What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway Turns One Year Old!

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

 

Happy 1st birthday to the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway!

Happy 1st birthday to the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway!

 

Happy birthday to the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway! We can’t believe the 10th designated scenic bikeway is already a year old. It seems like just yesterday that we were cutting the ribbon to celebrate the bikeway’s Inaugural Ride.

With a year of happy cyclists merrily pedaling the 50 mile route, it’s safe to say that the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway will be enjoyed for years and years to come. Intermediate and advanced cyclists journey through the quaint downtowns (with coffee pit stops aplenty) and friendly farms (with seasonal farm stands ready for mid-ride snacks). Cyclists of all skill levels can then together enjoy the 21-mile tail-end of the bikeway, the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, with its lush greenery and paved path.

In addition to everyday cyclists, there have been plenty of accolades coming in for the bikeway. Allison George of the Washington County Visitors Association received Travel Oregon’s Tourism Development Award for her dedicated work to launching the bikeway. Grant McOmie of Grant’s Getaways jumped in on the bikeway love, as well, in a feature segment. Plus, this video from Travel Oregon caught the bikeway—and some of its adoring riders—in action:

We could gush on and on, lovingly sharing turn-by-turn details of the bikeway…Oh wait! We already  have! Check out the blog’s Wheel Turn series for an in-depth look at all 50 miles of the bikeway, stretch by beautiful stretch:

Have you ridden the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway yet? When you do, be sure to share your experience (and some fun pictures) with us over on the bikeway’s Facebook page. Help us celebrate the bikeway’s first year and beyond.

P.S. Ready to cycle through even more of the Tualatin Valley? Sign up for the September 28 Harvest Century Bike Ride!

North WIllamette Harvest Trail

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Summer has been good to the Tualatin Valley, which means that fall—and the wine harvest that comes with it—is going to be even better. Yes, wine lovers, the vines are looking supremely good right now. Watch the video below with R. J. Lint of Plum Hill Vineyards to learn more:

Don’t just reap the rewards of the upcoming harvest. Be a part of it, too, at the North Willamette Harvest Trail Weekend (October 4 and October 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; $95 per person). The day-long and hands-on wine tour from the North Willamette Vintners Association connects wine lovers and wine makers for a day of winemaking during the vineyard’s prime.

Let’s detail your vine-and-wine day. First, hop on a bus and meet your tour guide, who will be a winemaker, winery president, tasting room manager or wine glass supplier. It’s sufficed to say that a total wine pro will be on hand to answer your toughest questions. Next, travel to three different wineries, where you’ll experience the following:

  • Walk the vineyard to learn about farming methods
  • Work the freshly-picked fruit on a crush pad
  • Follow the science of wine with a close-up look at the testing equipment
  • Be lead through each step of the winemaking process
  • Watch rebarreling and bottling demonstrations
  • Enjoy wine and food pairings at each stop

As a bonus, the tour also includes a visit to SakéOne, the leading brewer of craft saké in America. The Tualatin Valley makes great wine because of our soil and climate. Similarly, the Tualatin Valley makes great saké because the east slope of our coast range creates amazing water quality that’s needed for premium sake.

Reserve your spot on the North Willamette Harvest Trail now! Get your tickets here. After a day of wine tasting, make sure you have some place to unwind that night. Choose for our array of hotels. The Century Hotel even offers an Adventure in Wine Country Package, complete with two meals, wine and an artisan cheese plate.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Food on a Stick!

Posted on: September 10th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The turkey leg is perhaps the original food on-a-stick!

The turkey leg is perhaps the original food on-a-stick!

Portlandia’s “put a bird on it” highlights the Greater Portland region’s love of all things quirky. This fun sensibility translates into our food, too, where the motto isn’t “put a bird on it,” but rather “put it on a stick”!

Yup, that’s right. Food on a stick isn’t just for corndogs anymore. One of the best ways to enjoy the dwindling days of summer is to eat that portable, festival-approved snack on a stick. See below for our round up of on-a-stick culinary delights.

Medieval Food-on-a-Stick
We’re not sure how historically accurate it is, but the Oregon Renaissance Festival’s food court is brimming with on-a-stick options. Tear into that turkey leg (hey, a bone is a stick of sorts) or merrily chomp on one of the other fair-findings:  

  • Steak on a stake
  • Hickory smoked sausage on a stick
  • Boneless pork chop on a stick
  • Chicken on a stick
  • Macaroni and cheese on a stick
  • Chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick

Kebabs

The kebab is perhaps the ultimate food on a stick as it’s not only delicious, but steeped in rich, Mediterranean culinary tradition. Enter, the Gyro Mediterranean Grill. Don’t let the name fool you—this local favorite does more than a good gyro. Go for the kebab combo plate, which comes with one chicken, one lamb, and one kafta shish kebab, along with basmati rice and Greek salad.

Farmers Market DIY
When you have fresh ingredients, making a cute and delicious appetizer on-a-stick is easy, yet looks impressive. Simply head to our farms and markets to pick up the freshest of fresh ingredients. Use the link on the page to see what’s in season right now so that you can plan ahead. In the height of juicy tomato season, we can’t get enough of the classic Caprese salad. Simply load your wooden stick with alternating cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. For something a bit more unique, add these Beaverton Farmers Market finds to your next on-a-stick masterpiece: Sun Gold Farm apples, Briar Rose Creamery’s Chevarino Romano (firm aged goad cheese) and a drizzle of Winters Farms honey. Delicious!  

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Oregon International Air Show Itinerary

Posted on: September 8th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Late September promises a weekend of old planes, new crops and lots of fun in the Tualatin Valley

Late September promises a weekend of old planes, new crops and lots of fun in the Tualatin Valley

The weekend of September 20 will be hoppin’ in the Greater Portland region. The annual Feast Portland brings foodies together for a weekend celebration of Oregon bounty. But Oregon’s bounty extends beyond just food. Use our itinerary for a weekend that’s about food, where it comes from, the planes that fly over it and the culture that surrounds it. It’s easy (and affordable!) with six hotels offering a special promotion. Book a stay with one of the following hotels and get up to two free general admission tickets for BOTH Saturday and Sunday (valued at $20 each) to the Oregon International Air Show:

Friday, September 19
Roll into town and get your fireworks fix right from the start with the Frontier Night at The Oregon International Air Show (6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Hillsboro Airport; $5-$75). Catch an aerobatic show and one of the best fireworks shows in Oregon, serving as a perfect send-off to summer.

Saturday, September 20
Meet the farm community that makes eating locally possible in the first place at the Hillsboro Saturday Market (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Main Street, between 1st and 3rd Avenue). The market is a 30-year tradition of Oregon’s bounty, hosting more than 100 vendors throughout the year.

Now, shift to a festival that focuses on just one crop. Choose from the Annual Corn Roast – Celebrating Forest Grove (1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pacific University; free) or the Apple Harvest Festival (1-4 p.m. at the John Tigard House Museum; free). Both have specialty foods showcasing the season’s best produce.

Escape the city for the Tualatin Valley’s outdoors at the OMSI Star Party: Autumnal Equinox Celebration (7 p.m. at Stub Stewart State Park; free; weather permitting).  Use the collection of telescopes on hand to see Venus, Saturn and Mars.

Sunday, September 21
If you’re interested in historical foods—or just carnival food—then head to the last day of the Oregon Renaissance Festival (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Washington County Fair Complex; $7.95-$15.95) for jesters, jousts and, of course, a turkey leg or two.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Pear Sangria

Posted on: September 4th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Sip the season with our pear brandy sangria recipe.

Sip the season with our pear brandy sangria recipe. Photo: Melissa Hay

Here we are again. The early days of September hold that heartbreakingly beautiful crux between summer and fall. We’re not quite yet ready to say goodbye to the long summer evenings, but the promise of crisp fall afternoons makes us itch for the days ahead.

In salud to this very special time of year, we always whip up a batch or two of sangria. The chilled wine encourages sunny patio happy hours, while the fruit welcomes the first produce of the coming, chillier season.  Last year, we shared our recipe for season shift sangria. Try it along with the recipe below for pear sangria. The local fruit, wine and brandy concocts a refreshing, yet warming nod to September’s bounty in the Tualatin Valley.  

For the apples, peaches and pears in this recipe, gather the best of the best from our farms and markets. Find (and u-pick!) juicy fall fruit from these farms:

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
4 shots McMenamins Pear Brandy
(purchase at the McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse our McMenamins Grand Lodge)

1 lime, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
1 ripe green apple, cut into wedges with seeds removed
2 ripe pears
1.75 bottles of dry white wine
(especially good with David Hill Vineyard’s 2013 Estate Pinot Blanc)

Directions:
Combine sugar, McMenamins Pear Brandy, lime, lemon, peaches, apple and pears into a large pitcher.
Cover fruit mixture with the dry white wine. Stir.
Chill sangria for at least 2 hours. To bring out all the fruity goodness, let chill for up to 24 hours.
To serve, spoon fruits into glasses, then pour the infused wine over top of the fruit.
For an effervescent effect, top each glass of sangria with a splash of soda water (optional).

P.S. Continue savoring autumn in the Tualatin Valley by sharing your visit with others! Enter your nature photography in our Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest.

Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest is LIVE

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

It’s time to start snapping, shutterbugs! The Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest is now live! Head to the contest page for all the specific details and submission requirements. The gist of the contest is to take amazing outdoor photos of the Tualatin Valley now through November 30, share the photos in our Flickr group and potentially win one of these top-notch prizes:

Drool-worthy photography gear are the prizes for the photo contest.

Drool-worthy photography gear are the prizes for the photo contest.

1st Place:
Canon EOS 70D DSLR Camera, UV filter, camera bag, and Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer from The Shutterbug, plus onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $2,500)
2nd Place:
Binoculars from Leupold Optics and onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $555)
3rd Place:
$100 Visa Gift Card and onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $280)
Honorable Mention:
onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $180)

This fall, make the time to savor (and snap pictures of) the Tualatin Valley’s beauty. Book a room at one of our charming lodging options in order to get a good night’s rest and be near the action. The Century Hotel overlooks the serene Lake of the Commons. The McMehamins Grand Lodge hosts an impressive garden and is an easy drive to some of the area’s most beautiful nature spots. The Orenco Hotel is homey yet luxurious—and its MAX accessibility will help you travel around Oregon’s Washington County without the fuss of a car.

With sleeping arrangements covered, here are some tips and tools on how to best fill your daytime photo shoot hours.

Let the Nature Passport guide you to some of the Tualatin Valley’s best wildlife watching viewpoints, such as the Fernhill Wetlands.

Photo of Fernhill Wetlands by Mary Lane Anderson

Photo of Fernhill Wetlands by Mary Lane Anderson

Take an afternoon spin through the Vineyard & Valley Scenic Tour Route where winery views, romantic old barns and flourishing farms await.

Picture of Grossen Farm, along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, by Christopher Pokorny.

Picture of Grossen Farm, along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, by Christopher Pokorny.

With your photography gear safely packed onto your bicycle, pedal the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. The one-year-old bikeway loves to show off all of the colors of autumn.  

Clover field along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway captured by Melissa Hay.

Clover field along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway captured by Melissa Hay.

Share photos on social media with the #tualatinvalley hashtag. We’ll be sharing these tagged pictures throughout the season.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Ask a Local: Abbey Creek Vineyard & Winery’s Bertony Faustin

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Bertony Faustin of Abbey Creek Vineyard. You can even catch Bertony riding the winding backcountry wine roads of the Tualatin Valley on Sunday evenings in his 2000 Ninja ZX12r.  Bertony Faustin brings confidence, style and fun to the wine tasting experience at Abbey Creek Vineyard. Get his local tips!

Bertony Faustin brings confidence, style and fun to the wine tasting experience at Abbey Creek Vineyard. Get his local tips!

At Abbey Creek, what do you love most about interacting with visitors?
With both the novice and more seasoned wine drinker, my goal is to make you feel that you’ve taken a new bit of knowledge with you. Whether it’s educating with a level of humility as to not seem pretentious, or just enough swag and confidence to enhance your current wine knowledge, especially since no one knows Abbey Creek wine better than me.

What will visitors find happening in Northern Willamette vineyards and wineries during the fall?
Every fall the North Willamette Vintners Association hosts a Harvest Trail that allows guests to have a hands-on experience of the vineyard, winery and crush pad. 

What’s your favorite part of harvest season?
Being done with harvest season. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you get to barrel down and breathe from all the wonderful controlled chaos that just occurred.

What’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
I’d have to say Horning’s Hideout!

Describe a perfect day in the Tualatin Valley.
When I have guests in town, I love using them as a perfect excuse to visit neighboring vineyards and wineries.

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.
 
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
Go to the ABV Public House for the green chile burger

What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
One or many bottles of Abbey Creek wine, of course.

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Hmmm…There’s No place like home. Guess that was six :)

Other tips from locals:
Curiosities Vintage Mall’s Travis Diskin
Maggie Buns’ Maggie Pike
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland
SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan
Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway: Wheel Turn 7

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway cyclists enjoy a coffee break at Banks Bicycle Repair & Rental.

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway cyclists enjoy a coffee break at Banks Bicycle Repair & Rental.

When on a cycling adventure, what to you eat as a mid-ride pick-me –up? How about a spicy chai or hearty pancakes? As we’re back with our installment in the “Wheel Turn Series,” we’ll be discussing the best eateries along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. As a review, you can cycle backwards and read the previous Wheel Turn blog posts:

Riding against a backdrop of rural splendor, NW Mountainside Road transitions into NW Wilkesboro Road. Next, you’ll be compelled to turn right and pedal through the cute downtown of Banks.

If it’s a chilly morning, warm your bones at the Banks Trail Cafe. In Oregon, we take coffee seriously and this small-town hotspot is no exception. The Banks Trail Cafe serves up northwest made and Italian-inspired Caffe D’Arte coffee and Espresso. The chai latte is truly where the Banks Trail Cafe elevates the breakfast beverage. Each chai drink is hand crafted, which allows for customizations with honey or ginger. Beyond caffeinated cups, the café also offers delicious breakfast and lunch fare.

Just down the road is another amazing breakfast or lunch stop at the Banks Cafe. The little yellow café bakes, stews and grills traditional American favorites, ranging from pancakes to fried chicken to burgers. Banks Cafe is well-loved for its made-from-scratch soups that are packed with vegetables and herbs from the café’s own garden.

Before exiting Main Street and heading onto the last leg of the bikeway, say hello to the friendly folks at Banks Bicycle Repair & Rental. Whether you need a last-minute repair or simply a snack to take on the trail, this locally-owned bike shop is armed and ready to help. Located at the trailhead for the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, the shop’s employees can also offer expert tips for the ride ahead.

Stay tuned for our last installment of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway “Wheel Turn Series.” In the meantime, request a free bike map!

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

What is biodynamic wine?

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Reap the rewards of Cooper Mountain Vineyards biodynamic practices: great Oregon wine!

Reap the rewards of Cooper Mountain Vineyards biodynamic practices: great Oregon wine!

When you take that first sip of an amazing Pinot, does it feel as though the wine is speaking to you? That voice may come from the wine’s terroir. And that terroir may have come into full fruition via biodynamic winemaking. A biodynamic practice is akin to homeopathy within agriculture, embracing a holistic understanding of the agricultural process. We met up with Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards  to learn why biodynamic farming—which Cooper Mountain Vineyards embraces—makes for great wine with great terroir.

Cooper Mountain Vineyards lives by the philosophy that “wine is memory of land.”  This idea is further explained in John Nossiter’s book “Liquid Memory,” which states that good terroir is representative of a wine’s history, connection to place of a place and very essence. Drinking biodynamic wine is therefore one of the best ways to taste the Tualatin Valley.

Barbara explains that biodynamic winemaking allows Cooper Mountain Vineyards to craft authentic wines with minimalistic intervention while respecting the soils from which the wines originated. Allowing for a self-sustaining farming mechanism to evolve brings a vineyard’s grapes closer to terroir. Barbara says “the less manipulation, the more your terroir speaks.” And each terroir speaks differently. For instance, an older vineyard may be more grounded in its soil and grape-growing process, which subsequently will create more grounded wine. Expect earthy notes of mushrooms and minerals. On the other hand, a younger vineyard with different soil may speak a completely different terroir, filled with punchy bright notes of fruits and herbs. What matters is that biodynamic farming and winemaking allow for a wine’s terroir to speak authentically and purely.

The biodynamic process is gaining momentum in the wine world and Oregon’s Washington County holds a large component of Oregon’s biodynamic wine puzzle. Along with Cooper Mountain Vineyards, Montinore Estate is among Oregon’s largest producers of sustainable and biodynamic wines. For a day of earth-minded wine-tasting, plan a trip with our sustainable wine trail itinerary!

Next month, we’ll uncover some of the distinct vineyard personalities found in Oregon’s Wine Country that par lay into truly standout Oregon wine.

Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Stories from Old Scotch Church

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

One of the many happy wedding memories made at Old Scotch Church. Photo: Edmund Simmons

One of the many happy wedding memories made at Old Scotch Church. Photo: Edmund Simmons

 

Wedding bells are ringing and the birds of singing. That’s a rather accurate description of the Tualatin Valley in the summer and fall. Last month, we discussed the history of weddings at the historic Old Scotch Church. To our delight, lovebirds responded to the blog post with memories of their own weddings at the Old Scotch Church that we are thrilled to share with you.

Some dream about their weddings well before meeting a spouse. Such was the case with Cassandra Smit at age 14, who held a summer job picking strawberries at a farm across the street from the Old Scotch Church. One summer day, Cassanda caught a glimpse of newly-wed couple being whisked away in a snazzy limo. The romantic scene sealed the deal—Cassandra knew that one day she, too, would get married at the enchanting church.  

Flash forward, Cassandra and her husband have been married for 21 years! The minister was in the midst of a family emergency, but made time to officiate Cassandra and her husband’s ceremony at the Old Scotch Church because –telling the couple—he had never met a couple so much in love. We are enamored with stories like Cassandra’s, who continue adding beautiful memories to this slice of the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. The Oregon pioneers who founded the church would surely be touched.

Speaking of Oregon pioneers, the Old Scotch Church’s grounds include the Tualatin Plains Cemetery. Here, the famous pioneer Joseph Meek rests along with many of his comrades. Debbie Rogers shared memories of visiting the graves of her great great great grandparents, John and Jessie Johnston, in the northeast corner of the cemetery. While multi-generation Oregonians love visiting their forefathers, the cemetery is truly a must-see for all history buffs.

 

John and Jessie Johnston's graves in the Tualatin Plains Cemetery. Photo: Debbie Rogers

John and Jessie Johnston’s graves in the Tualatin Plains Cemetery. Photo: Debbie Rogers

 

Old Scotch Church
30685 NW Scotch Church Road
Hillsboro, OR 97124
Phone: (503) 648-9573
Email: office@oldscotchchurch.org
Website:
http://www.oldscotchchurch.org

Are you going to a wedding in Oregon’s Washington County? Share the fun times with us using the #tualatinvalley hashtag! And be sure to make use of our wedding guest itinerary, as well.