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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Nature Passport: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Posted on: April 15th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

 

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge's Wildlife Center includes lookouts, exhibits and a nature store.

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge’s Wildlife Center includes lookouts, exhibits and a nature store.

Sometimes, we must go beyond the boundaries of our homes to find refuge. We mean refuge here in the metaphorical sense, feeling comfort, safety and a much-needed respite from a loud world. For your next refuge, make like the birds and head to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. A quick drive from downtown Portland, the buzz of the urban world is replaced by gentle pitter-patters of a natural one.

Those pitter-patters come from the nearly 200 species of birds, 50 species of mammals and 25 species of amphibians and reptiles that take their own refuges here throughout the year. Keep a look out for ducks (and their spring ducklings), songbirds, coyotes, hawks and even an eagle rearing its young in a magnificent eagles. Bring your binoculars, your camera (so you can take pictures like the winner of our Instagram contest) and your Nature Passport. Don’t have a Nature Passport yet?—order a complimentary copy now! This handy guide to the Tualatin Valley’s 727 square miles of nature spots encourages outdoor lovers to seek out the best wildlife watching with stamps to be collected at 10 different locations. A rubber stamp print of a cooper’s hawk will be waiting for you at the wildlife center of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

For a full weekend of wildlife wonder, plan your stay–or extend your visit–in the Tualatin Valley during the May 16 Tualatin River Bird Festival, which celebrates all things bird with guided tours, decoy paintings, casting clinics and more. Year-round, there’s the wildlife watching itinerary. The first stop is the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge—which we’ve hopefully sold you on—followed by more wetlands, sweeping views and beautiful birds at Cook Park, Jackson Bottom Wetlands and Cooper Mountain Nature Park.

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge at sunset

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge at sunset.

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Location: 19255 SW Pacific Highway, Sherwood, OR 97140
Phone: (503) 625-5944
Refuge Hours: Dawn to dusk daily
Wildlife Center Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Past Nature Passport Blog Posts:
Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Cook Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Fernhill Wetlands
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Loop
L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Magness Memorial Tree Farm
Rood Bridge Park
Tillamook State Forest
Tualatin Hills Nature Park and Interpretive Center
Tualatin River

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

Celebrating the #mytualatinvalley Instagram Community

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

When we rolled out the #mytualatinvalley Instagram Contest, which ran from February through March, we had no idea what to expect. Week after week, we were floored by the beauty, diversity and sense of story that came rolling into our Instagram feed. Instagram gurus—local and visiting alike!—shared special Tualatin Valley moments with us that spanned from a behind-the-scenes beer tour at Uptown Market to marathon training along the Banks-Vernonia State Trail to frolicking kids that remind us that nature is the perfect playground.

The winner of the #mytualatinvalley Instagram contest is Jerry Johnson, a Gresham native who took his magic shot of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge during his first visit to the park. Here are his tips for taking a stellar Instagram photo:

It is important to know what type of pictures you like to take. Then follow other good photographers on Instagram that take those pictures to see what they do.  So, when you go for hikes you will have an idea of what works. Be sure to take time to frame the photo and ensure you leave enough space (don’t get to close) around your subject to edit the photo to get the best out of it. And understand it takes time to be good. Trial and error is the best way to learn.  Most of all—just have fun!

It’s clear that Jerry took his own advice when looking at his stunning photo:

 

Instagram picture of Sherwood's Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Jerry Johnson’s winning pictures of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood.

To celebrate the immense talent of those who participated in the contest, be sure to check out the #mytualatinvalley feed here. Below, find just a glimpse of the #mytualatinvalley beauties:

my tualatin valley instagram contest
But wait!—the fun doesn’t have to stop here. Keep using the #mytualatinvalley and #tualatinvalley hashtags year-round.  Show us what the beauty of this land means to you, whether it’s your home or weekend getaway.

And be sure to follow us on Instagram for your daily dose of birding, nature, wine and general Tualatin Valley goodness!
    

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway as Inspiration for National Poetry Month

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

There’s poetry in motion and then there’s poetry about motion. National Poetry Month has us inspired to write about one of the activities we love most in the Tualatin Valley: the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. The bikeway has become a standout star for cyclists looking for a idyllic ride that’s close to Portland. Running through the towns and cities of Hillsboro, Cornelius, Forest Grove and Banks, the bikeway provides long sweeping views that allow cyclists to become engulfed in the air, water, roads, and spirit of the Tualatin Valley. All in all, it’s quite poetic!

 

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway

By Allison George

Tualatin Valley, Twality Plains, hunting-gathering grounds of the Atfalati
Rusted gates and barbed wire, century farms with crumbling barns
Peachy pigs and clucking hens
A triceratops, her name is Breezy
Crimson clover
Honey, apples, blackberries, corn
Railroad trestles, lonesome train cars
Tractors, horses, wheat and hay
Quiet
Cow poop
Grinding coffee beans
Whispering Pioneer bones
Deep wing beats of the Great Blue Heron
Golden yellow double lines
Meandering Tualatin River
Ancient, roaring Ice Age floods
Cool Coast Range air
50.5
Wheels set us free

We’re not the only ones utterly enchanted by the lyrical rhythm of the Tualatin Scenic Bikeway. 1859 Oregon Magazine touted the bikeway and the Path Less Pedaled had a great tour, as well. the Northwest Bicycle Safety Council has chosen stretches of it for the Beaverton Banks & Beyond Bicycle Tour. How’s the bikeway looking right now? Take a peek at this recent Instagram photo from Ryan P. Garcia (handle @rypgarcia):

Ryan P. Garcia took this photo along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, near Fernhill Wetlands.

Ryan P. Garcia took this photo along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, near Fernhill Wetlands.

 

Find even more R&R, pedal by pedal.
Join the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway Facebook Page

International Day of Happiness

Posted on: March 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Celebrate the International Day of Happiness on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.

Celebrate the International Day of Happiness on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.

What makes you happy? For the International Day of Happiness, now is as good a time as ever to ponder that question and make plans to do more of what makes you happy. Of course, we wish you many endorphin-producing days while visiting the Tualatin Valley. Whatever makes you happy, find it with us.

Meaningful Experiences with People You Love
Add to your memory bank with loved ones via new thrills in the Tualatin Valley. Hold hands—giving each other courage—to zip across the treetops at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour or Tree to Tree Adventure Park. For an all-eyes-on-you endeavor, check out the Venomous Reptile Museum. You and your favorite traveling companion will feel more on display than the actual reptiles—an exhilarating experience you surely won’t forget!

Excite the Senses
What’s that amazing smell? This tastes delicious! The air feels so good. Oh yes—the Tualatin Valley is a delight for all five senses. Take a drive on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route for tastes, smells, sights and sounds from our vineyards, farms and restaurants.

The Mind-Body Connection
A happy body leads the way for a happy mind. Take care of yourself inside and out, even when on a trip! Exercise is never a chore on the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. Cyclists pedal thru lush farmland, quaint downtowns and intriguing nature areas. Beginner cyclists (and walkers) may prefer the more mellow section of the bikeway, found on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.

A Good Night’s Sleep
Get rest and get happy—it’s that simple sometimes. A good dose of the dream state can help individuals find happiness in waking life. For downright delectable sleep, book a room at one of the Tualatin Valley’s premier accommodations.  

Wishing you lots of happy!

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

Activities That Take Advantage of Daylight Savings

Posted on: March 4th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
    Warm spring light trickles through the leaves of the Tree-2-Tree Adventure Park after daylight saving time.

Warm spring light trickles through the leaves of the Tree-2-Tree Adventure Park after daylight saving time.

Are you ready to spring forward? Daylight saving time is—especially at first—a double edge sword. Waking up in the dark hours is a bit rough at first, but the payoff comes in late pink sunsets that inspire evening walks, firing up the grill, or kick-starting a weekend getaway. All this talk of daylight saving time has got us thinking about the power of light in general, as well as all of the ways to (unconventionally) enjoy it.

Tree-to-Tree Adventure Park
2975 SW Nelson Road, Gaston | March 15 to November | Pricing varies
Romantic daredevils can sign up for the swoon-worthy  Zip, Sip and Savor Tours. The evening includes a zip adventure, wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, and a surprise gift. The real prize is feeling the warm, fading light on your skin as it trickles through the high-in-the-sky leaves. Get dates and reserve your spot today by calling 503-357-0109.

For even more zippity fun, take a look at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour.

Glowing Greens Mini-Golf
3855 SW Murray Boulevard, Beaverton | $10 for 18 holes
Even though daylight saving is in full effect, we still have many a rainy day ahead. Luckily we can still revel in the phosphorescent with the brand new Glowing Greens black light indoor miniature golf course. The alien invasion themed course includes the likes of Larry the alien. Strike the ball through his neon pink manicure!

Pendulum Aerial Arts Presents Reinvention
French American International School | April 24-25 | $15-$20
The dancers of Pendulum Aerial Arts play with the balance between darkness and light in this captivating performance. The narrative showcases the power of “entering into the light” and embracing the many colors of the human spirit.

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

Nature Passport: Tualatin River

Posted on: February 25th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

tualatin river

Splish-splash, I was takin’ a…paddle! The Tualatin Valley’s landscape wouldn’t be complete without the water habitats of wetlands and rivers. Order a free copy of our Nature Passport—a complete guide of wildlife and outdoor attractions in the area—for information on the best river access points and the creatures you’ll encounter there.

The Tualatin River is a calming, yet driving force running throughout the length of the Tualatin Valley. The water trail is home to all sorts of local animals, including Great Blue Heron and Green Heron and Ospreys. It’s no wonder that these fish-eating birds hangout by the riverbed as so many cutthroat trout and steelhead swim under the river’s soft current.

Before modern roads were paved throughout the region, the Tualatin River use to carry steamboats full of local crops. While you won’t find a steamboat chugging along the river today, kayaks and canoes are a welcomed sight. In the summer months, the Tualatin Riverkeepers provide boat rentals out of Cook Park.  Through winter and spring, you can stop along the river’s picnic points for a peaceful lunch date. Share your picnic outing via the Winter Wonder Instagram Photo Contest!

For those planning ahead, pencil in these fantastic annual Tualatin River Events:

Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle
May 16 | Bridge Boat Launch | 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. | free to $50

Tualatin River Discovery Day Paddle
June 27 | Tualatin Community Park | 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | free to $30

A MidSummer Night Paddle
July 18 | Tualatin Community Park | 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. | $10 to $50

Fall Colors Paddle
October 3 | Browns Ferry Park | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. | $10 to $50

Tualatin River’s Cook Park Entry Point
Location: 17005 SW 92nd Ave, Tigard, OR 97224
Phone: (503) 218-2580
Trail Hours: open year-round
Riverkeeper hours: July-September, Friday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Past Nature Passport Blog Posts:
Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Cook Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Fernhill Wetlands
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Loop
L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Magness Memorial Tree Farm
Rood Bridge Park
Tillamook State Forest
Tualatin Hills Nature Park and Interpretive Center

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

Dog-Friendly Places in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
ghost and wine glass

Ghost, Plum Hill Winery & Vineyard’s dog, takes a sniff of wine!

What do you love most about your pet? It’s Love Your Pet Day—and one of the best ways to make your pet tail-wagging happy is by taking him or her on vacation to the Tualatin Valley. Oh yes, your dog will relish all the new smells and spots that are perfect for a mid-day frolic!

Dog-Friendly Hotels
Think beyond camping when it comes to taking your pet on vacation. Why not?—there are affordable and plush hotel options waiting for you here. Book a room at one of our pet friendly hotels.

Dog-Friendly Nature Spots
Get ready for an epic game of fetch at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. Open year-round from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, an off-leash dog park provides the perfect romping grounds for pooches of all sizes and breeds. Set atop a steep-sloped hill, your dog can run up-and-down-up-and-down to his or her heart’s delight.

If an on-leash nature walk is more your style, take your four-legged friend on a stroll through the Fanno Creek Trail. Afterward, the nearby Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub has a dog-friendly patio where your pooch can relax and you can unwind with a brew or two.

Dog-Friendly Vineyards
While there won’t be any Pinot in the doggy bowl, many of the tasting rooms in the northern Willamette Valley are either pet friendly or have dogs of their own. If you’re planning to bring your dog wine tasting, then please call ahead to check each winery’s pet policy. If you’re traveling sans pup, but need your dog fix while visiting, then come give some pats to Ghost at Plum Hill Winery and Vineyard.

Looking ahead into the summer, look out for the dog-friendly, bi-weekly concerts at Oak Knoll Winery, as well as August’s Canines Uncorked event with thirteen wineries waiting with wine for you and treats for the furry companions.

We know that, truly, every day is Love Your Pet Day and the dog-lovers of the Tualatin Valley are ready to help you celebrate.

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

Plan Your Wedding in Oregon’s Wine Country

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

Valentine’s Day is a big deal, beyond just the roses and chocolate. Nearly a quarter of a million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day. Couples from near and far choose Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley as their place to say “I do.” And for good reason with gorgeous views, special venues, and all the accoutrement for the best day of your life.

Kick-off wedding planning with the Grand Lodge Wedding Open House (March 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free). Here, couples can envision their upcoming nuptials, from primping at the Ruby Spa, toasting at the Doctor’s Office Bar, and concocting signature cocktails options. For a glimpse into the magic: watch the video below:

McMenamins Grand Lodge Weddings from Candy Glass Productions on Vimeo.

Rustic Charm
We love the creative spirit of our brides, which shines through in their choice of venues: rustic beauty whimsically intertwines with modern style. Such is the case with historic downtown Sherwood’s Bella Via, as well as Hillsboro’s McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall. The 1850s roadhouse includes an octagonal barn that is darn right magical when laced with twinkle lights.

Au Natural
For a joyous, boho wedding day, look no further than Horning’s Hideout. Exchange vows by the lake, along a tree-lined creek, or on a large outdoor stage with room for 700 of your closest friends. With 24 hour rentals, guests can celebrate into the night and to camp under the stars.

Vineyard Views
With great Pinot, Oregon’s Washington County ensures some of the best wedding bars. Wineries like A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery host intimate wedding parties and rehearsal dinners.

Hole-In-One
The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club promises a picturesque black-tie affair. Lovebirds tie-the-knot on the wildflower-bordered patio. For the party, the clubhouse is like celebrating in an Oregon-style castle.

All in the Details
Nowadays, it seems like no wedding is complete without a photobooth, such as local vendor Cheesy Mugs, or an after-party food truck. Guests can chow down on the ever-popular bulgogi tacos of Koi Fusion PDX food truck. For a fun twist on Oregon wine, rent the Union Wine Company’s wine truck!

It was rustic all around at this celebration

A romantic, whimsical and outdoorsy wedding awaits, just minutes from Portland

Start planning your wedding! Get more resources on our Wedding Wonderland page–and figuring out room blocks for your guests with one of our stunning hotels!

And find more venues for your wedding, no matter your style: rustic charm, nature settings, golf courses, and vineyards and wineries.

Instagram Contest Ideas

Posted on: February 9th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 3 Comments

What’s your favorite Instagram filter? The Winter Wonder Instagram Photo Contest is well underway and we want to see the Tualatin Valley through the lens of your—well—camera phone! When uploading photos from Oregon’s Washington County to your Instagram feed through March 20, be sure to include the following in order to have that picture entered into the contest:

  1. #mytualatinvalley
  2. @oregonswashingtoncounty
  3. Photo location (must be a hotel, nature spot, vineyard or brewery)

Read the complete rules, as well as the terms and conditions.

Now, it’s inspiration time! To get a feel for past photos that Instagrammers have taken in the Tualatin Valley, see the stunning shots below.

Hotels
Valerie Huffman (Instagram account@maizey2) shows us her morning yoga routine at the McMenamins Grand Lodge.

Maizey2McMenamins
Nature & Outdoors
Gunnar Simonsen (Instagram account @gunnarsimonsen) shows the fairy light at Cooper Mountain Nature Park.

gunnarsimonsen_coopermtnparkVineyards, Wineries and Breweries
Emma Rise Hanley (Instagram account @emmarosehanley) gives some ’70s vibes with the Vinyl at Waltz Brewing.

emmarosehanley_waltz
Savor the last weeks of winter with an end-of-season getaway to the Tualatin Valley—instagramming with #mytualatinvalley during your stay!

Read the full Winter Wonder Instagram Photo Contest Terms and Conditions here.

World Wetlands Day

Posted on: February 2nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Happy World Wetlands Day! That’s right, the wetlands of the earth deserve a day dedicated to their greatness—and all the good they do for our environment. These nature preserves provide vast and meaningful benefits for not only the environment, but many cultures’ societal and economic concerns, as well. If managed sustainably, our wetlands will provide a bevy of betterment to future generations, including the following:

  • Purified water
  • Replenished water supplies
  • Fish (and rice in other parts of the world) that feed billions of animals and humans alike
  • Protection from both flooding and drought by coastlines

One of the best ways to support wetlands is simply to make a point of visiting them! Lucky for us, the Tualatin Valley is rich in beautiful wetlands. Fernhill Wetlands in Forest Grove, the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve in Hillsboro and the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood all offer up the chance to get up-close-and-personal with year-round wildlife of waterfowl and migratory birds.

In tune with World Wetlands Day, Fernhill Wetlands re-opens its full breadth of trails, including 90 new acres of natural treatment wetlands. The new acreage includes 180 snags and root wads creating habitat for the hundreds of species of birds that flock to the area. The new berms and flow control structures soon will be overgrown by 750,000 native plants and 3.5 billion seeds that will grow into more diverse habitat for birds and wildlife. Visitors will be able to watch these wetlands grow and flourish year after year as these new additions enrich the habitat.

Photo of Fernhill Wetlands by Mary Lane Anderson

Photo of Fernhill Wetlands by Mary Lane Anderson


You’ll be delighted by the picturesque view of the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve from its Wetlands Education Center, which includes a perfect viewing deck. Catch a glimpse of the bald eagle nest, which weighs in at a whopping 1,500 pounds!

 

Spot an Egret taking a morning dip!

At Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, spot an Egret taking a morning dip!

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge—just 10 miles from Portland—welcomes over 200 species of birds and 50 species of mammals into its habitat, creating a symphony of nature sounds!

 

Keep Oregon green: Volunteer efforts help keep parks, nature and open spaces green and clean.

A stunning sunset at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.


Read more:

Fernhill Wetlands
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve
Winter Bird Watching in Oregon

Instagram for the Wetlands
If you visit Fernhill Wetlands or Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve before March 20, then be sure to take some pictures and enter them into our Winter Wonder Instagram Contest. When posting your Instagram, tag @oregonswashingtoncounty, along with the location and the #mytualatinvalley hashtag. You could win some serious local swag!