What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

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.

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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.

End of Summer Events

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

We’re in the home stretch of summer, with just over a month until the Autumnal Equinox. We plan to soak up every last drop of summer sunshine and shenanigans. See below for the best of the best of the Tualatin Valley’s end-of-summer events.

Bask in the fading glow of summer, made easy with a Labor Day wine tasting at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Bask in the fading glow of summer, made easy with a Labor Day wine tasting at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Oregon Renaissance Festival
August 23-September 21, weekends | 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Washington County Fair Complex | $7.95-$15.95
Encounter a magical 16th century European village of knights, fairies and more. Bonus: learn medieval lingo!

WinCo Foods Portland Open
August 20-24 | varying times | Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course | $15
Don’t miss your chance to see the next Bubba Watson or Keegan Bradley battle for one of 25 PGA Tour Cards.

Wapato Showdown
August 23 | all day | Brown Park | free
Car enthusiasts show off their tricked-out cars and motorcycles with fun contests to boot.  

Labor Day Tasting at Quailhurst Vineyard Estate
August 30 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Quailhurst Vineyard Estate | $10-$20
Watch Quailhurst Vineyard Estate’s beautiful horses while sipping the winery’s fine Pinot.

Labor Day Wine & Art Show
August 30-September 1 | noon to 6 p.m. | Plum Hill Vineyard | No cover charge
Celebrate the long weekend with wine from Plum Hill Vineyards and great local artists.

Summer Festival at Garden Vineyards
September 11-14 | noon to 10 p.m. | Garden Vineyards | free
Live music, wine, and delicious food…Garden Vineyards does the end of summer right.

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day
September 13 | all day | McMenamins Grand Lodge | free
The McMenamins Grand Lodge can’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day. Enter, an Irish-themed party now

Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival
September 20 | 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Valley Art Gallery | free
Release the artist within! Create a colorful sidewalk masterpiece in historic downtown Forest Grove.

Annual Corn Roast
September 20 | 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Pacific University | no cover charge
Feast on fresh roasted corn as a tribute to the last of summer’s harvest.

OMSI Star Party: Autumnal Equinox Celebration
September 20 | 7 p.m. | Stub Stewart State Park | free
Welcome the new season with a star party. Experts will help you catch a glimpse of Venus, Saturn and Mars.

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

Nature Passport: Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve

Posted on: August 18th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Where has your summer led you? Or perhaps more pointedly, have you been using the Nature Passport to get yourself to outdoorsy hotspots in the Tualatin Valley? The Nature Passport is a handy—and free!—tool to use year-round. Bird and botany aficionados are using the Nature Passport to discover everything our parks and reserves have to offer, from its roots to what flies in its skies. Today, we’re flipping the page to the Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve page in the Nature Passport.

Open dawn to dusk, the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserver offers shows off its birds against vibrant sunrises and sunsets.

Open dawn to dusk, the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserver offers shows off its birds against vibrant sunrises and sunsets.

The Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve is more than 600 acres of natural bliss for birders, wildlife watchers, hikers and kids. The wetlands are fed by the Tualatin River floodplain. The preserve is marked by four miles of easy hiking trails via the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Loop.

So, what exactly are you going to experience while looping around the preserve? Majestic eagles, ribbit-happy frogs and the clove-like scent of the golden currants all create a symphony for the senses. Of course, what you see will change with the seasons. For a seasonally organized list of birds seen at the Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve, check out the Bird Checklist.

Curious kids and ever-learning adults should visit the preserve’s Education Center. See the first authentic bald eagles’ nest recovered from the wild on display and get the nitty-gritty details on the plants flourishing outside. It’s easy to see why the Wapato Native American tribe once was hunters-and-gathers from this fertile land.

Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve
Location: 2600 SW Hillsboro Highway, OR 97123
Phone: (503) 681-6206
Hours: Dawn to dusk; Education Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Past Nature Passport Blog Posts:
Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Cook Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Fernhill Wetlands

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

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

Get Thee to the Oregon Renaissance Festival

Posted on: August 14th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Even pirates can’t resist the Oregon Renaissance Festival!

Have you ever been to a Renaissance Festival? Nay, you say? Well then prithee, let’s get thee to Oregon’s Renaissance Festival!

Oregon’s Washington County excitedly welcomes the second annual Oregon Renaissance Festival, coming to Hillsboro August 16 to September 21, 2014 at the Washington County Fair Complex.

A visit to Oregon’s Washington County often transports visitors to a different world, but this festival will take young lads and fair maidens all the way back to a bustling 16th Century village. So, join the town-folk in some all-ages merriment. You can explore the pop-up Renaissance village as a traveler from the future or partake in the whimsy as a fellow Renaissance man or woman. As this isn’t your typical Middle Age village, there is an array of personas to choose from: royal parties, mischievous pirates, and fanciful fairies.  

Chances are you have a picture in your head of what a Renaissance Festival is like and—chances are—you’re right. You can imagine the woodworkers and fine jewelers and metal craftsman where you can shop for of-another-world goods. And you can satisfy your hunger for simpler times with a hearty turkey legs or bangers & mash. And of course there is the jousting match, the magicians, the teasing “wenches,” and a gaggle of performers ready to proclaim “God save the Queen.”

There will be tons to see at Oregon’s Renaissance Festival, but perhaps more importantly, there will be tons to do and say. So you fit into this blast from the past, we have some more lingo for you to use:

What be thy tide? – What’s your name?
Prithee, attend me! – Wait for me!
How stands the hour? – What time is it?
How now? – How are you?
Grammercy – Thank you
Hail and well met! – Nice to meet you

Festival Information:
Hours: August 16 to September 21 open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: Adults (ages 13 and up): $15.95; Children (ages 5-12): $7.95; Children under 4: free

So, go ahead and experience the festival whichever way is best for you. Just don’t miss out or you might call out the Middle Age curse, “Gods Thumb!”

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September Brings the Oregon International Air Show

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
It's a flying fleet feat at the Oregon International Air Show, coming this September.

It’s a flying fleet feat at the Oregon International Air Show, coming this September.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatic team proudly proclaims Sic Itur Ad Astra as its motto. The phrase is Latin for “reaching toward the stars,” which is exactly what they are going to do at the Oregon International Air Show (September 19-21 at the Hillsboro Airport; ticket prices vary).

Yes—for the first time in over 20 years—the Snowbirds will fly their nine shiny, red and white CT-114 Tutors into a breathtaking formations, dips, loops and carefully calculated maneuvers over the skies of Hillsboro. Just watching the show will give you an adrenaline rush!

With three days of dazzling aerobatic demonstrations from a variety of fleets, photographers flock to the Oregon International Air Show. To accommodate shutterbugs, the airshow is offering an exclusive photographers-only Photo Pit that allows show line access to those who want to snap the perfect shot. If photography is your thing, then make time for outdoor adventures post Air Show, as well.  Your nature photo could win you some seriously amazing photography equipment from the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest.

You won’t just see planes in the sky at the Oregon International Air Show, but one of the largest fireworks displays in Oregon, as well. We’re talking thousands of fireworks with a net explosive mass of one-and-a-half tons! The glittery spectacle takes a full week to set up, but it proves to be well worth it as us magpies stare in wide-eyed and jaws-dropped wonderment.

The Air Show includes lots of traditions like the fireworks, and this year there are starting a new one with the first annual Run on the Runway 5K (September 21; $45). The course weaves around the airport, through the taxiways and over the stretches where typically only planes go. So even if you’ll never fly a plane, you can still race on the same runway as one.

As if there weren’t enough reasons to plan a trip to the Air Show, there is even more to sweeten the deal. Six hotels are offering a book a night, get free tickets promotion. Book a stay with one of the following hotels and get up to two free general admission tickets (valued at $20 each) to the Air Show*:

We hope to see you at the Oregon International Air Show, “reaching toward the stars” all together.

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

Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest

Posted on: August 8th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Previous photo contest entries. Credits clockwise from top left: Christopher Pokorny, Joel Zak, Christopher Pokorny, John Gaudette.

Previous photo contest entries. Credits clockwise from top left: Christopher Pokorny, Joel Zak, Christopher Pokorny, John Gaudette.

Visit. See. Click. Share. Win.

Yup, that’s what you’ll need to do to take part in the “Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest.”

Visit
As the contest runs from Labor Day through Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll have ample time to take a photographer’s getaway to the Tualatin Valley. Stay in style at one of our plush hotels. Take advantage of the McMenamins Grand Lodge Adventure Package for its picture-worthy aerial tour at Tree-To-Tree Adventure Park.

See
Of course, you can’t take great photos without great views and subjects. Not a problem here. There are countless “Focus on Autumn” options. If you love wine, capture the fog rolling over the vineyard while wine tasting. If you’re a sucker for fall foliage, take a ride on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route to see burnt orange and rusty red leafage. And the migratory birds at our wetlands and nature parks are colorful models.

Click
With so much beautiful wildlife around, all that’s left to do is to play paparazzo and click away! The contest is open to all ages and to professional and amateur photographers alike. Take pictures that are meaningful and beautiful to your own eye.

Share
Between September 1, 2014 and November 30, 2014, any photos uploaded into the contest’s Flickr group will be considered an entry. Additionally, share photos on social media with the #tualatinvalley hashtag. We’ll be sharing these tagged pictures throughout the season.

Win
Your photo could win you some fabulous loot!

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 $475)
3rd Place:
$100 Visa Gift Card and onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $200)
Honorable Mention: 
onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8 Premium Edition software (total value $100)

We can’t wait to see how you capture the beauty of the Tualatin Valley.

For all the nitty-gritty details and submission requirements, visit the contest page.

What is the Tualatin Valley?

Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Oregon's Washington County is the Tualatin Valley (and we're proud of it!).

Oregon’s Washington County is the Tualatin Valley (and we’re proud of it!).

What is the Tualatin Valley?

Geographically speaking, the Tualatin River runs through the Tualatin Valley with the Tualatin Mountains creating a north and east border for the region. In fact, the Tualatin Mountains are part of the  Northern Oregon Coast Range, which create that tickle of cool Coastal Range air that visitors love while enjoying the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway  and Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. The Tualatin Valley is lucky enough to be a part of the Northern Willamette Valley and the northern part of the Chehalem Mountains, which makes for rich soil and diverse winemaking opportunities (which our winemakers fully embrace and celebrate). The Tualatin Valley encompasses the towns and cities of Aloha, Banks, Beaverton, Cornelius, Hillsboro, Sherwood, Tigard and Tualatin. Plainly put, the Tualatin Valley is Oregon’s Washington County.

Historically speaking, the Tualatin Valley is grounded by the Native Americans and Oregon Pioneers who first called this fertile land home. The regions namesake comes from the hunting-and-gathering Atfalati tribe of the Kalapuya Native Americans who lived in villages peppered throughout the valley.  The community is also known as Tualatin Native Americans. In the mid-19th Century, Oregon Pioneers came to the land and began calling it the “Twality Plains,” which had a similar mouth feel to the name of the Atfalati tribe. Over the years, Twality Plains has evolved into the name of the Tualatin Valley. Today, whether you hear the Twality Plains, Northern Willamette Valley or Oregon’s Washington County, know that all of these monikers are synonyms for the Tualatin Valley.

Poetically speaking, the Tualatin Valley is breathtaking greenery intersected by large stretches of vibrant farmland. It is the cool Coastal Range air creating soft, whispering breezes between the tombstones of Oregon Pioneers. It is the taste of juicy summer berries and the best Oregon Pinot wine. The Tualatin Valley is zip-lines through beautiful treetops and vineyard vines reaching their roots deep down into volcanic soil.

So, what is the Tualatin Valley? Quite simply, the Tualatin Valley is us. And we can’t wait to share the magic of all that is here with you.

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