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  • Robert Gidley

North to Woodinville

May 22, 2022 (Sun)

Whew! On our last lap and almost home, but first—poor farms!


9:35 am

We can’t quite face making breakfast this morning—plus, we have no dishes to eat from, because they’re stacked in the sink.


So, it’s off to a local McMenamins for breakfast! In case you don’t know, McMenamins is a Portland-based company that takes old buildings such as schoolhouses and turns them into restaurants, hotels, and movie theaters. Sometimes all in the same building.


This particular McMenamins is called McMenamins Edgefield and it’s in a former poor farm.


“Poor farm,” says Robert. “That doesn't make sense. How can a farm be poor?”


Well, over a 100 years ago, these were common in the United States. The idea was, if you were too poor to get by, you’d head to a poor farm. There, you’d work and get fed and housed until something happened and you left, often by dying. Most of the residents were elderly and disabled. Conditions weren’t great (barracks sleeping arrangements, for example), but it beat starving to death on the streets.


McMenamins Edgefield housed 614 people at its peak in 1935 and produced enough food to support the residents with some left over. Eventually, it became a nursing home, and then finally in 1982 the remaining three residents were moved out and the place forgotten, except by local teenagers who partied in the abandoned buildings.


In 1985, the county wanted to just burn the place to the ground, but the Troutdale Historical Society and the McMenamins had other ideas and after much trial and tribulation, the McMenamins bought the place in 1990.


Today, it’s got a restaurant (The Black Rabbit Restaurant and Bar), a movie theater, gardens, a golf course, movie theater, spa, hotel—even an outdoor concert venue.


Also, they have excellent breakfast food and Robert finally gets a cinnamon roll after hankering for one the last week or so.


Us, our breakfast, and possibly some poor farm inspired psychedelia behind us


3:00 pm Home again, home again, jiggidy jig

What can you say about four hours of driving north on I-5, except that it looks like every other time we’ve driven north on I-5. It’s nicer driving with Harvey, because it’s like having the world’s largest back seat. We can grab an ice tea from the fridge, make a sandwich, lie down and take a nap. We could even conceivably go to the bathroom, although neither one of us wants to take the chance of being mangled during a sudden turn.

View of the outside from the inside of Harvey

Our cat Frankie is waiting for his head scratches (although he was well-supplied while we were gone by our friend Wendy), our bed looks extra inviting, and we’re leaving unloading Harvey until tomorrow! Total miles traveled on this trip: 2,001 (dun dun dun dun, dah dun!) Thanks for traveling with us! Next: North to Alaska?

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