I have been very interested in seeing areas of the states that I have never been to; the Pacific Northwest is one of those spots. My favorite author, Donald Miller, is from Portland, OR and writes about the area often. I've been wanting to explore and see Washington and Oregon for a while now, so this week was an exciting one! It was a pretty tough week, though, because we were doing 7 shows in 7 days in 7 cities! Whew! We started in Moses Lake, WA, which was a small town. We were near a nice gym, though, and a bowling alley. Before the show we got a couple games in (both of which I won!) and the show went relatively smoothly with Jess performing the role of Leslie. Living up to its reputation, Washington was fairly rainy as we headed to Longview, WA. Longview was a cute little town and I headed in to explore in the town with Katie Reid and Jess Kaufman. After going into the BEAUTIFUL old theatre we were told to head to the Monticello Hotel to enjoy its history and the beauty of the old 1923 building! We got there and wandered around the dark wood-paneled lobby and found a lounge area that was serving food. While we waited for happy hour to begin for better deals, we were told to look around and take in the hotel, the decor, and the ghosts. Yup...ghosts. I asked a girl at the front desk who wasn't very helpful, except to say "You'll see," when I continued to inquire about the history and the ghosts. She gave us free reign to go around the hotel. I was a bit disappointed to explore most floors and the ballroom and everything, finding little more than creepy hallways with a slight resemblance to "The Shining." Ha! It was funny, but uneventful. That evening we grabbed coffee and helped out a stranger before having another smooth show!
Our next stop on this "upper left" tour of the USA was Salem, OR. We had heard great things about this cute town so we made sure to take the hotel shuttle in early for plenty of time to explore. Tavis and I began our day in a well-equipped gym before meeting up with everyone else in the cast. From there we took to the lovely sidewalks and tree-lined streets of Salem. This town had a really nice feeling to it. It was one of those places you just wanted to walk around, talk to folks, look in shops, etc. There was a very laid-back, nice feel to the community. We headed to the riverfront of the Columbian river where there was a great little park filled with people walking dogs, playing frisbee, and escorting children. There was also a historic carousel right at the riverfront! We all found our rides (somehow I ended up with Francis the Mule) and had a blast acting like kids again. The walk continued as the girls enjoyed boutiques, the guys bought local bread, and we all dug through some antiques! From there we went to dinner where we indulged in seafood before going to the theatre.
That night I was so privileged to perform at the Historic Elsinore Theatre. GOOGLE THIS PLACE! It was an old vaudeville theatre that is built in a very unique style. There were moments all throughout the night where I caught myself staring at this theatre. Between the intricate woodwork and beautiful columns and arches...we were a little overwhelmed. Great crowd and a fun little topper at the end of the night next door at an Oyster bar where we all took oyster shots! Ha ha! Glad that I am on tour with some brave stomachs!
The next city of the week was Astoria, OR, a town right on the little cutout peninsula of Oregon! We had all heard so many good things about Astoria that we were very excited to get there! Our hotel sat right under the dramatic Astoria Bridge and the water provided us with quite the picturesque day. This city is known for its beautify, considering it was the setting for many movies to be filmed such as "Goonies," "Kindergarten Cop," and "Free Willy"!!! I was thrilled to find the hotel had bikes we could use to ride around town and Kevin, Tavis and I quickly got under way exploring and riding along the waterfront. We headed toward the Goonies house and Kindergarten Cop school, but made pit stops along the way for coffee, views, etc. Recommended in Tavis's "1,000 Places to See in the USA Before you Die" book, we indulged in an over-the-top brunch at the Columbian Cafe. Everything was served in the tiny little find from cayenne jellies to crab omelets! The Liberty Theatre in Astoria is a beautiful space. An old movie house, it is uniquely designed and renovated. Our show BARELY fit in the space, but after some re-staging and finagling...we made it work!
A full company dinner was planned for a little after the show, so to check one last thing off our list in Astoria, I insisted that most of the cast follow me as I trek up to the famous Astoria Column, a monument that sits 600 ft. above sea level on a hill in town. I must say that Tavis, Kevin, Katie, and Kim were all such troopers. I CERTAINLY underestimated the length and intensity of the climb. For having just done a show and being fairly pooped, we walked SO FAR to reach that column. It was quite the little accomplishment, though, and we sure celebrated! Dinner at a restaurant called "Baked Alaska" right on the water was absolutely perfect. I can't remember the last time I was more stuffed with incredible food. Everything from fresh scallops to goat cheese salads and baked alaska for dessert!!! What a night to celebrate with the whole team!
We are having a great leg and I hope your 2011 started off with a bang! Let me know what you are up to these days!