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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!

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

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.

International Celebrations this Summer in Beaverton

Posted on: July 10th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Local flavor can—in actuality—mean having quite a bit of exotic flavor. That is certainly the case here in the Tualatin Valley, where many different cultures and histories come together to tell the story of Oregon. With vibrant Hispanic and Asian communities in Beaverton (just minutes from Portland!), we are thrilled to celebrate the beauty of diversity with festivals throughout the summer months. See below for more information. 

 

Ten Tiny Dances in Beaverton

Ten Tiny Dances in Beaverton (picture: Gordon Wilson)

 

Natsu Matsuri Summer Festival at Uwajimaya

Uwajimaya | July 18 | free
The beloved Asian supermarket hosts a family-friendly Japanese festival, filled with fantastic food and entertainment from Japanese singers.

Beaverton International Celebration

Howard M. Terpenning Complex | July 25 | free
Celebrate the music, dance, art and other expressions of the diverse cultures that thrive—in harmony—in Beaverton. This year, the festival will feature cultural exhibitors, sports exhibitions and stage performances.

Polynesian Festival at Uwajimaya

Uwajimaya | August 15-16 | free
Mahalo! Get a taste of Polynesian life with island song, dance, and food. Find even more Hawaiian fun at the Hawaiian Dance from Music in Small Spaces (August 8).

Beaverton Night Market

Beaverton Round | September 12 | free
Taking cues from the night markets found in other countries, the Beaverton Night Market celebrates the city’s many cultures with an evening of delicious food, entertainment and crafts from all over the world.

In addition to festivals, cultural experiences live year-round in the Tualatin Valley, starting at our authentic Mexican and Asian food spots.

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

10 Can’t-Miss July Events in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment

10 Can’t-Miss July Events in the Tualatin Valley

Ten Can’t-Miss July Events in the Tualatin Valley

 

With Independence Day in summer’s rearview mirror, continue celebrating your freedom to travel and experience new things. Whether you’re extending a business trip, tacking a few days onto a pre-existing trip to Portland or just want to plan getaway with friends, find Tualatin Valley festivals and events to make July the best. See our top 10 suggestions below.

1. Bluegrass Music

The Annual Northwest String Summit at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains is four days of soul-satisfying bluegrass and Americana music (July 16-19).

2. International Air Show

The Intel Oregon International Air Show welcomes the Blue Angels with its first woman pilot, Navy Capt. Kitty Higgins, on a C-130 Hercules aircraft.

3. Oregon Craft Beer Month

Celebrate Oregon Craft Beer Month with the 14th Annual Roadhouse Brewfest (July 18). Tour the McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse brewery and chat with brewers.

4. Lavender Farms

Smell that? The Oregon Lavender Festival comes to four Tualatin Valley lavender farms (July 10-12). Frolic in the purple fields!

5. International Dancing and Fairs

Ten Tiny Dances (July 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and the Beaverton International Celebration (July 25) highlights a mix of traditions from Beaverton’s diverse population.

6. Watch Dressage

Dressage of DevonWood in Sherwood boasts one of the largest dressage events in the Pacific Northwest (July 17-19).

7. Act Like Robin Hood

The Sherwood Robin Hood Festival (July 17-8) transforms Old Town Sherwood into an even older stomping ground of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. The Tualatin River’s MidSummer Night Paddle is best for those who fancy themselves mermaids over maidens (July 18). 

8. Drink Rosé

Yes way, rosé! The Drink Pink! rosé wine festival is a chance to visit 25 different Willamette Valley wineries, each offering rosy options (July 18).

9. Old Car Shows

The Tualatin Valley is a hot bed for hot rods with the Concours d’Elegance in Forest Grove (July 18-19) and The Classic at T-Hills in Beaverton (July 25).

10. Eat Crawfish

The 65th Tualatin Crawfish Festival is a quintessential Tualatin Valley summer tradition, complete with eating contests, local brews and live music (July 31-Aug 2).

Bonus: Sports fanatics can watch baseball at a Hillsboro Hops game (various dates), as well as the ASA 18 Gold Softball Championships (July 19-25). Prefer the view more than the game? Trade clubs for pianos at the Ten Grands on the Green (July 25).

How will you make the most of July? Your first step is booking a room in the Tualatin Valley!

Tualatin Valley People’s Choice Award Winners

Posted on: June 24th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Do you use Yelp, Trip Advisor and the like? We’ve got one more authority to add to your go-to review resources. Enter, the results of the Tualatin Valley People’s Choice Awards. We put the power to the people with our open poll and received a whopping 858 votes. Check out our People’s Choice Weekend Getaway Itinerary, as well as get some extra tips on each winner below.

ABV Public House
Favorite Restaurant: ABV Public House
Why it’s so great: Housed in an unassuming Hillsboro business park, this spot is like a modern-day speakeasy. Instead of whiskey in bathtubs, find hundreds of bottles of beers and ciders lining the perimeter of the restaurant.
What to try: Cheese curds and green chili poutine—‘nough said.
When to go: Happy hour falls 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day.
Who to go with: Take your in-laws as the brews and kitschy décor give lots of conversation fodder.

Vertigo Brewing in Hillsboro
Favorite Brewery: Vertigo Brewing
Why it’s so great: With just a seven-barrel system, this Hillsboro brewery crafts an impressive array of standout beer.
What to try: Friar Mike’s IPA is a quintessential Oregonian beer with lots of Northwest hops.
When to go: A few hours before the Hillsboro Hops game for a happy-go-lucky crowd of sports fans.
Who to go with: Your sports buddies!

Ardiri Vineyards in Cornelius, Oregon
Favorite Winery Experience: Árdíri Vineyards
Why it’s so great: This Cornelius vineyard is the perfect mix of elegance and romance—without the pretentious veneer.
What to try: The 2011 Due Stati is in its peak drinking years right now. Salud!
When to go: A clear day, mid-afternoon will bring you amazing views of Mt. Hood.
Who to go with: Cuddle up with your honey around one of the vineyard’s cozy fire pits.

wine tasting in the northern willamette valley
Favorite Attraction/Activity: Wine Tasting in the Tualatin Valley
Why it’s so great: Just minutes from Portland, immerse yourself in Oregon wine!
What to try: Everything. Just try everything.
When to go: The North Willamette Vintners Association provides fantastic wine events in the region.
Who to go with: Rent a car and driver with a group of friends for an unforgettable wine weekend.

Remember, our People’s Choice Weekend Getaway Itinerary shows you how to happily go from one standout attraction to the next in one awesome weekend. We dare you to try it!

Ask a Local: Nature Photography Tips

Posted on: June 22nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments

Connecting with nature and connecting with your family is a simultaneous experience here in the Tualatin Valley. In the end, one of life’s greatest gifts is sharing what you love with who you love. Beaverton locals, the father-daughter pair of Gunnar Simonsen and Kira Simonsen, have a special tradition of exploring and photographing the Tualatin Valley via their stellar Instagram accounts, @GunnarSimonsen and @Hoopla68. We caught up with the two for their insider tips!

Gunnar Simonsen's drive by beauty capture of the Tualatin Valley.

Gunnar Simonsen’s drive by beauty capture of the Tualatin Valley.

What are your favorite places to photograph in the Tualatin Valley?
Gunnar: I absolutely love Cooper Mountain Nature Park. At sunrise, you can catch an amazing glow on the trails. Or an hour before sunset, the shadows that poke through the trees make for some incredibly emotive photography.

Kira: I have fallen in love with Dawson Creek. The reflection off the water is unreal. The chalkboard tunnel is so unique and brings a creative aspect to the park. It was very cool to be able to see the baby geese and ducks there this spring.

How did you begin photographing together?

Kira: In 2013, we both got iPhones and just started taking pictures. Once, we went to Rood Bridge Park and uploaded at least 15 pictures each onto Instagram. Photography has brought us closer together over the years. It’s good to get away from an internet and just experience what’s around you.

What tips do you have for novice photographers?
Gunnar: Seek to find the story in everything and tell it with photography. In this, think less and explore more. I love Cooper Mountain Nature Park. I walked those trails hundreds of times and I have taken hundreds of pictures and yet every time, there’s always a new story waiting to be told. So… tell it.

What are some non-nature favorites in the area?
Gunnar: Clark’s Bistro and Pub in Downtown Hillsboro is a new spot that we really like. Of course, Helvetia Tavern for the big burger is a must visit. I also love going to the Hillsboro Farmer’s Market. Then there’s the Intel Oregon International Air Show. I also have a lot of memories with my own father, who passed away in 2003, playing golf at Meriwether National Golf Club and Sunset Grove Golf Course.

We hope you’re inspired to take a photography getaway in the Tualatin Valley! Be sure to share your Instagram pics with the #tualatinvalley hashtag!

nature photography on instagram

Gunnar and Kira Simonsen choose photographing the Tualatin Valley as their father-daughter bonding activity of choice!

 

4th of July Events in the Greater Portland Region

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

What do you love most about the 4th of July? For some it’s the crackle-pop of fireworks lighting up the sky. For others, it’s a chance to get out and be active. Additionally, it’s hard to resist a kitschy Independence Day festival. No matter how you choose celebrate freedom this coming 4th of July, we’ve got the events and attractions to match it. Just a few minutes’ drive from Portland, the Tualatin Valley is a perfectly patriotic escape for the holiday weekend. See our ideas below!

Find patriotic colors at Smith Berry Barn's Annual Berry Festival this Independence Day.

Find patriotic colors at Smith Berry Barn’s Annual Berry Festival this Independence Day.

4th of July Weekend Fireworks, Festivals and Parades

4th of July Fireworks and Family Picnic
Tom McCall Upper Elementary School| July 4 | free

Hillsboro Rotary 4th of July Parade
Downtown Hillsboro| July 4 | free

Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration
Tigard High School| July 4 | free

Wild West Celebration
Main Street, North Plains| July 4 | free

Annual Berry Festival
Smith Berry Barn| July 4 | free

4th of July Weekend Live Entertainment

Summer Concert – Ants in the Kitchen
Arnold Park| July 2| free

Thoroughly Modern Millie
Deb Fennell Auditorium| July 2-5 | $20-$44

Hillsboro Hops Game & Fireworks
Ron Tonkin Field| July 3 | $7-$16

4th of July Weekend Sport Events

Cook Park Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5k
Cook Park| July 3 | $30-$50

Stars & Stripes Marathon & Half Marathon

Fanno Farmhouse| July 5 | $15-50

4th of July Weekend Markets, Wine and Food Events

Beaverton First Friday
SW Broadway Street| July 3| free

Neighbors Night
Cooper Mountain Vineyards| July 3| $8

Beaverton Farmers Market
SW Hall Boulevard between 3rd & 5th| July 4| free

Wine & Watermelon
Plum Hill Vineyards| July 4-6| No cover charge

Hillsboro’s Sunday Farmers Market
Orenco Station| July 5| free

Tigard’s Sunday Farmers Market
Public Works parking lot| July 5| free

So, what’s it going to be? Parades, live music, an epic run or some good food—or why not do it up and experience it all in the Tualatin Valley? Have a happy and safe 4th of July Weekend!

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