What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

Tualatin River Bird Festival Itinerary

Posted on: May 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Ca-caw! Hoot hoot! Tweet tweet! No matter how we say it, the May 16 Tualatin River Bird Festival at Sherwood’s Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is coming to. Novice and veteran wildlife watchers love event, which is heightened by our itinerary for it!

Friday May 15
The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport is excited to host attendees of the Tualatin River Bird Festival—read their tips!

Near the hotel is Cabela’s World’s Forestry Outfitter for last minute, tax-free outdoor gear. Then, head to Hayden’s Lake Front Grill for upscale classics and a sunset view of the Tualatin Commons and its shimmering lake.

Rise with the sun for phenomenal wildlife watching at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Rise with the sun for phenomenal wildlife watching at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Saturday, May 16
5:30 a.m. Guided Birding Trail
Meet the early birds with a guided walk-and-talk with expert Ted Buerger, FWS. Watch the world and all of its wonderful creatures wake-up and begin the day.

7:30 a.m. A Buzz of Your Own
That’s not a buzzing bee, it’s you getting your coffee fix at Sherwood’s Symposium Coffee and its baristas that have that magic latte touch.

8:30 a.m. Bird Fest Paddle
Go from dirt trails to waterways with the Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle in Tualatin. Have a kayak or canoe view of neotropical migrant birds, including black-headed grosbeaks and lazuli buntings. Register for this event!

Noon: Feed Time
No worms for you! Head to Fat Milo’s Family Kitchen for biscuits and gravy because—after that paddle—you deserve it!

 

Catch a glimpse of heron and neotropical migrant birds.

Catch a glimpse of heron and neotropical migrant birds.

Rest of the Day: Festival Time!
Take full advantage of the Tualatin River Bird Festival and its decoy painting, archery, guided nature walks and more. What will you do first?

7 p.m. Dinner
Rally for dinner at Tree’s Restaurant. The treehouse-like setting fits into your day exploring the lush Tualatin Valley. Plus, this Creole cuisine is awesome.

Sunday, May 17
Ready for more nature goodness? A hike at Cooper Mountain Nature Walk is just the place. Cyclists can hop on a bike and traverse the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, starting at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro.

Explore nature in an agricultural sense with Buds to Bottles at Gaston’s Plum Hill Vineyards. Plant your own Pinot Noir! For $25 year, the vineyard will tend to your vines and when the vines mature, you will receive a case of your own unique wine! Sip it while dreaming of your next visit to the Tualatin Valley.

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

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

Posted on: April 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

May Events in the Tualatin Valley
May is the sparkplug of summer fun in Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley. 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 art, festivals and sports to make May matter. See our top 10 suggestions below.

1. Art Walks

The Downtown Tigard Art Walk (May 1-15 on Main Street; free) includes an artsy re-vamp of the downtown area with new public art and bike racks made possible by a grant from the Washington County Visitors Association. Check out the pop-up gallery and a graffiti art demonstration the first weekend of the Art Walk.

2. Renaissance Faire

Forest Grove’s re-created medieval village, Faire in the Grove (May 2-3 at the McMenamins Grand Lodge; free), is a good excuse for history buffs and Game of Throne buffs to unite.

3. Cycling through Oregon Wine Country

The Montinore Bicycle Road Race (May 2 at Montinore Estate; $15-$30 registration) makes easy loops through lush countryside, while Reach the Beach Ride (May 16 at Southridge High School; $40 registration) offers a more challenging ride along farmlands.

4. Saké with a Twist

Oyster shooters just got more fun with the SakéOne’s Annual Oyster & Saké Event (May 2 at SakéOne; $15 per person). Pair fresh Pacific Northwest Oysters with different saké pairings.

5. Northwest Trail Run…with Peacocks!

Jog next to peacocks at Havoc at the Hideout (May 3, at Horning’s Hideout; $30 per person). Here, you’ll find some of the best forest trails in the Northwest.

6. Plant a Mini-Vineyard

Lay claim to four Pinot Noir plants at Buds to Bottles (May 16-17 at Plum Hill Vineyards), which will go on to become your own handcrafted Pinot Noir wine one day.

7. Spectacular Bird and Wildlife watching

The Tualatin River Bird Festival (May 16 at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge; free) is a fabulous way to see and celebrate wildlife. Go from land to water with the Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle, too!

8. Visit a Brand New Tasting Room

The Dion Vineyards Tasting Room Grand Opening (May 16-17 at Dion Vineyards; $15 per person) celebrates its new digs tastings of its small-production wines.

9. Play Cornhole for Cash!

Oregon State Championships of Cornhole (May 30 at Pacific University; $30 registration) is perfect for casual and competitive cornhole players. Warm up your arm at the Oregon Cornhole Championships Kick-Off Festival the day before at the McMenamins Grand Lodge.

10. Mother’s Day & Memorial Day

Of course, that’s just a sampling of May merriment. If you’re in town with your mom, then take advantage of these Mother’s Day Events. Plus, take a getaway for Memorial Day in the North Willamette Wine Country!

Have a happy May in the Tualatin Valley!

May Events in the Tualatin Valley, near Portland!

The Best Mother’s Day Events in the Greater Portland Region

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

Mom. Mother. Mama. Mommy.

No matter what you call the woman who helped raise you, it’s time to show her some special love this Mother’s Day. Luckily, there is no shortage of Mother’s Day events in the Tualatin Valley. Choose from brunch, wine, high tea and active Mother’s Day celebrations.

 

Celebrate Mother's Day with brunch and fabulous wine at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with brunch and fabulous wine at Plum Hill Vineyards.

 

Hillsboro Mother’s Day Events

Garden Vineyards Mother’s Day Brunch
12960 NW Dick Road | May 10, varying times | $20-$35
This stunning estate opens its grounds for a leisurely brunch based on century-old farm recipes. Eat a sustainable, hearty lunch of eggs, slow cooked pork and Bing cherry sauce

Hippie Chick Quarter and Half Marathon
Hillsboro Hops Stadium | May 9, 8 a.m. to noon | $79 registration
The only thing better than crossing the finish line alongside your mother is having a mimosa placed in your hands right after.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | May 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | $16-$27
The cozy McMenamins’ spot has the famous octagonal barn—a perfect rustic-chic backdrop for your Mother’s Day pictures.

Tea’s Me Mother’s Day Tea
1601 B. SE Road | May 9-10, varying times | $25 per person plus $5 gratuity
Choose from the High Tea or a Crab Louie option—both are super fancy and will have your mother feeling like an absolute queen.

Portland Mother’s Day Events

Run Like a Mother 5k
Cook Park | May 10, 8 a.m. start | $40-$45 registration
For super active moms, start Mother’s Day with a heart-thumping 5k, followed by live entertainment in the park.

Nature Days: Roger Tilbury Park
965 NW 93rd Avenue | May 10, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Free
Little ones will love exploring local habitats, viewing how mother-child relationships play out in the wild.

Gaston Mother’s Day Events

Mother’s Day Brunch at Plum Hill Vineyards
6505 SW Old Highway 47 | May 10, noon to 2 p.m. | $35 per person
This friendly winery offers a five-course brunch paired with delicious wines from the vineyard.

What brunch, booze or beautiful view will you share with your mother this Mother’s Day? Any celebration in the Tualatin Valley will be sure to be a memorable one.

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

 

Best Earth-Friendly Shopping and Souvenirs in the Tualatin Valley

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

Happy Earth Day! When it comes to treating our planet nicely, small changes can make big differences—even when traveling. In addition to our eco-chic itinerary, we wanted to share a few sustainably-minded souvenirs from Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley.

Used Books

Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing is the home hundreds of thousands of used—and often rare!—books. If you’re looking for a special, early-edition print of your favorite novel, then these are the shelves to scour. What’s more, this Powell’s Books location boasts an impressive collection of gardening and homesteading books so that you can work on your green thumb. For extra sustainability points, take the nearby MAX station at Beaverton Central instead of a car.

 

Literary greats often walk through the doors of the iconic Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing.

Find rare and special used books at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing.

 

Biodynamic Wines

Alaska Airlines has extended its Oregon Wines Fly Free promotion, meaning Mileage Plan members may check one case of wine (6 or 12 bottles) for free on their Alaska Airlines flights out of Oregon airports. You might as well make that case of wine full or biodynamic ones that you picked up while wine tasting along our Sustainable Wine Trail. Both Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate produce their wines with farming practices that respect and uphold the beautiful balance of vineyard soils and environments.

 

Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing the beauty, wine, and food along the Sip 47 Route.

Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing his biodynamic wine-making process.

 

Antiques

Shopping antique is a win-win as you score a one-of-a-kind piece without adding the same carbon footprint as buying new goods. What’s your favorite decade? Whether it’s Victorian or totally ’80s, you can shop by the decade at one of our many antique, vintage and carefully-curated second-hand shops. Downtown Hillsboro is freckled with sweet antique shops ready for the most die-hard and leisurely of shoppers.

 

Can you spot any Depression Glass from the Railroad Street Antique Mall's window?

Can you spot any Depression Glass from the Railroad Street Antique Mall’s window?

Want even more ways to travel with Mother Earth in mind? Find more eco-travel tips—you’ll find ways to support and enjoy nature just minutes away from downtown Portland!

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

An Eco-Chic Itinerary

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

environmentally friendly itinerary near Portland, Oregon

Happy Earth Week! How do you keep your travel sustainably-poised? In Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley, you can travel one environmentally-minded spot to the next, ranging from wineries to museums to restaurants. Extend your trip or plan a few extra days after visiting Portland to partake in our eco-chic itinerary,which can be completed year-round. Bonus points to those who complete it using an electric vehicle, which is easy when using our list of EV charging stations!

Environmentally Friendly Science Museum

The Tualatin Valley is home to a magnificent ecological history of volcanic proportions! To see what we mean, visit the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, which has recently been named as an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Prepare for a sustainable future by learning about the amazingness of the Earth’s past via thunder eggs, petrified wood, quartz, agate, jasper, metallic ores and gems.

Environmentally Friendly Restaurants

A healthy, earth-friendly cheeseburger?—yes please! A quick drive from the museum, the Cruise In Country Diner feels like a blast from the past with ethics focused on the future. Indulge your nostalgia for old-timey diners with classic milkshakes and juicy burgers. Every ingredient that goes into the food here is sustainable and often locally grown or raised.

Environmentally Friendly Wine Tasting

Drinking red can be oh-so green with a jaunt along the Sustainable Wine Trail. Going beyond mere organic practices, Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate employ biodynamic farming practices. This approach means that high-quality wine is produced through the utmost respects of the vineyard’s unique ecosystem.

Environmentally Friendly Lodging

If stargazing is on your end-of-day agenda, then book a cabin at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. In the morning, you’ll wake up to sweeping views of the valley and easy hikes that start, essentially, out your cabin’s front door.

Camp like a Girl Scout at L.L. "Stub" Stewart Park with many badge worthy activities at your fingertips.

L.L. “Stub” Stewart Park offers eco-friendly lodging with the best views of the Tualatin Valley.

We hope to see you at one of our environmentally-friendly attractions soon! Share your tips for traveling sustainably in the comments below.

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.