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The Naughty or Nice Guide to the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: December 22nd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

naughty nice collage

It’s a little late to change your status on Santa’s “Naughty and Nice List.” As you travel to the Tualatin Valley in the New Year, however, your adventures can fall in either the naughty or nice camp. Truthfully, we don’t care either way because your getaway should be as healthy or gluttonous as you’d like! Below, find our own Naughty and Nice List:

Nice

Naughty

Eat Syun Izakaya offers premier sushi and Japanese fare to those who appreciate creative, clean tastes. Not only is the food outstanding, but the heavy dose of Omega-3 makes it healthy, too. Cruise In Country Diner has all the classics you love in an old school setting: burgers, fries and shakes. Though—gotcha!—this spot isn’t all naughty with its focus on organic ingredients and healthy oils.
Drink  

Stash Tea has a flagship store filled with hundreds of delightful tea options. It’s near impossible to go overboard with tea and its health benefits put it firmly on the “Nice List.”

 

Bootleggers Whiskey Bar will have you feeling like a rule-breaker with its prohibition themed cocktails and décor. Feel like a bad boy as you order moonshine to sip in a dark, romantic corner.

Be Merry ME SPA will melt stress away with its premium spa services. The spa is conveniently located in Bridgeport Village, making time for both pampering and tax-free shopping. Glowing Greens is a 3-D miniature golf course with neon extraterrestrials lurking around every hole. The alien vibe will have you feeling like you’re in a scene of MIB. Don’t worry, we’re pretty sure the aliens don’t bite.
Buy  

Wine, wine and more wine! Why not when you can be nice to your wallet and skip hefty baggage fees with the “Oregon Wines Fly Free” promotion from Alaska Air?

 

Cabela’s has all those outdoor toys that you really want, but also really do not need. Go ahead—be bad—and get that sporty gadget from a leading outdoor retailer (tax-free, too!).

We wanted to include places to sleep in our Naughty and Nice list, but all of our hotels truly make the Nice List. So, book a hot deal for a luxurious getaway.

 

New Year’s Eve Itinerary

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The kitschy, yet regal McMenamins Grand Lodge is a perfect mix for New Year's Eve dancing.

The kitschy, yet regal McMenamins Grand Lodge is a perfect mix for New Year’s Eve dancing.

Let the countdown begin—we’re mere days away from saying hello to 2015. With all the holiday hullabaloo going on, it’s easy to let New Year’s Eve plans fall through the cracks. But not this year, friends! We’ve taken the busy work out of the equation—you can simply use our New Year’s itinerary for a sure-fire good time and good New Year.

First, check into a room at the McMenamins Grand Lodge or one of our other standout hotel options. Just be sure to make reservations ahead of time!

Afternoon Bubbly Excursion
Before the sun sets, hop in the car to search for some sparkling wine to pop open come midnight. Though, you won’t have to search very hard—simply head to Shafer Vineyard Cellars for the Shafer Cuveé. Open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the winery produces its sparkling wine in the traditional French champagne method, Methode Champenoise. Very classy, indeed.

Dinner: Small Plates on a Big Night
We’re looking into your future—near future that is—and we see dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. So make dinner light, yet delicious at small plates at 1910 Main. As the name would suggest, you and your dinner companions can share delicious morsels of creative cuisine. It’s a celebratory meal that doesn’t require a post-feast nap!

Party Time!
Back at the McMenamins Grand Lodge, a night of good music and revelry will kick off at 9 p.m. with  New Year’s Eve at the Grand Lodge. Boogie to live music from three different bands. Choose from Americana, rock or Motown beats.

Welcome to 2015!
Start the year off on the right foot, literally, with the ranger-led America’s State Parks First Day Hike at beautiful Stub Stewart State Park. Here, you’ll find fresh air and a fresh perspective.

Now that you’ve properly worked up an appetite from your hike, chow down at the Ironwork Grill. Using seasonal ingredients from local growers, your meal will fill you with meaningful sustenance for the first day of the New Year.

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

Love Language Gift Guide

Posted on: December 5th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Find the perfect gift in the Tualatin Valley.

Find the perfect gift in the Tualatin Valley.

What’s your love language? By love language, we mean the way that you prefer to express and experience love. Do you connect with those you love via heartfelt words, actions, gifts, time spent together and physical touch? No matter how you express how you care this holiday season, you can best celebrate it in the Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley.

Words of Affirmation
Words matter. Tell your honey how you feel over a romantic dinner at decarli (just say whatever you have to say before eating the polenta fries with gorgonzola butter). You can also have live theater express feelings of love for you as Bob declares his love for Betty in the production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.

Acts of Service
For some, actions speak louder than words. Don’t just give a gift—make one! The glass blowers at Live Laugh Love Glass offer classes where you can create one-of-a-kind pieces in their studio. Even if your piece comes out a bit wobbly, the recipient will love it even more for its imperfections.

Receiving Gifts
Big or small, a gift wrapped in a bow is a lovely thing to receive, especially when that present is one-of-a-kind. Support local artisans and boutiques with a shop small mentality while visiting the Tualatin Valley, ranging from sweet little shops to vibrant holiday markets.

Quality Time
In the whirlwind of our busy lives, there is a love language that is spoken through not minutes, but hours and even days. Get in the car for a day of wine tasting on Sip47 Wine Route, complete with 17 purveyors of Oregon wine, saké and cider. Beyond driving the scenic roads, you’ll savor the time spent leisurely sipping locally made libations.

Physical Touch
For many, we have an innate need for touch. With adrenaline pumping after an adventure at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour, feel your partner’s heartbeat as you hug each other in congratulations. For a more low key endeavor, there’s always a couples massage at the Ruby Spa at the McMenamins Grand Lodge.

No matter your love language, we hope you have a joyous season of gift giving and gift receiving!

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

Ask a Local: Lee Farms’ Annie Lee-Bartelamia

Posted on: December 1st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Lee siblings prep for the holiday season. From  left to right: Erika, Kara, Annie, Teagan and Tommy.

The Lee siblings prep for the holiday season. From left to right: Erika, Kara, Annie, Teagan and Tommy.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Anne Lee-Bartelamia, Farm Manager of the charming tree farm Lee Farms. Born and raised in Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips!

What makes Lee Farms so special?
We are a family-run business that is a seven-generation farm! Our ancestors planted their roots in Tualatin in 1869 and we have been here since.

What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
In addition to our farm store and operations we are a kid-friendly attraction. We get to see excited kids come out and enjoy the animals all year! We have an amazing customers that we have grown up with and who are now bringing the next generation to our farm.

What’s your favorite part of the holidays?
During the holidays I feel like I get to connect with our guests on a more personal level. For each person that comes, I feel like I get to be a part of their holiday tradition, which gives me those warm fuzzy feelings that I’m sure a lot of people also get around the holidays.

What’s one can’t-miss attraction?
Well, now we have Cabela’s World Forestry Outfitter; that is a pretty exciting given for a lot of people coming into Tualatin.

Describe a perfect day in Washington County with them.
When we have guests, the first thing we do is tour some of the amazing wineries. We are big fan of Blakeslee Vineyard Estate!

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
When we are looking for a break from farm, we love to head out to Hagg Lake and go fishing.

Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
Whenever we can’t settle on a restaurant, we head down to Bridgeport Village and see which smell pulls us in. I also vote for Pastini Pastaria so that I can some tortellini gorgonzola.

What should every visitor take home as a souvenir?
Every visitor should go home with an amazing bottle of wine, hazelnuts (covered in chocolate, preferably), Marionberry jam and honey.

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Four seasons of paradise.

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
Abbey Creek Vineyard’s Bertony Faustin
Urban Decanter’s Rebecca Kramer

Ask a Local: Urban Decanter’s Rebecca Kramer

Posted on: October 10th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Rebecca Kramer, owner of Forest Grove's Urban Decanter, shares her local tips.

Rebecca Kramer, owner of Forest Grove’s Urban Decanter, shares her local tips.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Rebecca Kramer, owner of the Forest Grove wine bar Urban Decanter. Having grown up and then started her own business in Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips.
 
What makes Urban Decanter so special?
The cozy wine bar offers guests a comfortable atmosphere with a great selection of northwest wines, craft beer and cocktails. We also have homemade soups, panini and small plates. We have created what our guests refer to as a “Cheers” like place to gather.
 
What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
I love connecting with visitors and finding out their stories. So many of my regular guests are like family that it creates a great community around us.
 
From where do you get your cooking inspiration?
Two places: When I go out to eat and Pinterest. I am on Pinterest A LOT to keep my imagination in the kitchen fresh and creative.
 
What’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
You have to go see Forest Grove’s newest tap room, Waltz Brewing…Tell them I sent you!
 
Describe a perfect day in Oregon’s Washington County.
We are the gateway to wine country, so wine tasting is a MUST! I would also be sure to stop and eat at one of the local restaurants such as 1910 Main before finishing up the evening with a bottle of sparkling wine around a fire pit!
 
What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
The Wilson River. I love that river. It is so relaxing to just drive into the forest and explore.
 
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
Pac Thai doesn’t have one stand out dish, but five: spicy crispy chicken basil, pad thai, pumpkin curry, crab fried rice and tom yum soup!
 
What should visitors to take home as a souvenir?
This is easy! Wine!

Describe the Tualatin Valley in five words or less.
Outdoors, libations, family, farms and picturesque!

The welcoming Urban Decanter is filled with top-notch Oregon wines and Rebecca's soul-satisfying cuisine.

The welcoming Urban Decanter is filled with top-notch Oregon wines and Rebecca’s soul-satisfying cuisine.

 
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
Abbey Creek Vineyard’s Bertony Faustin

An Apple Itinerary

Posted on: October 8th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Oregon Heritage Applefest is known for its tasty caramel apples.

The Oregon Heritage Applefest is known for its tasty caramel apples.

Hold up, pumpkins. You and your pumpkin patches don’t get to have all the fun this fall. In the Tualatin Valley, apples shine in all of their glory, too. To prove it, we’ve created an itinerary for an apple-tastic day.

Breakfast
A healthy breakfast need not apply today! Instead, grab donuts from Sesame Donuts (multiple locations; open seven days a week, 24 hours). The popular spot excels at apple donuts, crumbles and fritters.

Morning Apple picking
With low-hanging branches, Fuji apples are ready for the picking at Bell’s Orchard (24350 SW Farmington Rd., Beaverton; Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

With 10 varieties on hand, Oregon Heritage Farm (22801 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Hillsboro) shows its devotion to all things apple with an annual Applefest (October 11; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; free), complete with an apple sling shot and apple rope maze.

Yet another great apple farm is Smith Berry Barn (24500 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Hillsboro; open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The farm’s 21st Annual Heirloom Apple Festival (October 11; noon to 4 p.m.; free) includes chicken apple sausages topped with caramelized sweet onion. Plus, the farm store always has a great assortment of apple goods.

Lunch
Just across the street, grab lunch at South Store Cafe (24485 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Hillsboro; Tuesday-Friday from 8:30 to 2 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Of its many specialties, don’t miss the chicken salad’s crunch of apples, almonds and currants.

Cider visit
In lieu of happy hour, tour Bull Run Cider (7940 NW Kansas City Road, Forest Grove). Using only fruit that is grown within 100 miles of the cidery, Bull Run Cider loves Oregon apples. Tours are offered by appointment—schedule yours!

Dinner
Devoted to northwest ingredients, Bethany’s Table (15325 NW Central Dr., Portland; daily dinner service) serves local apples paired with beehive cheese and Marcona almonds.

Post-Trip
Whip up scrumptious apple recipes, including our sweet potato and apple pizza, as well as our surprisingly delicious apple and Gouda oatmeal cookies.

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

Oktoberfest Spirit with Oregon Beer Icon Art Larrance

Posted on: September 24th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Art Larrance brews and serves innovative, northwest style ales at the Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub.

Art Larrance brews and serves innovative, northwest style ales at the Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub.

Guten Tag! While Oktoberfest has German roots, the Tualatin Valley puts its own spin on it, sharing our local beer culture with any and all who visit. One of the founding fathers of Oregon’s craft beer scene—Art Larrance—calls the Tualatin Valley home. At 70 years old, Art is still entrenched in the flourishing beer community, using Art Larrance’s Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub as his home base.

Since co-founding Portland Brewing, the Oregon Brewers Festival and Cascade Brewing in the 1980s and ’90s, Art has continued shaking up what Oregon beer means. Sure, we’re in hops country, but that doesn’t mean that the IPA gets to have all the fun. Why not switch it up? While Cascade Brewing makes a stellar IPA with a malty backbone and bright citrus notes, the brewery is also revered for its northwest style sour ales.

Sour ales have a Belgian genealogy, but many German breweries pump out their own versions—making the Cascade Brewing sour ales a playful nod to Oktoberfest. Beyond that, sour ales are a surprisingly drinkable brew. New to beer? Sour ales cut the suds’ usual bitterness. Total foodie? Sour ales taste like the buzzed cousin of the trendy kombucha.  Beer snob? These ales are top-notch beers, sour or not. 

We’re especially fond of the Honey Ginger Lime, which lives up to its name in its bright flavor. Another standout is the Sang Royal, which is aged in Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wine barrels. The result is an aromatic beer of sour cherries mixed with earthy taste. These beers are further proof of Art Larrance living by a tradition of innovation, which he first established for Oregon beer.   

So, check out Art Larrance’s Raccoon Lodge & Brew Pub, as well as these other beer-happy happenings:

Oktoberfest at the McMenamins Grand Lodge
September 27 | all day | McMenamins Grand Lodge | free
Celebrate Oktoberfest with a biergarten, food and revelry.

Harvest Century Bike Ride
September 28 | 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. | start at Hillsboro Civic Center | $50-$65
Finish a strenuous bike ride with a finish line party that features a beer garden and live music.

Spooky Ales at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
October 29 | 6 p.m. | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | happy hour prices all night
Sample a new, small-batch beer while chatting with resident brewers.

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

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