Tales of a wandering lesbian

Schooled

Portland is my home base.  In between travels, I find myself back here, staying with or housesitting for friends.  This return trip to Portland has been a string of housesitting gigs, punctuated by forays out into the exciting and quirky spots that Portland has to offer.

Last night I had a free night in between gigs, so I decided to get a room at one of Portland’s landmarks, the Kennedy School.  Part of the venerable McMenamins family, the Kennedy School is housed in a 1915 schoolhouse that was once part of the Portland school system.  In addition to 23 classroom/guest rooms, the property includes a soaking pool, 5 bars, a huge, interesting restaurant and a theater pub.

If you haven’t experienced McMenamins, here’s the skinny:  many of the bars, restaurants and hotels are located on historic properties in the Northwest.  The properties are restored and revitalized, filled with artwork based on the history of the properties.  The feel of the locations is one of history and carnival all in one.  Reality alert:  the restaurants are notoriously understaffed, making for an often challenging service experience, but the overall atmosphere almost always makes up for this.

Yesterday, I checked in to my room – Originally “classroom 4” and now the “Mirror Mirror” room, and headed to the theater for some dinner and a movie.  Along with lodging, the room rate includes free movies in the old auditorium and unlimited soaking in the soaking pool.

The theater is located in the school’s auditorium.

Movie-goers can order pizza, calzones, and a variety of other pub food – as well as beer and wine – to be delivered to the sofas and tables that serve as theater seats.

Yesterday was Wednesday, the day that the Kennedy School holds “Mommy Matinees,” movies for parents to bring their kids without concern for the running, talking and screaming discouraged in other theaters.  I ordered a veggie calzone, staked out a velvet sofa, and turned on my computer to check email while I waited for “The Princess and the Frog” to start.

The movie was completely enjoyable and the surroundings delightful.  And it was great to walk down the hall to my classroom bedroom when it was over.

The room itself was pretty darn cool.  The walls were lined with the original chalkboards, some of which were sliding panels enclosing old-school  coat racks doubling as a closet.  Too cool.

The room was decorated with phrases from the fairy tale “Snowdrop” (you might know it better as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves).  The “Mirror, mirror on the wall” sequence was cleverly written backward on the bathroom wall.

The thing I was most looking forward to was the soaking pool.  Located where the teacher’s lounge used to be, the soaking pool is a beautiful, tiled courtyard area.  The water is the right level of hot, with bubbles running down one length of the pool.  Last night it was a good mix of Portland-style, tri-athlete-looking folks, Rastafarians, steam rising from their hats and dreads, and young families sporting matching racing goggles (kids are allowed in the pool until 8PM, so plan to go later if you aren’t willing to move aside for them).

One of the great things about the Kennedy School is that it feels like one big living room.  It’s almost like visiting a friend’s big, old house.  There’s a lot of room to kick back and relax.  Like when I decided I wanted a brownie and ice cream at 10:00 at night.  I grabbed my computer and trotted down to the Courtyard Restaurant to eat and write.

I sat and listened to a few other people who were chatting and snacking.  And I wrote about meeting a new friend in the soaking pool.  When I’d mopped up the last bit of ice cream I packed up and walked the 50 yards back to my room – where I passed out in a brownie-induced stupor.

My time at the Kennedy school was fantastic.  The property is amazing; the room was original, roomy, comfortable and spotless.  The movie was entertaining and the soaking pool was ultra-relaxing, even with kids walking the perimeters of both.  And the food was good.  I’d say I had one of the best service experiences I’ve ever had with a McMenamins property.  It was so enjoyable that I’ll be recommending the place to my parents next time they’re in town.  It really does offer a genuinely Portland experience.

It’s nice to find new places to have adventures, and nice to be reminded that adventures are in my back yard – wherever I am.

Bookmark and Share

4 comments

1 Tracy { 02.25.10 at 3:23 pm }

Ever considered travel writing as a career?

2 KFlick { 02.25.10 at 10:20 pm }

Yes. You know someone? 🙂

3 Ant { 02.26.10 at 8:04 am }

But how are the cappucinos?

4 Soaking Tub at the Kennedy School | 365 Awesome! { 04.17.10 at 6:17 am }

[…] where the teacher’s lounge used to be, the soaking pool is a beautiful, tiled courtyard area.  The water is the right level of hot, with bubbles running […]

Leave a Comment