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Ask a Local: Steve Vuylsteke

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Steve Vuylsteke knows good saké—and the best of Oregon’s Washington County!

Steve Vuylsteke knows good saké—and the best of Oregon’s Washington County!

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Steve Vuylsteke, President and CEO of SakéOne. Steve leads the only saké brewery in Oregon, utilizing the area’s high water quality to make premium sake. As a 55-year local of Oregon’s Washington County, he has the ultimate tips.

What makes SakéOne so special?
It’s America’s original craft saké brewery – the first one dedicated to making exclusively premium chilled saké.

What’s your favorite cocktail to make with SakéOne saké?
It’s simple to make and enjoy – g Lime, which is made of our g Joy saké on the rocks with a slice of lime. Refreshingly tasty!

At SakéOne, what do you love most about interacting with visitors?
Enlightening visitors as to what saké really is– saké is not rice wine and it is not distilled. Saké is saké: made like beer, drinks like wine!

Other than a visit to SakéOne, what’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?  
I’m a golfer so either the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club or Forest Hills Golf Course.

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
The Cruise Inn Country Diner has all organic and natural ingredients– I love the ’57 Chevy BelAir Burger!

Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub? What’s the standout dish?
Nona Emilia’s Italian restaurant and the standout clam linguine dish.

What should every visitor to Oregon’s Washington County take home as a souvenir?
Momokawa, Moonstone or G saké from SakéOne!

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Love living and working here!

Previous Ask a Local Posts:
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan

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

Summer Runnin’ Had Me a Blast

Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Oregon running events are heating up with spring and longer days.

Oregon running events are heating up with spring and longer days.

How are you jump-starting spring? With light stretching longer into each passing day, we’ve been stretching ourselves and lacing up our running shoes. Longer days means longer runs, which will help us get ready for the slew of amazing running events hitting Oregon’s Washington County this summer. Which race(s) will have you hitting the pavement?

Ladybug Run
Friday, May 2 | 6:30 a.m. start | Registration $10-$35
During this 5k and 10k race, put a pep in your step with a silly costume. Even if you don’t place in the race, you can still win the costume contest while raising money for families affected by Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.

Hippie Chick Half & Quarter Marathon
Saturday, May 10| 8 a.m. start | Registration $89-$99
Flat, tree-lined streets make for a picturesque—and totally empowering—run.  Held over Mother’s day weekend, run with (or in loving support of) your mom or daughter.

Twelve Bridges Relay
Saturday, May 31| 6 a.m. start | Registration $65-$400
Up to six running friends collaboratively complete a 67-mile, 12-leg run the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, including 12 historical bridges. Thefind a team” feature will match you with other runners.

Freedomthon Run
Friday, July 4| 8:30 a.m. start | Registration $15-$30
Run or walk for the red, white, and blue…and the pancake feast waiting for you at the end of this 5k. You’ll feel super patriotic, as all runners are supplied with the mini flag to wave throughout their run.

Lake of Death 12 & 24 Hour Relay
Saturday, August 2 – Sunday, August 3| 8:00 a.m. start | Registration $100-$480
Teams of 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 run full or half laps around the breathtaking Henry Hagg Lake by either road or trail (you choose!).

Cause + Event Hillaceous Half Marathon
Saturday, September 13 | 8:00 a.m. start | Registration $30-$70
A 5k walk, 5k and 10k timed run, and a signature half marathon makes for a busy day in the hills of Oregon’s Washington County. The Amazing Race Expo and post-run party helps, too.

Running not your thing? Don’t worry! We’ll be detailing biking and extreme sport events on the blog soon. In the meantime, find your sport in the events calendar.


Itinerary: Go Irish

Posted on: March 3rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Chase a rainbow on The Reserve's course during the Luckython race.

Chase a rainbow on The Reserve’s course during the Luckython race.

And just like that, we’re ushered out of the month of love and into the month of luck. Here in Oregon’s Washington County, we never turn down an excuse to celebrate. Saint Patrick’s Day is no exception. Party like a leprechaun with our St. Patrick’s Day weekend itinerary.

Saturday, March 15
In other countries, the holiday is called “The Feast of Saint Patrick,” and a feast it will be with help from the Beaverton Winter Market and its accompanying St. Patrick’s Day Celebration  (12-1:30 p.m.). The closest you’ll come to a four-leaf clover will probably be in cookie form, but luscious green vegetables will be bursting from the stalls as the market transitions out of its winter harvest and into its spring one. Additionally, get into the Irish spirit with live Irish music and dance.

After filling up on super foods, chase after a pot of gold at one of Luckython’s series of runs: 5K, 10K, 15K, 15K team relay, 5K “Headlamp” nighttime run/walk at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club. The 7:30 p.m. Headlamp event is complete with green glow-in-the-dark accoutrement. Do an Irish-style reverse carbo-load with a post-run baked potato bar.

Sunday, March 16
Vacations are an excuse to go all out brunch-wise. Reedville Cafe offers a special Irish menu, including the O’Brian Scramble, mixing the classic corned beef with feta cheese.

With sustenance from breakfast, head to 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.

Of course, a St. Patrick’s Day weekend wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the pub. The Thirsty Lion’s St. Patrick’s Festivals at its Tigard or Hillsboro locations include Irish-themed cocktails and live music.

Monday, March 17
Taking a long weekend in the name of St. Nick? So are the McMenamins Grand Lodge and McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse with live bagpipers and locally brewed Irish-style Stout.

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Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway: Wheel Turn #1

Posted on: February 26th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Warm up or cool off from a great ride at Rood Ridge Park.

Warm up or cool off from a great ride at Rood Ridge Park.

Cyclists are smitten with the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway and its 50 miles of cycling nirvana. While the terrain of Oregon’s Washington County is no doubt part of the bikeway’s power, any bicyclist will tell you that it’s the unexpected pleasures that take a ride from pristine to spectacular.

This is why we’re kicking off a monthly “wheel turn” series, showcasing highlights along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. And okay—we’re not going to take you painstakingly turn by turn. However, we’re thrilled to break this half-century ride into mini stretches of fun.

Many cyclists choose to begin (or end) their time on the bikeway at Rood Bridge Park and Rhododendron Garden, which is worth exploring in its own right. The über active can jump of their bikes and play a game of doubles on the tennis courts. Alternately, trade wheels for paddles with the park’s kayak and canoe ramp. After pedaling hard, a relaxed row down the lazy Tualatin River provides a nice respite.  For just a quick-stop, spend a few minutes wandering through the mix of woods and wetlands, mapping out your ride on the picnic tables, or taking in the view of fluffy pink rhododendrons.

Just down the road from Rood Bridge Park is the Meriwether National Golf Club. The club provides a great opportunity for fun-seekers who want a short ride followed by a short 9-hole course. That pairing is sure to work up an appetite for ahi tacos or BBQ pulled pork sandwiches at the Meriwether Grill.

This is just one of a multitude of ways to experience the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bike Route. Start wherever you want on the bikeway—and complete whatever feels right to you. Next month, we’ll discuss the wineries and farm stands along the SW Johnson School Road of the bikeway.  

Road Closure Notice:
The N.W. Porter Road portion of the bikeway in Forest Grove will be closed for a film production event on Saturday, March 1 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Valentine’s Day with a Twist

Posted on: February 10th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Here in Oregon's Washington County, we find love and fun romance everywhere...especially the unexpected!

Here in Oregon’s Washington County, we find love and fun romance everywhere…especially the unexpected!

Last week, we talked how to wine-and-dine your Valentine. But that’s not every body’s thing. For couples or friends eschewing grandiose romance, celebrate Cupid’s favorite day without veering toward the cloyingly sweet. Instead come to Orgegon’s Washington County for endorphin-rush experiences.

Celestial Love
Love starts with the self, which RoseSprings Center for the Healing Arts knows well through its holistic care. For an other-worldly experience, the center’s mystic messages explores the idea of spirit guides (February 13, 7-8:30 p.m.). Using oracle cards, gain perspective on pressing questions. For a more down-to-earth experience, book a couples massage.

Artsy Love
Love heats up in the glass blowing studio! Don’t buy a gift for your Valentine. Instead, make a gorgeous hand-blown flower at Live Laugh Love Glass’ Valentine’s Date Night (February 14 from 7-10 p.m. or February 15 from 6-9 p.m).

Messy Love
Research shows that couples that exercise together are healthier in body and spirit. Celebrate health and love at the Inaugural My Muddy Valentine 5k (February 15, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., registration $45-$60). Looking-for-love runners can participate in a post-race speed dating event.

Green Love
The recent snowstorm will melt just in time for February’s Beaverton Winter Market (February 15, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.). Lovebirds looking for a low-key hangout can take home more than just veggies: home smoked pork rilletes from Feastworks Chacuterie and a rose and pistachio buttercream French Macaroon from Sterling Catering and Cookies.

Buzzed Love

Even non-romantics describe new love as a certain kind of buzz, which is exactly what you’ll get at the Zwickelmania Oregon Brewery Tour (February 15, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Learn about the hops, brewing process, and bottling of our favorite local brews: Ambacht Brewing, Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub, Two Kilts Brewing, and Vertigo Brewing.

Pork-tastic Love
Italy is full of romantic traditions and Montinore Estate has adapted a few as its own with Maialata: The Festival of the Pig (February 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. $150, reservations required). A Portland restaurant favorite, Nostrana, pairs Montinore’s wine with a day of pork-themed food-making and eating.

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Vacation like an Olympian

Posted on: February 7th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Women Wine Wheels Tour rides by fragrant lavender fields.

The Women Wine Wheels Tour rides by fragrant lavender fields.

Do you get caught up in the whirlwind of Olympic coverage each time the games roll around? We know we do! And while Oregon’s Washington County is no Sochi, we’ve got our fair share of high-caliber sporting events to flex for visitors. You can always see what’s up next on our sports page. Want to earn your vacation by training for an out-of-town event? Get inspired below:

Starting Sunday, you can watch the best curlers in the world duke it out for a gold medal. This less-profiled sport is well-loved at Portland’s Evergreen Curling Club. The 2nd Annual Bridgetown Open Bonspiel (March 21-23, 2014). The bonspiel brings together curlers—men, women, young, old, able-bodied, and wheelchair using—for bracket style competition that’s simply riveting to watch.


When it comes to they Olympics, do you prefer individual or team sports? For those who compete better in a group, sign up for the Twelve Bridges Relay (May 31, start 6 a.m.).  This 67-mile, 12 leg running event includes the full length of the Banks-Vernonia Trail, crossing 12 historical bridges. This event is currently sold out; however, put your name on the waiting list!

Ladies, join a tour-de-force on the Wine Women Wheels Tour (August 3, start 9 a.m.). Cycle a 30 or 45-mile loop of scenic mountains, vineyards, and even Mountainside Lavender’s aromatic fields. Your efforts will be rewarded at the finish line, which is conveniently located at Hawks View Cellars. Here, refuel with a gourmet vineyard lunch of citrus marinated chicken with Pinot Gris glaze and local summer berries. A pop-up shop of clothes, workout gear, and other goodies is available so you can treat yourself—you deserve it! With months to train, use the How to Prepare page to get in tip-top shape.

Obstacle Course

No matter how hard you train, the Epic Grind surprises even the most seasoned of athletes (September 27-28). While running the 5K or 10K trail run through Henry Hagg Lake’s forests and fields, you’ll climb, crawl, and jump through challenging obstacles.

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

Fuel Your Hobbies

Posted on: January 17th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
What's your hobby. From bowling to antiquing, we can help you enjoy your hobbies to the fullest.

What’s your hobby. From bowling to antiquing, we can help you enjoy your hobbies to the fullest.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, the best ones reignite an existing passion rather than try to force a new one. Your resolutions should honor what you love. Fittingly, January is National Hobby Month and we have tons of ways for you to indulge in your favorite pastimes in Oregon’s Washington County.

Pedaling the 50 mile stretch of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is one of the best ways to clear one’s head for 2014. The bikeway is best for intermediate and advanced cyclists, but newbies can enjoy the 21-mile sweep along the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.

Be the kingpin of your bowling team by practicing on vacation. The 42 state-of-the-art lanes at Big Al’s could be the home of your 300-game. Hobbyists of the gamer or sports variety go ga-ga for the big screens and exceptional arcade.

Dust off that box in the attic—it’s time to revitalize your favorite collection! How can you not with two amazing and MAX-accessible markets rolling through the Washington County Fair Complex. First hit up Portland’s Rain of Glass Show and Sale (January 25-26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., $7 admission) for all things glass: glass appraisals, displays, and glass repairs.

The Funky Junk Sisters Vintage Flea Market (January 31-February 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., $7 admission) is a favorite of Flea Market Style Magazine, Romantic Homes Magazine, and Flea Market Décor Magazine for upcycled treasures.

Take in amazing views by boat or canoe. Hagg Lake has tranquil waters and (of course) beautiful fishing from March to November. Get ready to reel in crappie, bluegill, trout, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and yellow perch. Angler’s licenses can be obtained from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for $33.

Al’s Garden Center helps gardeners keep their love of flora thriving through the winter with free or affordable weekend workshops for succulent bowls, indoor herb gardens, and orchids.

Is cooking your hobby? Get inspiration for new recipes with our soup roundup, combining National Hobby Month with National Soup Month!

The Witching Hours: Halloween Happenings

Posted on: October 23rd, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Phantom of Halloween (found at Curiousities Mall) wants you to get your tricks & treats in Oregon's Washington County.

The Phantom of Halloween (found at Curiousities Mall) wants you to get your tricks & treats in Oregon’s Washington County.

With Halloween only a few days, Oregon’s Washington County is nearing its witching hours. Little goblins and big zombies come out to play, delighting visitors more than scaring them. Planning an end of October trip to our pumpkin-laden streets? Check out our Halloween haunts.

Sip Witches Brew
You drink wine, vampires drink blood. It’s a Halloween match made in Oregon’s Washington County with The Wines of Halloween (October 26-27, 7 p.m. at Renaissance Wines, $18 and 21-and-over only). Think of this as the perfect Halloween bash for Dionysus himself—god of wine, merry-making, and theater—as wines with a creepy history are sipped alongside Halloween-themed performances.

Run from with zombies
All that binge-watching of “The Walking Dead” has prepared you for this. Dress like your favorite zombie and burn off all of that candy you’ve been eating at the North Plains Pumpkin Run & Costume Parade (October 26, 9 a.m. at 30975 NW Hillcrest St, $15-$20) The loop of the 10K Fun Run and two mile Run/Walk is aptly-named Pumpkin Ridge Road.

If you’d rather “hang” with zombies than run with them, check out Zombie Fest (October 26-27 at Tree to Tree Adventure Park, $55). Costume-clad adrenaline junkies follow zombie tour guides, zip-lining through the autumnal trees.

Of course, Halloween wouldn’t be complete without some trick-or-treating. The Streets of Treats invites kids to get their candy-fix while parents contemplate new shoes (October 26, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Bridgeport Village, free admission).

Is your family traveling on actual Halloween? Bypass the typical neighborhood candy rounds. Munchkins can partake in McMenamins Trick-or-Treating (October 31, 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Grand Lodge, free admission).

Boogie with the Boogie Man
The McMenamins Halloween Party is the epitome of a monster mash (October 26, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Grand Lodge’s Compass Room Theater, free admission). Put on your zaniest costume for some old time rock ‘n roll.

Woo! That’s a whole lot of Halloween fun. And don’t forget—it’s not too late to check out our  pumpkin patches, spooky-style shows and haunted attractions.

Gold Leaves, Red Wine & Green Courses

Posted on: October 4th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Try your swing on Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club's Ghost Creek Course.

Take a swing on Pumpkin Ridge Club’s Ghost Creek Course.

People always talk about how Oregon is so green. From vines lacing around Pinot grapes to emerald-hued golf courses, Oregon’s Washington County honors our true colors with a fall getaway itinerary for those that love tee time and wine hour.

The biggest distraction of the Quail Valley Golf Course is its striking coast range views. Don’t worry about your handicap because the 18-hole course embraces all levels, as you can see in the course guide.

The Tualatin Estate Vineyard’s tasting room is open for complimentary tastings noon to 5 p.m. For a leisurely visit, schedule the comprehensive tour for $20 per person (it’s worth it).

A gourd-ous day! Fuel up with cider and baked goods at Roloff Farms. Only open to the public during pumpkin season, the farm’s fall treats and pumpkin patch feel extra special. Picking pumpkins counts as stretching, right?

After picking pumpkins, play a course named after one. Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club welcomes visitors on its Ghost Creek course. The course is pristine green with a canopy of orange-leaved trees. Plan your swings with a course guide of the par-71 course.

Committed to a pumpkin-themed day? Drive to Sherwood’s Two Kilts Brewing Co. for a seasonal brew made from 500 pounds of fresh pumpkin. Before 5 p.m., find a closer wine hour at Helvetia Vineyards & Winery’s $5 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay tasting.

Stretch your definition of golf at the McMenamins Grand Lodge’s free disc golf course. It’s actually quite similar in design to traditional golf and savvy players prove the game requires great grace.

With the weekend almost over, let masseuses at Ruby Spa work the knots out of your shoulders with a Hammerhead Deep Tissue Massage. For good measure, drink a beer of the same name at Ironwork Grill.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of golf courses in Oregon’s Washington County. Pick-and-choose the right course for you with a comprehensive list of golf courses.

Everything mentioned above has easy access to the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. Make this itinerary your own!

Introducing Trail of the Week

Posted on: August 12th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Ki-a-Kut Bridge leads pedestrians and bicyclists over the Tualatin River.

The Ki-a-Kut Bridge leads pedestrians and bicyclists over the Tualatin River.

Welcome to the official kick off of our Trail of the Week series. We’re constantly amazed by all the ways to enjoy the outdoors here in Oregon’s Washington County. From sporty runs to lackadaisical strolls, take on the trails upon trails and experience the stupendous beauty of the area. And hey, we haven’t forgotten about our cyclists and kayakers. In our book, bike paths and waterways are trails of sorts, too. So let’s get this who on the road—err, I mean trail.

The Fanno Creek Trail  is the type of trail you’ll want to do again and again. In fact, many people do frequent the trail on a regular basis. As the trail meanders through three different cities (Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Durham), walkers and leisure bicyclists are easily elevated Zen moment.

Stroll through a green pasture that takes you into Cook Park. Newbie and seasoned birdwatchers gather to gaze at winged blackbirds, common yellowthroats, blue herons, and waterfowl in the lush wetlands. For those interested in more dainty creatures, just stop by the adjacent Tupling Butterfly Garden, which is satiated with lush flora.

Continuing on, you’ll see how the Tualatin River flows alongside the well-maintained path. Cutting under the trestle on the trail, walkers and bikers can turn left for Durham City Park or right onto the Ki-a-Kuts Bridge. The pedestrian bridge sports a gorgeous view, with moss covered oak trees bouncing their emerald hues off the soft gurgling Tualatin River below.  Upon crossing the bridge, the river floodplain leads into the Tualatin Community Park.

If you head north toward Beaverton and beyond, it’s worth taking at peek at the Fanno Farmhouse, home of the 19th Century onion farmer Augustus Fanno. The picturesque yellow house is as cute as can be. Imagine ol’ farmer Augustus taking in the same beauty as you just did over a hundred years ago.

Fast Facts
Length: 18.6 miles
Type: walking, biking
Level: beginner
GPS coordinates: 45.404, -122.764

Tune in next week! With a smorgasbord of trails—from a bit off the beaten path to more paved and friendly—we can’t wait to show off a new trail in each weekly installment.

Bike your way through Oregon’s Washington County with the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.