About a forty five minute drive north of Portland, Oregon, is Forrest Grove. Settled in the 1840s, the town was platted in 1850, then incorporated in 1872, making it the first city in Washington County.

Near the juncture of routes 47 and 8, is an old Masonic lodge that was converted by the McMenamins company, into a hotel with cool music venues and restaurants.

What makes the place extra cool is the art. My friend Robby and I walked all over after having dinner there and it was quite a treat. The building is absolutely covered in interesting, creative art treasures. Every nook and cranny is filled with hidden and not so hidden fun finds.

Just one small example is a very small room you can only find by pushing on the walls of the hallway (seen above) until a secret panel opens to reveal a scene of fluorescent mushrooms and a tiny chair. (Seen at the top of this article)

So fun…

Another fun find that makes Forrest Grove a fine detour from the normal traveler’s fare is simply the best place to have breakfast in town.

Mary’s Kitchen is the place to go if want a truly old school local cafe experience… with a deep love of Elvis.

This is where all the farmers working the land surrounding this area have breakfast and it opens at 2:00 am! Yes, that’s what I said, Mary has a helper come in at about 9:00 but from the time she opens until then, she is the cook, waitress and cashier and please do NOT give her any of your lip! Heh… but do tip.

And tip well because the prices at Mary’s Kitchen are amazingly reasonable.

The food is pretty good too.

Stay tuned…