It has been a busy first quarter and I was feeling the need to get away and immerse myself in nature to clear my head. One of our favorite spring getaways is the Columbia River Gorge with miles of wonderful hiking, waterfalls, spring wildflowers and a bicycle trail along parts of the old Columbia River Highway so we headed off for a stay at the ever so funky Edgefield Hotel in Troutdale.
It may look pretty drab on the outside but just wait until you stroll the halls, we love his place. I guess I need to say a few words about the Historic Edgefield Hotel, it is part of why we love it so much. Originally it was built as the county “poor farm” in the early 1900’s and operated until the 1970’s, in the later years more as a nursing home. Once the doors were closed it suffered neglect, vandals wreaked havoc on the property, burst water pipes sent water everywhere, windows were broken, every surface had been spray painted with graffiti and everything not bolted down had been stolen. The place that had been refuge for thousands of needy souls was now a liability to the country and scheduled to be demolished.
The Troutdale Historical Society stepped in and waged a five-year battle to save it, however, no one came forward to buy the property until the McMenamin brothers who saw amongst the ruins of Edgefield a fabled gathering spot, a village populated by artists, artisans, gardeners, craftspeople, musicians, and folks from surrounding communities.
The original buildings were lovingly restored with whimsy, cozy interiors, hidden corners and beautiful gardens on the 74-acre parcel of land at the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge. A team of more than a dozen artists were turned loose on the place, armed with tales and photos of the poor farm, its residents, and the surrounding area and the directive to celebrate the rich past while doing away with the property’s institutional feel it is now hard to find a surface not enlivened by an artistic flourish and nod to the past.
The stately main building is furnished in turn-of-the-century decor. There are no televisions or telephones in the rooms, encouraging tranquility as surely as do the rocking chairs on the verandas. You won’t be completely disconnected, there is WiFi around the restaurant, the Library and some other spots. You can wander the gardens with wine in hand and refresh you libation at many mini-bars located on the grounds. There is an onsite glass blower and potter, artwork everywhere and I mean everywhere, don’t forget to look up. There are movies, live music in the winery and summertime concerts outdoors. If that’s not enough there is a brewery, winery, distillery and par 3-golf course. We love it, but definitely NOT your run of the mill Ramada or Marriott.
Now for a little tour of McMenamin’s Edgefield Hotel, first the grounds and then we will move indoors.
More quiet little spots in the garden
Moving indoors there is a winery in the basement of the main building, the Black Rabbit Bar and Restaurant, a pool hall, library, sitting areas on all of the verandas plus hidden nooks and crannies waiting to be discovered.
I think I mentioned earlier there is artwork everywhere and my photos have been taken on numerous trips to the Edgefield over the years. On each visit it seems we continue to find things we have never seen before. Do you think they keep changing it up? Maybe there is a full-time staff of artists who come in at night.
The rooms are all different, some with private bath and a sitting area, some smaller with bath down the hall. I like them all, private or shared bath, doesn’t much matter to me. This was one with a shared bath down the hall and they are actually a bit quieter because they are not on the main hallway.
Do you ever have trouble remembering your room number? Well, they have taken the novel approach, all the doors are different, just remember the scene painted on your door.
Too eclectic you say, I love it! Exposed pipes too ugly? A little imagination and a little paint voila . . .
Ugly fire doors or electrical panels, add imagination and paint.
The Power Station Pub and movie theater are located just behind the hotel in a separate building, yep, something for everyone.
A garden trail connects the main hotel with the spa, robes are provided for the short walk. The spa offers a relaxing warm saltwater soaking pool,there are facilities for massage, manicures and pedicures. Leading up to the spa building the walkway is lined with brightly painted orbs, each one unique, others orbs can be found scattered about the grounds. The spa is a favorite spot after a long day of hiking.
Almost done but I have to include a few of the murals that adorn the walls, reaching back into the Edgefield’s rich past and depicting some of the former residents.