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The McMenamin brothers, who originally just brewed really good beer, have bought up several antique buildings over the years in the greater Portland area. A favorite of both visitors and locals is the Kennedy School, formerly an elementary school in the middle of NE Portland. The restaurant and bars serve great food, and you can watch movies and eat dinner on the cheap while lounging in overstuffed couches and chairs. The hotel rooms are all decorated McMenamins style with lots of artsy drawings. If you enjoy microbrews, McMenamins has their own specialties. If you’re a light beer fan and in for something different, try their "Ruby", made with real raspberries.
Another favorite McMenamins hotel/theatre/restaurant location is McMenamins Edgefield, just east of Portland in Troutdale. The huge grounds and building complex once housed a county poorhouse, but have been renovated over the years without losing the original antique, historical flavor. In the summer live music groups perform out in the garden area, and customers can sit around on the grass or at picnic tables, sip beer or wine, and listen to good local music. It’s also a lovely setting for family reunions, weddings, etc.
A very pleasant Portland area destination is Sauvie Island . The island consists of many private property farms and rural acreage. A little under half the island is a wildlife refuge managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. This is a prime hiking and fishing and birdwatching location. Over 150,000 migratory birds and geese visit each fall and spring. Cranes and swans as well as beavers and red foxes live on the island. Picnicking and hiking are wonderful ways to explore the island. The beaches are open to the public. There are two markets on the island where you can buy foods, you can also get your produce from the farms and there are pick your own flower farms as well.
Portland is distinguished as having both the largest city park in the country, and the smallest park in the world. Forest Park, located in the NW part of town, encompasses more than 5,000 acres - over seven times larger than NYC's Central Park - and boasts over 50 miles of trails. It is very popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and runners. By contrast, Mill Ends Park covers an area of just over three square feet. Located on SW Naito Parkway by SW Taylor street and was recently "remodeled" in 2007.