What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Labor Day Getaway Ideas Near Portland

Posted on: August 28th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Fun fact: Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday. We take great pride in that fact, which we commemorate by taking our celebrating quite seriously. While taking advantage of the Tualatin Valley and its close proximity to Portland, be sure to look out for a plethora of food, wine and art events happening throughout the holiday weekend. We’re spotlighting a few of our favorite trip ideas below.

Labor Day events near Portland

Find wine, art and food events during Labor Day weekend in the Tualatin Valley.

Wine and Art Events Near Portland this Labor Day Weekend

Beaverton First Friday
SW Broadway Street | September 4 | free
This slice of historic downtown Beaverton closes down to cars for a pedestrian-friendly evening of live music, local art galleries and tasty ethnic foods.

Horning’s Hideout | September 4-6 | $75 for Weekend Pass
This Labor Day, there will be no rest for the magical forest fairies of the Tualatin Valley! Faerieworlds is arts and music festival that celebrates all things mythical and fantastical. Horning’s Hideout, often considered the best outdoor venue in the Greater Portland region, is the perfect spot for this fairy-tastic weekend.

Fools at HART Theatre
HART Theatre | September 5-6 | $11-$15
Take in some theater with the charming comedy, Fools. Can a schoolteacher save a town from a dumbfounding curse? Playgoers will find out!

Labor Day Wine & Art Show
Plum Hill Vineyards | September 5-7 | No cover
Take in amazing views, while perusing amazing art and sipping on amazing Oregon wine—that’s a lot of amazingness!

Neighbors Night
Cooper Mountain Vineyards | September 4 | $8
This summer ritual invites neighbors and visitors alike to welcome the weekend with a glass of fantastic wine and melodic tunes.

Ponzi Summer Concert with Storm Large
Ponzi Vineyards | September 6 | $150
Portland favorite, Storm Large, performs a charity concert. Have a spectacular evening while simultaneously supporting the local non-profit, CASA for Children.

Labor Day Weekend is a golden time at Tualatin Valley farmers markets, as well, with end-of-summer and start-of-fall produce happily co-existing in the market stalls. Make a point to visit the bountiful Beaverton Farmers Market and Tigard Farmers Market.

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Getaway to the Tualatin Valley Before School Starts

Posted on: August 26th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Kids learn about farming and animals at one of the Tualatin Valley's idyllic farms.

Kids learn about farming and animals at one of the Tualatin Valley’s idyllic farms.

It’s never too late to make a quick weekend (or mid-week) getaway to the Tualatin Valley before the school year begins. With plenty of things to do for all ages, here’s your guide to a last-minute trip.

Zip-Line Adventures
The Tualatin Valley’s newest zip-line park, Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour features eight zip lines that will take adventurers through a beautiful forest, across majestic suspension bridges and near breathtaking Brunswick Canyon. Tree to Tree Adventure Park—an aerial ropes course and guided zip-line park— features an aerial adventure ropes, zip line tours, dueling zip line racing, tree-top plunge and more.
Scenic Adventures
The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is a 50-mile excursion along rural roads and incorporates the 21-mile the Banks-Vernonia trail. Pedal along the countryside, stopping at farm stands, restaurants and quaint shops along the way. (This route is best explored by intermediate and advanced riders.)

If a driving tour is more your speed, take a late-summer journey along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a 60-mile driving tour through the Tualatin Valley’s agricultural areas. Stop at a u-pick farm or farm stand to taste the fruits of the valley, dine in a quaint country diner, stop to see the livestock farms and learn a little pioneer history.

Family Fun
Traveling with little ones? The Tualatin Valley offers a wide assortment of indoor play spots that are sure to thrill all of the members of the family, from entertainment centers that feature rides and arcades to outdoor nature centers and museums. See some ideas here.
Fun on the River
Finally, take advantage of the warm weather with a relaxing paddle along the Tualatin River. No advance planning is necessary for a boat trip, as rentals are available on a drop-in, first-come, first-serve basis. The Tualatin Riverkeepers rents canoes and kayaks at Tigard’s Cook Park on weekends, and Alder Creek offers rentals at Brown’s Ferry Park, which rents canoes and single and tandem recreational kayaks.
For more inspiration, visit our website, tualatinvalley.org.
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Five Great Picnic Spots in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: August 19th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

The word “picnic” comes from the 17th Century French term “pique-nique,” which refers to epicureans who brought their favorite wines with them when dining out. The simple pleasures of a picnic continue in the Tualatin Valley. Pick up a great bottle of local wine at a quaint wine shop or tasting room, as well as some delectable treats at one of our bountiful farmers market. Then, head to a scenic spot for a romantic afternoon of leisure that feels eons away from Portland, but is really just a few minutes’ away!

5 best picnic spots in the Tualatin Valley

As the gateway to Oregon’s Wine Country, you can plan a winery picnic in the Tualatin Valley.

See a few choice picnic spots below:

Horning’s Fishing & Picnic Hideout
When it says “picnic” in the location name, you know it’s going to be good. This North Plains gem is nestled in an idyllic, forested canyon that is brimming with nature’s most vibrant senses. Take in the earthy smells of the plentiful trees and listen to the soft lapping of the lake as you enjoy your picnic.

Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Put that picnic in a bike basket rather than a wicker one and you’ll be ready for a celebratory meal at the end of this lovely bike trail that also syncs up to the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. Along the 21-mile trail of trestles and bridge crossings, you’ll find picnic tables dotting the way and inviting you to break bread.

Tualatin River
Here’s something new to try: a picnic in a canoe! The Tualatin River holds a soft and stable current throughout the summer and early fall. The mellow waters invite paddlers to munch on an in-route picnic—or pull over onto the banks for impromptu riverside rest.

Shafer Vineyard Cellars
Located in the foothills of the Coast Range, Shafer Vineyard Cellars offers views of the lovely rolling hills that are rich in vineyards. Grab a bottle of wine from the adjacent tasting room so that you can taste wine from the very same vines upon which you gaze.

Stub Stewart State Park
Pack a night picnic to take along to an OMSI Star Party at this wonderful camping spot. Going during the day? The dog-friendly grounds make this a picnic spot worthy of dog treats packed into your picnic offerings.

Make a picnic part of your Tualatin Valley stay, giving you time to pause and take in the beauty, tastes and energy of the region.

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Late Summer Wine Events in the Northern Willamette Valley

Posted on: August 17th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Taste the North Valley at Orenco StationOh, summer nights—we love you! As record high temperature days mellow into the warm, breezy evenings, wine lovers find a nirvana of summer’s splendor in the northern Willamette Valley. With wineries and vineyards a short drive from Portland, it’s easy to plan a last minute wine weekend. Use our wine events guide in your planning.

Northern Willamette Valley Wine Events

Neighbors Night at Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Cooper Mountain Vineyards | August 28, September 4 & 11 from 5-8 p.m. | $8
Uniquely located in a residential neighborhood, Cooper Mountain Vineyards is the best “neighbor” one could have this summer. They might not have a cup of sugar, but you can definitely get a glass of biodynamic wine.

Harvest Winemaker Dinner
Kramer Vineyards | August 22, 6-9 p.m. | $85
Taste the Willamette Valley—and think beyond just wine! Taste nibbles of local hazelnuts, cheese, vegetables and even salt. Purchase your ticket here.

Ponzi Summer Sundays
Ponzi Historic Estate | August 23 & 30, September 6 at 6 p.m. | $15
Listen to a wide array of music genres with a glass of wine in hand. For added summer flare, pack a picnic!

Taste the North Valley
Orenco Station | August 27, 4-8 p.m. | $25
Want to taste wines from 15 different wineries and vineyards all in one go? If yes, then this inaugural event is for you. Sample both red and white wines while enjoying music and bites from local food carts. Purchase tickets here.

Labor Day Wine and Art Show
Plum Hill Vineyards | September 5-7, noon to 5 p.m. | No cover charge
Art looks better when looked at while drinking wine and wine tastes better when sipped around art. View amazing artists while drinking fantastic Oregon wine.

Storm Large at Ponzi Vineyards
Ponzi Vineyards | September 6, 6 p.m. | $150
Portland’s own Storm Large puts on a phenomenal show with all proceeds going to CASA for Children. A ticket includes a gourmet meal and two complimentary glasses of Ponzi wine. Purchase tickets here.

How will you make your last summer days linger? Just like wine, the answer is on the tip of your tongue. It’s a trip to the northern Willamette Valley!

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Birds & Brews Close to Portland

Posted on: August 14th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

The early bird gets the worm. To watch that bird, the early bird watcher gets the coffee! Enter, the Birds & Brew Festival on August 22 at Fernhill Wetlands. Two seeming mutually exclusive loves—birds and strong coffee—come together for one day of outstanding wildlife watching tours and good bean brews from Maggie’s Buns. For good measure, Maggie’s famous cinnamon rolls will be on hand, as well.


Photo of Fernhill Wetlands by Mary Lane Anderson

The Annual Birds & Brew Festival will take place at Fernhill Wetlands (photo: Mary Lane Anderson)

If you’re coming into town for the Birds & Brew Festival, then why not make a full-fledge wildlife watching weekend out of it? Book a room at the McMenamins Grand Lodge to make your early birding wake up calls a bit easier. Yet another bird (and bird watcher’s) paradise can be found at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. With nearly 200 species of birds, the wildlife watching is diverse, ever-changing and always full of beauty. Plan ahead by downloading the refuge’s “Watchable Wildlife” guide (PDF).

Even more birding opportunities are to be found at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. The downloadable “Bird Species Checklist” (PDF) keeps birders in the know for capturing in-flight pictures a Great Egret.

To get you in the mood, here are two swoon-worthy Instagram photos taken at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in the past weeks:


hayley.Lazuli Bunting at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Lazuli Bunting at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge by Hayley Crews (Instagram @hayley.crews).



A blue heron at the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge taken by Zach Mance

A blue heron at the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge taken by Zach Mance (Instagram @zachuncorked)

As you can tell, our bird watching is top-notch as dozens of species pass through our wetlands, forests and rivers during their migration journeys. So, make like the birds and pass through the Tualatin Valley yourself!

With all that bird watching, you might need quite a bit of coffee to keep your momentum going. Never fear! Get the buzz on coffee for lots of good caffeine options.

Reasons to Back-to-School Shop in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: August 12th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Do your kids want to look on fleek for the first day of school? And because they’re your BAEs, do you want to make sure they look anything but basic? Have we totally lost you with our use of cool kid lingo? Relax!—with the Tualatin Valley’s premier shopping locales a skip away from Portland, you can snag great style and great deals before the first school bell rings.

Back to school shopping near Portland

The Tualatin Valley offers tons of great back-to-school shopping photos near Portland. Photo courtesy of Washington Square.

Free and Easy Parking

With ample parking that doesn’t require valet, quarters or even a parallel maneuver, keep your back-to-school shopping blood pressure in check. The large parking structures are so big because, well, the stores they serve are big, too.

Tax-Free Clothing and School Supplies

Oregon does not impose a sales tax on goods and services. While you can take advantage of tax-free shopping anywhere in the state, the shopping centers of the Tualatin Valley are a pleasing mix of classic favorites and new-to-you stores that make a trip here worthwhile.

The Biggest, Best and Newest Stores

Washington Square boasts the largest Nordstrom in Oregon, as well as Lululemon’s new youth line ivivva. Bridgeport Village is on trend with the “it” items from Francesca’s, Free People and Urban Outfitters. The Streets of Tanasbourne’s REI store is a beacon of light for looking good on the track, field or court. And we’re just skimming the surface of offerings here, people!

Shopping Deals and Steals

You can literally shop-til-you-drop…into a cozy bed in one of our nearby hotels. Even your hotel stay is a steal with shopping packages that come with coupon books, gift cards and complimentary shuttle service.

Mom and Dad Deserve Back-to-School Gear, Too

Parents get the first-day-of-school jitters, too. Shake it off with a little retail therapy at Saks Fifth Avenue’s OFF FIFTH. Be the chicest one at the PTA meeting!

Below, learn more about some of our popular and diverse shopping destinations:

Bridgeport Village
7455 SW Bridgeport Rd.
Tigard, OR 97224
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8.p.m
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Streets of Tanasbourne
19350 NW Emma Way
Hillsboro, OR 97124
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Washington Square Mall
9585 SW Washington Square Rd.
Tigard, OR 97223
Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

See the full list of shopping destinations in the Tualatin Valley.

Hillsboro Hops Ticket Giveaway

Posted on: August 10th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 6 Comments

In the Tualatin Valley, there’s more than one way to get “all hopped up” (#allhoppedup in social media speak). Hillsboro’s thriving beer scene inspired the name and mascot of the city’s beloved Single-A, minor league baseball team, the Hillsboro Hops. So, now “hopped up” is somewhat synonymous with “batter up!”

Hillsboro Hops
All wordplay aside, the Hillsboro Hops truly are a standout farm team for the Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2014, the Hillsboro Hops team even triumphantly earned the title of Northwest League Champions. Watch stellar baseball in an equally as awesome stadium. The Ron Tonkin Field at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex is slick in its modern conveniences: local food offerings, specialty Bridgeport Brewing suds and Bull Run Cider craft cider, state-of-the-art stadium and even an EV charging station!

For added convenience, baseball lovers can even take public transportation to Hillsboro’s Orenco Station where a lux shuttle will be waiting to chart you to the stadium—free of charge beyond a showing of your valid MAX or bus ticket.   

Before or after the game, make time for even more good vibes with a visit to one of the nearby breweries. There’s a good chance you’ll run into more than just a few other baseball fans partaking in some extra hoppy festivities. Here are a few awesome choices to try:

With a month left of home games, there are still plenty of chances to book a beer and baseball lovin’ getaway to the Tualatin Valley, especially with so many great hotel options nearby.

Hillsboro Hops Ticket Giveaway

We have two tickets to giveaway to the August 24 Hillsboro Hops Game. To be entered into the drawing for the tickets, simply comment on this blog post with a fun cheer you’d shout out while at the game. We’ll draw from the list of commenters on Friday, August 14 at noon PST. Read full terms and conditions.

Five Reasons to go to Canines Uncorked Tomorrow

Posted on: August 7th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Well, hello weekend! It is so good to see you. If you’re in a summer slump or just have the itch for a last minute adventure, then hop in the car—with Fido in the back seat—and escape to the Tualatin Valley for Canines Uncorked. C’mon you know you want to. Need a little nudge? Here are five reasons to ignite the weekend jet setter in you…and your dog.

Canines Uncorked

Five Reasons to go to Canines Uncorked Tomorrow

1. All proceeds go to the Oregon Humane Society

A full 100% of the proceeds from Canines Uncorked will go toward the Oregon Humane Society and its mission of supporting pets in need. The “License to Taste” passports are $45 and can be bought tomorrow at Apolloni Vineyards, Kramer Vineyards, Oak Knoll Winery and Plum Hill Vineyards. Those donations add up! Drinking for a cause? We’re in.

2. Your ticket can be used for complimentary wine tastings for the rest of August

While Canines Uncorked lasts just one day, your “License to Taste” passport for wine tastings at participating vineyards doesn’t expire until the end of the month. So, plan a follow-up weekend to finish up those wine tastings at 15 different northern Willamette Valley locations near Portland.

3. Your dog is invited (or you can meet adoptable pooches)

There’ll be wine for you—as well as a whole lot of other perks for your pooch. Hello dog psychics, dog masseuses and dog photographers. Your pup has a day of luxury awaiting his or her visit.

4. It’s an easy last-minute (and dog-friendly) getaway.

With 35 pet-friendly lodging options in the Tualatin Valley, both you and your four-legged friend are guaranteed a good night’s sleep.

5. Win swag with the #CaninesUncorked Instagram Contest

When you visit a participating Canines Uncorked location, tag your Instagram photos with the following:

  • #CaninesUncorked
  • The name of the location

The account with the most photos at the end of August 9, 2015, will win a free copy of Wine
Dogs USA!

Have we convinced you yet? Have a weekend full of smiles and tail wags in the Tualatin Valley with us!

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The USGA Women’s Amateur and WinCo Foods Portland Open Come to the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: August 5th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

When people think of Oregon, they often think green. And this is not just because of the trees. There are also our premier—and indeed green—golf courses. Tiger Woods even had a breakout performance at the 1996 US Amateur Championship at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. Next week brings another chance for amateur breakout starts with the USGA’s 115th Women’s Amateur Championships at the Portland Golf Club. With free admission, this is the perfect excuse to watch over 150 of the best women amateur golfers from all over the world play in a nail-biting bracket. Come cheer on these outstanding athletes!



Golf Tournaments in the Tualatin Valley

Close to Portland, the USGA Women’s Amateur and WinCo Foods Portland Open are premiere golfing events in the Tualatin Valley.

Next in our month of exciting golf events is the WinCo Foods Portland Open (August 24-30, 2015). Top-notch golfers will vie 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 brunch. 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.

Cycling Events in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Have you ridden the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway yet? In just over a month (September 15), the bikeway will turn a whopping two years old. We’re not expecting the terrible twos, though. In fact, find the opposite with amazing cycling events coming to the bikeway and paths surrounding it in the coming months! Read below for the best cycling events near Portland. 

Summer cycling events near Portland, Oregon

Pedal by agricultural splendor, like this charming farm and barn on the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.

Beaverton Banks & Beyond Bicycle Tour

Starting point at Papa’s Pizza | August 15 | $35 | Register here!
Novice to advanced riders can take part in this scenic ride with a 32-mile, 64-mile, 86-mile and 100-mile course options. No matter what length of ride you choose, prepare to cycle through the idyllic country roads of North Plains and the 21-miles of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail in Banks, which is the perfect combination of paved trails and forest surroundings.

Bike Beaverton

Starting point at SW 5th St. and Hall Blvd. | September 13
This casual, community-oriented bike ride is a great one for the little ones in your brood. Bring your personal bikes as the NW Bicycle Safety Council will be on hand for free inspections and adjustments. After an all-levels ride, enjoy a free ice cream social—you deserve it!

13th Annual Harvest Century Bike Ride

Starting point at Hillsboro Civic Center | September 27 | $60-&70 | Register here!
The last organized ride of the year, the Harvest Century celebrates the coming of the Tualatin Valley’s majestic fall. Sign up for the 3-mile, 45-mile, 75-mile or 100-mile bike rides along the scenic roads of the Tualatin Valley, which will surely be on the cusp between a sunny summer and a leaves-changing fall. To add to the autumn goodness, refuel with hot cider at rest stops.

The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport and the McMenamins Grand Lodge are two cyclist-friendly lodging options that are close to great rides. For those who need to rent a bike while you’re visiting, check out our list of great bicycle rental and repair shops.

p.s. Be sure to share your Tualatin Valley cycling experience (and some fun pictures) with us over on the bikeway’s Facebook page. We love hearing about your rides!