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What Others are Saying about the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

What others are saying about the Tualatin Valley

The blogosphere is loving Smith Berry Barn, SakéOne and the Old Scotch Church.

As is readily apparent, here in the Tualatin Valley we are not afraid to toot our own horn every now and again (Toot! Toot!). It’s hard not to when there is so much beauty here and so many ways to enjoy said beauty. But don’t just take our word for it! We’ve been happily overwhelmed with stories of others praising the Tualatin Valley. Below, check out a few of our favorite summer pieces about the area.

A Visit to the SakéOne Brewery in Oregon from Umami Mart
The writers of the Japanese food and drink blog, Umami Mart, extended their Portland trip to make time for a Tualatin Valley getaway to SakéOne in Forest Grove. The post takes readers through the brewery tour experience, which will only fuel your desire to visit SakéOne yourself.

An Oregon Gem: The Tualatin Valley from Going On Faith
While this is a guide for faith-based travel planners, truly anyone can take advantage of the publication’s excellent guide to Tualatin Valley’s attractions of museums, culinary adventures and the beautiful and pioneer era Old Scotch Church.

Berry Hot from Posie Gets Cozy
Alicia Paulson of the blog Posie Gets Cozy shares a sweet photo essay of her and her daughter exploring Smith Berry Barn and the South Store Café.

Six Cultures’ Favorite Junk Foods from USA Today Travel
USA Today Travel instructs readers how to upgrade their snack game, including Dutch stroopwafels from the Dutch American Market and Import Store. Take a bite of that chocolatey waffle goodness.

Stoller, Raptor Ridge Mark 20 Years from the Statesman Journal
Raptor Ridge Winery celebrates 20 years of great growth in both its vines and business—cheers!

Top 10 Local Restaurants in Tigard from The Culture Trip
The comprehensive travel website, The Culture Trip, takes a break from its globe-trotting coverage to settle into the best eats of Tigard. The post celebrates that some of the best ethnic food in the Greater Portland region is in fact, outside of Portland and into the Tualatin Valley.

Where to Wine, Dine, Recline in the Willamette Valley from the Statesman Journal
In the land of Pinot, a trip to the Willamette Valley isn’t complete without a stop at Ponzi Vineyards Winery for great wine, dazzling modern architecture and stunning vineyard views.

For more of what others are saying about the Tualatin Valley, check out this Pinterest board.

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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.

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.

Tualatin Valley All-Outdoor Trip Idea

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Forest Grove Uncorked

Forest Grove Uncorked presents dozens of local foods, wines and brews.

Sometimes, we’ll be looking ahead into our events calendar and see a grouping of events that would make for one perfect, unforgettable weekend. Then, of course, we just have to share the itinerary we concoct with you. As you may have guessed by now, such an occurrence has entered our radar for the weekend of August 14-16. Tack on a few days to your Portland trip and explore the Tualatin Valley. Itinerary below:

Friday, August 14
“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.” Live by these words from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew while watching the play at Ponzi Vineyards with the Willamette Shakespeare production company. As the show is free of charge, you can unwind with an extra glass of wine during the outdoor performance. Show begins at 7 p.m.

After the show, catch some zzz’s at a cush nearby hotel.

Saturday, August 15
We’re rolling into prime cycling weather in the Tualatin Valley via the Beaverton Banks & Beyond Bicycle Tour. Novice to advanced cyclists can sojourn the farmlands and trails in a 32, 64, 85 or 100 mile ride. Register now!

Unwind in a casual atmosphere with Forest Grove Uncorked, which features dozens of local wineries, craft breweries and restaurants on the Main Street drag. Admission is $10 and nominal tasting fees may apply.

Sunday, August 16
Choose between two great outdoor events. On the mellow side, there is the Tualatin River Family Paddle Day where one enjoys the gentle lapping sounds against a canoe or kayak on a peaceful stretch of the Tualatin River.

For a more rev-your-engines kind of day, there is the Banks Bar-B-Que and Truck & Tractor Pull that includes the happy hum of big vehicles and a jubilant parade.

What an accomplished weekend! Theater? Check! Fitness? Check? Amazing Oregon wine? Double check! Bonus points for every activity being outside, soaking up the Tualatin Valley’s rays of sunshine.

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Five Reasons to Go to the Washington County Fair

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

Every year, the Washington County Fair doesn’t just pass through the Portland great region. Instead, the fair comes, downright dominates summer fun during its short run and then everyone patiently awaits its return next year. Well, the time has come! The annual Washington County Fair returns to the Washington County Fair Complex in Hillsboro July 30 to August 2, promising a weekend of carnival rides, live music and entertainment, food and more. You simply cannot find this kind of quintessential summertime fun in Portland, but luckily the fair is a quick drive from downtown Portland.


Washingon County Fair

Blue-Ribbon livestock at the Washington County Fair.


Five of our favorite reasons to make it out to the fair this weekend:

1. Affordable Fun Near Portland

Admission to the Washington County Fair is absolutely free. While rides and games are pay-to-play, the unlimited ride wristband lets you ride as many rides as you want for $25 (buy yours here).

2. Carnival Food on a Stick

Diets be gone! Fair day is also on-a-stick day with hand-dipped hot dogs on a stick, funnel cake stick, pork chop on a stick, deep friend bacon on a stick, mac-and-cheese on a stick and Hawaiian pizza on a stick.

3. The Classics: Blue Ribbons and Red-Hot Rides

What’s a county fair without some good, old-fashioned competition? Classic livestock and home economic competition from best dairy cows to the tastiest pies.

4. Best Flea Market in Portland Area

Find unique shopping with this vintage market produced by The Funky Junk Sisters, who have been voted as one of the top 25 flea markets in America by Romantic Homes Magazine.

5. Flo Rida Concert

Chart-topping raps from artist Flo Rida add some modern edge to this year’s Washington County Fair! Gates open at 6 p.m. for the show and admission for this performance is a steal at $25 (tickets here).

Honestly, the reasons to go to this year’s Washington County Fair reaches far, far beyond a measly five—we’re just skimming the surface here. Heck, each carnival game and ride deserves its own ode to joy! Take a ride on the ferris wheel so you can look over your own county fair kingdom!

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Oregon Brewers Festival Trip Idea

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

Beer lovers flock to Portland’s Oregon Brewers Festival every year, which just so happens to be this week. The festival touts 90 different craft beers from around the country, as well as 15 beers from New Zealand and The Netherlands in the International Tent. All in all, the festival is a mecca of sorts for hops lovers.

Oregon Brewers Festival

Make time for some Tualatin Valley brewery visits during the Oregon Brewers Festival weekend.

Of course, Tualatin Valley’s ever-growing community of brewers takes part in the festival action. Because we grow hops, brew it, and enjoy the fruits of our labor better than anyone else, you’ll find three local breweries showcasing some of their more inventive varieties. See below for the skinny (or sudsy) on each:

Ambacht Brewing from Hillsboro will be tapping into its totally original Matzobraü Belgian dark wheat beer, which is made with leftover matzah from the Jewish holiday, Passover, for a kitschy and tasty drink.

Art Larrance’s Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub in the Raleigh Hills Neigborhood brews some of Cascade Brewing’s favorite varieties onsite. Stop by the brewery’s booth for a refreshing barrel-aged sour beer, Frite Gaulois. This brew really is a must-taste not only because of its deliciousness, but also because Art Larrance co-founded the Oregon Brewers Festival—he’s an Oregon brewing icon!

Vertigo Brewing won the coveted Tualatin Valley People’s Choice Award for favorite brewery, which will surely translate to the crowd at the Oregon Brewers Festival, as well. Try the brewery’s Lemongrass Wheat, which is a light American wheat ale with the perfect tang for a summer day.

While the Oregon Brewers Fest will give you the chance to try multiple beers from the Tualatin Valley in one-go, the real aficionados make time for brewery side trips—especially since our breweries are just a few minutes’ drive away the festival. Check out our Get Hoppy Itinerary for the weekend (or anytime, really!). Chat with microbrewers, relish in the cool vibes of intimate tasting rooms and taste some truly exception Oregon beer.

And the cherry-on-top (or maybe the foam-on-top) to your brewery weekend getaway? You can book the special Brewery Package at the Hilton Garden Inn- Portland/Beaverton, which includes free beer and a discount on a brewery walking tour.

Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Crawfish boils aren’t just for Louisiana. Nope—not for a long time! In fact, The Tualatin Crawfish Festival is celebrating its 65th year of crawfish-lovin’ fun from July 31 to August 2 at the Tualatin Commons. Whether this is your first crawfish festival or you’re a many-seasoned festival goer, this is an easy, unique and must-see weekend event. As the festival is just a short drive from Portland and has the lovely Century Hotel a stone’s throw away, your weekend getaway is as easy as it is convenient.

In addition to the traditional crawfish boil and crawfish eating contest, the festival celebrates more than crustaceans. Other favorite activities include the ridiculously cute “Atsa My Dawg” costume show, the “Corks and Kegs” area with local sips and brews, a Chef’s Mystery Box Cook-Off and an all new “Food Cart Friday.”

For go-getters and those who just want to work off all the food they’ve been eating at the festival, the Crawfish Crawl includes a 5k, 10k and half marathon option that run through Tigard, Tualatin and Durham. Every participant will receive an InCRAWdible Medal and t-shirt.

Tualatin Crawfish Festival Details:
Admission to Friday’s events is free; $4 for adults on Saturday.  Hours: 6-10pm Friday, 10am-10:30pm Saturday, and 10am-6pm Sunday.

Of course, while you’re in the Tualatin Valley you’ll want to scope out other hot happenings in the area. In addition to The Tualatin Crawfish Festival, be sure to make time for these other fun events nearby:

Come take part in the longest-running crawfish festival west of the Mississippi!

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Drink Pink in the Northern Willamette Valley

Posted on: July 17th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Raptor Ridge's rose (photo : Allison George)

Raptor Ridge’s rose (photo : Allison George)

Say it with me now: “Yes Way Rosé!”

Rosé wines are having a major moment in the Tualatin Valley. Hop in the car for an impromptu wine country weekend—it’s time to see the summer through rose-tinted glasses (and we do mean wine glasses).  Next time you’re visiting Portland, make sure to add a few days to your itinerary to try the outstanding rosé varieties at these wineries (all participating in Drink Pink):

Apolloni Vineyards
The 2014 Apolloni Rosé packs happy punches of strawberry and rhubarb. Your nose will pick up scents of honeysuckle and dried flowers.   

David Hill Vineyard & Winery
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé includes fruity aromas, including a hint of watermelon.

Elk Cove Vineyards
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé is hand-harvested from both old and young vines in the Willamette Valley that are from higher elevation vineyards on their own rootstock. The result is full flavor with lower alcohol.

Montinore Estate
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé holds a tight structure that allows for a dry, yet fruity sip of black cherry and red grapefruit notes.

Patton Valley Vineyard
The 2014 Patton Valley Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir adds citrus fun to its mix of flavors, finishing with a cream soda likeness that is downright tantalizing.

Ponzi Vineyards Winery
The Cin Cin Brut Rosé sells out quick every year as its méthode champenoise is rather irresistible. If you miss the Cin Cin, then there’s always other amazing rosé options on hand to try.

So much rosé, too little time. Make rosé your weekend agenda by booking a room at the Embassy Suites-Hillsboro or as one of our many other fantastic lodging options in the area.