Setting an alarm for an early start??? Perish the thought! On second thought, the tour at Pendleton Mills was scheduled for 9AM, and we were driving to the Washington State location, so setting an alarm was a good idea. It worked. We got there on time. There were only two other people on the tour with us, so it went pretty smoothly. The green monstrosity you see to the left is a beaming machine – it is was Pendleton uses to wind its warps for the blankets and fabric that are woven at their Washougal plant.
Here is the result – these are huge! My weaving projects resemble to process, but are way smaller in scope. Just the way is should be, I guess. Turns out all of the patterns that need more than four harnesses are woven on Jacquard looms in the Pendleton plant in Oregon. The founder, Thomas Kay, named the business after the town. He partnered with his daughter’s husband, C.P. Bishop, to launch the retail trade.
Indian Trade blankets that are their high profile product were introduced in 1895. Here you see the huge lengths that are mechanically woven. I have to give credit to the tour guide who was proficient in accurately explaining the process, but all the technical terms I was familiar with were missing from the conversation. High expectations. It was a good tour – saw the process from roving through spinning and dying to finished product. Fun stuff for me!
Our next stop was the Oregon History Museum, in downtown Portland. It’s sponsored and maintained by the Oregon Historical Society. Lots of maritime coverage, and a good depiction overall of state history. I particularly liked the bracelet in a portrait of Catherine Hawthorn (whoever she may be). It reminded me a of a piece my sister Miriam gave me.
Portland is specifically known for a wide variety of street food, and also for pioneering (please forgive the pun) the whole food truck scene. We moseyed on to Pioneer Square to check out the options and I swear I have never seen so many food trucks in one place in my life. And if that wasn’t enough, there was a block filled with independent food booths. But no where to sit to eat, and we were ready to sit. We were saved by an Information person on a bicycle who provided us with maps and tips. Necessity required a quick stop at Moonstruck for some fabulous local chocolate (it didn’t survive the day). Less than ten minutes later we were eating the best pizza slices and a spinach salad at Pizzicato. Small surprise that the owner is from New York.
How else to maximize our exposure to all things Portland? Thanks to the nifty map we now had in hand, it turns out that there was Wells Fargo History Museum in town. We have been to five other locations through out the country, so it was a no brainer to check out the local edition. It did not disappoint. Eventually we’ll get to all of them.
A funny thing happened on the way to our next destination (we’ll get to that soon). We missed a turn and lo and behold, I saw a sign for the tea brand I was on the look out for from the day before! Emmett found a parking space, and exploration continued on foot. Steven Smith, Teamaker. Yes, they were open to the public, and yes they sold their tea both in bags and loose. However, the thing that got me excited was the tea sampling!
Yes. For the first time in my life I experienced a bonafide tea flight. There were ginger biscuits to cleanse the pallet, spoons and water glasses to rinse the spoons in between samples. We picked four. Our server gave us two extra, plus a matcha latte. Did I say I was in heaven? Our server was very tea knowledgeable. On an ironic turn, he was originally from Phoenix, and his parents live less than a mile away from our home. Small world, indeed!
Last stop for the day (talk about tired feet). Another first – we had heard of Clear Creek Distillery. It was on the map and advertised grappa tastings. This was too good to be true. Lots of interesting fruit-based eau de vie, liquors and grappa. Another good memory to add to our journey. It was a really full day. Still warm, the city was unwinding from its bustle and we were ready to get back to the hotel. Tomorrow would bring another chapter of our adventures.