What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Nature Passport: Washington County Museum

Posted on: July 31st, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Washington County Museum Silicon Forest Exhibit

The “Silicon Forest” Exhibit at the Washington County Museum.

Flipping through the pages of the Tualatin Valley’s Nature Passport, a complimentary guide to the Tualatin Valley’s 727 square miles of nature spots, you’ll notice page after page of outdoor delights (ahem, order a free Nature Passport now!). Turn to the last page and what will you find? An indoor museum. Consider the Washington County Museum as your ticket to an air-conditioned exploration of Oregon, its history and—yes—even its nature.

The Washington County Museum is committed to celebrating not only art and culture, but the people tied to each in Oregon’s rich landscape. Continually on display, find photography and fine arts that showcase nature (most recently, the Fanno Creek Trail) and the Kalapuya Native American community in the Tualatin Valley.

Veering away from the actual verdant forest of the Tualatin Valley, we’re also aptly called Silicon Forest with Intel, Tektronix and other technological innovators calling the area home. The museum explores the high-tech powerhouses of the region with hands-on exhibits that forays not only into our past and present, but also our future.

Other standing exhibits include “Washington County Goes to War” and “Americans All: The Bracero Program in Washington County,” which pay homage to those who supported the US—on the home front in the Tualatin Valley and abroad—during the first two World Wars.

If you’re visiting on the first Tuesday of the month, then be sure to make the Washington County Museum your first stop during Hillsboro’s monthly First Tuesday Art Walk. The museum is the perfect starting point for your perusal of tons of art, music and more.

Washington County Museum    
Location: 120 E. Main Street, Hillsboro, OR 97123
Phone: (503) 645-5353
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $6 for adults and $4 for youth (3-18), seniors (60+), college students and veterans/military with ID.

In the past year, we’ve covered every entry in our Nature Passport—it’s been a blast! Please look through our archive and get inspired for the next time you’re ready to get back in touch with Mother Nature.

Past Nature Passport Blog Posts:
Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Cook Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Fernhill Wetlands
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Loop
L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Magness Memorial Tree Farm
Rood Bridge Park
Tillamook State Forest
Tualatin Hills Nature Park and Interpretive Center
Tualatin River
Tualatin River National Wildlife RefugeRice Northwest Museum of Rocks and MineralsTualatin Heritage Center

Order your Nature Passport and share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram. Tag your photos with the #tualatinvalley.

Tualatin Valley All-Outdoor Trip Idea

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Forest Grove Uncorked

Forest Grove Uncorked presents dozens of local foods, wines and brews.

Sometimes, we’ll be looking ahead into our events calendar and see a grouping of events that would make for one perfect, unforgettable weekend. Then, of course, we just have to share the itinerary we concoct with you. As you may have guessed by now, such an occurrence has entered our radar for the weekend of August 14-16. Tack on a few days to your Portland trip and explore the Tualatin Valley. Itinerary below:

Friday, August 14
“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.” Live by these words from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew while watching the play at Ponzi Vineyards with the Willamette Shakespeare production company. As the show is free of charge, you can unwind with an extra glass of wine during the outdoor performance. Show begins at 7 p.m.

After the show, catch some zzz’s at a cush nearby hotel.

Saturday, August 15
We’re rolling into prime cycling weather in the Tualatin Valley via the Beaverton Banks & Beyond Bicycle Tour. Novice to advanced cyclists can sojourn the farmlands and trails in a 32, 64, 85 or 100 mile ride. Register now!

Unwind in a casual atmosphere with Forest Grove Uncorked, which features dozens of local wineries, craft breweries and restaurants on the Main Street drag. Admission is $10 and nominal tasting fees may apply.

Sunday, August 16
Choose between two great outdoor events. On the mellow side, there is the Tualatin River Family Paddle Day where one enjoys the gentle lapping sounds against a canoe or kayak on a peaceful stretch of the Tualatin River.

For a more rev-your-engines kind of day, there is the Banks Bar-B-Que and Truck & Tractor Pull that includes the happy hum of big vehicles and a jubilant parade.

What an accomplished weekend! Theater? Check! Fitness? Check? Amazing Oregon wine? Double check! Bonus points for every activity being outside, soaking up the Tualatin Valley’s rays of sunshine.

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

Five Reasons to Go to the Washington County Fair

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Every year, the Washington County Fair doesn’t just pass through the Portland great region. Instead, the fair comes, downright dominates summer fun during its short run and then everyone patiently awaits its return next year. Well, the time has come! The annual Washington County Fair returns to the Washington County Fair Complex in Hillsboro July 30 to August 2, promising a weekend of carnival rides, live music and entertainment, food and more. You simply cannot find this kind of quintessential summertime fun in Portland, but luckily the fair is a quick drive from downtown Portland.


Washingon County Fair

Blue-Ribbon livestock at the Washington County Fair.


Five of our favorite reasons to make it out to the fair this weekend:

1. Affordable Fun Near Portland

Admission to the Washington County Fair is absolutely free. While rides and games are pay-to-play, the unlimited ride wristband lets you ride as many rides as you want for $25 (buy yours here).

2. Carnival Food on a Stick

Diets be gone! Fair day is also on-a-stick day with hand-dipped hot dogs on a stick, funnel cake stick, pork chop on a stick, deep friend bacon on a stick, mac-and-cheese on a stick and Hawaiian pizza on a stick.

3. The Classics: Blue Ribbons and Red-Hot Rides

What’s a county fair without some good, old-fashioned competition? Classic livestock and home economic competition from best dairy cows to the tastiest pies.

4. Best Flea Market in Portland Area

Find unique shopping with this vintage market produced by The Funky Junk Sisters, who have been voted as one of the top 25 flea markets in America by Romantic Homes Magazine.

5. Flo Rida Concert

Chart-topping raps from artist Flo Rida add some modern edge to this year’s Washington County Fair! Gates open at 6 p.m. for the show and admission for this performance is a steal at $25 (tickets here).

Honestly, the reasons to go to this year’s Washington County Fair reaches far, far beyond a measly five—we’re just skimming the surface here. Heck, each carnival game and ride deserves its own ode to joy! Take a ride on the ferris wheel so you can look over your own county fair kingdom!

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Canines Uncorked: Vineyard Fun for Dogs and Humans Alike

Posted on: July 24th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Canines UncorkedWhen people talk about the “dog days of summer,” we like to think that they are referring to Canines Uncorked, the annual event of northern Willamette Valley wineries welcoming pups and their owners for a day of tail-wagging fun. The dog-friendly vibe doesn’t stop there either; be sure to book a room at one of the Tualatin Valley’s dog-friendly hotels.

Happening August 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Canines Uncorked is sponsored by the North Willamette Vintners and Unleashed by Petco, benefiting the Oregon Humane Society. A $40 ticket provides a “License to Taste” passport for tastings and dog activities at each participating winery. Bonus: the passport is good through the month of August, so you can still enjoy tastings at each participating winery for weeks—that’s a great deal!

If you don’t have a dog yet, but possess a bad case of dog fever, then Canines Uncorked is a perfect cure, too, with lots of pooches for petting…and adopting if you happen to fall in love (and how could you not?). A few years ago, David Hill Vineyard & Winery’s tasting room manager, Michele Carpenter, found herself going from working the Canines Uncorked event to finding a new canine family member. Guests at her tasting room kept talking about an adorable rat terrier mix up for adoption at Apolloni Vineyards. Well, one thing led to another and Michele and her husband were taking the little rascal, named Memphis, home the next day.

Each wine destination offers not only a leisurely wine tasting, but also a unique doggy-and-me activity, ranging from massages to photo-ops. This year, David Hill Vineyards will be going with a “Lickin’ Luau” theme that is complete with Hawaiian decorations and ice cream treats for four-legged friends.

Canines Uncorked Oregon Humane Society

Michele Carpenter’s pup, Memphis, that was adopted during Canines Uncorked!

Start planning your dog-and-me getaway! Here is a list of wineries participating in Canines Uncorked:
A Blooming Hill Vineyard
Apolloni Vineyards
Ardiri Winery and Vineyard
Blizzard Wines
David Hill Vineyard and Winery
Dion Vineyard
Elk Cove Vineyards
Helvetia Vineyards
Kramer Vineyards
Montinore Estate
Oak Knoll Winery
Plum Hill Vineyards
Provincial Vineyards
Willamette Valley Vineyards at Tualatin Estate

Looking forward to saying hello—and woof!—soon. Buy advance tickets to Canines Uncorked.

Oregon Brewers Festival Trip Idea

Posted on: July 22nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Beer lovers flock to Portland’s Oregon Brewers Festival every year, which just so happens to be this week. The festival touts 90 different craft beers from around the country, as well as 15 beers from New Zealand and The Netherlands in the International Tent. All in all, the festival is a mecca of sorts for hops lovers.

Oregon Brewers Festival

Make time for some Tualatin Valley brewery visits during the Oregon Brewers Festival weekend.

Of course, Tualatin Valley’s ever-growing community of brewers takes part in the festival action. Because we grow hops, brew it, and enjoy the fruits of our labor better than anyone else, you’ll find three local breweries showcasing some of their more inventive varieties. See below for the skinny (or sudsy) on each:

Ambacht Brewing from Hillsboro will be tapping into its totally original Matzobraü Belgian dark wheat beer, which is made with leftover matzah from the Jewish holiday, Passover, for a kitschy and tasty drink.

Art Larrance’s Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub in the Raleigh Hills Neigborhood brews some of Cascade Brewing’s favorite varieties onsite. Stop by the brewery’s booth for a refreshing barrel-aged sour beer, Frite Gaulois. This brew really is a must-taste not only because of its deliciousness, but also because Art Larrance co-founded the Oregon Brewers Festival—he’s an Oregon brewing icon!

Vertigo Brewing won the coveted Tualatin Valley People’s Choice Award for favorite brewery, which will surely translate to the crowd at the Oregon Brewers Festival, as well. Try the brewery’s Lemongrass Wheat, which is a light American wheat ale with the perfect tang for a summer day.

While the Oregon Brewers Fest will give you the chance to try multiple beers from the Tualatin Valley in one-go, the real aficionados make time for brewery side trips—especially since our breweries are just a few minutes’ drive away the festival. Check out our Get Hoppy Itinerary for the weekend (or anytime, really!). Chat with microbrewers, relish in the cool vibes of intimate tasting rooms and taste some truly exception Oregon beer.

And the cherry-on-top (or maybe the foam-on-top) to your brewery weekend getaway? You can book the special Brewery Package at the Hilton Garden Inn- Portland/Beaverton, which includes free beer and a discount on a brewery walking tour.

Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Crawfish boils aren’t just for Louisiana. Nope—not for a long time! In fact, The Tualatin Crawfish Festival is celebrating its 65th year of crawfish-lovin’ fun from July 31 to August 2 at the Tualatin Commons. Whether this is your first crawfish festival or you’re a many-seasoned festival goer, this is an easy, unique and must-see weekend event. As the festival is just a short drive from Portland and has the lovely Century Hotel a stone’s throw away, your weekend getaway is as easy as it is convenient.

In addition to the traditional crawfish boil and crawfish eating contest, the festival celebrates more than crustaceans. Other favorite activities include the ridiculously cute “Atsa My Dawg” costume show, the “Corks and Kegs” area with local sips and brews, a Chef’s Mystery Box Cook-Off and an all new “Food Cart Friday.”

For go-getters and those who just want to work off all the food they’ve been eating at the festival, the Crawfish Crawl includes a 5k, 10k and half marathon option that run through Tigard, Tualatin and Durham. Every participant will receive an InCRAWdible Medal and t-shirt.

Tualatin Crawfish Festival Details:
Admission to Friday’s events is free; $4 for adults on Saturday.  Hours: 6-10pm Friday, 10am-10:30pm Saturday, and 10am-6pm Sunday.

Of course, while you’re in the Tualatin Valley you’ll want to scope out other hot happenings in the area. In addition to The Tualatin Crawfish Festival, be sure to make time for these other fun events nearby:

Come take part in the longest-running crawfish festival west of the Mississippi!

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Drink Pink in the Northern Willamette Valley

Posted on: July 17th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Raptor Ridge's rose (photo : Allison George)

Raptor Ridge’s rose (photo : Allison George)

Say it with me now: “Yes Way Rosé!”

Rosé wines are having a major moment in the Tualatin Valley. Hop in the car for an impromptu wine country weekend—it’s time to see the summer through rose-tinted glasses (and we do mean wine glasses).  Next time you’re visiting Portland, make sure to add a few days to your itinerary to try the outstanding rosé varieties at these wineries (all participating in Drink Pink):

Apolloni Vineyards
The 2014 Apolloni Rosé packs happy punches of strawberry and rhubarb. Your nose will pick up scents of honeysuckle and dried flowers.   

David Hill Vineyard & Winery
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé includes fruity aromas, including a hint of watermelon.

Elk Cove Vineyards
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé is hand-harvested from both old and young vines in the Willamette Valley that are from higher elevation vineyards on their own rootstock. The result is full flavor with lower alcohol.

Montinore Estate
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé holds a tight structure that allows for a dry, yet fruity sip of black cherry and red grapefruit notes.

Patton Valley Vineyard
The 2014 Patton Valley Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir adds citrus fun to its mix of flavors, finishing with a cream soda likeness that is downright tantalizing.

Ponzi Vineyards Winery
The Cin Cin Brut Rosé sells out quick every year as its méthode champenoise is rather irresistible. If you miss the Cin Cin, then there’s always other amazing rosé options on hand to try.

So much rosé, too little time. Make rosé your weekend agenda by booking a room at the Embassy Suites-Hillsboro or as one of our many other fantastic lodging options in the area.

Bluegrass Rules at the Northwest String Summit

Posted on: July 15th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

The tradition of bluegrass music got its start in the Carolinas and other southern states. So how did one of the country’s premiere bluegrass music festivals make its way out to Oregon in the Tualatin Valley? While there’s no definitive answer for that question, it’s clear that our pioneering spirit is a perfect match for the soulful tunes of the 14th Annual Northwest String Summit at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains. Coming this weekend, it’s not too late to get tickets to the event and plan a truly unique getaway filled with Americana music, the great outdoors and an overall electric energy.

Below, we’ve shared five tips for making the most of the Annual Northwest String Summit!

1. Camp at Horning’s Hideout for a full experience
With multiple days of live music, stay close to the action by camping on the grounds! All camping is first come, first served—so arrive early!
2. Play Disc Golf
The ridiculously lush Horning’s Hideout is more than just a music venue as it is also the grounds for one of the state’s most beautiful and fun disc golf courses!
3. Stay Hydrated
Dancing in the summer heat can sure build up a thirst! Partake in tasty beverages from Ninkasi Brewing, Brew Dr. Kombucha, 2 Towns Ciderhouse and Marley Coffee. Even Klean Kanteen is a sponsor, promoting good ol’ H2O.
4. Treat the Summit Like a Treasured Eco-System
For the past 14 years, the Northwest String Summit has created an amazing synergy between stunning nature, melodic music and a welcoming community of bluegrass music lovers from all over the country. Treat this trifecta with the respect it deserves: keep the nature green and clean, cheer on your favorite bands and practice kindness with fellow festival-goers.
5. Embrace the benefits of nature, music and community
The beloved Yonder Mountain String Band will play three nights of the festival, in part because of their deep appreciation for Horning’s Hideout. Ben Kaufmann of the band has said, “I get a sense of peace here that is healing to the soul.”

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

Heroes of the Tualatin Valley: Blue Angels & Robin Hood

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

How do you plan a weekend of heroic proportions? In the Tualatin Valley—this coming weekend especially!—it’s easy to vanguard a valorous itinerary simply by meeting characters who are distinguished by their courage, brave actions and noble hearts. We’d have to say the visiting Blue Angels, as well as the more fantastical Robin Hood and the Knights of the Round Table, fit that bill.

As the United States Navy’s flight demonstration squad, the Blue Angels team has long been an emblem of in-the-sky bravery with jaw-dropping flying aerobatics. Lucky for visitors, the Blue Angels will be headlining the Intel Oregon International Air Show at the Hillsboro Airport. Amidst this team of heroes, we’re extra excited to cheer on the Blue Angels’ first ever female pilot, Captain Kitty Hayes, flying a C-130 Hercules (even the plane’s name is heroic!).


See the Blue Angels perform at the Intel Oregon International Air Show.

See the Blue Angels perform at the Intel Oregon International Air Show.

Harking back to days of old school chivalry and courage, take part in Old Town Sherwood’s epic transformation into a picturesque Renaissance village for its annual Sherwood Robin Hood Festival. Take part in the merriment of live music and local vendors while Robin Hood causes a joyful raucous amongst the crowd. Plus, don’t miss the knighting ceremony.

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival

Everyone can be a hero at the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival.

If you like to enter the Marvel universe to get your hero fix, then take in the latest flick from the franchise at the super plush Cinetopia Progress Ridge 14, followed by comic book scouring at the beloved comic book store, Things from Another World in Beaverton.

So go ahead and plan a weekend getaway to the Tualatin Valley. Just a quick drive from Portland, you’ll be your family’s own hero for planning such a carefree summertime adventure.   

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

International Celebrations this Summer in Beaverton

Posted on: July 10th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Local flavor can—in actuality—mean having quite a bit of exotic flavor. That is certainly the case here in the Tualatin Valley, where many different cultures and histories come together to tell the story of Oregon. With vibrant Hispanic and Asian communities in Beaverton (just minutes from Portland!), we are thrilled to celebrate the beauty of diversity with festivals throughout the summer months. See below for more information. 


Ten Tiny Dances in Beaverton

Ten Tiny Dances in Beaverton (picture: Gordon Wilson)


Natsu Matsuri Summer Festival at Uwajimaya

Uwajimaya | July 18 | free
The beloved Asian supermarket hosts a family-friendly Japanese festival, filled with fantastic food and entertainment from Japanese singers.

Beaverton International Celebration

Howard M. Terpenning Complex | July 25 | free
Celebrate the music, dance, art and other expressions of the diverse cultures that thrive—in harmony—in Beaverton. This year, the festival will feature cultural exhibitors, sports exhibitions and stage performances.

Polynesian Festival at Uwajimaya

Uwajimaya | August 15-16 | free
Mahalo! Get a taste of Polynesian life with island song, dance, and food. Find even more Hawaiian fun at the Hawaiian Dance from Music in Small Spaces (August 8).

Beaverton Night Market

Beaverton Round | September 12 | free
Taking cues from the night markets found in other countries, the Beaverton Night Market celebrates the city’s many cultures with an evening of delicious food, entertainment and crafts from all over the world.

In addition to festivals, cultural experiences live year-round in the Tualatin Valley, starting at our authentic Mexican and Asian food spots.

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