Friday, August 09, 2019

Photos From the Road: McMenamins Kennedy School Hotel

We spent several days in Oregon in late July, starting with a two-night visit to Portland.

While in Portland we stayed at McMenamins Kennedy School Hotel. It's a unique hotel built on the site of an elementary school which originally opened in 1915. The school ceased operating in 1975; McMenamins restored the building and opened the hotel in 1997.

The company operates a number of unique hotels in Oregon and Washington in "reclaimed" historic buildings, including other schools and the one-time site of a county poor farm.

The building was fascinating, a bit like staying inside a theme park, with former classrooms divided in half and turned into hotel rooms.

We spent quite a bit of time simply wandering around the building, where some of the rooms still have their old "Home Economics" and "Library" signs, and the bedrooms are named for former students. In the "English wing" the rooms are named for authors, including Oregon native Beverly Cleary," who incidentally is now 103!

The child-sized drinking fountain works!

The former school auditorium now operates as a movie theater, which is free to guests. It also hosts events such as the "Battle of the Lawyer Bands" which took place one night of our stay.

The hotel seems to be at the center of the community; the same night as the band competition, the Portland Sacred Harp Community Sing was taking place in another room, as it does on the fourth Thursday of each month. It was lovely to hear the music as we walked inside.

The walls are decorated with photos of the children who once roamed the building's halls.

Our room in a former classroom came complete with chalkboard...

...and chalk!

The desk was equipped with a nice big school pencil with the hotel name printed on it:

Really quite charming! And with so much entertainment on site, perhaps it's not surprising that the hotel doesn't have televisions in its rooms. There's a small stack of books provided on the desk. It all combines for a tranquil environment.

In keeping with the hotel being an active part of the local community, the small but very pretty "plunge pool" is open to nearby neighbors along with hotel guests.

Breakfast at the hotel's Courtyard Restaurant was marvelous!

There's also a jam-packed, quirky gift shop...

...which includes Kennedy School Hotel themed souvenirs:

Given my love for mugs, it's probably no surprise that I came home with the tall mug on the right featuring a cat and the logo for the McMenamins handcrafted coffee roasting business, in existence since 2001.

We brought home colorful brochures for other McMenamins hotels, hoping to visit more in the future! There's even a passport rewards program for those who have the opportunity to stay at the various hotels.

On our first night in Portland we drove over the state border into Vancouver, Washington, to meet relatives for dinner at The Smokin' Oak.

It was a fun "hole in the wall" type location with very good food.

The beef chili and cornbread was amazing!

Coming soon: Photos from our visits to various spots in Oregon including the Oregon Zoo and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, and the Lane County Fair in Eugene.


Blogger Margot Shelby said...

Ha, I live in Portland. You went to some good spots, the zoo and OMSI are quite nice. I hope you didn't go into town, the Pearl District, where unfortunalty nowadays there's nothing but construction zones and homeless people.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

How fun, Margot! For a trip we put together fairly quickly I was pleased with what we were able to organize. By sheer good luck there was a Pixar movie exhibit at OMSI when we were there!

We ventured into Downtown once, to try a place for lunch we'd read about on Yelp; we proceeded with caution, having read a number of news stories about problems in the city of late. (L.A has some of the same issues these days.) We got inexpensive street parking right next to the restaurant and didn't witness any problems in that area. The other areas we visited were very nice, and the zoo is gorgeous!! I've been following it on Twitter for a while, and it was fun to see all the animals "in person" ("in animal"? LOL).

Best wishes,

9:17 PM  
Blogger Margot Shelby said...

That Pixar exhibit is very nice and I love the zoo. Can't believe you found street parking in town though. Nowadays that's pretty rare.

8:32 AM  

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