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Multnomah County Poor Farm

McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale OR
The Erstwhile Multnomah County Poor Farm


Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. This summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today’s focus is a slightly funky Troutdale resort caled McMenamins Edgefield.

Setting Out on the Road

Leaving Portland behind on the fourth morning of our vacation, Bill and I headed East to spend a day on the Columbia River Gorge.  I hadn’t anticipated some of our culinary challenges in Portland, but way back in Dallas I’d  decided that I wanted to start our tour of the Gorge with a special meal.  In my research, I depended heavily on DK Eyewitness Travel’s Pacific Northwest Guide.  On pages 90 and 91 is a two-page spread of the “Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood Driving Tour.”  DK Eyewitness suggested that we could do the whole tour in a day.  Good thing I didn’t take them up on that one!

DK Eyewitness used Troutdale as the starting point for the tour, so I googled

McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale OR
Taking a stroll around the resort

Troutdale to find breakfast.  That led me to McMenamins Edgefield.  “Historic Edgefield, built in 1911 as the county poor farm, is a destination resort in the Pacific Northwest that blends Oregon’s natural beauty with McMenamins’ signature whimsy: original buildings carefully restored with cozy interiors, gardens grown using organic methods, great food and drink, live entertainment and more,” read the home page.  (How could I resist that?)  “On the grounds, you will find an array of diversions. Enjoy our fine-dining restaurant, classic pub, numerous small bars and summertime grill,” continued the home page.”  That sounded like breakfast to me.

Even Frommer’s Portable Portland agreed, “With so much in one spot, this makes a great base for exploring the area.  The beautiful grounds give this inn the feel of a remote retreat, though you are still within 30 minutes of Portland.”  Sold!

McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale OR
Delicious meals grown right here!

The GPS took us right to the resort and we immediately knew we’d arrived somewhere out of the ordinary.  As we turned on to the tree-lined gravel path, guests wearing terry robes and flip flops meandered along, chatting among themselves with the air of folks who were having a grand old time of it.  We found a parking lot and I pulled out a map I’d downloaded from the McMenamins Edgefield website.  There are ten (count them TEN) different eating and drinking opportunities on the property and you might want to stroll around and visit each one before settling on your venue, but Bill and I were hungry.  The first place we found was the Black Rabbit Restaurant, so we sat down to order breakfast.

Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs, Grilled Steak and Eggs, Poor Farm Biscuits, Smoked Salmon Hash, Corned Beef Hash,
Chilaquiles Tortillas and Challah French Toast Amaretto.  Toto we’re not in Denny’s anymore!  I had the Edgefield Breakfast: “Your choice of Canadian bacon, pork-apple sausage links, pepper bacon or veggie sausage patties; three eggs cooked to order, roasted potatoes and toast.”  Bill had the Challah French Toast Amaretto.  The next hour was blissful, but neither of us could clean our plates.  How does anyone eat three eggs?

“The next hour?” you ask.  I told you, this is not fast food.  I can also tell you that no one at McMenamis Edgefield has ever been or ever will be in a hurry.  So just sit back and enjoy yourself.

After our leisurely breakfast, we made a tour of the grounds.  Yes, there’s a nine hole golf course and also a vegetable

McMenamins Edgefield, Troutdale OR
An Edgefield guest enjoying the environs

garden where they grow much of what they cook.  Many of the buildings left behind from the County Poor Farm days have been re-purposed.  We discovered that all the terry clad guests wandering the property had been down to Ruby’s for their spa treatments.  Other folks were just sitting around enjoying the day.  There’s a sense that you’ve just joined some really retro commune when you’re at the resort, but it’s an utterly charming sensation.

I give a big thumbs up to McMenamins Edgefield.  Someday I hope to spend a few nights there, not just eat breakfast.  A lot of attractions claim to be a “must see,” but this is one you really must see (and taste) to believe.  Our pictures just don’t do it justice.  Come back next Wenesday and we’ll head out into the Gorge.

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