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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 708
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My Pilgrimage to McMenamins St. Francis
Thursday 12 April 2018   —   Category: Outings
In May 2017 I continued my Mc­Men­a­mins Passport adventure by driving 125 miles over the Cascades from Albany to Bend so I could explore their Old St. Francis School property, and collect the four stamps I needed to complete that page in my McMenamins Passport.
 
According to the property’s Web site:
“ The Old St. Francis School, conveniently located in down­town Bend, was transformed from 1936 Catholic school­house to, in 2004, a hotel complete with classrooms turned lodging rooms, a brewery, a pub, a movie theater, private meeting / event space, live music bookings, and a fantastic soaking pool that beckons day travelers, shoppers, hikers, skiers and outdoor adventurers alike.”
Seems like a won­der­ful destination for a pleasurable pil­grim­age!

 
I started taking pictures of the exterior around 9:30 on a gray Saturday morning. Slowly I wandered around, familiarizing myself with the layout of this two acre property and photographing the various buildings.

If you would like to familiarize yourself with the layout, you can download a PDF map of the property (600 KB) that I made by scanning the paper map I got there.
 
Of course, as with most McMenamins locations, the main attractions are on the inside.

In every room and hallway there is an abundance of McMenamins’ famous art­work created by various McMenamins artists.

Much of the artwork depicts scenes, peo­ple and events from the history of St. Francis School, like this painting.
 
The rooms off this hallway used to be classrooms, but now are the original hotel rooms in the main building.

At the back of the property Mc­Men­a­mins tore down some old bungalows in 2016 and built two new three-​story hotel buildings — named Art House and Ed­u­ca­tion House — bringing the total num­ber of guestrooms to 60.
 
The previous month I had been delighted by hidden rooms in the new Grand Lodge attic addition. So I was happy to find that the new hotel buildings have five hidden rooms, one of which is a bar. The photo to the right gives you a good idea of what one of these hidden rooms looks like.

However, I was sad that I couldn’t visit the two hidden rooms in the Education House because I needed a hotel guest key to enter the building.
 
Like four other McMenamins hotels, the Old St. Francis School has an on-​site theater.

Some of their nine theaters have larger and more comfortable seating compared to regular theaters. All of them provide ample opportunity to eat and drink their pub food during the show, as I have ex­pe­ri­enced myself.
 
I have not yet visited every one of the six McMenamins soaking pools, but I can’t imagine that any of them are more spectacular than the one at Old St. Fran­cis School.

It really reminds me of the pool at Hearst Castle or an ancient Roman bath. Un­for­tu­nate­ly, as before, I needed a hotel key to enter, so I was only able to take a few photos through the window in the door.
 
As usual, to get the hotel stamp in my McMenamins Passport I had to use a clue to find the object it describes. The day I was there the clue was:

“As you look for your car keys, glance up towards another set of eyes ... or per­haps some prayerful guidance in helping shine a light or two.”

After a long search in all the buildings I still couldn’t figure it out, so I asked for a hint. I was told that it was outside ... ah ha! Soon I realized I had already taken a picture of the object hours before. Once I showed it to the person at the front desk, I received my stamp for the hotel.
 
 
 

In addition to the theater, pool and abundant artwork, there are also the five venues for eating and drinking on the Old St. Francis School property. You can find out about those scrumptious de­tails in A McMenamins St. Francis Mini Pub Crawl

I took 230 photos during my four and a half hour visit. The best 26 from outside are now on display in the new Mc­Men­a­mins St. Francis Exteriors 2017 album, while the best 62 from inside can be found in the McMenamins St. Francis Interiors 2017 album.
 
For more tales about other locations, see My McMenamins Passport Adventure.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 708
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 708
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