Friday, July 8, 2011

Picnicking at Maryhill Museum

“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name. It felt good to be out of the rain.” – America

Every time I drive through the high deserts of the Northwest, this song always seems to pop in to my head. On this day, it really felt good to be out of the rain, too. The sunshine was bright, the sky deep blue, and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen in the sky.

We crossed the Columbia on the toll bridge at Hood River, our next destination thus far being a complete mystery to all in the car but me. As soon as I took the right turn to Highway 14 on the Washington side of the river, it became pretty apparent where we were going.

My friend, Kerri: “Are we going to Maryhill?”

“Yes we are!”

The kids, almost in symphony from the back seat: “What is Maryhill? Is that where we are going for our picnic?”

“Yes we are.”

Maryhill Museum

After about a 45-minute drive along the river and past some gorgeous river landscapes, small towns, farms and wineries, we arrived at the Maryhill Museum of Art. The museum and grounds sit atop a cliff overlooking the Columbia. Originally built to be a mansion for Sam Hill, he was convinced by his friend, Queen Marie of Romania, to turn the building into an art museum instead.

Mt. Hood from the Museum Steps

Rose in the museum's garden.

The museum grounds make the perfect spot for a picnic: large picnic tables, lush green grass, plenty of shade trees and a million dollar view of the gorge and windmills on the surrounding hills. However, one must watch out for the peacocks. They are quite insistent on being fed and really don’t take no for an answer. This flock seemed particularly gentle, though peacocks do have a reputation for being a bit aggressive at times, one in particular sat and begged like a dog for another bite of food. 

Snacking peacock

When asked later, all three girls stated that the peacocks were the highlight of their day. They screamed when the peacocks chased them, but mere moments later would whisper to each other and then be back in their midst once again. They became particularly fond of one male in particular, and named him Aqua. Fortunately, I did not need to convince the girls that peacocks do not make good house pets, otherwise they would have tried smuggling one home in the car with us.

Aqua the begging peacock

Girls enjoying the picnic

The grounds of the museum also features an outdoor sculpture collection, one of which my youngest mistook for a piece of playground equipment. Well, maybe there was more than one. Luckily, the sculptures you are not supposed to touch are very clearly marked, but others are just begging to be touched.

She probably shouldn't be up there.

Lily sculpture

While the shade of the trees and the breeze was wonderful, it was still a hot day (NOT COMPLAINING) and almost 5:00 when the museum grounds close, and we were all in need of something ice cold to drink. We opted to cross the river to Biggs on the Oregon side for “provisions” and then continue towards home along I-84. 

The view down to Biggs.

The closer we got to home, the greener the scenery became and the cooler the air. We all agreed one last stop at Wahkeena Falls was in order. We ended our adventure in one of my favorite ways: sitting listening to the waterfall and cooling my feet in the creek.

It was a good day indeed!

Visiting Maryhill and the surrounding area:

Maryhill Winery

Maryhill Museum of Art

Stonehenge Memorial

Related Blog Post:

Where in the Sam Hill am I?

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos! Your style makes it so easy for me to imagine myself there and feel the cooling air on my face.