What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Cornhole How-To and Tips

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

The great thing about the upcoming Oregon State Championships of Cornhole is that you actually don’t need to be near champ status to participate. Total newbies and bonafide superstars are all welcome. If you’re looking for an official way to usher in the summer, then this day of lawn games in charming Forest Grove should do the trick. It’s not too late! Register now (or snag this Groupon Deal today! Deal ends at 11:59 p.m., May 27, 2015.) and book a room with one of our hotel deals.

How to Play Cornhole

As a single or doubles team, contestants take turns pitching corn bags at a cornhole platform until one contestant or team reaches 21 points. A points breakdown:

  • Corn bag in the hole scores = 3 points
  • Corn bag on the platform = 1 point

Sounds easy, right? It is, but expert players know that it takes a certain finesse to be truly great. Players can strategize by shifting the filling of the corn bag in their hands before throwing it. Here are a few throw options:

Basic Fold
Flatten the bag in your throwing hand, then fold the bag in half so that there is equal fill in each half.

Double Fold
Hold the bag by one corner, then fold the corner without any filling in it over the corner holding the fill. After that, fold the bag in half with the other two corners.

Flatten the bag completely and throw it underhand in a spinning motion (similar to throwing a Frisbee)

Hold the bag by one corner with your index finger and thumb so that you can then hurl (or—ahem—sling) the bag at the hole in a backspin motion. 

Cornhole Lingo

Even if you don’t nail the rules, you can still talk like a pro. Just use our cornhole lingo cheat sheet:

  • Ace-A bag that makes it onto the board, earning one point
  • Dirty Bag-A bag that touches the ground before it touches the board
  • Lipper-A bag that is dangling near the cornhole board’s hole, ready to drop and gain three points
  • Sally-Though we don’t love the gendered connotations of this one, a Sally is a bag that falls short of the board
  • Skunk-A game with an 11-0 score

Now that you have our expert tips, register now!

More Cornhole:
Five Reasons to Play in the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole
Forest Grove Itinerary for the Cornhole Championships Weekend

New Art and Bike Racks in Downtown Tigard

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

How does one take artistic inspiration from a cluster of tomatoes in a netted basket? Funny as it sounds, that was the nebulous image given to the glassblowing artists at Live Laugh Love Glass when first conceptualizing the new public art that graces Tigard’s blossoming Southwest Main Street.

The end result is downright majestic—head to downtown Tigard to see it for yourself! The owners and artists of Live Laugh Love Glass, Brett and Natalie Vinsant, created stunning, light-catching globes that freckle the sidewalks of downtown Tigard. Each art piece is composed of 16 glass spheres contained within a larger metal globe. Marveled by what you see? Walk over to the glassblowing studio for a fun class where you can make your own glass masterpiece!


Glass art installations in downtown Tigard.

Just a sampling of the glass art installations in downtown Tigard.

The glass installations are part of an artsy re-vamp of the downtown area made possible by a grant from the Washington County Visitors Association. In addition to the art hanging high, the grant also made way for functional art on the ground level, as well. Enter the funky-fun bike racks and tire pump stations! These colorful new resources are a welcome sight in the cyclist-friendly city.

New bicycle racks and tire pump stations welcome cyclists to downtown Tigard

New bicycle racks and tire pump stations welcome cyclists to downtown Tigard

Lock up your bicycle outside of Symposium Coffee, grab a cup of stellar Stumptown joe and stroll the cute shops (and glass installations!) in front of you. Afterward, pedal or walk the Fanno Creek Trail. There’s a trailhead by Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub (perfect for a post trail brew).

The welcomed additions to downtown Tigard make it easy to have an artsy and sporty stay in the Tualatin Valley!

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What’s New in Our Cities?

Posted on: May 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
World of Speed Museum

The World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon delights car and culture buffs alike.

The Tualatin Valley is blooming with more than just flowers as new attractions make their spring debuts. That’s right, there are fresh new tasting rooms, museums and more popping up all the time. Help us usher in newcomers with a visit—and maybe a drink or two. Below, catch the details on exciting new additions to Cornelius, Forest Grove and Wilsonville.

Cornelius: Dion Vineyards Tasting Room

Dion Vineyards’ Tasting Room is a new attraction for a long-celebrated vineyard. Dion Vineyards has made the northern Willamette Valley and its fertile slopes of Laurelwood soil its home for more than 30 years, spanning three generations. Now, the estate embarks on a new chapter as it sets roots beyond the soil with a new tasting room in the charming town of Cornelius.  
Location: 33155 Reidweg Road, Cornelius
Hours: Open June thru November, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $15 tasting

Forest Grove: Bull Run Cider Tasting Room

Bull Run Cider’s Tasting Room fits right into the friendly college-town vibe of downtown Forest Grove. Bull Run Cider is rapidly growing in production as more people fall in love with its not-too-sweet ciders; it was only a matter of time until their popularity gave way to a tasting room, as well. Looking for a late night hang out? Bull Run Cider is a safe bet, serving up cider brews until 1 a.m.
Location: 2225 Cedar Street, Forest Grove
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Cost: varied tasting and by-the-glass costs

Wilsonville: World of Speed Museum

World of Speed is a car lover’s paradise that appeals to those less enthused by hot rods, as well. World of Speed doesn’t just tell the story of American automobiles, but the history and culture surrounds it. Mid-century modern décor, rock-and-roll music and racing stimulators in actual race cars delight every taste. The Holiday Inn Portland South is just a skip away, making this fun stop even speedier!
Location: 27490 SW 95th Avenue, Wilsonville
Hours: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday to Friday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Mondays)
Cost: $5 to $10; Simulator tickets $10

Taste what’s new in the Tualatin Valley—and then tell us about it with the #tualatinvalley hashtag!

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National Hamburger Month with Hillsboro’s A&W Burger Family

Posted on: May 15th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Meet the locals! Come say hi to Hillsboro's A&W Burger Family,

Meet the locals! Come say hi to Hillsboro’s A&W Burger Family.

Happy National Hamburger Month! To commemorate the occasion, let us introduce you to Hillsboro’s infamous family of four: the A&W Burger Family. The four fiberglass statues are nostalgic reminders of 1960s drive-in culture. The family came to town in the ’50s via the A&W restaurant franchise. The Burger Family earned their namesake not only by their home in front of one of America’s quintessential burger joints, but also because each holds a burger that is—quite literally—larger than their already ginormous heads. To wash it down, the Burger Family also holds frothy mugs with vanilla foam spilling over the rim.

As A&W retired the Burger Family from their locations in the ’60s, the Hillsboro community couldn’t bear the thought of this mainstay attraction fading into the abyss of the American consciousness. After two moves around town, the Burger Family now enjoys its permanent home outside of the Shute Park Aquatic & Recreation Center (953 SE Maple St., Hillsboro, OR 97123) welcoming the community and visitors alike. The Hillsboro Planning Commission even designated the family as an official “Cultural Resource,” citing the little clan as “unique remnants” of a bygone era.

Pause for a moment of nostalgic reminiscing with the Burger Family, then head over to the “home of the jumbo burger” at Helvetia Tavern. Their burgers aren’t as big as the Burger Family’s, but they’re close. Or bite into a grass-fed burger at the Cruise In Country Diner, where all of the ingredients are regionally grown.

Learn more about the A&W Burger Family’s story, or access vintage articles about Hillsboro’s favorite fiberglass family!

Ten Reasons to Love Oregon Wine

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

Celebrate Oregon Wine Month in the northern Willamette Valley!

It’s Oregon Wine Month and we’re taking full advantage of all the grapes, barrels and new releases that entails. In case you need any convincing, we’ll give you 10 reasons to visit the wineries of Oregon’s Washington County, proudly part of the northern Willamette Valley!

1. Gateway to Oregon’s Wine Country

So, you’re in Portland, drinking lots of fabulous local wine. Meet the makers of your new favorite blends! The northern Willamette Valley is your closest option with nearly 30 wineries just a short drive away.

2. Oregon Pinot

The Willamette Valley is known for its Pinot—and for good reason! The temperate weather and south facing slopes of our vineyards create Pinot that is earthy and nuanced.

3. More than Pinot

…But the northern Willamette Valley is so much more than Pinot. Try delicious Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau varietals (just to name a few!).

4. Biodynamic Wine

Organic wine-making is an enormous feat, which makes biodynamic wine truly incredible. Try wine that is created extra-sustainably at Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate.

5. It’s a Family Affair

Luisa Ponzi carries on the tradition of her parents, who established Ponzi Vineyards in 1970. Similarly, Elk Cove Vineyards was founded in 1974 and remains family-run today.

6. Creative Architecture        

Ponzi Vineyards modern tasting room is a treat for architecture buffs. The Beckham Estate Vineyard is handbuilt and double-duties as a gallery for the winemaker’s pottery art.

7. Live Music

Oak Knoll Winery’s bi-monthly summer concert series, Toast to the Tunes, pairs melodic soul with your Sauvignon.

8. Find Romance (and Scope out Wedding Venues)

Oregon’s Washington County is for lovers—and it shows with six vineyards wedding venues offering their views as the perfect backdrop for your “I do.”

9. Joy Ride Wine Tasting

Make wine tasting a full-out adventure by taking a drive on the rural side with the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.

10. Check Oregon Wine for Free on Alaska Air

It’s true, Oregon Wines Fly Free through the spring of 2017. Check a full case of wine for free on Alaska Air flights leaving from Oregon.

Now, tell us why you love Oregon wine!

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Forest Grove Cornhole Weekend Trip

Posted on: May 11th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Some people play cornhole religiously. Others can’t imagine a tailgating outing without it. And some don’t even know what the heck it is (though you might know the game by its other monikers: corn toss, bean toss or simply bags). No matter which of these camps you fall into, use the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole as excuse to extend a Portland trip, make a weekend getaway or entertain out-of-town guests.

Here’s a run-down of the cornhole fun, with a few suggestions mixed in:

Friday, May 29
Drive the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route for scenic views right from the start. When you come across a charming college town, you’ll know you’ve made it to Forest Grove. A few wheel turns and you’ll be at one of the area hotels. Be sure to use cornhole hotel deals to receive a $20 gift card!

After check-in, get into the athletic spirit with the McMenamins Grand Lodge and its casual disc golf course. Your arm will be primed for the Oregon Cornhole Championships Kick Off at the Grand Lodge, which runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Luck of the Draw” cornhole tournaments and free play.

Beer connoisseurs should hit up Waltz Brewing, Forest Grove’s first brewery whose taproom works double-time as a vintage record shop.

Saturday, May 30

A full day of cornhole demands a hearty breakfast, which means a Maggie’s Buns cinnamon bun is in order—these buns are larger than the hole in a cornhole board!

Rise and shine—it’s the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole (8:30 a.m. start at Pacific University’s Stoller Center; $30 entry fee). No experience is necessary to vie for the cash prizes! The beer garden will provide the perfect spot for relaxing between games.

Win or lose, celebrate a day of good competition with Bull Run Cider. You’re in luck as the new tasting room, open 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., includes music and food carts on Saturdays.

Beyond this itinerary in the ever-cute Forest Grove, we’ll give you five more reasons to play in the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole. Register now!

Five Ways to Celebrate Memorial Weekend in the Greater Portland Region

Posted on: May 8th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments


Memorial Day weekend is a great time to explore the Tualatin Valley's agricultural scene!

Memorial Day weekend is a great time to explore the Tualatin Valley’s agricultural scene!

Summer solstice may be well over a month away, but Memorial Day weekend is always a sort of soft-opening for summer. Ease into summer with a lackadaisical weekend of wine tasting, farms just opening for their summer season, all-American baseball and patriotically minded museum exhibits.

Memorial Day Weekend Wine Tasting

Oregon Wine Month ends on a sweet note as as the wineries of the northern Willamette Valley joyously open their doors for the weekend. Whether you’re staying in Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Forest Grove or somewhere in between, you’ll be a quick drive from wine tasting in Oregon. Don’t miss Dion Vineyard’s Tasting Room Grand Opening!

Visit an Alpaca Farm

Make new friends—and not necessarily human ones at the Open Alpaca Barn (May 23-24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., free). Alpaca mothers and babies will be outside to welcome visitors, as will artists working on handspun yarn.

First of Summer Berry Picking and Farmers Markets

Blueberry season doesn’t fully burst onto the scene until July, but the first of summer produce will be sprinkled among our fresh farmers markets. Choose from the Beaverton Saturday Market, Cedar Mill Farmers Market or the Hillsboro Saturday Farmers Market.

Patriotic and All-American Memorial Day Events

In honor of Memorial Day, take a visit to the Washington County Museum (Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; $4-$6 admission). In addition to the “Washington County Goes to War” exhibit, take a few minutes to peruse the adjacent exhibit, “Americans All: The Bracero Program in Washington County.” View artifacts that help tell the story of how Washington County came to have the largest Latino population north of Sacramento during World War II and Mexico joining the Allies in 1942 to help fight the Axis.

What’s Memorial Day without a little baseball? Sit in the stands of the Hillsboro Hops Memorial Day Challenge (May 23-24 at Hillsboro Stadium) and cheer on talented youth baseball teams.

Have a happy, safe and wonderful Memorial Weekend with us!

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Tualatin River Bird Festival Itinerary

Posted on: May 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Ca-caw! Hoot hoot! Tweet tweet! No matter how we say it, the May 16 Tualatin River Bird Festival at Sherwood’s Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is coming to. Novice and veteran wildlife watchers love event, which is heightened by our itinerary for it!

Friday May 15
The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport is excited to host attendees of the Tualatin River Bird Festival—read their tips!

Near the hotel is Cabela’s World’s Forestry Outfitter for last minute, tax-free outdoor gear. Then, head to Hayden’s Lake Front Grill for upscale classics and a sunset view of the Tualatin Commons and its shimmering lake.

Rise with the sun for phenomenal wildlife watching at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Rise with the sun for phenomenal wildlife watching at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Saturday, May 16
5:30 a.m. Guided Birding Trail
Meet the early birds with a guided walk-and-talk with expert Ted Buerger, FWS. Watch the world and all of its wonderful creatures wake-up and begin the day.

7:30 a.m. A Buzz of Your Own
That’s not a buzzing bee, it’s you getting your coffee fix at Sherwood’s Symposium Coffee and its baristas that have that magic latte touch.

8:30 a.m. Bird Fest Paddle
Go from dirt trails to waterways with the Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle in Tualatin. Have a kayak or canoe view of neotropical migrant birds, including black-headed grosbeaks and lazuli buntings. Register for this event!

Noon: Feed Time
No worms for you! Head to Fat Milo’s Family Kitchen for biscuits and gravy because—after that paddle—you deserve it!


Catch a glimpse of heron and neotropical migrant birds.

Catch a glimpse of heron and neotropical migrant birds.

Rest of the Day: Festival Time!
Take full advantage of the Tualatin River Bird Festival and its decoy painting, archery, guided nature walks and more. What will you do first?

7 p.m. Dinner
Rally for dinner at Tree’s Restaurant. The treehouse-like setting fits into your day exploring the lush Tualatin Valley. Plus, this Creole cuisine is awesome.

Sunday, May 17
Ready for more nature goodness? A hike at Cooper Mountain Nature Walk is just the place. Cyclists can hop on a bike and traverse the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, starting at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro.

Explore nature in an agricultural sense with Buds to Bottles at Gaston’s Plum Hill Vineyards. Plant your own Pinot Noir! For $25 year, the vineyard will tend to your vines and when the vines mature, you will receive a case of your own unique wine! Sip it while dreaming of your next visit to the Tualatin Valley.

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Five Places to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
peppers mexican food

Pepper’s Mexican Grill is a Hillsboro favorite, known for its house-made salsas.

With Cinco de Mayo, we are salivating for a fiesta-themed lunch, happy hour or dinner. To be honest, though, the quest for good Mexican food is a signature part of any foodie’s vacation. Oregon’s Washington County has a vibrant Hispanic population that gives way to culinary hotspots. Thus, we present five can’t miss Mexican food spots in Beaverton and Hillsboro where you can enjoy during Cinco de Mayo and beyond:

Uno: Pepper’s Mexican Grill (976 SE Baseline St, Hillsboro)
As a 2015 Tualatin Valley People’s Choice Awards finalist, this authentic Mexican restaurant is as beloved as they come. House-made salsas and a full bar (for the requisite margarita) pair perfectly with the Pepper’s sampler platter, where you get to try a little bit of everything (hello, nachos, quesadillas, flautas, tamales and shrimp!)

Dos: Amelia’s Mexican Restaurant (105 NE 4th Ave, Hillsboro)
Rustic Mexican food in a cozy setting. Yes—that’s Amelia’s. This Hillsboro favorite has well earned its fan following with consistently stellar Mexican fare. Hungry? You won’t be after chowing down on the Burrito Loco, which weighs a whopping 2.5 pounds; though, some of that may be “water weight” from the signature green tomatillo sauce smothered all over it.

Tres: Ochoas Lupitas (9549 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton)
Ochoas Lupitas is a stand-out food truck. The small kitchen pumps out a large menu, including the ultimate late night treat: $1 tacos. Get the authentic cabeza, lengua and tripas varieties, too. Top each taco with picks with perfectly pickled jalapenos, onions and carrots.

Cuatro: Pepita’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina (4190 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton)
Entering the unassuming storefront, patrons are gleefully surprised at Pepita’s ornately decorated interior. From piñatas to streamers and stained glass, every inch of the walls and ceiling is plastered with splashy flare. The standard taco plate is elevated with perfectly marinated meat. Any day can feel like Cinco de Mayo with a margarita or Mexican hot chocolate flavored milkshake.

Cinco: Salsa Market (4265 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton)
Follow your nose. The street outside smells of the cinnamon sugar baked goods lovingly made there. Besides dessert, Salsa Market is serious about marinated meat. Pick from the vast array of marinades, which pair splendidly with a bag of spiced, dried mangoes.

With these five faves, you’re never far from good Mexican food!

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Nature Passport: Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals

Posted on: May 1st, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Rice Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Hillsboro

Are you ready to rock? The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals is ready for you! The museum adds some quirky diversity to our Nature Passport, a complimentary guide the Tualatin Valley’s 727 square miles of nature spots. Order a free Nature Passport now!

Here are a few reasons why we think the museum is so gosh darn cool:

Smithsonian Affiliate
The Smithsonian Institution recently named the Rice Museum as its newest affiliate—woohoo! So, what does that mean? This new relationship will allow the Rice Museum to borrow special objects and exhibits from the Smithsonian’s collection in the future, as well as offer opportunities for collaborative research projects and co-sponsorships.

We’ll admit it—it’s nice to have an indoor nature option for rainy days. Beyond the shelter and the world-renowned rock collection it houses, visitors are wowed by the construction of the Rice Museum as it’s built in the former residence of Richard and Helen Rice. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the home-turned-museum is full of mid-century design charm.

Rock On
Of course, we can’t take you through our favorite highlights of the Rice Museum without mentioning its main attraction. Find glow-in-the-dark rocks, rare malachite and other-worldly rocks brought back from space.

Sparkles A-Plenty
Magpies will gravitate toward the gemstone exhibit. Find dozens of sparkling beauties from one of the world’s best facet artists, Fred Van Sant, and learn how hunks of minerals are transformed into dazzling jewelry.

Picnic-View Wildlife Watching
The museum’s lawn is sitting pretty for a picnic, where you can take in some laissez-faire bird watching and maybe catch sight of an elk or two.

Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals
Location: 26385 NW Groveland Drive, Hillsboro
Phone: (503) 647-2418
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. & Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Guided Tours: Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Admission: admission is $8 for adults, $7 for adults 60+ and students ages 5-17

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 Refuge

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