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

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Roloff Farms in the Tualatin Valley.
October is a great month, toting along a bevy of autumnal activities: Halloween fun, fall foliage and pumpkin patches (and the accompanying pumpkin spice lattes). 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 events to make October the best.

1. Hillsboro Arts Month

October is Hillsboro Arts Month, meaning that the area is chock-full of artsy-fartsy events. The month starts out with a bang as the Plein Air Festival (October 1-4) opens alongside Affordable Art for Everyone (October 3). Later in the month, view local art at Beaverton Arts Mix! (October 8-11) and the Washington County Open Studios Tour (October 17-18).

2. Fall Colors on the Tualatin River

See double the fall foliage as changing leaves are reflected in the waters of the Tualatin Valley at the annual Fall Colors Paddle (October 3). All levels welcome on this lazy river ride!

3. Spooky Events Near Portland

We don’t just have natural beauty, but supernatural fun, as well with the Zombies v.s. Survivors Run (October 3).

4. Oregon Pumpkin Patches

Whether you go for a classic orange one or a blue-green “Cinderella” gourd, head to our pumpkin patches for farm-time fun. The biggest pumpkins in all the land are carved into actual racing vessels at the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta (October 17).

5. Oregon Crush

Embrace the busy “crush” season for Oregon winemakers with the North Willamette Crush Weekend (October 17-18). Try special wines from over a dozen wineries.

6. Knitting, Quilting and Crocheting Events

The crisp weather will get you in the knitting mood. For supplies and ideas, hit up the Alpaca Harvest Festival (October 3-4) and the Color POWer! Quilt Show (October 3-4).

7. Oktoberfest Shenanigans

Cheers! Germany’s beer festival makes its way to the Tualatin Valley with the Oktoberfest at the McMenamins Grand Lodge (October 3) and OrenKoFest (October 10).

8. More Than an Apple a Day

Ready for a big, red, juicy apple? Bite into Applefest at Oregon Heritage Farms (October 10) and the Heirloom Apple Festival at Smith Berry Farm (October 10-11).

9. Moonlit Nature Walks

Jackson Bottom Wetlands hosts two evening naturalist-led walks around its beautiful refuge, the Fall Moonrise Watch (October 27) and Night-time Walkabout (October 29).

10. Trick-or-Treat

All ages are welcome to an all-day affair of food, music, costumes and more at Halloween at the McMenamins Grand Lodge (October 31).

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

What Others Are Saying About the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: September 28th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments


David Hill Turns 50

Oregon Wine Press shares musings on David Hill Vineyards’ 50th anniversary.

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

94-year-old Oregon winemaker looks forward, back as another harvest begins from The Oregonian
One of the founding winemakers of Oregon’s wine scene shares his history, best memories and expertise of growing grapes in his Banks vineyard.

A Shopper’s Guide to Portland’s Best International Markets from Portland Monthly
This ethnic food guide can’t deny the goodies to be found in the diverse Tualatin Valley, including the Indian megagrocery Apna Bazaar in Beaverton and the Korean kimchi aisle at H-Mart in Tigard.David Hill Turns 50 from Oregon Wine Press
With five decades of stellar winemaking at this gorgeous estate with a 19th century farmhouse and rich soils for Pinot grapes, there is much to celebrate at David Hill Vineyard & Winery—including the future.

Hiking and Biking in the Portland Metro Area from Portland Monthly
For outdoor adventure that’s easily accessible from Portland, head to Cooper Mountain Nature Park. The Little Prairie Loop provides an up-close view of frogs, birds and more.

Oregon’s 25 Best Wines Under $25 from Portland Monthly
Montinore Estate’s 2014 Borealis is a white blend of punchy tropical notes that pairs perfectly with winter’s spiciest meals.

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

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Artsty Hillsboro Itinerary

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

Break out the paint brushes, roll out the red carpet, put on your dancing shoes and do whatever else you’ve got to do to get into an artsy mood. October is Hillsboro Arts Month and we want you to get in touch with your infinite creativity. Arts events will be happening in the Tualatin Valley all throughout October, starting with a great opening weekend that we’ve detailed below.


Plein Air in Washington County

Plein Air invites artists to the Tualatin Valley to create art in our fresh air.

Friday, October 2
Art is in the air, figuratively and literally speaking. Artist create masterpiece outdoors at the annual Plein Air event (October 1-6; all day event). Come watch the first day of this festival where amazing painters choose the Tualatin Valley’s scenic views as their muses. Prime Plein Air locations include the McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse, Helvetia Tavern, Jackson School Lavender Farm and Orenco Station (near The Orenco Hotel for easy overnight accommodations).

Saturday, October 3
Let nature reflecting off the soothing Tualatin River be your artist’s palette at the Fall Colors Paddle (October 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.). This easy kayaking trip is suitable for all ages. The only requirements are an open mind, willing to paddle and registrations.

What better way is there to remember a trip than to bring home a special piece of art from that place? Discover local art at Affordable Art for Everyone (October 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Here, all artwork is original and under $100. Yes, you read that right.

After carefully packing away your art finds, dance, eat and drink the evening away at Oktoberfest at the Grand Lodge (October 3; all day). Live music will play the soundtrack to your evening of merriment (and beer!) at the artsy McMenamins Grand Lodge, which is a great place to rest your head at the days end.

Sunday, October 4
Before heading home, make a few new fluffy friends at the Alpaca Harvest Festival (October 3-4 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). In addition to alpacas to pet, EasyGo Farm and Alpacas of Oregon will have beautiful fleece and yarn in both natural and dyed varieties for knitters who want to stock up on materials.

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

Tualatin River Water Trail

Posted on: September 4th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments

Tualatin River Water TrailThere are trails for days in the Tualatin Valley, making outdoor lovers some very happy campers when they visit. No matter your outdoor activity of choice, we’ve got the attraction—and accompanying guide!—for you. Whether you’d call yourself a Pisces, water baby or just somebody who loves being near good ol’ H2O, our latest guide should get your fins going.

The new Tualatin River Water Trail guide describes the points on the Tualatin River that are currently accessible to the public, starting at the mouth of the river and working upstream from there. Order a guide for detailed descriptions of river access points along the lower stretch of the Tualatin River. The guide also includes an extensive, easy-to-read map. In addition to river access points, the map also calls attention to parking access, caution areas, restrooms and restaurants near the water trail. In short, it’s super helpful!

Labor Day weekend marks the last open hours of the season for the Tualatin Riverkeepers’ kayak rentals; however, avid paddlers can still bring their own kayaks and canoes to river access points year-round. As we transition into fall, expect higher flow levels, fallen trees and submerged debris. With these conditions at hand, the water trail best for intermediate and experienced paddlers in the cooler months.

If you want to paddle post Labor Day, but can’t schlep your own gear, then register for a beginner stand-up paddle boarding class with Dog Star Adventure Tours. These classes, which run into November, meet at Cook Park for a 90 minute foray into fun watersports.  

While ordering your free Tualatin River Water Trail guide, why not check the little boxes for some other guide goodies, too?  We’ve got fantastic guides for cycling, the Vineyard & Valley Scenic Tour Route and our Nature Passport that we’d love to deliver right to your mailbox!

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

Getaway to the Tualatin Valley Before School Starts

Posted on: August 26th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Kids learn about farming and animals at one of the Tualatin Valley's idyllic farms.

Kids learn about farming and animals at one of the Tualatin Valley’s idyllic farms.

It’s never too late to make a quick weekend (or mid-week) getaway to the Tualatin Valley before the school year begins. With plenty of things to do for all ages, here’s your guide to a last-minute trip.

Zip-Line Adventures
The Tualatin Valley’s newest zip-line park, Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour features eight zip lines that will take adventurers through a beautiful forest, across majestic suspension bridges and near breathtaking Brunswick Canyon. Tree to Tree Adventure Park—an aerial ropes course and guided zip-line park— features an aerial adventure ropes, zip line tours, dueling zip line racing, tree-top plunge and more.
Scenic Adventures
The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is a 50-mile excursion along rural roads and incorporates the 21-mile the Banks-Vernonia trail. Pedal along the countryside, stopping at farm stands, restaurants and quaint shops along the way. (This route is best explored by intermediate and advanced riders.)

If a driving tour is more your speed, take a late-summer journey along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a 60-mile driving tour through the Tualatin Valley’s agricultural areas. Stop at a u-pick farm or farm stand to taste the fruits of the valley, dine in a quaint country diner, stop to see the livestock farms and learn a little pioneer history.

Family Fun
Traveling with little ones? The Tualatin Valley offers a wide assortment of indoor play spots that are sure to thrill all of the members of the family, from entertainment centers that feature rides and arcades to outdoor nature centers and museums. See some ideas here.
Fun on the River
Finally, take advantage of the warm weather with a relaxing paddle along the Tualatin River. No advance planning is necessary for a boat trip, as rentals are available on a drop-in, first-come, first-serve basis. The Tualatin Riverkeepers rents canoes and kayaks at Tigard’s Cook Park on weekends, and Alder Creek offers rentals at Brown’s Ferry Park, which rents canoes and single and tandem recreational kayaks.
For more inspiration, visit our website, tualatinvalley.org.
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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.

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

Oregon Lavender Festival Near Portland

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

Lavender is magical, isn’t it? The oils in it hold powerful properties that serve as a sort of cure-all for many of life’s ailments: headaches, anxiety, rashes, bloating and even dandruff. Plus, it smells amazing! The Oregon Lavender Festival, July 10 through July 12, celebrates lavender’s beauty, fragrance, and versatility. The festival takes place across Oregon with the Tualatin Valley boasting three beautiful lavender farms for the florally inclined. With each of the farms hosting special features, it’s worth visiting them all in one lavender-themed weekend.



Mountainside Lavender Farm

Mountainside Lavender Farm is one of the Tualatin Valley farms taking part in the Oregon Lavender Festival.


Oregon Lavender Festival Farms Near Portland

Helvetia Lavender Farm in Hillsboro (Helvetia)

Helvetia Lavender Farm parades 60 lovely lavender varieties. Try your hand at making a wreath or wand with help from the Helvetia Lavender Farm family. Ever wonder how lavender essential oil is made? Here’s your chance to watch it being distilled onsite.

Helvetia Lavender Farm festival hours are Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jackson School Lavender in North Plains

Jackson School Lavender Farm celebrates 12 years of growing lavender—young compared to the Jackson School House that has stood on the same property since 1865! Pick from the field of Grosso lavender and nibble on lavender cookies with lavender infused jams and honey.

Jackson School Lavender festival hours are Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mountainside Lavender Farm in Hillsboro (Scholls)

Mountainside Lavender Farm holds to a steadfast organic farming practice with a closed loop system that produces ten times faster than farms using conventional farming techniques. Adding to the earth-friendly vibe, enjoy fresh vegetables, alpacas and goats living in symbiosis on the farm.

Mountainside Lavender Farm festival hours are Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Satisfy your lavender fix after the festival at one of the Tualatin Valley’s many farmers markets where you’ll find local pre-cut lavender and lavender products. With so much lavender loot, you’ll need many lavender recipes to help you use up the delicious herb. Here are a few of our favorite flavor medleys to cook up:
Pecan Crusted Salmon with Lavender
Lavender Simple Syrup
Blueberry Lavender Milkshake

Here’s to seeing the world through lavender-tinted glasses!

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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!

Best Camping in the Tualatin Valley

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

A vacation doesn’t have to be expensive, elusive or exhaustive in planning (that doesn’t sound like a vacation at all!). Sometimes that respite you crave can be satisfied by throwing your tent in the back of the car, driving a few miles down the road to an area that looks a world away and camping yourself into a restful restoration. Enter, camping in the Tualatin Valley. In addition to your tent, what other toys will you bring on our camping getaway? We’ve picked out some of our favorite camping spots below, all designated by an awesome activity you will find at each one.


Gales Creek

Camp creekside at Gales Creek in the Tualatin Valley.



Camping in Tillamook is easy with Browns Camp along the Wilson River Highway. Adrenaline junkies map out this spot for dirt bike adventures—expect a messy, good time!
    Other area features: ATVs and 4x4s

Mountain Biking

Camping in the Forest Grove area means the gurgling of flowing water at Gales Creek Campground. If your two wheels doesn’t have a motor, then the trails here are perfect for a lush, green ride.
    Other area features: fishing, hiking, wildlife watching


Camping near the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, just west of the Tillamook State Forest, is clutch at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, which offers a disc-golf course close to the site’s charming cabins, RV Park and campgrounds.
    Other area features: horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, geocache sites, dog
    -friendly  areas.

Horseback Riding

Camping in the small community of Timber, Oregon is a quaint experience at Reehers Camp. The area includes a day use trailhead accessible to horseback riders (along with horse camp sites to match).
Other area features: hiking, historical background

What are your camping tips? Happy trails!

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

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!