Portland, Oregon

January 11, 2014

pdxUnionStation

I still can’t get over the feeling of being in a real “city” even though I lived in Seattle and then Los Angeles for years. It’s a feeling left over from childhood where visiting my grandparents in their apartment on Belmont Avenue in Portland was an exciting and exotic thing being a girl from the boonies, the woods, on the banks of the Clackamas River.

An autumn ritual, there were excursions to  shop for school clothes. How delicious to be in the city – Lipman’s, I. Magnin & Co. long gone, a break for teatime with grandmother Nauneral at Meier & Frank now The Nines hotel and Macy’s. (The Nines + MAX top; Departures lounge atop The Nines below.)

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There’s fashion.

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And tons of parks. The wee Directors Park as seen from the Paramount Hotel.

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And Architecture. Michael Graves’ Portland building with Portlandia + Fox Tower.

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And food, glorious food.

Little Bird + Pok Pok + Higgins + Block & Tackle + Kenny & Zukes  + Cacao + Castagna + Le Pigeon + Paley’s Place – too many to mention + amazing food carts.

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A cozy, walkable city with a European flavor.

The river, streetcars,  birds, bridges, bikes and books. Powell’s not to miss.

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“Dog days”

Don’t know why, but I seem especially attractive to dogs this week. It all started interviewing Harriet Bullitt, the extraordinary 80-something CEO of Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort (so named after the mountain profile in the property background).

Harriet Bullitt of Seattle Bullitt fame–TV & radio stations, magazines, philanthropy–retired to the retreat east of the Cascades in early 2000 and took up residency across the Icicle River. Retired, uh, not. This energetic, enigmatic woman still oversees her environmentally sound resort, 67 acres including rustic cabins and meeting spaces connected by meandering paths through stands of pine and aspen, KOHO radio station, The Grotto lounge and O’Grady’s Pantry deli café on campus as well as music venues, art everywhere and an organic garden that supplies Chef MacDonald’s excellent fresh, organic cuisine. Sleeping Lady feels like the best of childhood camp, but with good beds and private bathrooms.

Harriet arrives with her Icelandic shepherd, Loki, via cable stretched across the river that a logger, familiar with such, rigged up using an old lift chair from Stevens Pass ski resort. (Sister Sue Cody captures this pic. – Harriet crossing the river with one of the art salmon in foreground…)

I meet Harriet at O’Grady’s Pantry and sit down in an armchair nearby in front of the stone fireplace. Roki suddenly stretches on hind legs and paws at my shoulder, nose in my face, tail wagging. Harriet’s blue eyes widen, her mouth agape, “Roki never does that…doesn’t take to strangers.” After a minute of nose to nose interaction, Roki lies at my feet while Harriet shakes her head and laughs.

Driving five miles up the stupendous granite canyon of the Icicle River, down to river’s edge and across a hand-hewn timber bridge is Boudreaux Winery.
Rob Newsom, a tall, lanky southern gentleman perhaps in his forties or fifties, hard to tell, looks more the wine connoisseur and vintner than mountain man, even though he’s hand-built the remote bridge, log house and winery.

Rob’s blind chocolate lab, Roux, drops at my feet a slobbery half-chewed stick, nudging my shins to pick it up. Rob says no and Roux lumbers away. Later, touring the winery admiring the beautiful French oak vats, Roux reappears with a pine cone and lays it at my feet.  Sue tries to get Roux to pay attention to her by moving the pine cone, but Roux slides it back to me.

“What’s with the dog charmer?” Sue asks after I tell her about Roki too.

Next, it’s downtown Leavenworth walking along the sidewalk when a young collie leaps to great me nearly pulling his owner off the bench on which he’s relaxing.  He apologizes for his dog’s behavior, but Sue says “Don’t worry, dogs love her today.”

In the evening, a fifty-ish couple with a tiny black miniature poodle pup on leash approach walking the path back to our room from the dining hall at Sleeping Lady. Sue whispers, “OK let’s see,” and tries to get the dog’s attention. But no, the fluffy pup leaps for joy straining the leash trying to get to me. The owners apologize and Sue explains that dogs just can’t help themselves today. We laugh ourselves to our cabin.

Next day, Sue bets that the dog magic is gone.

Visiting Run of the River Resort their massive St. Bernard (pup!) comes right to me and Sue tries ruffling the neck, good boy, good boy, and he accepts this, but is sitting (all 140 lbs) on my foot leaning against my legs as she tries to dissuade his attachment.

Finally home, I’m watering plants out on the front porch and it sounds as though someone is talking near my back door which is open to let some air – that’s the lane access, so not unusual for neighbors to gather and visit a bit there, voices carrying. I decide to go see, as I know neighbors on both sides of my cabin are gone. What ho! A strange black collie-ish mutt is sitting on my doorstep smiling. He’s come up the two steps and is sitting on the sill, not coming in like a good dog, but there in the entrance. Well! Of course one has to pet and say good boy a few times and who are you? He does not answer although seems happy indeed. (And makes me wonder about who was talking –  I don’t see anyone or anything, except the carpenter’s van next door and the carpenter way on the other side of the neighbor’s house…the dog walks back up the lane where the carpenter is, looking back at me like aren’t you coming too? I’m not and shut the door.

Hmmm.

Until later, MJ

Links to Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, Boudreaux Cellars Winery, Run of the River Inn, Leavenworth information:

www.sleepinglady.c

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www.boudreauxcellars.com/

www.runoftheriver.com/

www.leavenworth.org