Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Saturday Oregon Outing

I have been tossing around the idea of setting up a full 'Regency Retreat' weekend sometime in 2011 for the Oregon Regency Society and any other folks who are interested in participating. It's been a project I've been dabbling with for a few months. I thought about 2010 first, but realized that the Jane Austen Society of North America were having their big shindig up here in Oregon in 2010, and I didn't want to compete with that event. They have folks coming from all over the country for their yearly general meeting... they'll host a ball and have folks in costume all during the event. So I thought the following year, I'd offer an event that is all-regency, all weekend and offer workshops, like lace-making and embroidery... sewing, penmanship perhaps, and all number of lovely activities; and I have wanted to find a setting that would be at least a little bit appropriate, with lots of garden space and relaxing features to make it worthwhile for participants.

So on my hunt for retreat centers, I found Menucha. This place is in my top three of possible venues for the retreat. The other is Cedar Ridge; whose owner never followed up on my query by sending the requisite information; and the last is the Chateau at the Oregon Caves, which is really cool because we can rent the whole lodge for ourselves... the only downside is that it's clear down near the California state line. I'm still working on it.

I'd been meaning to check out Menucha for months, but each time I arranged for a viewing, something would come up and I couldn't go. I think the manager got impatient with me, frankly. So Saturday, Hubby and I, on some weird whim, got in the car and decided we finally wanted to go see Crown Point. I've lived in Oregon going on seven years and I've never been to Crown Point (not to mention other 'must-see' locations like Crater Lake and such), I know, ridiculous. It's really not very far from Portland at all. I was surprised how close it was to our neck of the woods too.

Oregon's History is young. It's earliest settlement was Astoria--a tiny city on the mouth of the Columbia River where it opens up to the Pacific. This settlement; hugely Scandinavian by heritage appeared smack in the middle of the Regency period, very early 1800s--just around the time whem Lewis & Clark came tromping through to see the coast. I'm too lazy and uninspired to research it all, frankly. But Oregon does have a few nice little 'historic' spots that feature the state's incredible natural treasures. Oregon, and much of the Northwest goes 'big' on things. The trees are taller, the rivers wider, the volcanoes soaring... it's a place where nature is generous in her heapings of beauty. The Columbia Gorge is one of those really awe-inspiringly beautiful spots. And you can get a really great view of it as the Columbia leaves Hood River and winds its serpentine way towards the Pacific, meeting with Portland and the Willamette River as it does.

It's a huge river, and the dams on it provide much of the power for the NW and not to mention California (those moochers). Crown Point sits over a cliff on the Oregon Side (the opposite bank of the river is the state of Washington). It's a little round observation house, screamingly art-deco, that sits on a loop of the switchback road that that clings to the side of the steep hill.

The view is breathtaking.

They have a little gallery and shop and such inside... and hubby thought I was crazy when I got more excited about the lovely 20s walking jacket and suit; and the boots! So pretty.

On our way up, I noticed that Menucha was right near the point, so I called to see if I could get a quick look-see of the facility.

It was wonderful. So far, I'm thinking Menucha might be the place. Its proximity to Portland, its beautiful, peaceful setting, the spaces available (one is particularly pretty)... We shall see. Hubby captured some really pretty pictures of the day, including two from Menucha's gardens which I adore, the flower and the bumble-bee and the cool nasturtium leaves.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Squeee! I'm getting excited already. I love going to Crown Point. It's just amazing! Shame we couldn't have a ball there ;-)


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