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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:

 

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:

Fireside
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  

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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

Ingredients:
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.

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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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Lavender Infused Cocktail Recipe

Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
A homemade lavender infused lemonade and gin cocktail.

A homemade lavender infused lemonade and gin cocktail.

It seems like lavender is often elbowing out vanilla for the top slot of people’s favorite scent. And just like vanilla, lavender is equally as delicious in food and drinks. Lucky for the Tualatin Valley and its visitors, our land is purple-peppered with jaw-droppingly beautiful lavender farms. To experience them all, take part in the Oregon Lavender Festival (July 12-13 at various locations; free). During the festival, gather supplies for making your own lavender goodies at these farms:

Two of the easiest—and most versatile—things to make with lavender are pretty ice cubes and simple syrup that you can use to fancify nearly any summer cocktail. Just drop a few lavender ice cubes into a glass along with your favorite libation (we tried it with both a gin drink and berry lemonade).

Lavender simple syrup

Ingredients:
2 ½ tablespoons dried culinary lavender (easy to pick up during the Oregon Lavender Festival)
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
10 raspberries

Directions:
Add lavender, water and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Once at boiling point, bring mixture to a simmer for five minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat.
For a brighter simple syrup, muddled 10 raspberries into the mixture.
Allow mixture to sit for up to one hour.
Using a fine sieve, strain the lavender from the liquid.
Place the liquid in a food-safe container (a mason jar works great).
Add lavender syrup to cocktails, lemonade, iced teas and other cold beverages.
Store unused lavender syrup in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Lavender ice cubes
Add a small pinch of dried culinary lavender into each nook of an ice cube tray. Fill tray with boiled water and freeze. The boiled water helps ice cubes not appear cloudy. The lavender does float to the top. For evenly distributed lavender ice cubes, freeze the ice cubes in layers, adding a bit more lavender and water each time.

Let us know if you make our simple syrup concoction. Cheers to enjoying summer and the Oregon Lavender Festival!

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Best Bets for Oregon Cider

Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Take a tour of one of Oregon's finest cider farms and cideries.

Take a tour of one of Oregon’s finest cider farms and cideries.

Crisp, yet effervescent. Tangy, yet sweet. Oregon cider has got it all. We’re using Oregon Cider Week as an excuse delight in the local hard cider hot spots all around the Tualatin Valley. Want to join us? Good! See below for our favorite ways to enjoy cider in Oregon’s Washington County:

Right from the Source
Forget farm-to-table. What about farm-to-bottle? That’s what’s happening at Bull Run Cider, which is a quintessential Oregon cidery. Take an educational tour of the apple tree farm, learning how the cider-makers blend the flavors of Oregon berries into their ciders by grafting apple trees. Tours are offered by appointment—get in touch to schedule yours.

With a Historical Nod
Oregon’s cider game actually has a long, complicated history. Many of the best apple orchards were dismantled during prohibition time in order to stop production of the popular drink that pioneers had long made in the northwest. Pay homage to the cider community’s storied history by drinking the sweet stuff at one of McMenamins’ historical spots. The McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall was once a pioneer homestead and Rock Creek Tavern was a hotbed for post-prohibition activity.  

Straight from the Tap
Much like beer, cider is thought to be at its freshest when a glass is poured from the tap. Luckily, The Growlerie always has at least three ciders in rotation. The current tap lists includes a traditional granny smith cider, as well as one with notes of apricot and peach!

From a cocktail glass
When it comes to your drink, sometimes you just need to kick it up a notch. As the summer days heat up, the evenings still remain cool. Warm up with a hot whiskey cider at Primrose & Tumbleweeds, complete with the accoutrements of honey, cinnamon and lemon.

Cider’s Cute Cousin
The Ponzi Vineyards Cugini sparkling cider grape juice tastes like a cross between wine and cider—yet is completely alcohol free. Made from 100% Gewurztraminer grapes, this is one elevated juice.

Want to learn even more about Oregon Cider? Check out this Grant’s Getaway segment:

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Flea Market Finds

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
When it comes to Mid-Century Modern finds, you won't want to miss the flea market sales at Rose City Modern and Curiosities: Vintage Mall on June 21.

When it comes to Mid-Century Modern , don’t miss the flea market sales at Rose City Modern and Curiosities: Vintage Mall on June 21.

Growing up, my mother and I went to flea markets monthly. We were so die-hard about the whole enterprise that we even sought out flea markets in every new place we visited. I wish we had found Oregon’s Washington County a lot sooner because its flea markets are filled with the stuff of dreams. Next Saturday, June 21, is the kick-off of market season and—simply put—you’re not going to want to miss it.

Start at Rose City Modern (12675 SW 1st Street, Beaverton; open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) for a Mid-Century Modern mecca. On June 21, the store will be holding a “garage sale” with slashed prices as they clear up space for new inventory. Now is the time to grab that sleek coffee table or Scandinavian pottery that you didn’t even know you needed.

Next up is the main show: The Beaverton Flea Market (12705 Beaverdam Road, Beaverton; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), with more than 30 dealers showcasing a wide variety of goods that are now limited to solely antiques. The flea market is hosted by Curiosities: A Vintage Mall, which houses even more Mid-Century goodness, along with retro clothing, jewelry, and knick-knacks.

Time for a snack break after all that bargain-hunting! Luckily, just catty-corner from the flea market is Ome Calli (12795 SW Canyon Road, Beaverton). This new Beaverton spot boasts an amazing assortment of frozen Mexican treats. The house specialty is the chamoyada, which is a spicy mango slushy paired with a popsicle and tamarind candy.

With sustenance from your sweet treat, you’ll feel refreshed heading out for one more vintage score at the newly opened Penelope’s Hope Chest (3887 SW Hall Boulevard, Beaverton). This cute boutique mixes old with new thorough handcrafted house goods. You’ll be charmed by the whimsical selection of cottage-worthy décor.

Who knew that just a few minutes outside of Portland, there were flea markets filled with Mid-Century Modern furniture (at a steal and tax free, no less!), old school posters, and one-of-a-kind gems? Well, now you do. So go out there this weekend and find your treasure.

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Father’s Day Itinerary

Posted on: June 9th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
A classic car show and a joy-ride make for a great Father's Day Weekend.

A classic car show and a joy-ride make for a great Father’s Day Weekend.

What do you love most about spending time with your dad? We have an endless combination of ways to celebrate the special fathers in your life. Below, you’ll find just one fun and father-focused weekend itinerary:

Friday, June 13
Start the weekend by helping dad unwind and “let it go” with an outdoor viewing of the instant Disney classic, “Frozen” with Pix on the Plaza (Hillsboro Civic Center Plaza, 7-10 p.m.). Bring cozy blankets, a picnic with dad’s favorite snacks and let the kids sing their hearts out—it’ll melt Dad’s heart.

Afterward, settle in at one of our great hotels. If a family trip wouldn’t be complete without the dog, then take advantage of our Bow Wow Hotel Package.

Saturday, June 14
Get all the benefits of an epic road trip in one getaway weekend. Start with the Cruisin’ Sherwood car show (Old Town Sherwood, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Americana meets innovation as classic cars are kept in pristine condition through customized preservation.

Though it may not be a retro ride, hop into your own car next for a drive down the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. Spend quality family time on this 60 mile stretch of the lush Tualatin Valley. There’s an activity to match Dad’s interests: explore nature at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, pick berries at Rowell Brothers Berry Farm or go wine tasting at Shafer Vineyard Cellars.

End the tour with dinner at the Helvetia Tavern, “home of the jumbo burger.” Its juicy, perfectly grilled goodness is dad-approved. Plus, find dad’s favorite team from the vast collection of baseball hats lining the tavern’s ceiling.

Sunday, June 15
Happy Father’s Day! For a truly elevated brunch experience, make a reservation for Pig & Pinot at Plum Hill Vineyards. A patio-vineyard provides the perfect backdrop for not only wine, but also a delicious pig roast.

Whether you’re enjoying this special day with your grandfather or as a new dad yourself, be sure to make some memories that help you cherish all the reasons you love spending time with your pops.

P.S. There’s even more happening! Check out our full listing of Father’s Day Weekend events.