Exploring McMenamins Edgefield – Part 2

Where should we go next?

In my last post, I described the history of McMenamins Edgefield and some of the things we did after we arrived, to kill time until we were able to check in to our rooms. What follows are the things we did after we checked in, not counting the Michael Franti & Spearhead concert we went to that evening – which gets its own post.

McMenamins is committed to fluid. They make their own wine, whiskey, cider, and even coffee. They are most famous for their craft beers. Pedro selected a beer flight, and I chose a cider flight.
Coffee service near the front desk, to support my claim that McMenamins is also in the coffee business.

We continued our exploration of the grounds of McMenamins Edgefield and stopped in at multiple places to find refreshment when we needed it on this very warm day. The weather was so warm that we decided to forego a soak in the heated soaking pool (co-located with Ruby’s Spa). We did want to see it though, and walked over to that part of the campus.

A random sculpture near a parking lot.
The Tea House Bar, which serves all the cocktails you might want, but also has a large selection of teas.

We couldn’t see the pool, but we did find another little bar (naturally), and stopped in to ask about it. The bartender suggested that we go into the spa and ask if we could just look at the pool, even if we don’t want to soak in it. We followed that advice, and the spa people were great and gave us a key and sent us right on in.

The soaking pool is unexpectedly tropical, and I was delighted.
And it’s big! The more you keep walking, the more you see.
The tiny islands are designed for privacy, which I’m sure is greatly appreciated when the pool is full.
Curious sculptures seem reminiscent of jungle flowers.

After seeing the pool, I wanted even more to try a soak, but it was just too hot outside to follow through. As you can see by the photos, not many other people were in the mood for a hot soak either, except multiple kids and one mom. Pedro and I agreed we would come back here in the winter when a hot pool would be ideal.

One of the neatest tiny pubs at the Edgefield is Jerry’s Ice House, which had been closed when we passed it early in the day. When it opened up in the evening, we stopped there and asked for a pint and sat in a corner and admired the walls.

The interior of Jerry’s Ice House. Jerry, as you might have guessed from the photo on the right, refers to Jerry Garcia.

One of the McMenamin’s managers from the early days was Mark Whittlesey, and he is the Grateful Dead fan. If you visit any of the McMenamins, you can’t help but notice that there is so much memorabilia on the walls commemorating the Grateful Dead and the band’s lead singer and hero, Jerry Garcia. You will also hear the band’s music played much of the time. I’m not much of a fan, but I do find the obsession that people have with this band amusing.

A cozy scene above the woodstove in Jerry’s Ice House.
Farther inside Jerry’s Ice House.

Speaking of Jerry Garcia, I wanted to go find a bronze statue that I knew was in a forest somewhere on the property. We went in search, and it was quite the scavenger hunt to find it, since it’s hard to give directions for tourists who want to find a statue in a forest. It turned out to be in the woods surrounding the concert area. We began on the wrong side of the event area, over by the Little Red Shed.

Yet another of Edgefield’s tiny pubs. This one is called the Little Red Shed.

I tried a couple of times to get a photo without the man in it, but he told me he didn’t mind if he was in my photo. I told him, “Well, then, you’re going to be in my blog.” He replied, “If so, you’ll have to put that my name is Chris.” I introduced myself too, then asked what he was drinking. In the photo above, you see Chris enjoying a Hammerhead Ale in front of the Little Red Shed.

We did find the bronze Jerry Garcia sculpture and it is fascinating.

Joe Cotter’s “Garcia Bronze”

The sculpture stands over 7 feet tall and is not easy to find but once you find it, it’s not easy to disregard. There are faces and skulls and animals and objects embedded all around this sculpture. I hope that all of it is specifically relevant to Garcia, and things that true fans will appreciate.

We weren’t really hungry hungry at that point, but hungry enough to know that we would want food before the concert was over. We decided to compromise by sharing a gigantic salad at the Black Rabbit Restaurant in the main building. On the way, we continued to enjoy the little discoveries available to anyone who slows down to take a good look.

A hallway in the main building. I didn’t realize until I looked through my photographs later, that I had captured one of those special little discoveries I was talking about.
A funny face on a pipe joint. Pedro spotted one of these in our room too, but I forgot to take a photo of it.
We wondered why the police officer had bare feet.

We wandered over to the concert then, and had the loveliest time. I’ll tell you in my next post. But before I go, I’ll show you one more thing you can do at McMenamins facilities. You can get “passport” stamps. I love getting stamps. You can earn them by visiting different places, solving puzzles, participating in experiences. When you fill a page, you get a prize.

By the end of our visit, we had filled the Edgefield pages (two pages because it’s so big). Pedro had been eyeing these stuffed black rabbits from the moment we walked in, and he had wondered aloud if they were available as prizes. Sure enough, his hunch was right, and after I presented my completed passport pages, Pedro got a rabbit.

My filled passport pages.
Pedro’s black rabbit, with droopy whiskers. His name is Verbos Imperfectos, a nod to my Spanish studies and to his wonky eye (not pictured), which is sideways on his head. I suggested Pedro trade him for a bunny with a better eye, and he said he liked this one. 🙂

Our second day there, we went on FOUR tours, ha ha! So I’ll add a post just about Edgefield tours.

7 thoughts on “Exploring McMenamins Edgefield – Part 2

    1. Ha ha ha. Oh. Trust me. I know. I dated one of you Deadheads for six years. I went from hating the music to being able to tolerate it, so, that’s an improvement! 🙂 The Jerry sculpture is close to the parking lot right in front of the main building and would be a pretty quick stop if you want to swing by and take a look.

    1. You are welcome, Bonnie Rae! It’s a lot of fun, really. I also find that the people who stay at a McMenamins are laid back and friendly, like we’re all on vacation – which we sort of are. So the atmosphere is made even better by the people you interact with.

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