I get asked all the time where my favorite place to work has been. The other question I get asked most is if I like my job. Of course I do, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I have had a couple of places that I really enjoyed. I will preface that by saying that I have found something at every assignment that I have liked. Have I had any rough jobs? Certainly-none of us can escape that, but I do have the ability to see the good that is also there. I doubt I would be able to appreciate the small things if I had no bad ones to compare it to.
But, back to my favorite place. I would have to say that it is a tie between Oregon and Cleveland. I have worked in Oregon twice, about 2 years apart, and have come to find that Oregon is very much like my home state of Maine. Nothing can replace Maine, but Oregon does have much of the charm that my home state does. Maine and Oregon even share the name of a major city. A coin toss decided the fate for Oregon and I was able to see the very coin.
During my first assignment in Oregon, I was located in the Eastern side of the state, in a small town called Baker City. The nearest airport is Boise, Idaho and it is roughly a 2 hour drive northwest to Baker. One of the best things about BC is that is chock full of history, which is something I am very interested in. Growing up, I spent hours playing “The Oregon Trail” on our Apple IIe computer. I was fascinated by the trail and the lore associated with it. So, one of the first things I did after I got settled in BC was to go to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. The landscape was beautiful and when I discovered that I could actually STAND on the ruts that so many wagons passed over, I was ecstatic. My biggest connection to history is being able to see or touch something that someone in the past has influenced. It makes it far more real to me.
Also as part of my Oregon Trail experience, I drove the 5 hours up to Portland along the Columbia River Gorge. I combined old history and new by seeing The Dalles, but also driving along the historic highway where the largest concentration of waterfalls in the U.S. is located. Multnomah Falls is one of the biggest and most famous. I have seen it in several movies and commercials. My affinity is for water, and I admit, I prefer it to be the ocean, but waterfalls are definitely second on that list.
Back in Baker City, there is a hotel called the Geiser Grand Hotel. It is the oldest in the city; opening in 1889 and certainly has its’ fair share of history and ghost stories. It has gone through many transformations over the years. Some of its’ most notable features are a stained glass ceiling that you can look at from the dining room and it had the third elevator that was built west of the Mississippi. It is a beautiful hotel and I spent many Fridays having dinner in their bar. I decided to even spend a night there, despite having an apartment about a mile and a half away. I chose the room with the “most activity.” It’s a gorgeous room that is part of the distinctive clock tower section. The view is beyond words of the Elkhorn Mountain Range. I can’t say that I had any experiences other than a comfortable night of rest in a nest of down, but I still enjoyed the experience.