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New Art and Bike Racks in Downtown Tigard

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

How does one take artistic inspiration from a cluster of tomatoes in a netted basket? Funny as it sounds, that was the nebulous image given to the glassblowing artists at Live Laugh Love Glass when first conceptualizing the new public art that graces Tigard’s blossoming Southwest Main Street.

The end result is downright majestic—head to downtown Tigard to see it for yourself! The owners and artists of Live Laugh Love Glass, Brett and Natalie Vinsant, created stunning, light-catching globes that freckle the sidewalks of downtown Tigard. Each art piece is composed of 16 glass spheres contained within a larger metal globe. Marveled by what you see? Walk over to the glassblowing studio for a fun class where you can make your own glass masterpiece!

 

Glass art installations in downtown Tigard.

Just a sampling of the glass art installations in downtown Tigard.

The glass installations are part of an artsy re-vamp of the downtown area made possible by a grant from the Washington County Visitors Association. In addition to the art hanging high, the grant also made way for functional art on the ground level, as well. Enter the funky-fun bike racks and tire pump stations! These colorful new resources are a welcome sight in the cyclist-friendly city.

New bicycle racks and tire pump stations welcome cyclists to downtown Tigard

New bicycle racks and tire pump stations welcome cyclists to downtown Tigard

Lock up your bicycle outside of Symposium Coffee, grab a cup of stellar Stumptown joe and stroll the cute shops (and glass installations!) in front of you. Afterward, pedal or walk the Fanno Creek Trail. There’s a trailhead by Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub (perfect for a post trail brew).

The welcomed additions to downtown Tigard make it easy to have an artsy and sporty stay in the Tualatin Valley!

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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.

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Five Places to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Posted on: May 4th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
peppers mexican food

Pepper’s Mexican Grill is a Hillsboro favorite, known for its house-made salsas.

With Cinco de Mayo, we are salivating for a fiesta-themed lunch, happy hour or dinner. To be honest, though, the quest for good Mexican food is a signature part of any foodie’s vacation. Oregon’s Washington County has a vibrant Hispanic population that gives way to culinary hotspots. Thus, we present five can’t miss Mexican food spots in Beaverton and Hillsboro where you can enjoy during Cinco de Mayo and beyond:

Uno: Pepper’s Mexican Grill (976 SE Baseline St, Hillsboro)
As a 2015 Tualatin Valley People’s Choice Awards finalist, this authentic Mexican restaurant is as beloved as they come. House-made salsas and a full bar (for the requisite margarita) pair perfectly with the Pepper’s sampler platter, where you get to try a little bit of everything (hello, nachos, quesadillas, flautas, tamales and shrimp!)

Dos: Amelia’s Mexican Restaurant (105 NE 4th Ave, Hillsboro)
Rustic Mexican food in a cozy setting. Yes—that’s Amelia’s. This Hillsboro favorite has well earned its fan following with consistently stellar Mexican fare. Hungry? You won’t be after chowing down on the Burrito Loco, which weighs a whopping 2.5 pounds; though, some of that may be “water weight” from the signature green tomatillo sauce smothered all over it.

Tres: Ochoas Lupitas (9549 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, Beaverton)
Ochoas Lupitas is a stand-out food truck. The small kitchen pumps out a large menu, including the ultimate late night treat: $1 tacos. Get the authentic cabeza, lengua and tripas varieties, too. Top each taco with picks with perfectly pickled jalapenos, onions and carrots.

Cuatro: Pepita’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina (4190 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton)
Entering the unassuming storefront, patrons are gleefully surprised at Pepita’s ornately decorated interior. From piñatas to streamers and stained glass, every inch of the walls and ceiling is plastered with splashy flare. The standard taco plate is elevated with perfectly marinated meat. Any day can feel like Cinco de Mayo with a margarita or Mexican hot chocolate flavored milkshake.

Cinco: Salsa Market (4265 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton)
Follow your nose. The street outside smells of the cinnamon sugar baked goods lovingly made there. Besides dessert, Salsa Market is serious about marinated meat. Pick from the vast array of marinades, which pair splendidly with a bag of spiced, dried mangoes.

With these five faves, you’re never far from good Mexican food!

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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.

Frozen Food Month

Posted on: March 23rd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Frozen Food Month, Chamoyada from Beaverton's Ome Calle

For Frozen Food Month, try a spicy-sweet Chamoyada from Beaverton’s Ome Calle.

Get ready for a brain freeze because it’s National Frozen Food Month! Whether it’s ice cold or perfectly slushy, the Tualatin Valley’s frozen food game is on point. The Greater Portland region ranks as the 10th top-consumers of ice cream (businessinsider.com). That stat alludes to even more frosty treats that Oregonians—and visitors!—eat here year-round. Start licking your lips for these cold confections:

Snowy Shaved Ice: Momo’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (2020 NW Alocleck Drive, Hillsboro)
Move over snow cone! The real deal shave ice is in town and you cannot compete. The superiority of shaved ice comes from the special equipment that finely shaves a solid block of ice into a snow-like fluffy dream. Because of its consistency, the “snow” absorbs flavored syrup fully and perfectly. At Momo’s, we go for the Tigers blood variety (don’t worry, it’s just strawberry coconut!) with a “snow cap” of sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top

Pretty Popsicles: Ome Calle (12795 SW Canyon Road, Beaverton and 19503 SW Boones Ferry Road, Tualatin)
Ome Calli is the purveyor of all things Mexican frozen treats. From ice cream to popsicles to the famous Chamoyadas, which is a spicy-sweet frozen fruit slush (think plum and apricot chamoy flavor with mango). The refreshing drink is topped with pickled fruit, Mexican gummy candies, and chili powder. As if that’s not a powerhouse dessert all on its own, the mega-drink is finished with a popsicle of your choosing dunked into the center of your cup. Voila!—frozen upon frozen goodness! For a more refreshing—and less sinful—dessert, get a popsicle on its own in a surprising flavor like hemp or cucumber.

Grand Gelato: Strada (10124 SW Washington Square Road, Tigard)
Of course when it comes to frozen treats, we cannot forget about gelato. Enter, the restaurant Strada. The concept? Street food of Italy. A no brainer? The salted caramel gelato. Afterward, hunt for Italian-inspired fashion at the nearby Washington Square.

Moo-rific Milkshakes: Smith Berry Barn (24500 SW Scholls Ferry Rd, Hillsboro)
Since this frozen treat comes out of a straw, beware of the brain freeze! Still, the milkshakes at Smith Berry Barn cannot be beat. Try a caffe umbria espresso milkshakes for a milky buzz. Come berry season, lookout for more fruit-packed options made from farm-fresh berries.

Barbershop Ballad Town Itinerary

Posted on: March 9th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Sound the harmonica—the 69th Annual All Northwest Barbershop Ballad Contest  is coming to Forest Grove March 20-21! Spend a melodic getaway weekend in the Tualatin Valley to find out exactly why Forest Grove is known as Ballad Town USA. With tickets between $20 and $22, you can see two days of top-notch singers for a song. See below for a weekend itinerary for you’re a capella themed weekend.

Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m.
Before jumping into action, check into your room. There are plenty of great lodging options that are close to the singing main event. Perform a quick change into some festive gear while tonight’s vocalists warm up. Here are some especially nearby hotel offerings:

Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m.
In addition to the competitive rounds of singing, the comedic quartet group, Snafu, will also perform giggle-worthy tunes.

Friday, March 20 at 9 p.m.
After tonight’s show, discuss your favorite quartet groups over a pint of beer at the King’s Head Pub. While nibbling on house-made Scotch egg or English pasty, you might be inspired to hum some English pub songs.  

Saturday, March 20 at 10 a.m.
Start your day off in the All-American way. Maggie’s Buns serves up classic breakfast plates, including gigantic cinnamon buns. Bonus: The cozy brunch spot is the perfect starting location for an early afternoon wine tasting session. Head to Apolloni Vineyards and David Hill Vineyard & Winery next.

Saturday, March 20 at 1:00 p.m.
Before heading to the 2 p.m. round of the Barbershop Ballad Contest, pay a visit to the world’s tallest barber pole. In 1973, locals to crafted and installed a 70-foot tall barber pole, which still holds the title as the world’s tallest one today.

Saturday, March 20 at 5:00 p.m.
Fuel up before the intense final round of the contest at 7 p.m. with a soul-satisfying meal at 1910 Main. Using local ingredients, this favorite spot updates American classics with a modern, upscale twist.

Sunday, March 21
Before heading home, play a game of disc-golf at McMenamins Grand Lodge. If you work up enough of a sweat, then you’ll be able to justify a sweet treat from Sugar Mommas’ Bake Shop (pssst…get the red velvet cupcake!).

Celebrate Irish Culture in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: March 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments
Finnegan, the bar dog at Three Mugs Brewing, is an Irishman (err, Irishdog) at heart.

Finnegan, the bar dog at Three Mugs Brewing, is an Irishman (err, Irishdog) at heart.

The saying goes “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough.” Whether or not your lineage can be traced back to the Emerald Isle, double your luck—Irish style—in the Tualatin Valley. The greater Portland region holds strong ties to Ireland as many Irish families escaping famine immigrated to America and eventually traversed the Oregon Trail. The late 1800s marked the Irish community as the largest foreign-born community in the Portland region.* Celebrate Irish culture year-round with these local haunts.

For an Irish Jig
The Winds of Donegal Ceili teaches a new Irish dance every Friday, October through May. The drop-in class welcomes beginners and is open to all, ages 8 and older. Admission is $5, which is a steal considering the class includes live Irish music.

For Irish Flare in a Nano-Brewery
Three Mugs Brewing Co. brews seriously good beer in an unpretentious, quirkily-Irish taproom. The husband, wife and son team has lived all over the world, but remembers to pay tribute to their Irish roots with patriotic posters and a bar dog named Finnegan. The Fiery Wench Imperial Red gives a playful nod in name, color and taste to the family’s Irish heritage.

For the Sports-Crazed Irishman

J.B. O’Brien’s Irish Pub revels in its Irish roots. Pairing Irish pub fare with American pro sports is a long-loved bar standard that JB O’Brien’s does just right.

For Chasing the Rainbow
Henry Hagg Lake—it’s one of the best places to catch a rainbow. If the multi-colored arch doesn’t peek through the clouds, then fish for rainbow trout instead. We cannot promise a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or fishing line, but the golden-hour sunsets shimmering off the lake is just as good.

For St. Patrick’s Day Events
With Friday the 13th and St. Patrick’s Day falling within a week’s span of each other, there’s no better time to take a fortuitous foray into Oregon’s Washington County. If you’re lucky enough to visit in the coming weeks, then be sure to check out the many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

*Irish in Oregon history via www.oregonirish.org

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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.

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Lunar New Year in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley

Posted on: February 18th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Meet some goats at Heart 2 Heart Farm in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year's zodiac sign.

Meet some goats at Heart 2 Heart Farm in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year’s zodiac sign.

As the Tualatin Valley is one of Oregon’s most culturally diverse regions, we cannot help but jump into the coming Lunar New Year festivities. Look below for some ways to celebrate the Year of the Sheep!

Lion Dance
To fully embrace and welcome the Year of the Sheep, take part in the Lunar New Year Lion Dance at Uwajimaya (February 22, noon to 3 p.m.). The beloved spot for all foods and goods from Asia partakes in the Lunar New Year with a traditional Chinese Lion Dance—it’s a joyous affair! While you’re there, pick up some red envelopes and delicious, imported candy to give to loved ones for good luck in the New Year. The red envelope is especially important this year as Chinese culture often regards a Year of the Sheep as one that promises prosperity.

New Year’s Meal
A traditional Lunar New Year meal is either fish or dumplings. A quick drive from Uwajimaya, some of Oregon’s best dumplings await. Du Kuh Bee specializes in both Chinese and Korean homemade dumplings. Get a taste of the pork and chive goodness waiting inside the perfectly cooked dumpling dough. The pan-fried fish offers a nice balance and variety of texture to your New Year dining experience.

Meet Some Sheep!
As it is the Year of the Sheep—which also includes goats and rams—why not visit the farms of the Tualatin Valley and meet some furry friends? After all, the Year of the Sheep is often considered the zodiac sign that is nature’s special child with its gentle blooms and winds.

At Heart 2 Heart Farm, a gaggle of cute goats are eager to meet new friends. This sustainably-minded farm and homestead includes four goats—all of different breeds. So, come say hello to Poppy, Princess, Hoppy and Nibbles.

Whatever you do for the Lunar New Year, we wish you a happy and prosperous Year of the Sheep, that includes a trip or two to the Tualatin Valley!

 

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Uwajimaya.

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Uwajimaya.

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Founding Fathers Food Tour

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route would remind President Washington of Mt. Vernon!

The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route is as beautiful as Mt. Vernon!

Did you know that George Washington was a foodie? During his presidency, Washington hosted an official dinner at 4 p.m. sharp every other Thursday, often inviting legislators of all different regions and stances. In spite of his wooden dentures, the president and his wife would serve lavish courses, accompanied by good wine and beer. In honor of President’s Day, we’ve put together a Tualatin Valley food tour with America’s founding fathers in mind.

Soup Starter
Turns out, the first president was a peanut lover! A common course at his Thursday dinners was a savory peanut stew. So, we’re pretty sure good ol’ Washington would be delighted by the African peanut stew from the Native Foods Café at Bridgeport Village. This nutty stew includes one of Washington’s other favorite ingredients: sweet potatoes!

Fresh Fish Main Course
The showstopper dish on the presidential table was often roasted fish. If George Washington could magically travel in time to today’s Tualatin Valley, then he’d surely be a fan of the char-grilled pacific swordfish at Hall Street Grill. The accompanying butternut squash puree would remind Washington of the winter squashes grown at Mt. Vernon.

Cherry on Top
We all know the folktale of George Washington and the cherry tree. Well—no lying—there are amazing tastes of cherry all over the Tualatin Valley! Beaverton’s decarli restaurant often creatively works cherries into the menu with cherry compotes, house-candied cherries in its charcuterie or balsamic roasted cherries over a perfectly-cooked pork chop.

Aperitif
Washington’s diaries say that the president preferred port wine, which even stained his dentures. For a decadent treat, try A Blooming Hill Vineyard’s Pinot in a Port-style, VXX. The raised sugar with a Pinot Noir concentrate creates a smooth aperitif with yummy raisin flavor.

While George Washington himself can’t experience the delicious wonders of the Tualatin Valley, you certainly can! And while you’re at it, take a drive along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route!

Information about George Washington sourced from Smithsonian Magazine’s “Dining with George Washington.”

P.S. Play a President’s Day Two Truths & a Lie with us!