McMenamins Edgefield

 McMenamins Edgefield

McMenamins Edgefield

There are plenty of amazing hotels to stay at throughout Washington and Oregon, but you will never find a hotel group quite like McMenamins. Maybe that's because they are so much more than just a place to stay. It's not very often that, in addition to your room for the night, you also get a brewery, distillery, winery, coffee roastery, spa, music venue, movie theater, golf course, and history lesson all in one. It's like your favorite resort only with edge! Let us explain....

McMenamins has been transforming historic buildings into hotel resorts since the early 90s and now have 12 lodging locations throughout Oregon and Washington and more pubs and eateries than we care to count. Each location has it's own unique attributes and personality which make them wonderful. Today we are going to focus on McMenamins Edgefield, which we like to consider the motherload. It was the first hotel that the McMenamins family opened, and it's by far our favorite. Located just 20 minutes from downtown Portland, it makes a great weekend getaway!

 The private king room 

The private king room 

The first thing you notice when you arrive to a McMenamins is all the crazy art work. Edgefield is decorated in this wacky wonderful way, honestly the decor is an attraction of it's own. You can forget your purpose as you walk around and get distracted by the crazy art and stories illustrated on the walls everywhere. For example, they are known for pipe art and one fun aspect of the pipe art is hidden faces; you can treat it as a scavenger hunt and walk around trying to locate them all.

 Funny little pipe art.

Funny little pipe art.

 Interesting art is all over the property.

Interesting art is all over the property.

The property has multiple restaurants including the delicious Black Rabbit restaurant (we got the ribeye and the bolognese and both were incredible) as well as a more casual Power Station Pub (pizza, burgers) and the seasonal Loading Dock Grill. Since McMenamins makes their own beer, spirits, and wine on site, they really encourage drinking of all kinds (and now you know why we love these places so much). You can grab a glass of wine at the winery, head to the Little Red Shed for spirits and cigars, or play some pool and darts with a beer at the Lucky Staehly's Pool Hall. And this is just a few of the places to grab a drink and they allow you to walk around the resort with your drinks, so no need to finish it before heading to hang out on the deck or at the gardens! Our personal favorite drinking spot was Jerry's Ice House, which was the cold storage of the farm (before refrigeration) that is now filled with posters and memorabilia dedicated to Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. They have Grateful Dead themed drinks and play music videos and documentaries, which sucks you in longer than you intended! 

 There are more spots then just Jerry's Ice House that pay homage to the great performer, here is a Jerry Garcia statue found on the grounds.

There are more spots then just Jerry's Ice House that pay homage to the great performer, here is a Jerry Garcia statue found on the grounds.

Ok real talk, the options for eating and drinking are great, but the best part about Edgefield is the soaking pool. This thing is incredible. It's a large outdoor, saltwater pool that they keep exceptionally hot, so you can use it year round. And because no place on the property would deny you a drink, there is a cute little tea house right by the pool where you can get tea-infused cocktails, wines, beer, and even sandwiches. And if you feel like really going all out, they have a full-service spa for massages, facials, and the usual star treatment. The pool is a little walk from the main lodge, but luckily you get these giant, plush, amazing robes in your room that you can wear all over the property, so throw on your swimsuit and flip flops, wrap up in that robe and head over to relaxation station. 

 A complimentary mason jar in your room acts as a growler.

A complimentary mason jar in your room acts as a growler.

We spent two days at the resort and didn't even manage to get to all of the places. It feels like you could spend a week here especially in the summer when you can sit outside and enjoy the nice weather or catch a show at the amphitheater (they get some big names like Wilco and the Decemberists!). The property also has golf and tons of outdoor fire pits, perfect for day drinking.

 There is fun artwork to find in all sorts of different places!

There is fun artwork to find in all sorts of different places!

A few other things to note:

  • Some of the rooms use communal bathrooms. If you want your own private bathrooms make sure you select the private room option when booking.
  • There are many artists who sell their work throughout the property including blown glass and ceramics. Make sure you check them out!
  • While the Black Rabbit restaurant does serve breakfast, we didn't find it easy to grab something light for breakfast that didn't require a sit-down meal. You might want to consider bringing something on your own or opting for room service where you can get a simple bagel. If you hang the nifty room service menu card on your door before 10pm the night before, they'll bring you your items at the time of your choosing the next morning. 
  • You can fill your beer growler in the main lodge gift shop, and if you forget your growler they give you a large mason jar in your room to use and take home for free. You can also buy McMenamins wines and spirits (and pipe art!) at the gift shop too.

Little Si

Little Si Trail

Little Si is the smaller companion of the much more challenging and ominous Mount Si. Little Si is more our style - takes about 3-4 hours, a solid 4.7 miles, and doesn't require you to pack a meal to keep from turning into a monster halfway through. It's also relatively close to Seattle, so you don't spend too much time in the car getting there. 

Little Si is great year round - it is fairly protected from the elements so when we did it in January we stayed pretty dry even though it was raining most of the hike. The trail is well kept and offers great checkpoints along the way to keep you entertained, including rock climbers doing some scary climbs on the cliffs or pretty creeks running through the trail. 

The hike is rated moderate on, but we think it is fine for beginners. There are a few switchbacks, but those are few and far between on this hike, with the majority of the trail being moderate inclines that will keep your blood flowing, but you won't be keeling over from exertion. The very end is tiring, but the reward of the views at the top will keep you going! 

Once you get to the top there are two viewpoints, one to the left of the trail right as you come out and then another a bit farther up that allows you to see a more 360 view of the area. Check out both, but the first viewpoint is the truly stunning one, with Mount Si looming above you. 

Check out the trip reports before you go at WTA

Happy Hiking! 

Little Si Moss
Little Si creek
Trees Mount Si

On the Road: Bend, Oregon

Bend Oregon

When you live in the PNW the opportunities for bad-ass vacations in your backyard are endless. Leavenworth, San Juan Islands, Astoria, Vashon Island, Tofino, Crater Lake, Olympic Peninsula; the list really is endless. This month we decided a trip to Bend with a good group of friends was in order. A friend's weekend needs a few key things to be successful: good food, good bars, good activities, and good people. Luckily, Bend can give you all of this in one adorable Oregon mountain town. If you don't have cool friends, well.. Bend could probably help you with that one if you like hippies or skiing...if not, then you're on your own. 

So, now let's get into how to do Bend right. You're going to need to pack your drinking pants and possibly your snow gear (in winter) or hiking gear (in summer) if you want to work off the many calories you are about to consume. 

Where to Stay

McMenamins - Old St. Francis School

McMenamins are an all-time favorite of Rain or Shine Guides. These incredibly unique and transformed hotels are always a treat to spend the night in. No rooms are the same and they have incredible detail and flare that you can't find anywhere else. McMenamins are often referred to as the adult resorts of the PNW. Old St. Francis School in Bend is no different. They offer a beautiful soaking pool, movie theater, several bars on site with live music on most nights, and of course enough art on the walls to keep you busy perusing for days. 


We are huge fans of Airbnb - especially when traveling with a group. There are great Airbnb's all over Bend. We would recommend staying in Bend's Westside neighborhood or Downtown because Bend is a great town to walk and bike! In the summer scout out homes that come with bikes and in the winter definitely prioritize a hot tub with your rental. 


If you aren't coming to Bend for the food and beer (primary reason for us), then you are probably coming for the outdoors. This is a spectacular part of Oregon, with Mt. Bachelor looming in the distance and so much to see and do in the area surrounding town. If you like to camp we would recommend Bend-Sunriver RV Campground. It's clean, has good prices, and additional things on site to keep everyone entertained. 

Where to Eat 


Spork Bowl Bend

Alright, so Spork is the number one place to eat in Bend on Yelp, which means it isn't revolutionary of us to recommend this spot, but holy S$^@%-balls, it's just so damn good that you can't even understand how life existed before you ate here. This quaint Mexican-Asian fusion restaurant is full of so much amazing flavor and spice you will wonder how Asia and Mexico didn't figure out their cuisines went together sooner. It's one of those places that once you take your first bite you think, "I don't need to eat anything else the rest of my life. If I had nothing but this pork all day every day, I would be completely happy." The vibe in the restaurant is modern meets boho (yes, you should absolutely sit in the egg shaped booths carved out into the walls). 

Our favorite: Shredded Pork Rice Bowl

The Brown Owl

The Brown Owl chili

The Brown Owl was recommended to us by our kombucha-tender at Humm (This what you call the person who serves you kombucha instead of beer, right? No? Oh, just go with it). What's great is this food truck/bar is located right by Atlas, Crux, and Immersion, so you can drink a bunch of beer and cider, get good and hungry for some comfort food, and then go demolish everything on the menu at Brown Owl...which is absolutely what we did. The homemade corndogs were the main attraction, having had only the state fair variety we obviously had to see what this was all about. But beyond that, everything we tried just tasted better then the last. Mac n cheese loaded with onions and peppers? Fire. Fire roasted tomato and beef chili with a side of deep-fried cornbread? Bomb. Beer pretzel made by someone who studied pretzel-making in Germany? Do we even need to say it? Ok we will - it was damn delicious people. 

The bar you can take your food porn into is also super cool. Beautiful log walls with decor that brings the outdoors in, canoes hanging above the bar, taxidermy animals (wearing sombreros), and long wood tables fill the space for you too relax in after a long, hard day of day-drinking.

Our favorite: Homemade Corndog


Drake is where you go to get your nice dinner in Downtown Bend. This spot is trendy, but not pretentious, with a stacked menu that will please just about anyone in your party, from the vegetarian to the steak eater who can't avoid the filet mignon on any menu. First, head to the bar for a drink. Their bartenders are fun to watch as they expertly craft creative drinks. Things are set on fire and transformed into unique drinks you can only find at the Drake Bar. Once you're finished at the bar, head to a table and start on the small plates - don't miss out on the roasted cauliflower! From there the entrees are waiting for you. Beware - they are big. Prepare yourself for half of a chicken when you order the fried chicken or a bone-in pork chop as big as your face. We respect anyone with the self-control to not eat it all and lick the plate - it's so good it's worth feeling a little miserable after. 

Our favorite: Mac n Cheese (be bad and add the bacon)

The Dough Nut

The Dough Nut Bend

Prepare for sugar overload because it's impossible not to over order when you visit The Dough Nut. They have everything from your staple Maple Bars and Apple Fritters all the way to Mayan Chocolate Cream Cheese and Banana-Rum Buttermilk Bars. Also not to be missed are their breakfast sandwiches. They sandwich your fixings (we recommend going for something with pesto on it) in between two doughnuts, they aren't sweet, just fried dough, but holy crap it's freaking amazing. 

Where to Drink

Crux Fermentation Project

This is kind of the place to visit when you come to Bend. The brewery is a little off the beaten path but patrons are rewarded with over 20 unique beers on tap and an amazing tasting room. They plan their happy hour specials around the sunset, hippies (and lovers of beauty) rejoice! Come enjoy a pint and watch the sun sink below the mountains. 

Our favorite: Crux Farmhouse

Atlas Cider Co. 

Atlas Cider Co.

Atlas is a great break from beers. Come to their tasting room to have some refreshing, crisp/tart/unique ciders. It's a perfect spot to go with a group - they have just about everything you need for a fun afternoon: pool, arcade games, tons of cider to work your way through, dogs running around eating popcorn that was accidentally dropped on the floor (the popcorns free (wee!) but drop in some dollars to support local charities), and don't miss their apple cider donuts, made with their apple cider - YUM. 

Our favorite: Blackberry cider

Deschutes Brewery

This is one of the big ones in town (10 Barrel is another big name you can visit). If you are in Bend to experience small-time craft brewing, then you can skip Deschutes, but we think they have good beer and their Public House in Downtown Bend also has a full menu of yummy food, which is needed when you're drinking all day, every day. There are several beers on their menu that you can only get at this location - so we would recommend sticking with those (they are clearly labeled) and get the elk burger or fried chicken sandwich if you have room in your stomach - they are both delish! 

Our favorite: Fresh squeezed IPA

Immersion Brewing 

Immersion Brewing makes the list because they 1. have good beer, 2. have good food, and 3. (this one sets them apart) they offer Brew-It-Yourself classes! You can book a two hour session with their team and brew your own beer, wait three weeks and come back to bottle it up and take it home to impress all your friends and family! 

Our favorite: Little Fawn Saison

Humm Kombucha

Humm Kombucha

We are PNW ladies, which means we obviously love Kombucha (we wrote about a local Seattle kombucha maker here), and we don't really ever miss an opportunity to drink this fizzy drink of the gut gods. We even each brew our own at home - kombucha addictions are hard on the wallet if you don't make your own. No shocker here, Humm's on tap was like 10 million times better than anything we've ever made. In their Bend tasting room they have their staple flavors that are available in a lot of grocery stores up and down the west coast. The way to go is to get a taster and fill it with the "Mix It Up" - these are their original flavors mixed into unique flavors. 

Our favorites: Sunburst and Berry Blast

What to Do

Explore Downtown

Downtown Bend is really stinking cute. It's full of coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, and shopping for everyone! We could walk the streets and along the river for an entire afternoon easily. Some really fun spots to highlight would be Looney Bean Cafe and The Commons. These are both great spots to hang out and sip some coffee or grab a light bite by the river with a view. They both have events too, so check out their calendars for when you're in town. 

They also have great shopping, including killer Birkenstock and Patagonia stores. Lark is a great outdoorsy store with functional and natural decor and clothing. Jubeelee is a fun women's clothing store to grab trendy clothing and jewelry, and if you want to take home some cool Bend swag we recommend The Bend Store

Note: We purposefully left off The Old Mill District from our list. It's full of chain restaurants and stores and although it is in a beautiful part of town, it isn't our favorite place to explore.


The area surrounding Bend is beautiful, so if you have some time, get outside and explore. Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint (you can drive or hike to the viewpoint) and Shelvin Park are close to town and are both great options for easy hiking and beautiful views. About 20 miles outside of Bend, there is also a great waterfall hike, Tumalo Falls. Smith Rock State Park is also nearby and offers some of Oregon's most stunning scenery and beautiful hiking trails! 

Deschutes River Bend

If you want an easy stroll then we recommend opting for the Deschutes River Trail, this 12 mile trail runs right through the town of Bend and offers a paved or gravel trail, depending on where you are, along the river.


Mt. Bachelor sits about 30 miles outside Bend and offers some of the best skiing in Oregon! Don't ski? Well no worries, there are a ton of other activities on the mountain to enjoy including tubing, free snowshoeing tours, and..wait for it... sled dog rides. WHAT?! We haven't done this yet, but you better believe it's on the bucket list. (Remember that movie Balto? Such a heroic tale.)

Catch a concert/live performance

Les Swab Amphitheater sits on the river and gets a lot of the big name performers in Bend. Check out their lineup to see if you can snag tickets for a show. 

The Volcanic Theatre Pub is another great venue in Bend for live music. They also have a theatre if you're more interested in plays! 

Many bars around town have live music throughout the week, including Northside Bar and Grill and McMenamin's Father Luke's Room. 

That wraps up the top spots in Bend to check out when you visit. If you have any must-see, must-drink, or must-eat locations let us know so we can visit them on our next trip to Bend!

When the Perfect Gift is an Experience: The Herbfarm

 The Herbfarm Exterior: Courtesy of Willows Lodge

The Herbfarm Exterior: Courtesy of Willows Lodge

My husband and I have largely forgone gift-giving when it comes to physical things. Occasionally I still receive a beautiful bottle of wine, but I view wine as a moment captured in a bottle — an experience. What trumps the experience of a lovely wine, consumed at its pinnacle moment? Wine paired with food. So when I opened the mail this week to receive The Herbfarm’s 2018 Restaurant Schedule, I was reminded of just such a pairing that I had the honor of experiencing last Christmas season.

Located in the heart of Western Washington’s Woodinville Wine Country, The Herbfarm is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top destination restaurants. The restaurant's mantra: “No dish can be better than its ingredients, and the best ingredients are usually local” informs its ever-changing menus. By supporting local farmers, cheesemakers, wineries, and so on, they preserve local foods, traditions, and moments in every meal.

Much has been written about The Herbfarm as a restaurant (see Forbes, Frommer’s, and The New York Times for starters) so I’ll leave the reviews to the dining experts. As a somm, what intrigued and delighted me most was the pairing of local food and drink for each course.

What Grows Together Goes Together

 Menu and wine card. Photo by Amy Dickson

Menu and wine card. Photo by Amy Dickson

The Herbfarm’s menus, often not finalized until hours before each singular evening seating, are shaped to showcase and capture the essence of the season. The local food and wine come together in such a way as to elevate the sense of terroir: nine courses and five wines, all hand-selected to complement each other.  For example, my meal contained a course of Poulet Bleu, a blue-footed chicken with black trumpet mushrooms and an air-dried persimmon sweet and sour sauce. Paired with a 2013 A.D. Beckham Amphora Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, and I was in heaven.

In Perfect Harmony: Drink and Food

 Chef Chris Weber explaining the night’s meal: Courtesy of Trip Advisor

Chef Chris Weber explaining the night’s meal: Courtesy of Trip Advisor

On that note, the nine-course meal takes several hours and is perfectly matched to whatever you feel like quaffing:

Wine: Your five courses will come with pre-selected wines that will delight and dazzle. During my seating I enjoyed an Argyle Brut from Oregon (with mussels), Avennia’s Sauvignon Blanc from Yakima (wild winter sturgeon), Efeste’s Chardonnay (celery root with truffle), that lovely Pinot Noir (blue-footed chicken), and Kevin White’s Grenache-Mourvedre-Syrah blend (grilled Wagyu coulotte). Don’t want to stick to the script? Ask for the 150+ page wine list and I am sure you’ll find exactly the right vintage for your evening. Arrive early to your reservation and explore the onsite cellar where you can ask Sommelier Bruce Achtermann about the 26,000 bottles and more than 4,500 selections. A wine lover’s dream come true!

 Herbfarm Wine Cellar: Courtesy of The Daring Gourmet

Herbfarm Wine Cellar: Courtesy of The Daring Gourmet

Beer: Say beer is more your thing? No problem! Note your preference in your reservation and the staff will carefully curate your experience with local lagers and ales. Prefer imports? Flip to the end of the exhaustive wine list and you’ll find a lovely selection of European ales to please your palate.

Dessert: The Herbfarm has the dessert wine market cornered. From late-harvest Alsatian wines to rare Tokaji from Hungary, you have many options. Most delightful is The Herbfarm’s collection of Chateau d’Yquem Sauternes. Using an anaerobic system that allows extraction without removing the cork, I opted for a single ounce of the 100-point 2011 vintage. A whole bottle would have set me back $1650 — instead I tried one of the world’s most perfect (and rare) wines for $65. I’ll never forget the taste of that sweet nectar. There’s nothing like it.

Non-Alcoholic: Non-drinkers (and there was one in my party) are treated to a meal paired with custom shrubs, juices, and local mixes using fresh herbs and ingredients also found in the dishes. Dinner is followed by a selection of local coffees, teas, and herbal infusions.

Reservations Required

 The Herbfarm’s co-owner Carrie Van Dyck, right, and chef Chris Weber (to Van Dyck’s right) plate one of the evening’s nine courses. Courtesy of Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times

The Herbfarm’s co-owner Carrie Van Dyck, right, and chef Chris Weber (to Van Dyck’s right) plate one of the evening’s nine courses. Courtesy of Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times

The Herbfarm’s 2018 Dining Schedule is out now and reservations aren’t recommended, they’re required, often months or even years in advance. If you’re looking for a gift for the foodie in your life, the oenophile of your heart, or the person who is intent on collecting memories instead of “stuff,” try The Herbfarm. I’m already looking at next fall’s, A Mycologist’s Dream theme, to enjoy the best in foraged local mushrooms. I know there’s a Pinot Noir waiting in the wings to join in.


Amy L. Dickson is a communications professional, freelance writer, and contributor to Rain or Shine Guides. She is a Level 1 sommelier and can be found Sundays at Portalis Wines in Ballard. Follow her at @amyldickson75