What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Forest Grove’

The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway Turns One Year Old!

Posted on: September 15th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

 

Happy 1st birthday to the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway!

Happy 1st birthday to the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway!

 

Happy birthday to the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway! We can’t believe the 10th designated scenic bikeway is already a year old. It seems like just yesterday that we were cutting the ribbon to celebrate the bikeway’s Inaugural Ride.

With a year of happy cyclists merrily pedaling the 50 mile route, it’s safe to say that the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway will be enjoyed for years and years to come. Intermediate and advanced cyclists journey through the quaint downtowns (with coffee pit stops aplenty) and friendly farms (with seasonal farm stands ready for mid-ride snacks). Cyclists of all skill levels can then together enjoy the 21-mile tail-end of the bikeway, the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, with its lush greenery and paved path.

In addition to everyday cyclists, there have been plenty of accolades coming in for the bikeway. Allison George of the Washington County Visitors Association received Travel Oregon’s Tourism Development Award for her dedicated work to launching the bikeway. Grant McOmie of Grant’s Getaways jumped in on the bikeway love, as well, in a feature segment. Plus, this video from Travel Oregon caught the bikeway—and some of its adoring riders—in action:

We could gush on and on, lovingly sharing turn-by-turn details of the bikeway…Oh wait! We already  have! Check out the blog’s Wheel Turn series for an in-depth look at all 50 miles of the bikeway, stretch by beautiful stretch:

Have you ridden the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway yet? When you do, be sure to share your experience (and some fun pictures) with us over on the bikeway’s Facebook page. Help us celebrate the bikeway’s first year and beyond.

P.S. Ready to cycle through even more of the Tualatin Valley? Sign up for the September 28 Harvest Century Bike Ride!

Oregon International Air Show Itinerary

Posted on: September 8th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
Late September promises a weekend of old planes, new crops and lots of fun in the Tualatin Valley

Late September promises a weekend of old planes, new crops and lots of fun in the Tualatin Valley

The weekend of September 20 will be hoppin’ in the Greater Portland region. The annual Feast Portland brings foodies together for a weekend celebration of Oregon bounty. But Oregon’s bounty extends beyond just food. Use our itinerary for a weekend that’s about food, where it comes from, the planes that fly over it and the culture that surrounds it. It’s easy (and affordable!) with six hotels offering a special promotion. Book a stay with one of the following hotels and get up to two free general admission tickets for BOTH Saturday and Sunday (valued at $20 each) to the Oregon International Air Show:

Friday, September 19
Roll into town and get your fireworks fix right from the start with the Frontier Night at The Oregon International Air Show (6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Hillsboro Airport; $5-$75). Catch an aerobatic show and one of the best fireworks shows in Oregon, serving as a perfect send-off to summer.

Saturday, September 20
Meet the farm community that makes eating locally possible in the first place at the Hillsboro Saturday Market (9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Main Street, between 1st and 3rd Avenue). The market is a 30-year tradition of Oregon’s bounty, hosting more than 100 vendors throughout the year.

Now, shift to a festival that focuses on just one crop. Choose from the Annual Corn Roast – Celebrating Forest Grove (1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pacific University; free) or the Apple Harvest Festival (1-4 p.m. at the John Tigard House Museum; free). Both have specialty foods showcasing the season’s best produce.

Escape the city for the Tualatin Valley’s outdoors at the OMSI Star Party: Autumnal Equinox Celebration (7 p.m. at Stub Stewart State Park; free; weather permitting).  Use the collection of telescopes on hand to see Venus, Saturn and Mars.

Sunday, September 21
If you’re interested in historical foods—or just carnival food—then head to the last day of the Oregon Renaissance Festival (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Washington County Fair Complex; $7.95-$15.95) for jesters, jousts and, of course, a turkey leg or two.

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

Pear Sangria

Posted on: September 4th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Sip the season with our pear brandy sangria recipe.

Sip the season with our pear brandy sangria recipe. Photo: Melissa Hay

Here we are again. The early days of September hold that heartbreakingly beautiful crux between summer and fall. We’re not quite yet ready to say goodbye to the long summer evenings, but the promise of crisp fall afternoons makes us itch for the days ahead.

In salud to this very special time of year, we always whip up a batch or two of sangria. The chilled wine encourages sunny patio happy hours, while the fruit welcomes the first produce of the coming, chillier season.  Last year, we shared our recipe for season shift sangria. Try it along with the recipe below for pear sangria. The local fruit, wine and brandy concocts a refreshing, yet warming nod to September’s bounty in the Tualatin Valley.  

For the apples, peaches and pears in this recipe, gather the best of the best from our farms and markets. Find (and u-pick!) juicy fall fruit from these farms:

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
4 shots McMenamins Pear Brandy
(purchase at the McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse our McMenamins Grand Lodge)

1 lime, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
2 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
1 ripe green apple, cut into wedges with seeds removed
2 ripe pears
1.75 bottles of dry white wine
(especially good with David Hill Vineyard’s 2013 Estate Pinot Blanc)

Directions:
Combine sugar, McMenamins Pear Brandy, lime, lemon, peaches, apple and pears into a large pitcher.
Cover fruit mixture with the dry white wine. Stir.
Chill sangria for at least 2 hours. To bring out all the fruity goodness, let chill for up to 24 hours.
To serve, spoon fruits into glasses, then pour the infused wine over top of the fruit.
For an effervescent effect, top each glass of sangria with a splash of soda water (optional).

P.S. Continue savoring autumn in the Tualatin Valley by sharing your visit with others! Enter your nature photography in our Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest.

What is biodynamic wine?

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Reap the rewards of Cooper Mountain Vineyards biodynamic practices: great Oregon wine!

Reap the rewards of Cooper Mountain Vineyards biodynamic practices: great Oregon wine!

When you take that first sip of an amazing Pinot, does it feel as though the wine is speaking to you? That voice may come from the wine’s terroir. And that terroir may have come into full fruition via biodynamic winemaking. A biodynamic practice is akin to homeopathy within agriculture, embracing a holistic understanding of the agricultural process. We met up with Barbara Gross of Cooper Mountain Vineyards  to learn why biodynamic farming—which Cooper Mountain Vineyards embraces—makes for great wine with great terroir.

Cooper Mountain Vineyards lives by the philosophy that “wine is memory of land.”  This idea is further explained in John Nossiter’s book “Liquid Memory,” which states that good terroir is representative of a wine’s history, connection to place of a place and very essence. Drinking biodynamic wine is therefore one of the best ways to taste the Tualatin Valley.

Barbara explains that biodynamic winemaking allows Cooper Mountain Vineyards to craft authentic wines with minimalistic intervention while respecting the soils from which the wines originated. Allowing for a self-sustaining farming mechanism to evolve brings a vineyard’s grapes closer to terroir. Barbara says “the less manipulation, the more your terroir speaks.” And each terroir speaks differently. For instance, an older vineyard may be more grounded in its soil and grape-growing process, which subsequently will create more grounded wine. Expect earthy notes of mushrooms and minerals. On the other hand, a younger vineyard with different soil may speak a completely different terroir, filled with punchy bright notes of fruits and herbs. What matters is that biodynamic farming and winemaking allow for a wine’s terroir to speak authentically and purely.

The biodynamic process is gaining momentum in the wine world and Oregon’s Washington County holds a large component of Oregon’s biodynamic wine puzzle. Along with Cooper Mountain Vineyards, Montinore Estate is among Oregon’s largest producers of sustainable and biodynamic wines. For a day of earth-minded wine-tasting, plan a trip with our sustainable wine trail itinerary!

Next month, we’ll uncover some of the distinct vineyard personalities found in Oregon’s Wine Country that par lay into truly standout Oregon wine.

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

End of Summer Events

Posted on: August 20th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

We’re in the home stretch of summer, with just over a month until the Autumnal Equinox. We plan to soak up every last drop of summer sunshine and shenanigans. See below for the best of the best of the Tualatin Valley’s end-of-summer events.

Bask in the fading glow of summer, made easy with a Labor Day wine tasting at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Bask in the fading glow of summer, made easy with a Labor Day wine tasting at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Oregon Renaissance Festival
August 23-September 21, weekends | 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Washington County Fair Complex | $7.95-$15.95
Encounter a magical 16th century European village of knights, fairies and more. Bonus: learn medieval lingo!

WinCo Foods Portland Open
August 20-24 | varying times | Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course | $15
Don’t miss your chance to see the next Bubba Watson or Keegan Bradley battle for one of 25 PGA Tour Cards.

Wapato Showdown
August 23 | all day | Brown Park | free
Car enthusiasts show off their tricked-out cars and motorcycles with fun contests to boot.  

Labor Day Tasting at Quailhurst Vineyard Estate
August 30 | 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Quailhurst Vineyard Estate | $10-$20
Watch Quailhurst Vineyard Estate’s beautiful horses while sipping the winery’s fine Pinot.

Labor Day Wine & Art Show
August 30-September 1 | noon to 6 p.m. | Plum Hill Vineyard | No cover charge
Celebrate the long weekend with wine from Plum Hill Vineyards and great local artists.

Summer Festival at Garden Vineyards
September 11-14 | noon to 10 p.m. | Garden Vineyards | free
Live music, wine, and delicious food…Garden Vineyards does the end of summer right.

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day
September 13 | all day | McMenamins Grand Lodge | free
The McMenamins Grand Lodge can’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day. Enter, an Irish-themed party now

Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival
September 20 | 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Valley Art Gallery | free
Release the artist within! Create a colorful sidewalk masterpiece in historic downtown Forest Grove.

Annual Corn Roast
September 20 | 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Pacific University | no cover charge
Feast on fresh roasted corn as a tribute to the last of summer’s harvest.

OMSI Star Party: Autumnal Equinox Celebration
September 20 | 7 p.m. | Stub Stewart State Park | free
Welcome the new season with a star party. Experts will help you catch a glimpse of Venus, Saturn and Mars.

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

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway: Wheel Turn 6

Posted on: July 30th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Are you ready for the crisp air from the Coastal Range, apple orchards and even a dinosaur? We’re back with our sixth installment in the “Wheel Turn Series” of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. As a review, you can cycle backwards and read the previous Wheel Turn blog posts:

There's a myriad  eye-candy along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.

There’s a myriad eye-candy along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.

Continuing up NW Porter Road, the bike path will transition into NW Visitation Road. As the road forces a left onto NW Osterman Road, cyclists have the opportunity to take a side road, NW Evers Road, as an easy and paved shortcut, jumping a few miles of the bikeway. That said, we encourage savvy cyclists to journey on the bikeway; your efforts will be rewarded turning right onto NW Kansas City Road with the sight of a Triceratops. Yes, you read that right. A Triceratops named Breezy is a delightful roadside attraction that also marks your entry into the foothills of the coastal range. Enjoy the crisp—even breezy—air that it brings.

Pedaling on, Kansas City Road is also home to Bull Run Cider’s founding location. Oregon’s newest hard cider producer has lovingly planted acres of young heirloom apple trees. Repeat riders of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway love taking a moment of pause to see how much the young trees have grown since their last visit. In addition to the orchard, the cidery also has a romantic old barn for a picture-perfect photo-op.

If you prefer your agricultural landscapes to air more toward the savory than sweet, then you’ll be happy to see the fields and fields of corn and wheat on NW Greenville Road. You can measure the wind by the sway of the wheat and corn stalks. The rural scene continues on as cyclists turn left onto NW Roy road and then left onto NW Mountainside Road. The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is nearing its final, glittering stretch, but we’ll save that for next month.

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

Bird Watching at Fernhill Wetlands

Posted on: July 16th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Families love exploring the Fernhill Wetlands with help from our Nature Passport.

Families love exploring the Fernhill Wetlands with help from our Nature Passport.

Just like humans, bird travel patterns are dictated by temperate weather and good food. For fowl and folks alike, the Tualatin Valley provides both. Minutes from quaint downtown Forest Grove—where visitors delight in the weather and wine at Urban Decanter—is the popular watering hole for migratory birds at Fernhill Wetlands.

Fernhill Wetlands is a cornerstone location along the Pacific Flyway, which is the flight path extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Every year, more than 200 species of migratory birds make Fernhill Wetlands part of their journey. The wetlands are even home to a bald eagle who has crafted its nest in a cottonwood tree. Besides the national bird, bird watchers also excitedly spot greater yellowlegs, American white pelicans, northern shovelers, long-billed dowitchers and belted kingfischers.

While the height of bird watching at Fernhill Wetlands spans from November to March, the nature reserve still truly is a year-round treat. The moist soil habitats entice birds to the area, but recent improvements to the wetlands also attract visitors, as well, with new trails, a water garden and a snazzy solar-powered camera station.

To heighten your experience even further while visiting Fernhill Wetlands, take along a free copy of the Nature Passport, which gorgeously organizes our 727 square miles of wetlands, parks, refuges, forests, and waters into a user-friendly and page-by-page guidebook. Here, wildlife and botanical aficionados are invited to check-off species from their “life-list,” as well as to create leaf rubbings.

For more information (and a peek at Fernhill Wetlands’ gorgeous scenery), check out this video form Grant’s Getaways:

Fernhill Wetlands
Location: 1399 SW Fernhill Road, Forest Grove, 97116
Phone: 503.681.3600
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk

Past Nature Passport Blog Posts:
Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Cook Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park

Order your Nature Passport and share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram. Tag your photos with #WaCoNature.

Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway: Wheel Turn 5

Posted on: June 25th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Avid cyclists take a break at Olson's Bike Shop along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.

Avid cyclists take a break at Olson’s Bike Shop along the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway.

Are you ready for a quaint downtown, vintage trains and a ma-and-pop bike shop? We’re back with our fourth installment in the “Wheel Turn Series” of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. As a review, you can cycle backwards and read the previous Wheel Turn blog posts:

After riding 17th Avenue for an easy stretch—passing cute city parks along the way—turn right onto Elm Street for a dose of Forest Grove’s small business charm. Unsurprisingly, Olson’s Bicycles welcome bikeway cyclists to pop into their shop and say hello, use the restroom and pick up any mid-ride supplies.  The full-service bicycle shop is well-equipped for any necessary tune-ups, or just a granola bar.

If you happen to be riding on a Wednesday, take a cultural detour to the Old Train Station Museum on 19th Avenue. Open Wednesday s from 9:30 to noon (or by appointment), the century-old train station now holds 150 years of local history. Get up-close with old-time locomotive gear, WWI and WWII era photographs, and emblems of Forest Grove’s early days.

The parallel Main Street is worthy of a bikeway pit-stop, as well. The sweet stretch confirms all of the history that the Old Train Station Museum so lovingly documented. A slow cycle through the historic street shows impressive and well-maintained architecture from a bygone time. From May to October, Main Street offers a First Wednesdays Farmers Market, complete with handmade crafts, wine tastings and scrumptious tamales.

After enjoying small-town bliss, cycle back toward the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, which you can pick up again on 20th Place. Following signage, you’ll weave through another range of Forest Grove neighborhoods before turning left onto Oak Street, which will set you up for a long breadth of agricultural delights ahead.

For the full effect of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, check out this stunning video from the Path Less Pedaled:

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

Best Bets for Oregon Cider

Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Take a tour of one of Oregon's finest cider farms and cideries.

Take a tour of one of Oregon’s finest cider farms and cideries.

Crisp, yet effervescent. Tangy, yet sweet. Oregon cider has got it all. We’re using Oregon Cider Week as an excuse delight in the local hard cider hot spots all around the Tualatin Valley. Want to join us? Good! See below for our favorite ways to enjoy cider in Oregon’s Washington County:

Right from the Source
Forget farm-to-table. What about farm-to-bottle? That’s what’s happening at Bull Run Cider, which is a quintessential Oregon cidery. Take an educational tour of the apple tree farm, learning how the cider-makers blend the flavors of Oregon berries into their ciders by grafting apple trees. Tours are offered by appointment—get in touch to schedule yours.

With a Historical Nod
Oregon’s cider game actually has a long, complicated history. Many of the best apple orchards were dismantled during prohibition time in order to stop production of the popular drink that pioneers had long made in the northwest. Pay homage to the cider community’s storied history by drinking the sweet stuff at one of McMenamins’ historical spots. The McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall was once a pioneer homestead and Rock Creek Tavern was a hotbed for post-prohibition activity.  

Straight from the Tap
Much like beer, cider is thought to be at its freshest when a glass is poured from the tap. Luckily, The Growlerie always has at least three ciders in rotation. The current tap lists includes a traditional granny smith cider, as well as one with notes of apricot and peach!

From a cocktail glass
When it comes to your drink, sometimes you just need to kick it up a notch. As the summer days heat up, the evenings still remain cool. Warm up with a hot whiskey cider at Primrose & Tumbleweeds, complete with the accoutrements of honey, cinnamon and lemon.

Cider’s Cute Cousin
The Ponzi Vineyards Cugini sparkling cider grape juice tastes like a cross between wine and cider—yet is completely alcohol free. Made from 100% Gewurztraminer grapes, this is one elevated juice.

Want to learn even more about Oregon Cider? Check out this Grant’s Getaway segment:

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

Cornhole: Fun Game, Silly Name & Cash Prizes

Posted on: June 2nd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
See if you have a lucky arm at the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole.  photo: American Cornhole Organization

See if you have a lucky arm at the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole.
photo: American Cornhole Organization

With the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole coming to Forest Grove this weekend, don’t get too caught up on the name. If you haven’t heard of cornhole before, then you might know this common bar and tailgating game as corn toss, bean bag, bean toss or even as Indiana horseshoes.

No matter the name, the game is always played the same: Solo or doubles teams take turns tossing corn bags into a hole of a slanted wooden platform. Successfully throwing a bag into the hole is three points and landing a bag onto the platform is one point. The first player to reach 21 points wins!

While cornhole is often associated as a southern pastime, the game has a more storied past—as well as a great Northwest future. According to the American Cornhole Organization, the game may have roots as far back as 14th Century Germany! Over the years, cornhole made its way from Europe into the hills of Kentucky. Clearly, cornhole has a pioneering spirit and is paving its own Oregon Trail to unite new players in the Tualatin Valley.

When we say new players, we really mean new players. No experience is necessary to play in the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole. Newbies and pros, along with adults and kids alike, are welcome to take part in these two fun-filled days in Forest Grove. Play a few practice rounds of cornhole at the pre-tournament festivities at the McMenamins Grand Lodge. And on tournament day at Pacific University…who knows? Maybe you’ll take home one of our cash prizes:

Singles:
1st place: $250
2nd place: $125
3rd place: $50

Doubles (per team):
1st place: $500
2nd place: $250
3rd place: $100

Register now! Even if you don’t win big, you could still end up on TV. Drew Carney of KGW-Channel 8 will be covering the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole Kick Off (June 6 from 4-9 p.m. at the McMenamins Grand Lodge, Free). Come say hi!
 
Want to learn even more about cornhole? Oregon Live posted a fun article about the game. Read it here.