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Ask a Local: Abbey Creek Vineyard & Winery’s Bertony Faustin

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Bertony Faustin of Abbey Creek Vineyard. You can even catch Bertony riding the winding backcountry wine roads of the Tualatin Valley on Sunday evenings in his 2000 Ninja ZX12r.  Bertony Faustin brings confidence, style and fun to the wine tasting experience at Abbey Creek Vineyard. Get his local tips!

Bertony Faustin brings confidence, style and fun to the wine tasting experience at Abbey Creek Vineyard. Get his local tips!

At Abbey Creek, what do you love most about interacting with visitors?
With both the novice and more seasoned wine drinker, my goal is to make you feel that you’ve taken a new bit of knowledge with you. Whether it’s educating with a level of humility as to not seem pretentious, or just enough swag and confidence to enhance your current wine knowledge, especially since no one knows Abbey Creek wine better than me.

What will visitors find happening in Northern Willamette vineyards and wineries during the fall?
Every fall the North Willamette Vintners Association hosts a Harvest Trail that allows guests to have a hands-on experience of the vineyard, winery and crush pad. 

What’s your favorite part of harvest season?
Being done with harvest season. It gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you get to barrel down and breathe from all the wonderful controlled chaos that just occurred.

What’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
I’d have to say Horning’s Hideout!

Describe a perfect day in the Tualatin Valley.
When I have guests in town, I love using them as a perfect excuse to visit neighboring vineyards and wineries.

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.
 
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
Go to the ABV Public House for the green chile burger

What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
One or many bottles of Abbey Creek wine, of course.

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Hmmm…There’s No place like home. Guess that was six :)

Other tips from locals:
Curiosities Vintage Mall’s Travis Diskin
Maggie Buns’ Maggie Pike
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland
SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan
Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway: Wheel Turn 7

Posted on: August 27th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway cyclists enjoy a coffee break at Banks Bicycle Repair & Rental.

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway cyclists enjoy a coffee break at Banks Bicycle Repair & Rental.

When on a cycling adventure, what to you eat as a mid-ride pick-me –up? How about a spicy chai or hearty pancakes? As we’re back with our installment in the “Wheel Turn Series,” we’ll be discussing the best eateries along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. As a review, you can cycle backwards and read the previous Wheel Turn blog posts:

Riding against a backdrop of rural splendor, NW Mountainside Road transitions into NW Wilkesboro Road. Next, you’ll be compelled to turn right and pedal through the cute downtown of Banks.

If it’s a chilly morning, warm your bones at the Banks Trail Cafe. In Oregon, we take coffee seriously and this small-town hotspot is no exception. The Banks Trail Cafe serves up northwest made and Italian-inspired Caffe D’Arte coffee and Espresso. The chai latte is truly where the Banks Trail Cafe elevates the breakfast beverage. Each chai drink is hand crafted, which allows for customizations with honey or ginger. Beyond caffeinated cups, the café also offers delicious breakfast and lunch fare.

Just down the road is another amazing breakfast or lunch stop at the Banks Cafe. The little yellow café bakes, stews and grills traditional American favorites, ranging from pancakes to fried chicken to burgers. Banks Cafe is well-loved for its made-from-scratch soups that are packed with vegetables and herbs from the café’s own garden.

Before exiting Main Street and heading onto the last leg of the bikeway, say hello to the friendly folks at Banks Bicycle Repair & Rental. Whether you need a last-minute repair or simply a snack to take on the trail, this locally-owned bike shop is armed and ready to help. Located at the trailhead for the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, the shop’s employees can also offer expert tips for the ride ahead.

Stay tuned for our last installment of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway “Wheel Turn Series.” In the meantime, request a free bike map!

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

Ask a Local: Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards gives visitors her inside scoop on the Tualatin Valley.

Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards gives visitors her inside scoop on the Tualatin Valley.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards. As a born-and-raised local of Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips.
 
What makes Cooper Mountain Vineyards so special?
The soils. The place. We own and manage four vineyards throughout Oregon’s Washington County. And our philosophy is simple: craft authentic wines while respecting the soils and the land they originate from.
 
What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
The most satisfying interaction I have with visitors is being able to point to the specific acre of Pinot Noir, tell them the story of how Mother Nature provided us with that vintage and have them taste the Tualatin Valley.
 
What will visitors find happening in the vineyards now?
The North Willamette Valley is buzzing during the summer. She wears her colors well. Full canopy on the vines. Toward the end of the summer, the grapes begin to change color. Clear blue skies provide visuals of the mountains, reminding us of the volcanic nature of the soils where the vines reside.
 
Other than a visit to Cooper Mountain Vineyards, what’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
All the other wineries!
 
Describe a perfect day in Washington County.
Picnicking on one of our vineyards, with local Pinot Noir in your glass after you’ve spent the morning at a local berry u-pick farm.
 
What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
NAK WON! The Tualatin Valley boasts some of the best Korean and Vietnamese restaurants in the country. And Syun Izakaya has been a longtime and outstanding gem.
 
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
See above! In addition, decarli restaurant and The South Store Café.
 
What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
I would hope they would take away the impactful memory of the beauty of the place. And come back and visit.
 
Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Where the city meets the country.

Other tips from locals:
Curiosities Vintage Mall’s Travis Diskin
Maggie Buns’ Maggie Pike
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland
SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan

Five Ideas for Dog-Friendly Fun

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Just minutes from Portland is a dog (and dog-lover!) paradise full of hound-happy activities.

Just minutes from Portland is a dog (and dog-lover!) paradise full of hound-happy activities.

The Tualatin Valley is a pooch’s paradise. Unpretentious wineries, unhurried restaurants, and laid-back summer festivals make for a plethora of dog-friendly frolics. We’re ready for a howlin’ good time. Check out five favorite activities for humans and canines alike.

1. Tualatin Crawfish Festival’s “Atsa My Dawg”
August 2 | 1:30 pm. To 3:30 p.m. |Tualatin Commons | $4
What makes your dog special? While crawfish are the center of this three-day festival, dogs will steal the show at Saturday’s “Atsa My Dawg Show” costume and talent competition.

2. Canines Uncorked
August 9 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. |various wineries | $40
If you’re over-the-moon about dogs and wine, then you’ll love this dog-friendly wine event with 100% of the proceeds going to the Oregon Humane Society. Each of the 13 locations includes dog-themed activities. Pooch portraits, anyone?

3. Toast to the Tunes
August 7 & August 21 | 6 p.m. To 9 p.m.
Oak Knoll Winery | $5

Oak Knoll Winery spices up summer with its bi-weekly concert series. Bring a picnic, blanket and dog! This kid and dog-friendly event is the perfect way to jump start the weekend.

4. Advanced Fetch at L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Year-round | 6 p.m. To 9 p.m. | L.L. “Stub” Stewart Park | free
The off-leash dog park at L.L. Stub Stewart State is set atop a steep-sloped hill. One round of fetch will tucker out any dog. See the dog park in action with this Grant’s Getaway segment.

5. Hike to Happy Hour
Year-round | dawn to dusk | Fanno Creek Trail | free
With dog-friendly patios near lovely hiking trails, turn the wagging-tail hour into happy hour. After a jaunt through the Fanno Creek Trail, walk to the nearby Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub or Fireside Grill for some tasty nibbles and drinks.

With all of these dog-friendly activities, you’re going to need a few nights stay. Book the Bow Wow Package or a room at one of our other pet friendly hotels.

Past dog-happy blog posts:
Wine Dog “Ghost”
Wedding Crashing Wine Dogs

Five Great Places for Outdoor Dining

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Fact: this sandwich tastes even better on the patio at Hayden's Lakefront Grill

Fact: this sandwich tastes even better on the patio at Hayden’s Lakefront Grill

In Italian, “al fresco” means in the cool air. Yes, the cool air after the high heat of the day has passed and a refreshing evening breeze begins.  Dining al fresco is one of the simple joys of summer, encouraging leisurely dinners among friends. Check out a sampling of our favorite outdoor dining options:

Fireside
The Fireside Grill adds spark back into dinner time with fire pits in the middle of their patio tables. Try “The Portlander” burger: a vegan patty on a gluten free bun with hummus, served with a salad dressed in lemon chia seed vinaigrette. All that’s left is to put a bird on it!

Lake Sunsets
Hayden’s Lakefront Grill is situated along Tualatin’s Lake of the Commons, where the lake mirrors the sky’s peachy pinks and periwinkle blues. The evening is heightened by calamari and risotto cakes, followed by a lux slumber at Century Hotel.

Beer Garden
McMenamins Raleigh Hills Pub brings Bavarian summer traditions to the Tualatin Valley with a lovely outdoor beer garden. The garden sits adjacent to the pub and its pyramid-style roof, which looks just as impressive from outside as from within.

Vineyard Views
Ponzi Vineyards Winery shows how al fresco dining only requires a nibble, so long as there is good wine. The tasting room’s patio sits atop a Chehalem Mountains slope, providing sweeping views lush farmland. The antipasti plate makes for a great patio snack.

Treehouse Experience
Tree’s Restaurant lives up to its namesake as every seat has views of gorgeous greenery.  While you can sit outside with the patio heater, the al fresco lifestyle is brought indoors with large windows and thoughtful tree artwork. So settle in and enjoy the Italian-Creole fusion cuisine, including shrimp with Parmesan grits.

Farm-to-Table Events
For a truly extraordinary al fresco dining experience, sign up for a farm-to-table dinner!

Farm to Table Dinner at Nana Cardoon Farms
July 19 | 6 p.m. |$75 per person

Our Table in the Field Dinner
August 9 | 4:30 p.m. |$85 per person

Farm to Table: Celebrating Hillsboro’s Agricultural Heritage
August 22 | 5:30 p.m. |$75 per person  

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

Father’s Day Itinerary

Posted on: June 9th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
A classic car show and a joy-ride make for a great Father's Day Weekend.

A classic car show and a joy-ride make for a great Father’s Day Weekend.

What do you love most about spending time with your dad? We have an endless combination of ways to celebrate the special fathers in your life. Below, you’ll find just one fun and father-focused weekend itinerary:

Friday, June 13
Start the weekend by helping dad unwind and “let it go” with an outdoor viewing of the instant Disney classic, “Frozen” with Pix on the Plaza (Hillsboro Civic Center Plaza, 7-10 p.m.). Bring cozy blankets, a picnic with dad’s favorite snacks and let the kids sing their hearts out—it’ll melt Dad’s heart.

Afterward, settle in at one of our great hotels. If a family trip wouldn’t be complete without the dog, then take advantage of our Bow Wow Hotel Package.

Saturday, June 14
Get all the benefits of an epic road trip in one getaway weekend. Start with the Cruisin’ Sherwood car show (Old Town Sherwood, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Americana meets innovation as classic cars are kept in pristine condition through customized preservation.

Though it may not be a retro ride, hop into your own car next for a drive down the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. Spend quality family time on this 60 mile stretch of the lush Tualatin Valley. There’s an activity to match Dad’s interests: explore nature at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, pick berries at Rowell Brothers Berry Farm or go wine tasting at Shafer Vineyard Cellars.

End the tour with dinner at the Helvetia Tavern, “home of the jumbo burger.” Its juicy, perfectly grilled goodness is dad-approved. Plus, find dad’s favorite team from the vast collection of baseball hats lining the tavern’s ceiling.

Sunday, June 15
Happy Father’s Day! For a truly elevated brunch experience, make a reservation for Pig & Pinot at Plum Hill Vineyards. A patio-vineyard provides the perfect backdrop for not only wine, but also a delicious pig roast.

Whether you’re enjoying this special day with your grandfather or as a new dad yourself, be sure to make some memories that help you cherish all the reasons you love spending time with your pops.

P.S. There’s even more happening! Check out our full listing of Father’s Day Weekend events.

Five Best Doughnut Shops

Posted on: June 6th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Treat yourself to Sesame Donuts, including their namesake doughnut with toasted sesame seeds.

Treat yourself to Sesame Donuts, including their namesake doughnut with toasted sesame seeds.

Happy National Doughnut Day! Portland is lauded for its epic doughnut game, ranging from the ever-popular Voodoo Donuts to the maverick Blue Star Donuts. Just down the road in Oregon’s Washington County, we’re cooking up our own supreme doughnut varieties that are, simply put, not to be missed.

1. Beaverton Bakery (12375 SW Broadway St, Beaverton)
This historic bakery, charmingly situated in Old Town Beaverton, is popular spot for decadent wedding cakes; however, Beaverton Bakery isn’t afraid to go into the realm of everyday sweet treats. Stop in for a full assortment of doughnut options. We suggest the maple bars that have a perfect glazed crunch that melts into a syrupy underbelly.

2. Donut Day (18295 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy, Beaverton)
Here, every day is “donut day” (our favorite). At first glance, the unassuming buttermilk bar may seem rather run-of-the-mill as far as doughnuts go. But doughnut-lovers from all over the Portland-metro area travel for this cakey confenction.

3. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (16415 NW Cornell Road, Beaverton)
It’s hard to resist the glowing light of the Krispy Kreme sign. Why fight it? Watching that glaze drip onto a conveyor belt of delicious, freshly baked doughnuts is downright drool-worthy.

4. Sesame Donuts (various locations; founding location at 6990 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy, Portland)
Get a doughnut whenever you want. This 24/7 doughnut shop is has four locations peppered throughout Oregon’s Washington County (link above to its founding location). If on a birthday trip, then celebrate with an 18-inch diameter doughnut cake. While Sesame Donuts does all the classics incredibly well, its namesake comes from a toasted sesame seed covered doughnut that pays homage to the owner’s Middle Eastern roots.

5. Tigard Donut (12815 SW Pacific Hwy, Portland)
This “Tiger” shows its stripes with doughnuts made from scratch. If you’re a sucker for jelly doughnuts, then you’re in for a treat. Tiger Donuts is so fresh that your fruit or cream filled pastry is actually filled-to-order.
 
Find places to stay. | Create a personalized itinerary. | Find places to eat. | View the digital visitor guide.

Ask a Local: Maggie Pike

Posted on: May 23rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Maggie Pike of Maggie's Buns shares her local favorites for visiting friends.

Maggie Pike of Maggie’s Buns shares her local favorites for visiting friends.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Maggie Pike, owner of Forest Grove favorite Maggie’s Buns. As a 20-year local of Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips.

What makes Maggie’s Buns so special?
It is cozy, the food is great and we love our customers.

What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
I love to share all of the amazing treasures that Oregon’s Washington County has to offer. It’s not hard showing off our gorgeous county to visitors.

What’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
Don’t miss Fernhill Wetlands or pedaling the scenic bike paths.

Describe a perfect day in Washington County with them.
Start with breakfast at Maggie’s Buns before taking a stroll through wetlands. Then, I’d meander the downtown streets of Forest Grove and Hillsboro. For lunch, I’d get a pupusa from the Pupuseria La Guanaquito (113 N 11th Avenue, Cornelius). After lunch would be the perfect time to hop on bikes and hit the road through the diverse patches of agriculture we are so famous for. When my cheeks are sore, I’d take a break at Unger’s Farm Store for strawberry shortcake  before pedaling back to Forest Grove to take a nice walk around the old town. In the evening, I’d head to the McMenamins Grand Lodge for a dip in the soaking pool, followed by drinks and live music.

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?  
A true “hidden gem” of the area is the beautiful Lee Falls.

In addition to Maggie’s Buns, where do you go when you want some seriously good grub? What’s the standout dish?  
The Ace Tavern for a patty melt—it is amazing.

What should visitors take home as a souvenir?
A bottle wine from one of our local wineries.

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Diverse agriculture, recreation, community and beauty…Sorry, I hope “and” doesn’t count as one of the words.

Previous Ask a Local Posts:
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland

SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan

Rosebuds & Cornhole

Posted on: May 14th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
After enjoying the Portland Rose Festival, you'll compete in the Oregon Cornhole Championships with rose-tinted glasses.

After enjoying the Portland Rose Festival, you’ll compete in the Oregon Cornhole Championships with rose-tinted glasses.

Whether you’re more of a gardener or tailgater, June 6-8 is going to be amazing with both the Portland Rose Festival and Oregon Cornhole Championships. The mix of urban festival and town sport makes a great start-of-summer getaway.

Friday, June 6
After partaking in Portland Rose Festival activities, escape to our vineyards and valleys for even more fun.

When booking your accommodations—be sure to use cornhole hotel deals to receive a $20 gift card! One option is the McMenamins Grand Lodge, which is the location for the Oregon Cornhole Championships Kick Off (8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; free). Play social and “Luck of the Draw” cornhole tournaments, heightened with McMenamins signature brews and bites. While exploring the property, peek into the Alice Meek Inkley Room. The room is named after the woman whose portrait hangs there. In her painting, Alice holds—fitting to the weekend—a rose!

Saturday, June 7
Rise and shine—it’s time to play, toss and win at the Oregon Cornhole Championships (8:30 a.m. start at the Stoller Center; $20 entry fee). No experience is necessary to vie for the cash prizes! Learn more!

If you get knocked out of the running early, then make a consolation prize out of the North Plains Smokehouse Summit: Brews, Blues & Championship BBQ (noon to 9 p.m. on Commercial Street at Main, North Pains; free). The summit is more than BBQ. Enjoy a craft beer garden, live blues music, car show and poker run. BBQ die-hards can plan their visit around the schedule of judging events.

Sunday, June 8
Counteract the savory goodness of last night’s BBQ with Maggie’s Buns. The famous cinnamon buns are larger than a cornhole!

There are still plenty of Rose Festival shennanigans to be had, but we bet you’ll be tempted to stay in Oregon’s Washington County so that you can stop and sip the Rosé over smelling roses. Try the light and dry sparkling Rosé from Apolloni Vineyards

P.S. Register early for the Oregon Cornhole Championships!

Five Can’t Miss Mexican Food Stops

Posted on: May 5th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Pepita's playful decor matches the vibrant Mexican flavors of its food.

Pepita’s playful decor matches the vibrant Mexican flavors of its food.

With Cinco de Mayo, we are salivating for a fiesta-themed lunch. 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 Hispanic culinary hotspots. Thus, we present five can’t miss Mexican food spots in Beaverton and Hillsboro:

Uno: 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.

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: Beaverton Farmers Market (12375 SW 5th St, Beaverton)
Hooray! The Beaverton Farmers Market is back. Every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., head to the Casa de Tamales stand for 40 varieties of tamales. Spice lovers will love the unconventional salsa and sauce flavors, like asparagus-mole.

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.

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