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BEERVANA

Portland is beer heaven for good beer lovers. The Spring Beer & Wine Festival took place this past weekend (April 8-9) at the Oregon Convention Center, indoors so no one got wet. The event featured 80 beers, most made by 40 West Coast breweries. Food was also available and there was a great seminar about artisan cheeses, as well as the Chefs Stage, where several renowned chefs gave short cooking seminars.

As I’ve said before, Portland is the greatest town in the U.S.A. for good beer lovers. No offense to Bud and Miller, but most Portlanders would much rather drink Blue Heron Ale, Terminator Stout or hundreds of other local brews. And, since Portland currently has an incredible number of microbreweries — per capita the most anywhere — it’s easy to find really excellent hand-crafted beers, ales, porters and stouts.

The Fulton House has a microbrewery within easy walking distance, within 5-1/2 short blocks. There are 28 microbreweries within City limits and numerous ones in the suburbs.

Also, don’t miss one of the premiere events for good beer lovers: Portland hosts a huge beerfest in Tom McCall Park every summer, where breweries from around the country and several from Canada and Europe feature their beers. Admission is cheap and so is a beer glass, if like me, you don’t like drinking beer out of plastic. I’ll post the dates and additional details as soon as I know them.

The Fulton House has a city bus stop half a block away, which will take you right there or a trolley and light rail hook-up which will get you close. That means you avoid the inevitable hassle and expense of parking and can really sample the beers without worrying about a DUI on the way home or having to flip to see which poor devil becomes the “designated driver” and can’t drink.

There are numerous other special functions throughout the year in Portland celebrating microbreweries and their offerings. Keep up on this blog or puchase the Friday Oregonian and check their “a & e section” for upcoming beerfests.

See you in Beervana!

PORTLAND ROSE FESTIVAL

Every year the biggest event in Portland is the Rose Festival, held at the end of May and throughout June. In 2007, the celebration will be bigger and better than ever, because this is the 100th year anniversary. Here are some of the highlights:

The Grand Floral Parade, scheduled on June 9, is recognized by the International Festival and Events Association and USA Today as one of the top five parades in the country. Thousands line the streets of Portland to watch the beautiful floats, marching bands and other special attractions go by.

On June 9, the Centennial Ball will be held. Attendees at this formal affair will be wined and dined in style at the Oregon Convention Center.

Other major events include a Centennial Motion Picture — “From One Rose” — which will trace the Rose Festival through the decades. There’s also a spectacular fireworks display, a Starlight Run, a Starlight Parade, a Junior Parade, the Annual Spring Rose Show, the Royal Rosarian Knighting Ceremony and Queen’s Garden Party, a Concert at the Park, the Portland Grand Prix car race, a world premiere presentation by the Oregon Ballet Theater, Dragon Boat races on the Willamette River, a tour of the City’s Historic Homes and Gardens and many other attractions.

In Tom McCall Waterfront Park, there’s be dozens of carnival rides, live music events, food booths and a beer garden. And don’t forget the Arrival of the Fleet, which moors right next to the Park and brings hundreds of Navy men and women to town.

As you can see, there’s something for everyone. Plan on visiting Portland for the Rose Festival Centennial. For more detailed information visit www.rosefestival.org

PORTLAND IS GREAT FUN!

There is a wealth of eclectic things to do in Portland.

For music lovers, dozens of big name artists and acts are coming here, appearing in venues like Edgefield Manor, The Amphitheater (just across the Columia River in Clark Co. WA), the Newmark Theater, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and the Crystal Ballroom, among many other spots.

Portland boasts numerous live theaters and many repertory and art film theaters. We offer a host of art, photography and historical museums, as well as the broadest array of galleries around. Performances of dance, classical music and readings are also featured year-round. Popular stand-up comedians come here every week.

Before the show, enjoy dinner at one of our City’s world-class restaurants, recently selected as the hottest “foodie” city in the U.S. French, Italian, Greek, Chinese, Mexican, Thai….you name it, Portland has got it.

If any of these activities, plus many more, appeal to you, here’s what we suggest: go to a large newspaper retailer in your city and purchase a copy of any Friday issue of “The Oregonian,” Portland’s largest newspaper, and then dig out the a&e (Arts & Entertainment) section. Check out the attractions and restaurants that appeal to you and plan a visit. A well-publicized event through May 6 is at the Portland Art Museum and is entitled: “Minimalism/Postminimalism; Selections.”

Also, don’t forget that NBA basketball is featured at the Rose Garden and several Las Vegas-style gambling casinos are within easy driving distance.

You can make your reservations at The Fulton House at any time on our website — www.thefultonhouse.com We’re located right in the city, just a few minutes from city center. Or walk a short block and take a bus or two short blocks and take the trolley.

MICROBREW HEAVEN

Portland, Oregon is generally considered the birthplace of the microbrewery. At one time, our city had the second greatest number of breweries per capita than anywhere else in the world, trailing only Munich, Germany. Our state has dozens of others scattered in all directions — the coast, southern, central and eastern Oregon, together with those in southwest Washington State.

Fortunately for our guests and their hosts, one microbrewery is located about six short blocks from The Fulton House, an easy walk when the weather is pleasant. This means that you can always have that second pint without worrying about driving or designating someone as official driver and limiting him or her to soft drinks or lemonade.

It’s called the Fulton Pub and serves about ten great ales, lagers, stouts and porters, as well as offering an extensive pub food menu. Although most of the patrons are there for their beer, the few who prefer hard liquor cocktails can also order them. At lunch and after work, the Pub is a gathering place for the neighborhood. It is also possible to bring your own container or buy one there and have it filled, so you can enjoy a terrific beer on our patio.

Note the name of the Pub: Fulton, the same as our bed and breakfast. We were originally a bordello located one block away in what is today Willamette Park; they were the Fulton Dairy, which served much of westside Portland with milk, butter and other dairy items. From milk to I.P.A., from house of ill repute to bed and breakfast….which is the greatest change?

Spring warmth is here and the weather will dry up very soon. Plan on staying with us at The Fulton House for a relaxing mid-week break or over a weekend. See you soon!

FULTON HOUSE GARDEN SPARKS COMMUNITY GARDEN

Gardening provides so much fun, relaxation and satisfaction to my wife Wendy and me that she decided to introduce gardening to students, teachers and administrators at the middle school where she teaches, as well as to the citizens of Canby, Oregon who have never indulged in this activity.

Wendy has created a community garden on her school’s campus, which is large enough to provide several thousand square feet for would-be gardeners. Since, at the beginning of this endeavor, expenses can run high, Wendy has written several grant proposals, two of which have already been received. She has involved many of the departments at school in the project; for example, wood shop will build a tool shed and the math class will lay out the individual plots.

Students are excited. Everyone wants to begin growing their favorite vegetables or flowers. And the community is also very excited. Several months ago Canby residents formed a Committee and petitioned the City Council to provide enough public land to support a community garden. They were turned down because of an inadequate site.

Now citizens do have a centrally located site and dozens of people have expressed interest in starting their own garden. Local businesses have contributed expertise, tools and materials, adding to the enthusiasm. Many people are involved, and that is one of the things that makes a smaller suburb of Portland a very special place to live.

It is with a great deal of pride that Wendy can boast that something begun in the large backyard of The Fulton House has provided the impetus and blossomed into the fertile soil of a very large community garden about 15 miles away. Now, all everyone has to wait for is consistent Spring weather.

Then, let the planting begin at both sites.

ENJOYING PORTLAND LIVING

Here at The Fulton House we grow all our own herbs, including three types of basil (regular, licorice and lemon), oregano, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, parsley, mint, sorrel and dill. We also grow at least a half-dozen types of tomatoes and peppers (including some unusual heirloom types); Spanish, red and and white onions; both regular and elephant garlic; leeks; several types of beans (some served fresh and some shucked and dried); peas; red, white and Yukon Gold potatoes; and eggplants. We have two cherry trees (Bing and Queen Anne), a green gage plum tree, two fig trees, eating grapes and three currant bushes.

So much of the food we eat is as fresh as it gets.

Our backyard gardens are a joy to us, particularly when we sit in our large hot tub and enjoy a glass of good wine from our own 200-bottle cellar. We also enjoy watching our waterfall and 30-foot stream, which empties into our koi pond. On a pleasant Spring day or Summer evening, it’s good to get away from the ubiquitous television set or stop pounding on our computer long enough to just kick back and relax.

Since we also built our own brick barbecue a number of years ago, we’ve been known to throw some chicken or salmon and kebabed vegetables on the grill over some charcoal and hickory chips for the ultimate in tasty and healthful dinners. Our guests often use the grill instead of relying strictly on restaurant dinners. There’s a grocery store within very easy walking distance where you can buy good beef, pork, fish or poultry and vegetables and fresh bread to your liking.

If this sounds like the way you might want to spend an evening or two, consider staying at The Fulton House for several days. And, since we’re very close to downtown Portland with excellent public transportation (buses a block away, and in the warmer months a trolley two blocks from us), you won’t be limited to enjoying the outdoors in our fenced yard.

You’ll be near a city with many exciting features, shops galore and absolutely no sales tax, as well as a romantic evening.

PEACEFUL PEACE MARCHES, PLEASE

I’ve never understood the reasoning behind marching for peace and then becoming violent. On Sunday, March 18, millions of Americans peacefully demonstrated against the war in Iraq. And, when the speeches were over and the marching was done, millions of Americans folded up their protest signs and headed home, having made their point well-heard.

Not everyone went home in Portland, Oregon, however. It took pepper spray and several arrests to clear the streets of some very few of the marchers. Why? The march drew heavy media coverage before, during and after, and I’m certain every Oregonian knew that several thousand people opposed the Iraq war so much that they left their homes to demonstrate.

A very small minority – very small! – opted to resort to civil disobedience and not clear the streets, defying the very police who vigilantly stood guard during their protest to protect that most American of rights: the right to object openly and freely against government leaders and their policies. This displaced passion did not at all help their cause. In fact, I believe it hurt; many Oregonians who perhaps were undecided in their opinions about the Iraq war, now linked the thousands of peaceful marchers with the unruly few. Who knows how many of them made up their minds based on the civil disobedience of these few.

It’s been 50 years since the authorities in Selma, Alabama used dogs and water cannons to disperse crowds of peaceful marchers. These actions instantly mobilized millions upon millions of Americans to support the civil rights movement. The actions of a few made up their minds based on the shameful events of this infamous day.

Why can’t all Americans recognize that you gain nothing through unlawful civil disobedience and violence? To act violently is to further the cause of those against whom you most disagree.

Cooking Lesson: English Muffins

Is there a better light breakfast than an English muffin with strawberry preserves and a cup of good coffee? I don’t think so.

Try this recipe for the best English muffins you’ve ever tasted. These are the ones we serve at The Fulton House.

Ingredients (Makes about 2 dozen)

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105-115 deg.)
1-2/3 cups milk, scalded
3 T Take Control (Butter Substitute)
1T sugar
1-1/2 t salt
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
Flour
Take Control (Butter Substitute)
Cornmeal

1. In large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand 5-minutes. In separate bowl, combine milk, Take Control, sugar and salt; cool to lukewarm. Stir milk mixture into dissolved yeast.

2. Gradually stir in flours to make moderately stiff dough (not stiff enough to knead). Beat 2-minutes. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1-hour.

3. Turn dough on to well-floured work area; lightly roll about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 3-inch rounds with floured cutter or glass. Cover and let rise on floured surface for
30-minutes.

4. Heat griddle or non-stick fry pan, grease with Take Control and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. Transfer muffins to griddle without crowding. Bake over medium heat 10-12 minutes; turn and bake 15-20 minutes on second side. Repeat with remainder of muffins.

That’s all there is to it. Remember to always split muffins with a fork. Toast and serve with preserves. Extra muffins may be frozen.

Good eatin’!

WHY “THE FULTON HOUSE”?


During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there used to be a town on the Willamette River, upstream from downtown Portland by less than a mile, named Fulton. The main road between Portland proper and Fulton was Macadam Avenue, which, as anyone from the East Coast knows, is the name for blacktop. Macadam Ave. was so named because it was the first all-weather road in the greater Portland area. Why? It’s simple enough: all the gambling houses and bordellos were located right on the river in Fulton, and the road was built to give easy access to Portland businessmen and politicians regardless of weather conditions.

Several of the old Fulton landmarks remain. Beautiful Willamette Park replaced the former men-only attractions in the area. The Fulton Post Office building still exists, although it no longer handles any mail. There’s a Fulton Park. The local pub stands on the site of the old Fulton Dairy. And our Bed & Breakfast, the Fulton House, welcomes guests.

The Fulton House is particularly interesting. It originally floated on the Willamette and was a bordello. Around the turn of the century, it was lifted and loaded onto logs and dragged up the hill one block west to its present location, to serve as a rooming house on a site owned by the local tanner.

We started researching the house’s history shortly after we bought the Fulton House because of one peculiarity — every bedroom on the second floor had a wash basin. Now, knowing its original function, the proximity of sink to customer is understandable.

Fulton House is an East Coast House. It is vertical in design not horizontal, a Cape Cod-style structure. It has a number of features rarely seen in the Northwest. For example, there’s a “sun room” on the main floor, a place where sunshine pours in on nice days. We grow herbs there now. There’s also a “widow’s walk” on a fenced, flat part of the roof, where by invitation guests can sit and enjoy the views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, the Willamette River and downtown Portland. It got its name because two centuries ago many of the men folk on the East Coast, primarily in coastal towns in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, made their living as crewmen on whaling ships. When these ships were due back in port, wives would look out to sea from the highest point of their homes, the walks on the roofs, waiting and praying for their husbands’ safe return. Since whaling was an extremely dangerous profession, many men never returned and their wives became widows. Hence the name.

Several other old homes are in the immediate neighborhood of the Fulton House. Unfortunately, many have already been torn down and townhouses have been built in their place. We have no intention of subjecting the Fulton House to this indignity.

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