What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Weddings at Old Scotch Church

Posted on: July 25th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Visit the historic (and romantic) Old Scotch Church along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.

Visit the historic (and romantic) Old Scotch Church along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.


Here comes the bride! The most popular months to get married in the United States are June, September and October. So, it’s no surprise that the Tualatin Valley is filled with the sound of wedding bells all throughout the summer and fall. For an everlasting love, many love the idea of getting married in an everlasting place.

Cue, the Old Scotch Church. For over a century, lovebirds have chosen this spot along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route to say their “I-dos” for forever and more. The stunning piece of architecture is one of the oldest continuously-used churches in Oregon, dating all the way back to 1873. Back in the 19th Century, the church’s membership was predominately made up of settlers from Aberdeenshire, west of Aberdeen, Scotland. This makes sense as the lushness of the Tualatin Valley may have elicited a similar feeling to the settlers’ homeland. Today, the Tualatin Plains Cemetery on the church grounds serves as a final resting place for these original church members, including the famous pioneer Joseph Meek. But the spirit of the Oregon pioneers lives on at the Old Scotch Church as it is still used for Sunday services—and weddings, too!

After visiting the Old Scotch Church, enjoy some wine at Helvetia Winery.

After visiting the Old Scotch Church, enjoy some wine at Helvetia Winery.

While the church only holds wedding ceremonies for its members today, it’s a downright romantic spot to visit anytime—wedding or not. We’ve heard so many wonderful, joyous memories of decades-old marriages starting at the Old Scotch Church. That’s a lot of love and visitors feel it when stopping by for a scenic pit stop during a day of wine tasting along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. In fact, the church is a perfect resting spot between Tualatin Estate Vineyard and Helvetia Winery. A mix of wine, history and time with loved ones makes for an unforgettable getaway.

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

Did you get married at Old Scotch Church? If yes, then contact us! We’d love to feature your wedding day story on the blog.

Five Ideas for Dog-Friendly Fun

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Just minutes from Portland is a dog (and dog-lover!) paradise full of hound-happy activities.

Just minutes from Portland is a dog (and dog-lover!) paradise full of hound-happy activities.

The Tualatin Valley is a pooch’s paradise. Unpretentious wineries, unhurried restaurants, and laid-back summer festivals make for a plethora of dog-friendly frolics. We’re ready for a howlin’ good time. Check out five favorite activities for humans and canines alike.

1. Tualatin Crawfish Festival’s “Atsa My Dawg”
August 2 | 1:30 pm. To 3:30 p.m. |Tualatin Commons | $4
What makes your dog special? While crawfish are the center of this three-day festival, dogs will steal the show at Saturday’s “Atsa My Dawg Show” costume and talent competition.

2. Canines Uncorked
August 9 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. |various wineries | $40
If you’re over-the-moon about dogs and wine, then you’ll love this dog-friendly wine event with 100% of the proceeds going to the Oregon Humane Society. Each of the 13 locations includes dog-themed activities. Pooch portraits, anyone?

3. Toast to the Tunes
August 7 & August 21 | 6 p.m. To 9 p.m.
Oak Knoll Winery | $5

Oak Knoll Winery spices up summer with its bi-weekly concert series. Bring a picnic, blanket and dog! This kid and dog-friendly event is the perfect way to jump start the weekend.

4. Advanced Fetch at L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Year-round | 6 p.m. To 9 p.m. | L.L. “Stub” Stewart Park | free
The off-leash dog park at L.L. Stub Stewart State is set atop a steep-sloped hill. One round of fetch will tucker out any dog. See the dog park in action with this Grant’s Getaway segment.

5. Hike to Happy Hour
Year-round | dawn to dusk | Fanno Creek Trail | free
With dog-friendly patios near lovely hiking trails, turn the wagging-tail hour into happy hour. After a jaunt through the Fanno Creek Trail, walk to the nearby Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub or Fireside Grill for some tasty nibbles and drinks.

With all of these dog-friendly activities, you’re going to need a few nights stay. Book the Bow Wow Package or a room at one of our other pet friendly hotels.

Past dog-happy blog posts:
Wine Dog “Ghost”
Wedding Crashing Wine Dogs

Rosé in Rose City

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
With the Rosé in Rose City wine tasting event, we're saying "Yes Way Rosé" in a big way.

With the Rosé in Rose City wine tasting event, we’re saying “Yes Way Rosé” in a big way.

Yes Way Rosé

We don’t know who coined that phrase, but we sure know that we agree with it. In fact, it has become a motto this summer, especially with so many North Willamette wineries turning star Pinot grapes into extraordinary rosés. Thankfully, the North Willamette Vintners event, Rosé in Rose City, brings all of these stellar rosé offerings into one blush-worthy wine tasting event (July 31; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; $25 per person).

Rosé in Rose City will take place, a short drive from Portland, at Oak Knoll Winery.  Expect rosé and other summer varietals from 17 local wineries, as well as food pairings, lawn games and live music. Come with an appetite because rosé pairs well with barbeque and other smoky flavors. Fittingly, Hillsboro’s The Meating Place will provide local, sustainable and house-cured  barbeque. When it comes to rosé, remember that it’s think pink all around: pink meats go with pink wine!

Check out the event details for a full listing of participating wineries. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the delightful rosé to be had:

Abbey Creek Vineyard goes rogue with its rosé blend, abandoning Pinot in favor of a 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon for its 2012 Mélange Rosé. The result is a softly sweet and happily zingy glass of wine.

Montinore Estate also brings its rosé A-game with its 2013 Pinot Rosé. The notes of strawberry, black cherry and dried fruit create a sip that is fruity yet tightly structured.

Unlike its Pinot Noir counterparts, rosé is meant to be enjoyed relatively close to its bottling. So, pick up the youngest bottles of your favorites at the Rosé in Rose City event and take them home—by the case-full—with Alaska Airlines’ “Oregon Wines Fly Free” promotion. That way, you can drink rosé for the rest of the summer in Tualatin Valley style.

P.S. Everything’s coming up roses! Check out these rose-named shops, spas and restaurants:


Golf’s Next Superstars at the WinCo Foods Portland Open

Posted on: July 18th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Expect blue skies, a green course and colorful spectators at the WinCo Foods Portland Open.

Expect blue skies, a green course and colorful spectators at the WinCo Foods Portland Open.

When people think of Oregon, they often think green. And this is not just because of the trees. There are also our premiere—and indeed green—golf courses. Tiger Woods even had a breakout performance at the 1996 US Amateur Championship at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.

Eighteen years later, one of the caddies from that record-book match, Scott Harrington, will re-enter the same green as a competitor for the inaugural WinCo Foods Portland Open (August 18-24, 2014). Northwest native Scott will be joining 155 other top-notch golfers vying for one of the 25 PGA Tour Cards on the historic and beautiful Witch Hollow course.
Who knows? The WinCo Foods Portland Open may unveil the next Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth or Russell Henley. Golf lovers are encouraged to watch and see which PGA hopefuls have their magic moment on the Witch Hollow course. The tournament’s executive director, Jeff Sanders, said “The drama and excitement of the regular season ending Web.com Tour 25 Card event will bring back memories of Tiger Woods electrifying and historic three-peat at Witch Hollow in the 1996 US Amateur. Come watch the stars of the Web.com Tour compete at one of the best venues in the Pacific Northwest.”

The golfers are playing for the big bucks, but you don’t have to break the bank to watch. Ticket prices start at $15 and kids 17 and under are admitted free. Beyond golf, the WinCo Foods Portland Open will continue the fun after tee time with live music, as well as a free Sunday morning pancake breakfast. What’s more, your golf mania will be going to a good cause as WinCo Foods has committed to give 100% of all ticket sales revenue to charities and youth organizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
While you’re in town for the competition, you might as well do a little golfing of your own with the “It’s Tee Time” golf package, which include an ultra-comforting stay at the Grand Hotel at Bridgeport.  Good news! This is an ever-green package; so, it’s good to save for a fall golf getaway, as well.

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

Bird Watching at Fernhill Wetlands

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Families love exploring the Fernhill Wetlands with help from our Nature Passport.

Families love exploring the Fernhill Wetlands with help from our Nature Passport.

Just like humans, bird travel patterns are dictated by temperate weather and good food. For fowl and folks alike, the Tualatin Valley provides both. Minutes from quaint downtown Forest Grove—where visitors delight in the weather and wine at Urban Decanter—is the popular watering hole for migratory birds at Fernhill Wetlands.

Fernhill Wetlands is a cornerstone location along the Pacific Flyway, which is the flight path extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Every year, more than 200 species of migratory birds make Fernhill Wetlands part of their journey. The wetlands are even home to a bald eagle who has crafted its nest in a cottonwood tree. Besides the national bird, bird watchers also excitedly spot greater yellowlegs, American white pelicans, northern shovelers, long-billed dowitchers and belted kingfischers.

While the height of bird watching at Fernhill Wetlands spans from November to March, the nature reserve still truly is a year-round treat. The moist soil habitats entice birds to the area, but recent improvements to the wetlands also attract visitors, as well, with new trails, a water garden and a snazzy solar-powered camera station.

To heighten your experience even further while visiting Fernhill Wetlands, take along a free copy of the Nature Passport, which gorgeously organizes our 727 square miles of wetlands, parks, refuges, forests, and waters into a user-friendly and page-by-page guidebook. Here, wildlife and botanical aficionados are invited to check-off species from their “life-list,” as well as to create leaf rubbings.

For more information (and a peek at Fernhill Wetlands’ gorgeous scenery), check out this video form Grant’s Getaways:

Fernhill Wetlands
Location: 1399 SW Fernhill Road, Forest Grove, 97116
Phone: 503.681.3600
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk

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

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

Five Great Places for Outdoor Dining

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Fact: this sandwich tastes even better on the patio at Hayden's Lakefront Grill

Fact: this sandwich tastes even better on the patio at Hayden’s Lakefront Grill

In Italian, “al fresco” means in the cool air. Yes, the cool air after the high heat of the day has passed and a refreshing evening breeze begins.  Dining al fresco is one of the simple joys of summer, encouraging leisurely dinners among friends. Check out a sampling of our favorite outdoor dining options:

The Fireside Grill adds spark back into dinner time with fire pits in the middle of their patio tables. Try “The Portlander” burger: a vegan patty on a gluten free bun with hummus, served with a salad dressed in lemon chia seed vinaigrette. All that’s left is to put a bird on it!

Lake Sunsets
Hayden’s Lakefront Grill is situated along Tualatin’s Lake of the Commons, where the lake mirrors the sky’s peachy pinks and periwinkle blues. The evening is heightened by calamari and risotto cakes, followed by a lux slumber at Century Hotel.

Beer Garden
McMenamins Raleigh Hills Pub brings Bavarian summer traditions to the Tualatin Valley with a lovely outdoor beer garden. The garden sits adjacent to the pub and its pyramid-style roof, which looks just as impressive from outside as from within.

Vineyard Views
Ponzi Vineyards Winery shows how al fresco dining only requires a nibble, so long as there is good wine. The tasting room’s patio sits atop a Chehalem Mountains slope, providing sweeping views lush farmland. The antipasti plate makes for a great patio snack.

Treehouse Experience
Tree’s Restaurant lives up to its namesake as every seat has views of gorgeous greenery.  While you can sit outside with the patio heater, the al fresco lifestyle is brought indoors with large windows and thoughtful tree artwork. So settle in and enjoy the Italian-Creole fusion cuisine, including shrimp with Parmesan grits.

Farm-to-Table Events
For a truly extraordinary al fresco dining experience, sign up for a farm-to-table dinner!

Farm to Table Dinner at Nana Cardoon Farms
July 19 | 6 p.m. |$75 per person

Our Table in the Field Dinner
August 9 | 4:30 p.m. |$85 per person

Farm to Table: Celebrating Hillsboro’s Agricultural Heritage
August 22 | 5:30 p.m. |$75 per person  

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

Kitschy Old World Themed Summer Events

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Meet Maid Marian and her Court at the Sherwood Robinhood Festival.  photo: Robinhood Festival

Meet Maid Marian and her Court at the Sherwood Robinhood Festival.
photo: Robinhood Festival

From the “Game of Thrones” series to the Settlers of Catan board game, there seems to be a new wave for the old world. Here in the Tualatin Valley, experience multiple kitschy summer events that fully embrace the throwback to olden and mythical times.

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival
July 18-July 19 | all-day |Old Town Sherwood |free
Dress up like the heroic outlaw—or his fair maiden—during this 60-year old Sherwood tradition. This family friendly event includes a regal knighting ceremony, quick-fire castle building competitions, and the ever-popular International Archery Tournament.

Midsummer Night Paddle
July 19 | 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. |Tualatin Community Park |$10-$50
After a rousing day jousting and jesting at the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival, cap the evening with a romantic paddle down the meandering Tualatin River. With a nod to Shakespearean romance, keep an eye out for a mischievous Puck hiding in the lush flora—or you can just enjoy the serene wildlife watching.  

Oregon Renaissance Festival
August 16-September 21 | Saturdays & Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. |Washington County Fair Complex |$7.95-$15.95
Get ready to party like it’s the year 1499! Just a few minutes from the trendy restaurants and boutiques of Portland, you can transport yourself to a 16th century European village, complete with cackling witches, exhilarating duels and hearty food fit for a Medieval king.

Pietro’s Pizza
Year-round | Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight
If your historical daydreams have sea legs, then unleash your inner buccaneer at this pirate-themed mini-golf course and laser tag arena. The mix of blacklight and laser guns with swashbuckling pirates creates a near-steampunk atmosphere that’s easy to love.

After you’ve successfully binge-watched “Game of Thrones” and you need to quit Settlers of Catan before you and your loved ones get in an epic fight over lumber resources again, get out of the house and make a quick getaway to Oregon’s Washington County. We’ve got mystical and daring adventures in the flesh!

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Oregon Lavender Festival Art & Recipes

Posted on: July 9th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments


JoAnn Boatwright's lavender and Tualatin Valley photography will be on show at Helvetia Lavender Farm during the Oregon Lavender Festival. Photo Credit: JoAnn Boatwright

JoAnn Boatwright’s lavender and Tualatin Valley photography will be on show at Helvetia Lavender Farm during the Oregon Lavender Festival. Photo Credit: JoAnn Boatwright

Did you know lavender was used as a holy herb in ancient temples? Religion aside, many agree that lavender smells heavenly. And it looks lovely, tastes good, and its essential oils feel! Oregonians like lavender so much that we created a festival dedicated to it!

This weekend’s Oregon Lavender Festival  lets lavender lovers explore the Tualatin Valley’s most fragrant farms:

Barb’s Dutchmill Herbfarm
Helvetia Lavender Farm
Jackson School Lavender
Mountainside Lavender Farm
Each farm will have u-pick and ready-picked lavender, along with lavender-themed art, food and crafts. Local photographer and blogger, JoAnn Boatwright, will showcase her artwork at Helvetia Lavender Farm. Describing her inspiration, JoAnn said, “You can be in any city in the county and in just a few miles be in some of the most lovely and bucolic settings you could ever wish to see—if you really look. I like to photograph the area just to remind myself how lucky I am to live here. I share my photos in hopes of reminding others.”

So what will you do with the lavender bounty you bring home? We suggest taking a cue from lavender expert, Nancy Miller of Helvetia Lavender Farm. Her pecan crusted salmon with lavender is the perfect summer evening, al fresco dish.

Nancy Miller's Pecan Crusted Salmon with Lavender.

Nancy Miller’s Pecan Crusted Salmon with Lavender.


Pecan Crusted Salmon with Lavender
Recipe by Nancy Miller, Helvetia Lavender Farm

2 ½ lb. filet of salmon
1 lemon
1 tsp Herbes de Provence with an additional 1/2 tsp of lavender bud
½ cup of ground pecans
Dash of salt and pepper

Use olive oil to spray a sheet of foil twice the size of the salmon. Place salmon in center of foil. Squeeze 1/2 of lemon over salmon, sprinkle the spices on filet, and spread the ground pecans evenly over the top.  Place on grill, put cover down, turn flame to medium and grill for about 7 minutes.  Then turn to low and cover lightly with foil so that top cooks evenly.  Test for desired consistency after 5 minutes.

If you really want to bliss out on Oregon, pair the meal with our lavender infused cocktail recipe.

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What’s in Season and Where to Get It

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Check the farmers market boards (or our website!) to find out what's in season in the Tualatin Valley.

Check the farmers market boards (or our website!) to find out what’s in season in the Tualatin Valley.

The Tualatin Valley is bursting with the juiciest of produce right now. A drive down the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route makes curves and bends around strawberry fields, corn stalks and acres of pear trees—and that’s just to name of few of the agricultural bounties found along the route.  For a one-stop-shop of the area’s best food finds, head to one of our farmers markets. Here, farmers congregate to share what’s ripe right now. No matter when you visit, you can always find out what’s growing with our “Seasonal Guide to Oregon” on our Farms & Markets page.

Now, let’s see what’s in season now, as well as a sampling of the u-pick farms and farm stores where you can get it. Please note that many of the farms listed below actually offer a wide array of fruit and vegetable options; so feel free to continue exploring your u-pick and farm stand options!

Berry Fever
Stain your fingers purple with Oregon’s best berry u-pick farms. Pick berries by the bucket while dreaming up tantalizing cobbler and pie recipes.
Blackberries: Rowell Brothers U-Pick
Blueberries: Blueberry Hill Farm, Bonny Slope Blueberries, Muir Blueberry Farm, Sara’s Blueberries (all u-pick)
Marionberries (short season): Hoffman Farms Store (u-pick)
Raspberries: Gordon’s Acres (u-pick)
Strawberries (short season): Groveland Acres (u-pick)

Stone Fruit
Pick ‘em quick because these beauties enjoy a relatively short season. It’s hard to beat a perfectly ripe peach in the summertime.
Apricot (short season): Beaverton Farmers Market’s ProFarm Produce (farm stand)
Cherries (short season): Duyck’s Peachy Pig Farm (farm stand; other fruits available for u-pick)
Peaches: Jossy Farms (u-pick)

Cooking Mainstays
Sweets don’t have to rule your summer produce. Experiment with new soups, casseroles, and sauces, too!
Beans: Dairy Creek Farm & Produce (farm stand)
Herbs: Unger’s Farm (farm stand; also great for berry u-pick)
Lavender: Oregon Lavender Festival (u-pick and farm stand)
Tomatoes: Gramma’s Farm Store (farm store)

Signs of Next Season
Even in the thick of summer, there are signs of fall. Fall favorite produce—like apples and potatoes—actually begin their seasons as early as late July or August, which is good for picnic fare like apple pie and potato salad.
Apples: Smith Berry Barn (farm store, late August)
Potatoes: Baggenstos Farm (farm store)

What’s your favorite fruit? Whatever it is, don’t settle for the grocery store when getting it. Take a little getaway so that you can get to know your favorite foods, up-close-and-personal.

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

Hillsboro Pharmacy’s All-American History

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

There is something quintessentially patriotic about independently-owned American pharmacies. While they are no longer a mainstay in many historic downtowns, the small-business charm of community-minded drugstores are nostalgic emblems of a bygone era. With Independence Day around the corner, we’re taking a moment to spotlight the Americana magic of the Hillsboro Pharmacy and Fountain.

Created with flickr slideshow.


The Hillsboro Pharmacy was established in 1873 by Dr. Francis Alonzo Bailey on the corner of Hillsboro’s 2nd and Main (today, the pharmacy can be found at 243 E. Main Street). Bailey, Tennessee born, came west after serving as a Confederate Army doctor during the Civil War. Despite his southern roots and complicated past, Bailey and his family of ten became an integral part of Hillsboro’s growth before it even became a fully incorporated city. Bailey even served three terms as the blossoming city’s mayor.

Now open for more than 140 years, the Hillsboro Pharmacy is one of the oldest businesses in Oregon, as well as one of the last functioning soda fountains in the state. That alone makes it special; however, the pharmacy’s true spark comes from its cheery environment counter and the cherry on top of your ice cream sundae.

The fountain whips up all your favorite classic desserts: towering sundaes, thick chocolate malts and fizzy floats. If you need something savory first, then watch the soda jerk grill a juicy patty melt or Reuben. The soda fountain is actually most hoppin’ during breakfast. Early bird travelers are welcome to join Hillsboro locals—often including past mayors—for biscuits and gravy, omelets and pancakes. Beyond the fountain counter, don’t miss out on the rows of sweet gifts and souvenirs. A breakfast date here is one of the finest ways to start your day of exploring the Tualatin Valley.

The Hillsboro Pharmacy’s slogan is “an alternative to reality since 1873.” Back in the early days, that escape came from businessmen and farmers taking a respite from work life. While that remains true today, the “alternative to reality” has come to encompass so much more, offering a moment to revel in America’s living-history.

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