I’m writing from Seattle on Sunday night, having finally come to the end of a long, hectic weekend of theater-related travel and adventures.
On Thursday I flew to Portland, Oregon, where my traveling companion and I picked up a rental car, headed for Hayden Island, and there took up residence on a yacht. That makes our accommodations sound a bit fancier than they really were: the Grand Ronde Place, the yacht-and-breakfast where I spent my two nights in Portland, is a thirty-four-foot sailboat whose interior is comparable in size to a motor home. The “stateroom,” not surprisingly, was a bit on the snug side, but I’d always wanted to sleep on a boat, the owner-host was wonderfully considerate, and all in all we couldn’t have been happier. Should you find yourself in Portland and feel like staying somewhere out of the ordinary, I recommend the Grand Ronde Place very enthusiastically.
On Friday morning we drove south to the Gordon House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building in the Pacific Northwest that’s open to the public. Designed in 1957 and built seven years later, it’s a two-story Usonian house that came within weeks of being torn down when a Philistine with too much money bought the lot on which it stood and decided that he’d prefer living in a McMansion. Thanks to a last-minute rescue effort by the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy, the house was dismantled in 2000 and moved twenty-four miles to the Oregon Garden, where it can now be viewed by interested visitors. We spent an hour and a half touring the house and grounds, and–as always–I came away wishing I could live in so perfectly conceived and executed a building. In the evening we saw Portland Center Stage’s production of West Side Story, performed in the company’s brand-new Gerding Theater, a 599-seat proscenium-stage house located in what used to be the Portland Armory.
At noon on Saturday we took the Amtrak Cascades to Seattle, an afternoon-long train trip through Oregon and Washington that left us with just enough time to dine on crabcakes at the Dahlia Lounge. Sunday, by contrast, was a triple-header: brunch with Mr. Rifftides, a matin