides some music.
With the stamp from Pat’s Corner, I had collected five of the six stamps required to complete the Grand Lodge Passport page. I had gotten the stamps for Ruby’s Spa and the Doctor’s Office Bar, but failed to take any pictures. But I took some the next time — see McMenamins Grand Lodge Attic Rooms Ribbon Cutting.

I wasn’t able to get a stamp for the final venue, Bob’s Bar (named after the McMenamin broth­ers’ dad), because it was closed the day I was there. Many of the smaller bars in the Mc­Men­a­mins empire have limited hours.

Also, because it was a free movie I couldn’t claim the “experiences” stamp for “See a Movie.”

Well, those stamps would have to wait until an­other time, just like the pho­tos I didn’t take — see Star Wars at McMenamins Edgefield and Mc­Men­a­mins Grand Lodge Mini Pub Crawl.
In the patio area outside of Pat’s Corner, the Freak Mountain Ramblers performed on a makeshift stage. They seemed like good musicians, but their music is not quite my cup of tea.
In the Grand Lodge gardens they grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers. They even have a chicken coop for fresh eggs!
After roaming the grounds for a while, I headed back inside for some refreshment. I was wanting to try their Sunflower IPA, but they did not have it on tap. However, the gift shop did have cold 22 oz. bomber bottles of it for sale. According to the brewer:

“McMenamins Sunflower IPA was first introduced in the sum­mer of 1995 at our West Linn Brewery. Inspired by the boun­ti­ful sunflowers grown in the pub’s beer garden, our IPA has a deep golden color and distinct yet subtle citrus flavors that satisfy both the diehard IPA drinker and those who prefer a lighter pal­ate. Sunflower IPA is truly a beer for the masses.” Meas­ure­ments: 6.2% ABV • 29 IBU

My notes from that day read: “A bit IPAish, but really pretty good!”

In fact, I liked it so much that I bought a whole $60 case of 12 bomber bottles to enjoy at home, where I took this picture.
As the sun was setting, a large inflatable movie screen was installed on the grass near Pat’s Corner. I claimed a decent spot for my son and I, then set up some camping chairs I had brought.
The video projector and sound mixing console were positioned not far from where we were sitting.
In the gathering twilight, other movie-goers found places to camp out for the evening.

As dusk faded and evening approached, my son and I chatted and waited for the show to begin.

I didn’t take any pictures during the movie. For one thing, it was pretty dark (duh!). For another, I was so busy watching this Star Wars episode for the first time that all thoughts of photography were easily forgotten.
I had two bags of popcorn and two pints of Hammerhead beer during the show, but of course there are no photos to document my epicurean indulgences.

After a very enjoyable movie outside under the stars, I left For­est Grove around midnight. The drive back to Albany takes al­most an hour and 45 minutes, so I didn’t get to bed until about 2:00!

I took a total of 48 pictures while I was there. The best 34 can now be viewed in the new McMenamins Grand Lodge 2016 album.

It was a wonderful outing ... until I woke up the next morning and discovered the bad news.
When I got up at 7:00 for a morning walk before the heat of the day, I could not find my cell phone anywhere. After much searching, I finally concluded that I had some­how lost it at Grand Lodge. It was only a cheap dumb-phone I had owned for years, but still, I want­ed and needed it back.

I called Grand Lodge and was told that no one had turned in a phone. But they didn’t offer to go out and look for it. So, for the third time in less than 24 hours I made the long trip between Albany and Forest Grove.

After searching the area where we had sat, the restrooms, and the parking lot, I was so shocked and disappointed that it was nowhere to be found. I have owned a cell phone for more than 15 years, and this was the first time I had ever lost one. The long trip back home, the fourth time over those same backroads, seemed even longer than before.

It’s a long story, so I won’t bore you will the details of all the twists and turns. Later in the day, someone called me saying that her friend Kenneth had my phone. She told me to meet him at the Diamond Palace bar in Forest Grove that evening after 8:00. It sounded kind of weird, but I wanted my phone back!

I had already been planning on having sup­per with my daughter in the southeast Port­land area, so I stopped by there first on my way to Forest Grove. Later, when I parked in front of the Diamond Palace, I called my daughter, gave her all the details, and told her that if I didn’t call her back within 15 minutes that I was in trouble!

With some trepidation, I walked in, went up to the bar, and asked the young wom­an bartender where Kenneth was, as I had been instructed. She nodded towards the pool tables where there was a young man with long blond wavy hair. I went up to him and he looked at me ques­tion­ing­ly. I asked him if he was Kenneth, and he looked at me dubiously. Oh boy! I felt like I was in a movie or some­thing.

I told him I was the one who had lost the cell phone. He handed it to me and asked if it was mine. I said yes and asked him where he had found it. I wanted to know if it had been in the McMenamins parking lot or on the grass where we had been sitting. He said, “In the Safeway parking lot.” What?!?!

I told him I didn’t know the town, so he explained the grocery store was only a few blocks from Grand Lodge. My guess is that some kids had found it at Mc­Men­a­mins, and then realizing it was not a smart phone, had dumped it at Safe­way.

I thanked him a few times and left. After calling my daughter to assure her I was OK, I once again made the long drive be­tween Forest Grove and Albany, ar­riv­ing home about 10:00.

I had driven the 80-mile, 100-minute route SIX times in a day and a quarter. Sheesh! After all the time and gas spent on those six trips, the free Star Wars movie turned out to be kind of expensive!
For more tales about other locations, see My McMenamins Passport Adventure.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 630
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