For those of you who don’t live in the Pacific NW of the US, we have a mini-empire in our little corner of the world called McMenamin’s. Named after two brothers who started with a small beer and sandwich spot in the produce district of Portland in the late 1970’s – and from that grew an empire of over 50 restaurants, hotels and brewpubs throughout Oregon and Washington.
McMenamin’s have their critics but I encourage you to check out their website – because they have done some amazing and creative things – all in the pursuit of good beer, good food and community. They support artists, history, restoration, they introduced the concept of brewpub movie houses – they have taken some abandoned schools and hospitals and restored them into hotels, restaurants, golf courses, what I like to call amusement parks for adults.
And I credit the brothers for bringing good beer to the northwest. It is easy to stand in today’s Portland, which overflows with creative brewers and amazing food and scoff at McMenamin’s but 40 years ago it was Coors Light and Bud. And Mike McMenamin helped change that (along with the Widmer Brothers and many others).
The clever folks at McMenamin’s have created the concept of the McMenamin’s Passport (see below) listing all their properties. You get a passport stamp every time you visit a new pub or property and you win prizes along the way. And when you fill your passport completely (which would be pretty hard to do) you become one of the legendary “Cosmic Travelers”. Brilliant!
I was settling in to do all those chores that keep the house functioning. And clean. I looked outside and saw that the light was perfect – but changing quickly. I am fortunate to live close to this beautiful place – Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland.
A great way to spend the end of a rare rain-free winter day – and I was not the only one with this idea. It was nice to walk through the garden and see others, like me, trying to capture this beautiful winter moment.
I like this shot with this stranger taking an iPhone shot of the creek and bridge. With the drapery of that weeping willow surrounding him in this kind of veil of nature.
For one brief second – this stranger and I shared this park, this winter beauty. We are not alone.
Sometimes it is absolutely ok to call in well – and spend the day just as you wish.
The advantage of living in Oregon is the variety of geography we have within a day’s drive. And the fact that every season features some part of our state in a unique way. Since I am limited in my time off and ability to travel far – I am currently enjoying my own Oregon re-exploration. Although most think of the Oregon coast as a place to visit in the summer- winter is my favorite time of year – less people and fantastic storm watching. What a rush to see huge swells approach the headlands. To watch a squall approach from the sea and have it slam you head on. Last Sunday morning I remarked to someone – when those winter storms it is a perfect time to either sit inside and cozy up with a book or its a perfect time to be IN IT! To face the wind and let the Gert Boyle in you come out! (Oregonians will get that reference).
Taken in 2009. Found this church at the end of a dirt road while trying to get lost among the vineyards of the Luberon in Provence, France.