The second day of my trip started off with new housemates, a couple staying in the room next door, deciding to take sequential showers that tied up the only bathroom for at least an hour. (sigh) Note to self: Next time I AirBnB, be sure the room has its own bathroom.
Finally made it out the door to breakfast at the Bread and Ink Cafe. Just look at that couple canoodling by the door like an ad for the restaurant. Too cute.
For breakfast, I got their Belgian Pearl Sugar Waffles. This is described on their website as "buttery and caramelized, served with seasonal fruit (cinnamon apples in my case), whipped cream, and our house cardamom syrup." One of the things I love so much about Oregon is that you don't have to be a foodie to appreciate the unique ways they find to mix foods. Cardamom syrup? Sign me up.
I took my first bite, and choirs started to sing. Now, in fairness, by the time I finished, I was pretty overstuffed, but if I had been traveling with anyone else, this would have been splendid to split for two.
Every time I walked to and from Hawthorne from my AirBnB, which was about three streets away, I intentionally walked a slightly different path, so that I could see all the lovely houses and yards. So beautiful and charming...it's too bad these houses cost about ten times as much as ours!
Buried back there somewhere in the below picture is my AirBnB. Note how wild people let their front yards grow, but remember the picture of me sitting on the porch last night...that's why you are able to feel so cozy and tucked away even sitting on your front porch.
Which I demonstrate again here, as I sat on the front porch again.
After breakfast, I debated how to spend my day. Originally, I was going to drive out to the gorge to see the waterfalls, but the 3 hours of driving on top of jet lag the day before, while worth it, had exhausted me, and the idea of another over an hour of driving didn't appeal to me, nor did the possibility, with recent wildfires, of seeing my beloved gorge damaged. Especially when the whole catalyst for this trip was a year of loss. Another loss on top of that was not what I had in mind.
So I decided to give the gorge more time to heal before I visited...by this point I already knew that I would have to come back again (and again, and again). I decided instead to go for a hike in Forest Park to the Witch's Castle, which was on my vacation bucket list.
As I drove over one of Portland's many bridges, all of a sudden I remembered that I had another place on my trip bucket list, and filed it away to remember. But when I arrived at the little parking lot for Forest Park, it was completely packed, with no parking for several streets around. I was flustered and disappointed, but the streets around me looked familiar, so I punched in the name of the store I had just remembered was on my bucket list. It was a couple of streets away, and there was a parking spot literally right in front of the store.
The store is New Renaissance bookstore, and it was the place as a teen that Jesse and I would visit in Portland and spend hours exploring and learning to expand our horizons with new beliefs and thoughts. So basically, the nostalgia was strong.
I walked in, and was immediately hit with a wave of memory. The store looked exactly as I remembered it from twenty years earlier.
I walked back to the corner of the store where their fantasy fiction can be found, and sat there, soaking in the memories and nostalgia.
And then I had a proud and emotional moment, when I saw that New Renaissance Bookstore, the place that greatly influenced my formative years, now carries the magazine for which I write and edit. I imagined some teen girl walking into this store and finding my magazine.
And I imagined telling the seventeen year old me that someday this bookstore would carry something I'd written.
I bought a few items you'll see in my trip haul, and even the bags for the store were exactly the same. It was the perfect dose of nostalgia I was hoping for.
I drove back to the AirBnB, and originally had planned to go to a nearby thrift store, but I ended up falling asleep for a nap. I woke up and got dressed for a special event: The exhibition opening of Found Things from Lost Lands at The Fernie Brae. I wanted to go all out, but I was limited by what I could pack, so I wore my peach vintage dress, a peach flower crown, and my splendid Fancy Fairy wing hair clips.
Along with a faerie necklace made by my friend Sarah.
On my way to the party, I passed by this house...the night before as I was walking back to the AirBnB, there was a guy on his porch here playing his harmonica. Love it.
I went to take a picture of this tree almost kissing the foundation of a house on the walk, and an indignant squirrel glared at me.
As soon as I walked in The Fernie Brae, Signe waved hello to me and came over for a giant hug. This event was a celebration of the debut of her incredible novel, The Lost Queen! Left to right, author Signe, myself, artist and proprietress Bryonie Arnold, and lovely and creative Sarah Froud.
Immediately the whirlwind began. I was so excited to meet so many kindred spirits. I can think of no other experience outside of Faeriecon where I could walk two feet and engage in a new conversation with a wonderful, creative, magical, and fey new friend.
Did I mention fey new friends? I didn't just mean the ones that were human-shaped....
Really, the best way to describe the event is probably the write-up I did for a Faerie Magazine newsletter the day after the event:
The fairies gathered, as they are wont to do, at the Fernie Brae in Portland, Oregon this past Sunday evening. But there was a special occasion afoot: a celebration of author (and fairy expert) Signe Pike's new book, The Lost Queen, a novel telling the story of Languoreth, a queen of sixth-century Scotland whose twin brother inspired the legends of Merlin.
In honor of this very special guest, store owner (and fellow fairy expert) Bryonie Arnold arranged for a gathering of a very magical sort, sending out a call for submissions to artists: create art based on the theme "Found Things from Lost Lands." The artists, and the fairies they brought to life, answered the call, and the result on Sunday late afternoon was a mingling of guests both natural and supernatural, as artists mingled with elves in pointy ears and flower crowns, leaning in closely to see the details of a myriad of creations, including intricate art by Virginia Lee, a mysterious painting by Iris Compiet, and two new sculptures by Toby Froud, newly returned home after over a year of working on the new Dark Crystal miniseries. "Finding What Was Lost," Toby's sculpture created especially for the event, features a goblin with sharp pointed teeth plunging a hand through the earth to reach for a mysterious coin buried among the roots. We are all reminded that not all lost things are meant to be found.
Another artwork that immediately drew the attention of author Signe Pike was a piece by doll and puppet maker Maeve Fianna Callahan (www.maevenafianna.com) entitled "Morwen," depicting a mysterious Leanan Sidhe with dark wet hair dripping into her eyes, and a tattered grey-blue gown with golden spirals on the bodice. The artist had not yet read the book when she began the process of creating the piece, but was engrossed in the reading of it as she completed the work. I stood next to Signe as she leaned closely to gaze in awe at the details of the piece. "The process of creating this book was a six year project. Something about this piece really touches me and speaks to that."
As I stood talking to one fascinating person after another (a slow flower movement floral artist, whose goal is zero impact arrangements. An artist and sculptor who worked with Toby Froud on The Dark Crystal, and made his start interning at Disney for the film Beauty and the Beast), I saw a spiky-haired pointy-eared boy fairy with a stick of incense tucked behind his ear lean in close to a furry creature curled up in a nest, a smiling being by the name of Quae the Collector, by artists Quinn & Bloom. "Yes, you're beautiful" the fairy boy whispered as he stroked the back of the small creature.
And so it is, and so it all was. A night where reality blends with fantasy, and creatures created by artists touched by Faerie are no less real than those of us admiring them.
This unseelie fey by Toby Froud immediately made me want to write a little story about him. Still need to do it!
I also loved this wee fellow by Toby, but I had the feeling he was meant to go home with someone else.
I got to meet my wonderful friend Cat Mallard, who also had a beautiful artwork in the show. We have been friends on Instagram and Facebook, and it was so marvelous to see her in person.
Cat and Bryonie
Here, we asked Cat's friend to take a photo of us having posed "candid conversation," and Toby accidentally walked in front of the camera so he could actually make real conversation with us. We added him to our posed shots...
...but it was hard to keep a straight face.
Signe signed books, and had wonderful conversations:
while people mingled and admired all the magical items at the Brae.
I nosed in on this conversation Bryonie was having, and she introduced me to her friend, Ben Adams, who had worked on the set in California for the new Dark Crystal miniseries.
...and has the shirt to prove it!
My friend Rhiannon also made it to the event! I was so happy to get to meet her in person too!
Bryonie was talking with a few guests about some of the runes, sigils, and symbols they tucked into the Fernie Brae as they were renovating it. I love these little touches.
Cat and her friend and I went to dinner after the event was over. On our way out, we noticed that Bryonie had set up a little autumn equinox ritual at the front of the store. On one side, you were to write something you wanted to release, and on the other side, something you want to call to you.
Pic by Bryonie:
We planned to walk down Hawthorne and eat at Harlow, a restaurant highly recommended. But apparently they close at 6 on Sundays (?!). I took a photo of their framed art of Nick Offerman through the window to send to Tom.
We ended up going to a Thai restaurant next door, where I had a very good Pad Thai (not wild about the tofu, but the rest was wonderful)
After dinner and much conversation, the ladies walked me to the side street where I walked back to my B&B alone by the light of the gorgeous, beautiful full moon.