I would like to share with you a very special experience. The Portland Women's Forum group plans a tour each May to visit somewhere wonderful in the Columbia River Gorge. This time we visited the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist who live in the historic Jacobsen Manor near Bridal Veil, Oregon. I pass this hidden beauty each time I drive to Multnomah Falls. OK, are you ready to join me to visit the Sisters? Here is a peek of the villa as we drive the curving road up to the home.
We were welcomed at the door by Sister Rose and ushered into the living room where we each found a place to sit so the Mother Superior could tell us the history of the villa from the day it was built and the different owners over the year. She also told of how the place had been abandoned for many years and how serendipitous the circumstances of their finding and buying the property. They got it for $60K in 1974! The Mother Superior stood behind me as she spoke and rested her hands gently on my shoulders occasionally, I felt blessed.
While we listened to the Mother Superior, I enjoyed looking out the French doors to the blooming cherry trees and the red of the new Maple leaves while the fresh air wafted in from the open door. What a perfectly wonderful place this is.
Also neat was that some of us had our own historic stories to add to the Mother Superior's tales. After her talk with us and answering all our questions we then were welcome to look around the villa. There you see my sister Denise and her husband Steve on the left.
The next room is the chapel. It is a beautiful sunlit room facing their own waterfall, Coopey Falls. The trees have grown and you can't see the falls as well as in the past. There are live plants throughout the house and they especially thrive in this bright room.
This is a north facing window and as you can see the sky is bright blue and it was a warm day. Heavenly. :-)
On our self-guided tour I went directly to my favorite room, the solarium. When the Nuns began working on the house when they first bought it, the floor here was covered with layer after layer of old linoleum.. as they peeled it off they were amazed and delighted to find the original marble black and white tiles in perfect condition!
The dining room opens from the solarium. There are 9 Nuns living here, just right for the size of the table. The last time we visited we had caterers bring our lunch and we were blessed to be able to dine in this fabulous room. Each view out of all the windows is a delight of lush greenery.
Next up is the butler's pantry where the dishes are kept and a dishwasher resides.
The kitchen looked much different than the last time we were here. Apparently a group of business men had a meeting here and when the saw the dated appliances in the kitchen they organized a complete makeover at their own expense!! Now the counters are granite and the pink walls are peach! With all new stainless steel appliances! Wasn't that amazing?
Do you spy the waterfall from the kitchen window?
And then we all went out into the garden and most hiked up to get a closer view of Coopey Falls. This image is from the trail up looking back to the house. Dayle took my camera up and got some photos while I enjoyed the garden and the beautiful day.
There was a magnificent white Magnolia tree in bloom in the courtyard next to the chapel.
Ta-dah! Coopey Falls! Can you imagine living in an historic villa with 5 acres of lush gardens and forests with your own waterfall? To get the scale of the falls, there are two people in the image.. one is Steve, my sister's husband.
The creek rushing by the mossy logs. The nuns diverted some of the creek water to make a neat little rivulet that runs down into their garden.
Do you know what the name of these wildflowers are?
There was quite a mature red leaf maple in the courtyard garden, I only wish you could have seen how amazing the color was when the sunshine illuminated the new red leaves.
Just like a painting.. lovely.
This gorgeous Rhododendron was in full and perfect bloom next to the big wooden door on the villa off the circular driveway.
Ever the organizer.. I rallied everyone to gather on the front veranda for the group photo. This is the view from there.
Dayle walked down in the beautiful lawn to get a photo. Isn't this a great shot of the house?
He spied this magnificent Iris is bloom and snapped a shot for me. :-)
After looking at the close up on the shady veranda I suggested we gather for a 2nd photo in the sun of the side entrance door. That's better! I make sure that we have a group shot every year. Steve took these photos for us so Dayle could be in the photo. :-)
Dayle wanted a long shot with the villa in it so he took the camera and got this shot with the whole house and the pond and fountain. I love this shot!!
As we slowly wound our way down the driveway I snapped this shot of the Carriage House that belongs to the estate. Isn't it wonderful?
Next up? Lunch at Multnomah Falls! I reserved 4 tables in the Falls Room. The doors were open so I could hear the roar of the falls from our table and when I leaned back in my chair and I could see this image. Our lunch was delicious, we'd all worked up an appetite. They even surprised us with fresh baked apple crisp with a dollop of whipped cream on top. :-)
A very nice lunch, with 23 of us all enjoying ourselves, the group even sang happy birthday to me! And I found out that Mo, the State Parks woman who joined us on the tour, shared my birthday so we sang for both of us! :-) We then all headed out of the lodge, one last snap of the Great Hall.
I hope you enjoyed coming along with us. Have a wonderful weekend!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)