What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Activities That Take Advantage of Daylight Savings

Posted on: March 4th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
    Warm spring light trickles through the leaves of the Tree-2-Tree Adventure Park after daylight saving time.

Warm spring light trickles through the leaves of the Tree-2-Tree Adventure Park after daylight saving time.

Are you ready to spring forward? Daylight saving time is—especially at first—a double edge sword. Waking up in the dark hours is a bit rough at first, but the payoff comes in late pink sunsets that inspire evening walks, firing up the grill, or kick-starting a weekend getaway. All this talk of daylight saving time has got us thinking about the power of light in general, as well as all of the ways to (unconventionally) enjoy it.

Tree-to-Tree Adventure Park
2975 SW Nelson Road, Gaston | March 15 to November | Pricing varies
Romantic daredevils can sign up for the swoon-worthy  Zip, Sip and Savor Tours. The evening includes a zip adventure, wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, and a surprise gift. The real prize is feeling the warm, fading light on your skin as it trickles through the high-in-the-sky leaves. Get dates and reserve your spot today by calling 503-357-0109.

For even more zippity fun, take a look at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour.

Glowing Greens Mini-Golf
3855 SW Murray Boulevard, Beaverton | $10 for 18 holes
Even though daylight saving is in full effect, we still have many a rainy day ahead. Luckily we can still revel in the phosphorescent with the brand new Glowing Greens black light indoor miniature golf course. The alien invasion themed course includes the likes of Larry the alien. Strike the ball through his neon pink manicure!

Pendulum Aerial Arts Presents Reinvention
French American International School | April 24-25 | $15-$20
The dancers of Pendulum Aerial Arts play with the balance between darkness and light in this captivating performance. The narrative showcases the power of “entering into the light” and embracing the many colors of the human spirit.

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Theater in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: March 2nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Among Tualatin Valley locals, “break a leg” is a common catch phrase due to the seemingly constant onslaught of opening night musicals, plays, concerts and reviews. From light-hearted fun to tear-jerker performances, we’re highlighting some shows that we’re especially excited to see.

The Six Gentlepersons of Verona
March 5-22 | The Venetian Theatre | $20 to $36
Bag&Baggage Productions live up to its tagline: Real. Provocative. Theatre. The re-imagined production of Shakespeare’s first comedy is performed by an all-female cast…except for the one lone male canine. The pug-mix brings silly charm and “puppy love” into the theater. (More about Bag&Baggage Productions)

The Spitfire Grill
March 6-15 | Theatre in the Grove | $12 to $14
Chefs and foodies will fall for this sweet musical. As a restaurant owner prepares to pass the reins to her small town’s only eatery, she decides to gift her business to whoever writes the best essay on why they want the Spitfire Grill. What would you write? (More about Theatre in the Grove)

69th Annual All-Northwest Barbershop Ballad Contest
March 20-21 | Forest Grove High School | $20 to $22
The harmonicas are setting the tone and sharply dressed A Capella groups are warming their pipes for this annual competition. This year’s headlining troupe, “Tone Deaf,” promises to defy its name with sweet and fun melodies.

April 16-May 24 | Broadway Rose New Stage | $20 to $42
Oh, we know you know the word. As one of the world’s most popular musicals, Broadway Rose will infuse new magic into these show tune standards. Are you a Sandy or a Rizzo? Either way, get ready to hum along. (More about Broadway Rose)

The Full Monty
April 17-May 3 | Theatre in the Grove | $12 to $14
This one is for mature audiences only as the pop-rock musical pushes boundaries to the edge with a wink and a nudge. Though the jokes may be racy, this musical has a strongly beating heart. (More about Theatre in the Grove)

When visiting the Tualatin Valley, get the inside scoop on the area from Bag&Baggage’s Artistic Director, Scott Palmer. Plus, find even more theater events here.

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Spring Green Things to Do in March

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

Run around the pristine greens of the Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club for the Luckython Run.

Run around the pristine greens of the Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club for the Luckython Run.

Bud break may be weeks away on our vineyard vines, but Mother Earth is preparing for her next season. Little pops of green are emerging from the soil, promising a lush month ahead. Beyond growing iris’ and trees ready to regenerate leaves, you’ll be seeing green all throughout the Tualatin Valley in a myriad of ways—both in and out of nature. Look ahead for ways to get your green fix in the coming weeks.

Emeralds at the Gem Show
Emerald jewels sparkles brightly at the Gem Faire (March 10-12 at the Washington County Fair Complex; $7). As an annual spot for world-renowned jewelers and gemologists, scour for the perfect green beauty. In addition to emeralds, find other green gems like andradites, aquamarines and tourmalines. Jewelry makers, you can find jade and sea-green crystals for your next masterpiece, as well.

Run like a Leprechaun
The mascot of all things green—and St. Patrick’s Day!—is the lucky leprechaun. Enter, the Luckython 5k, 10k, 15k (March 14 at the Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club; registration varies). Don your chartreuse threads for an invigorating run around the greens of this gorgeous golf course.

Celebrate Green, Pagan-Style
At the dawn of the spring equinox, take a moment to revel in all the green that nature graces via the Sister Spirit’s 2015 Pagan Faire (March 21, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Washington County Fair Complex). Braid a flower chain and take part in ancient, beautiful traditions.

Reptile Rage
For lizard greens, amble over to the Pacific NW Reptile & Exotic Animal Expo (March 28-29 at the Washington County Fair Complex; $8-$14). Even if you’re not in the market for a scale-y pet, come take a look at exotic reptiles on display, ranging from shy turtles to ever-changing chameleons.

reptile museum 4

See green everywhere at the Pacific NW Reptile & Exotic Animal Expo.

If you’re spring outlook is about so much more than just green, then add even more color to your itinerary with the Rang Barse Holi Festival of Colors (March 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Washington County Fair Complex; $10-$25).

Bring on the green!

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Nature Passport: Tualatin River

Posted on: February 25th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

tualatin river

Splish-splash, I was takin’ a…paddle! The Tualatin Valley’s landscape wouldn’t be complete without the water habitats of wetlands and rivers. Order a free copy of our Nature Passport—a complete guide of wildlife and outdoor attractions in the area—for information on the best river access points and the creatures you’ll encounter there.

The Tualatin River is a calming, yet driving force running throughout the length of the Tualatin Valley. The water trail is home to all sorts of local animals, including Great Blue Heron and Green Heron and Ospreys. It’s no wonder that these fish-eating birds hangout by the riverbed as so many cutthroat trout and steelhead swim under the river’s soft current.

Before modern roads were paved throughout the region, the Tualatin River use to carry steamboats full of local crops. While you won’t find a steamboat chugging along the river today, kayaks and canoes are a welcomed sight. In the summer months, the Tualatin Riverkeepers provide boat rentals out of Cook Park.  Through winter and spring, you can stop along the river’s picnic points for a peaceful lunch date. Share your picnic outing via the Winter Wonder Instagram Photo Contest!

For those planning ahead, pencil in these fantastic annual Tualatin River Events:

Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle
May 16 | Bridge Boat Launch | 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. | free to $50

Tualatin River Discovery Day Paddle
June 27 | Tualatin Community Park | 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | free to $30

A MidSummer Night Paddle
July 18 | Tualatin Community Park | 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. | $10 to $50

Fall Colors Paddle
October 3 | Browns Ferry Park | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. | $10 to $50

Tualatin River’s Cook Park Entry Point
Location: 17005 SW 92nd Ave, Tigard, OR 97224
Phone: (503) 218-2580
Trail Hours: open year-round
Riverkeeper hours: July-September, Friday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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

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

Watch Basketball and Shop for Tax-Free Deals During March Madness

Posted on: February 23rd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
There are plenty of shopping options in Washington County to ensure you get what you need to send your kids to school in style.

Let your favorite college basketball teams score the best shots, while you score the best deals with tax-free shopping.

Come March, who will you be rooting for in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament? If you’re lucky enough to be cheering on your team from inside Portland’s Moda Center during the second and third rounds of the championships, then make sure to create some good team juju by having a great time during all of your stay to the greater Portland region. With MVP-worthy lodging options, you can be a short drive from both the basketball events and tax-free shopping.

Book a room at the Embassy Suites Portland-Washington Square. Here, you’ll maximize your game-watching, shopping and leisure time with a shopping-themed hotel package. For getting to the Moda Center, the hotel’s nearby MAX Light Rail station is ready to take you straight to the action. And when you’re not watching slam dunks, this Embassy Suites is located beside the Washington Square shopping center, which is home to Oregon’s largest Nordstrom store. Of course, you can always pick up more game-day gear at the expansive Dick’s Sporting Goods. For those who have enough wearables, think big with a visit to the Washington Square Tesla showroom. Yes—it is as cool as it sounds.

Book a shopping package at the Grand Hotel at Bridgeport, which is one of the Tualatin Valley’s newest luxury hotels with modern room and suite designs. Between games, unwind at Bridgeport Village’s European-style shopping and leisure spot. The huge Anthropologie and Saks Off 5th stores are a shopper’s dream—except we promise that tax-free shopping really is the reality here!

The brand new Embassy Suites Portland-Hillsboro is a true stunner. The sleek, yet welcoming two-room suites are perfect for buddies traveling together for the game, especially with the free Wi-Fi and large flat screens for post-game stats. Nearby, The Streets of Tanasbourne offers stellar deals on top brands, including REI and Banana Republic.

P.S. Get even more ideas of activities to do while visiting Oregon for March Madness games!

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Dog-Friendly Places in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
ghost and wine glass

Ghost, Plum Hill Winery & Vineyard’s dog, takes a sniff of wine!

What do you love most about your pet? It’s Love Your Pet Day—and one of the best ways to make your pet tail-wagging happy is by taking him or her on vacation to the Tualatin Valley. Oh yes, your dog will relish all the new smells and spots that are perfect for a mid-day frolic!

Dog-Friendly Hotels
Think beyond camping when it comes to taking your pet on vacation. Why not?—there are affordable and plush hotel options waiting for you here. Book a room at one of our pet friendly hotels.

Dog-Friendly Nature Spots
Get ready for an epic game of fetch at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. Open year-round from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, an off-leash dog park provides the perfect romping grounds for pooches of all sizes and breeds. Set atop a steep-sloped hill, your dog can run up-and-down-up-and-down to his or her heart’s delight.

If an on-leash nature walk is more your style, take your four-legged friend on a stroll through the Fanno Creek Trail. Afterward, the nearby Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub has a dog-friendly patio where your pooch can relax and you can unwind with a brew or two.

Dog-Friendly Vineyards
While there won’t be any Pinot in the doggy bowl, many of the tasting rooms in the northern Willamette Valley are either pet friendly or have dogs of their own. If you’re planning to bring your dog wine tasting, then please call ahead to check each winery’s pet policy. If you’re traveling sans pup, but need your dog fix while visiting, then come give some pats to Ghost at Plum Hill Winery and Vineyard.

Looking ahead into the summer, look out for the dog-friendly, bi-weekly concerts at Oak Knoll Winery, as well as August’s Canines Uncorked event with thirteen wineries waiting with wine for you and treats for the furry companions.

We know that, truly, every day is Love Your Pet Day and the dog-lovers of the Tualatin Valley are ready to help you celebrate.

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Lunar New Year in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley

Posted on: February 18th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Meet some goats at Heart 2 Heart Farm in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year's zodiac sign.

Meet some goats at Heart 2 Heart Farm in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year’s zodiac sign.

As the Tualatin Valley is one of Oregon’s most culturally diverse regions, we cannot help but jump into the coming Lunar New Year festivities. Look below for some ways to celebrate the Year of the Sheep!

Lion Dance
To fully embrace and welcome the Year of the Sheep, take part in the Lunar New Year Lion Dance at Uwajimaya (February 22, noon to 3 p.m.). The beloved spot for all foods and goods from Asia partakes in the Lunar New Year with a traditional Chinese Lion Dance—it’s a joyous affair! While you’re there, pick up some red envelopes and delicious, imported candy to give to loved ones for good luck in the New Year. The red envelope is especially important this year as Chinese culture often regards a Year of the Sheep as one that promises prosperity.

New Year’s Meal
A traditional Lunar New Year meal is either fish or dumplings. A quick drive from Uwajimaya, some of Oregon’s best dumplings await. Du Kuh Bee specializes in both Chinese and Korean homemade dumplings. Get a taste of the pork and chive goodness waiting inside the perfectly cooked dumpling dough. The pan-fried fish offers a nice balance and variety of texture to your New Year dining experience.

Meet Some Sheep!
As it is the Year of the Sheep—which also includes goats and rams—why not visit the farms of the Tualatin Valley and meet some furry friends? After all, the Year of the Sheep is often considered the zodiac sign that is nature’s special child with its gentle blooms and winds.

At Heart 2 Heart Farm, a gaggle of cute goats are eager to meet new friends. This sustainably-minded farm and homestead includes four goats—all of different breeds. So, come say hello to Poppy, Princess, Hoppy and Nibbles.

Whatever you do for the Lunar New Year, we wish you a happy and prosperous Year of the Sheep, that includes a trip or two to the Tualatin Valley!


Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Uwajimaya.

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Uwajimaya.

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Founding Fathers Food Tour

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route would remind President Washington of Mt. Vernon!

The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route is as beautiful as Mt. Vernon!

Did you know that George Washington was a foodie? During his presidency, Washington hosted an official dinner at 4 p.m. sharp every other Thursday, often inviting legislators of all different regions and stances. In spite of his wooden dentures, the president and his wife would serve lavish courses, accompanied by good wine and beer. In honor of President’s Day, we’ve put together a Tualatin Valley food tour with America’s founding fathers in mind.

Soup Starter
Turns out, the first president was a peanut lover! A common course at his Thursday dinners was a savory peanut stew. So, we’re pretty sure good ol’ Washington would be delighted by the African peanut stew from the Native Foods Café at Bridgeport Village. This nutty stew includes one of Washington’s other favorite ingredients: sweet potatoes!

Fresh Fish Main Course
The showstopper dish on the presidential table was often roasted fish. If George Washington could magically travel in time to today’s Tualatin Valley, then he’d surely be a fan of the char-grilled pacific swordfish at Hall Street Grill. The accompanying butternut squash puree would remind Washington of the winter squashes grown at Mt. Vernon.

Cherry on Top
We all know the folktale of George Washington and the cherry tree. Well—no lying—there are amazing tastes of cherry all over the Tualatin Valley! Beaverton’s decarli restaurant often creatively works cherries into the menu with cherry compotes, house-candied cherries in its charcuterie or balsamic roasted cherries over a perfectly-cooked pork chop.

Washington’s diaries say that the president preferred port wine, which even stained his dentures. For a decadent treat, try A Blooming Hill Vineyard’s Pinot in a Port-style, VXX. The raised sugar with a Pinot Noir concentrate creates a smooth aperitif with yummy raisin flavor.

While George Washington himself can’t experience the delicious wonders of the Tualatin Valley, you certainly can! And while you’re at it, take a drive along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route!

Information about George Washington sourced from Smithsonian Magazine’s “Dining with George Washington.”

P.S. Play a President’s Day Two Truths & a Lie with us!

Plan Your Wedding in Oregon’s Wine Country

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

Valentine’s Day is a big deal, beyond just the roses and chocolate. Nearly a quarter of a million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day. Couples from near and far choose Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley as their place to say “I do.” And for good reason with gorgeous views, special venues, and all the accoutrement for the best day of your life.

Kick-off wedding planning with the Grand Lodge Wedding Open House (March 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free). Here, couples can envision their upcoming nuptials, from primping at the Ruby Spa, toasting at the Doctor’s Office Bar, and concocting signature cocktails options. For a glimpse into the magic: watch the video below:

McMenamins Grand Lodge Weddings from Candy Glass Productions on Vimeo.

Rustic Charm
We love the creative spirit of our brides, which shines through in their choice of venues: rustic beauty whimsically intertwines with modern style. Such is the case with historic downtown Sherwood’s Bella Via, as well as Hillsboro’s McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall. The 1850s roadhouse includes an octagonal barn that is darn right magical when laced with twinkle lights.

Au Natural
For a joyous, boho wedding day, look no further than Horning’s Hideout. Exchange vows by the lake, along a tree-lined creek, or on a large outdoor stage with room for 700 of your closest friends. With 24 hour rentals, guests can celebrate into the night and to camp under the stars.

Vineyard Views
With great Pinot, Oregon’s Washington County ensures some of the best wedding bars. Wineries like A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery host intimate wedding parties and rehearsal dinners.

The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club promises a picturesque black-tie affair. Lovebirds tie-the-knot on the wildflower-bordered patio. For the party, the clubhouse is like celebrating in an Oregon-style castle.

All in the Details
Nowadays, it seems like no wedding is complete without a photobooth, such as local vendor Cheesy Mugs, or an after-party food truck. Guests can chow down on the ever-popular bulgogi tacos of Koi Fusion PDX food truck. For a fun twist on Oregon wine, rent the Union Wine Company’s wine truck!

It was rustic all around at this celebration

A romantic, whimsical and outdoorsy wedding awaits, just minutes from Portland

Start planning your wedding! Get more resources on our Wedding Wonderland page–and figuring out room blocks for your guests with one of our stunning hotels!

And find more venues for your wedding, no matter your style: rustic charm, nature settings, golf courses, and vineyards and wineries.

March Madness in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
With the NCAA Basketball Championships coming to Portland, make time for beer, disc golf and other fun in the Tualatin Valley.

With the NCAA Basketball Championships coming to Portland, make time for beer, disc golf and more in the Tualatin Valley.

March Madness is coming to Oregon! It’s free throws, jump shots, and layups galore as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships hosts its second and third rounds at Portland’s Moda Center. Because you’ll be saving your pennies for good seats and all the foam fingers you can get your hands on, save money with affordable yet deluxe hotel options in Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley. Just 10 minutes from downtown Portland, your basketball weekend just got a whole lot more convenient, relaxed and affordable.

The Moda Center’s games are March 19 and March 21, which means March 20 is sitting pretty for a Tualatin Valley adventure. After waking up at one of our choice lodging options, explore a side of Oregon outside of the sports arena.

Beer Tour
The Brewery Hotel Deal from the Hilton Garden Inn of Portland/Beaverton can aid you in discovering Beervana. Upon check-in, you’ll receive a 22-ounce bottle of local brew and the option to a discounted registration for the Brewcycle’s PDXonFoot: Underbelly to Beerbelly Tour. This walking tour is accompanied by beer tastings, beer history (the best kind of history if you ask us) and a tour of the infamous Shanghai Tunnel!

Disc Golf
As the Basketball Championships have you watching superstar athletes at the top of their game, you may be inspired to work up a sweat yourself. Enter, disc golf at the McMenamins Grand Lodge. While disc golf and basketball differ in necessary agility, both do require hoops! We hear a pint of McMenamins’ Rubinator ale is a perfect pre-game ritual, ensuring a loose arm for all that Frisbee-throwing.

Food Nerd
The Tualatin Valley is the perfect grounds for those who are a triple threat: a sports nut, foodie and culture nerd all in one. Is this you? If yes, make March 20 all about the Geek-Chic Tour. Peruse sports memoirs at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, have the best Korean dumpling at Du Kuh Bee, and revel in digital-age artifacts at the VintageTek Museum. After a day of exploring your diverse interest, unwind and rest up for the last day of basketball shenanigans—getting a good night’s sleep at the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland-Beaverton.  

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