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10 Can’t-Miss October Events in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: September 30th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Roloff Farms in the Tualatin Valley.
October is a great month, toting along a bevy of autumnal activities: Halloween fun, fall foliage and pumpkin patches (and the accompanying pumpkin spice lattes). Whether you’re extending a business trip, tacking a few days onto a pre-existing trip to Portland or just want to plan getaway with friends, find Tualatin Valley events to make October the best.

1. Hillsboro Arts Month

October is Hillsboro Arts Month, meaning that the area is chock-full of artsy-fartsy events. The month starts out with a bang as the Plein Air Festival (October 1-4) opens alongside Affordable Art for Everyone (October 3). Later in the month, view local art at Beaverton Arts Mix! (October 8-11) and the Washington County Open Studios Tour (October 17-18).

2. Fall Colors on the Tualatin River

See double the fall foliage as changing leaves are reflected in the waters of the Tualatin Valley at the annual Fall Colors Paddle (October 3). All levels welcome on this lazy river ride!

3. Spooky Events Near Portland

We don’t just have natural beauty, but supernatural fun, as well with the Zombies v.s. Survivors Run (October 3).

4. Oregon Pumpkin Patches

Whether you go for a classic orange one or a blue-green “Cinderella” gourd, head to our pumpkin patches for farm-time fun. The biggest pumpkins in all the land are carved into actual racing vessels at the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta (October 17).

5. Oregon Crush

Embrace the busy “crush” season for Oregon winemakers with the North Willamette Crush Weekend (October 17-18). Try special wines from over a dozen wineries.

6. Knitting, Quilting and Crocheting Events

The crisp weather will get you in the knitting mood. For supplies and ideas, hit up the Alpaca Harvest Festival (October 3-4) and the Color POWer! Quilt Show (October 3-4).

7. Oktoberfest Shenanigans

Cheers! Germany’s beer festival makes its way to the Tualatin Valley with the Oktoberfest at the McMenamins Grand Lodge (October 3) and OrenKoFest (October 10).

8. More Than an Apple a Day

Ready for a big, red, juicy apple? Bite into Applefest at Oregon Heritage Farms (October 10) and the Heirloom Apple Festival at Smith Berry Farm (October 10-11).

9. Moonlit Nature Walks

Jackson Bottom Wetlands hosts two evening naturalist-led walks around its beautiful refuge, the Fall Moonrise Watch (October 27) and Night-time Walkabout (October 29).

10. Trick-or-Treat

All ages are welcome to an all-day affair of food, music, costumes and more at Halloween at the McMenamins Grand Lodge (October 31).

How will you make the most of October? Your first step is booking a room in the Tualatin Valley!

What Others Are Saying About the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: September 28th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments


David Hill Turns 50

Oregon Wine Press shares musings on David Hill Vineyards’ 50th anniversary.

As is readily apparent, here in the Tualatin Valley we are not afraid to toot our own horn every now and again (Toot! Toot!). It’s hard not to when there is so much beauty here and so many ways to enjoy said beauty. But don’t just take our word for it! We’ve been happily overwhelmed with stories of others praising the Tualatin Valley. Below, check out a few of our favorite September writings about the area.

94-year-old Oregon winemaker looks forward, back as another harvest begins from The Oregonian
One of the founding winemakers of Oregon’s wine scene shares his history, best memories and expertise of growing grapes in his Banks vineyard.

A Shopper’s Guide to Portland’s Best International Markets from Portland Monthly
This ethnic food guide can’t deny the goodies to be found in the diverse Tualatin Valley, including the Indian megagrocery Apna Bazaar in Beaverton and the Korean kimchi aisle at H-Mart in Tigard.David Hill Turns 50 from Oregon Wine Press
With five decades of stellar winemaking at this gorgeous estate with a 19th century farmhouse and rich soils for Pinot grapes, there is much to celebrate at David Hill Vineyard & Winery—including the future.

Hiking and Biking in the Portland Metro Area from Portland Monthly
For outdoor adventure that’s easily accessible from Portland, head to Cooper Mountain Nature Park. The Little Prairie Loop provides an up-close view of frogs, birds and more.

Oregon’s 25 Best Wines Under $25 from Portland Monthly
Montinore Estate’s 2014 Borealis is a white blend of punchy tropical notes that pairs perfectly with winter’s spiciest meals.

For more of what others are saying about the Tualatin Valley, check out this Pinterest board.

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

Oktoberfest in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: September 16th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment


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 71 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 Oktoberfest happenings:

Harvest Century Bike Ride
September 27 | 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. | start at Hillsboro Civic Center | $50-$75
Finish a strenuous bike ride with a finish line party that features a beer garden and live music.

Oktoberfest at the McMenamins Grand Lodge
October 3 | all day | McMenamins Grand Lodge | free admission
Celebrate Oktoberfest with a biergarten, food and revelry.

October 10 | noon to 8 p.m. | Orenco Station Loop | free admission
This  premier harvest festival at the Orenco Station showcases local and seasonal beers from the Tualatin Valley, as well as other local produce and food from the area.

Verboort Sausage Festival
Nobember 7 | 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Visitation Road, Forest Grove | $8-$16
While technically past the Oktoberfest season, the beer garden at this annual event provides some sudsy pairings to delicious, homemade sausages.

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

What Others are Saying about the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

What others are saying about the Tualatin Valley

The blogosphere is loving Smith Berry Barn, SakéOne and the Old Scotch Church.

As is readily apparent, here in the Tualatin Valley we are not afraid to toot our own horn every now and again (Toot! Toot!). It’s hard not to when there is so much beauty here and so many ways to enjoy said beauty. But don’t just take our word for it! We’ve been happily overwhelmed with stories of others praising the Tualatin Valley. Below, check out a few of our favorite summer pieces about the area.

A Visit to the SakéOne Brewery in Oregon from Umami Mart
The writers of the Japanese food and drink blog, Umami Mart, extended their Portland trip to make time for a Tualatin Valley getaway to SakéOne in Forest Grove. The post takes readers through the brewery tour experience, which will only fuel your desire to visit SakéOne yourself.

An Oregon Gem: The Tualatin Valley from Going On Faith
While this is a guide for faith-based travel planners, truly anyone can take advantage of the publication’s excellent guide to Tualatin Valley’s attractions of museums, culinary adventures and the beautiful and pioneer era Old Scotch Church.

Berry Hot from Posie Gets Cozy
Alicia Paulson of the blog Posie Gets Cozy shares a sweet photo essay of her and her daughter exploring Smith Berry Barn and the South Store Café.

Six Cultures’ Favorite Junk Foods from USA Today Travel
USA Today Travel instructs readers how to upgrade their snack game, including Dutch stroopwafels from the Dutch American Market and Import Store. Take a bite of that chocolatey waffle goodness.

Stoller, Raptor Ridge Mark 20 Years from the Statesman Journal
Raptor Ridge Winery celebrates 20 years of great growth in both its vines and business—cheers!

Top 10 Local Restaurants in Tigard from The Culture Trip
The comprehensive travel website, The Culture Trip, takes a break from its globe-trotting coverage to settle into the best eats of Tigard. The post celebrates that some of the best ethnic food in the Greater Portland region is in fact, outside of Portland and into the Tualatin Valley.

Where to Wine, Dine, Recline in the Willamette Valley from the Statesman Journal
In the land of Pinot, a trip to the Willamette Valley isn’t complete without a stop at Ponzi Vineyards Winery for great wine, dazzling modern architecture and stunning vineyard views.

For more of what others are saying about the Tualatin Valley, check out this Pinterest board.

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

Birds & Brews Close to Portland

Posted on: August 14th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

The early bird gets the worm. To watch that bird, the early bird watcher gets the coffee! Enter, the Birds & Brew Festival on August 22 at Fernhill Wetlands. Two seeming mutually exclusive loves—birds and strong coffee—come together for one day of outstanding wildlife watching tours and good bean brews from Maggie’s Buns. For good measure, Maggie’s famous cinnamon rolls will be on hand, as well.


Photo of Fernhill Wetlands by Mary Lane Anderson

The Annual Birds & Brew Festival will take place at Fernhill Wetlands (photo: Mary Lane Anderson)

If you’re coming into town for the Birds & Brew Festival, then why not make a full-fledge wildlife watching weekend out of it? Book a room at the McMenamins Grand Lodge to make your early birding wake up calls a bit easier. Yet another bird (and bird watcher’s) paradise can be found at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. With nearly 200 species of birds, the wildlife watching is diverse, ever-changing and always full of beauty. Plan ahead by downloading the refuge’s “Watchable Wildlife” guide (PDF).

Even more birding opportunities are to be found at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. The downloadable “Bird Species Checklist” (PDF) keeps birders in the know for capturing in-flight pictures a Great Egret.

To get you in the mood, here are two swoon-worthy Instagram photos taken at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in the past weeks:


hayley.Lazuli Bunting at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Lazuli Bunting at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge by Hayley Crews (Instagram @hayley.crews).



A blue heron at the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge taken by Zach Mance

A blue heron at the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge taken by Zach Mance (Instagram @zachuncorked)

As you can tell, our bird watching is top-notch as dozens of species pass through our wetlands, forests and rivers during their migration journeys. So, make like the birds and pass through the Tualatin Valley yourself!

With all that bird watching, you might need quite a bit of coffee to keep your momentum going. Never fear! Get the buzz on coffee for lots of good caffeine options.

Tualatin Valley All-Outdoor Trip Idea

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Forest Grove Uncorked

Forest Grove Uncorked presents dozens of local foods, wines and brews.

Sometimes, we’ll be looking ahead into our events calendar and see a grouping of events that would make for one perfect, unforgettable weekend. Then, of course, we just have to share the itinerary we concoct with you. As you may have guessed by now, such an occurrence has entered our radar for the weekend of August 14-16. Tack on a few days to your Portland trip and explore the Tualatin Valley. Itinerary below:

Friday, August 14
“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.” Live by these words from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew while watching the play at Ponzi Vineyards with the Willamette Shakespeare production company. As the show is free of charge, you can unwind with an extra glass of wine during the outdoor performance. Show begins at 7 p.m.

After the show, catch some zzz’s at a cush nearby hotel.

Saturday, August 15
We’re rolling into prime cycling weather in the Tualatin Valley via the Beaverton Banks & Beyond Bicycle Tour. Novice to advanced cyclists can sojourn the farmlands and trails in a 32, 64, 85 or 100 mile ride. Register now!

Unwind in a casual atmosphere with Forest Grove Uncorked, which features dozens of local wineries, craft breweries and restaurants on the Main Street drag. Admission is $10 and nominal tasting fees may apply.

Sunday, August 16
Choose between two great outdoor events. On the mellow side, there is the Tualatin River Family Paddle Day where one enjoys the gentle lapping sounds against a canoe or kayak on a peaceful stretch of the Tualatin River.

For a more rev-your-engines kind of day, there is the Banks Bar-B-Que and Truck & Tractor Pull that includes the happy hum of big vehicles and a jubilant parade.

What an accomplished weekend! Theater? Check! Fitness? Check? Amazing Oregon wine? Double check! Bonus points for every activity being outside, soaking up the Tualatin Valley’s rays of sunshine.

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

Drink Pink in the Northern Willamette Valley

Posted on: July 17th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Raptor Ridge's rose (photo : Allison George)

Raptor Ridge’s rose (photo : Allison George)

Say it with me now: “Yes Way Rosé!”

Rosé wines are having a major moment in the Tualatin Valley. Hop in the car for an impromptu wine country weekend—it’s time to see the summer through rose-tinted glasses (and we do mean wine glasses).  Next time you’re visiting Portland, make sure to add a few days to your itinerary to try the outstanding rosé varieties at these wineries (all participating in Drink Pink):

Apolloni Vineyards
The 2014 Apolloni Rosé packs happy punches of strawberry and rhubarb. Your nose will pick up scents of honeysuckle and dried flowers.   

David Hill Vineyard & Winery
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé includes fruity aromas, including a hint of watermelon.

Elk Cove Vineyards
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé is hand-harvested from both old and young vines in the Willamette Valley that are from higher elevation vineyards on their own rootstock. The result is full flavor with lower alcohol.

Montinore Estate
The 2014 Pinot Noir Rosé holds a tight structure that allows for a dry, yet fruity sip of black cherry and red grapefruit notes.

Patton Valley Vineyard
The 2014 Patton Valley Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir adds citrus fun to its mix of flavors, finishing with a cream soda likeness that is downright tantalizing.

Ponzi Vineyards Winery
The Cin Cin Brut Rosé sells out quick every year as its méthode champenoise is rather irresistible. If you miss the Cin Cin, then there’s always other amazing rosé options on hand to try.

So much rosé, too little time. Make rosé your weekend agenda by booking a room at the Embassy Suites-Hillsboro or as one of our many other fantastic lodging options in the area.

10 Can’t-Miss July Events in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: July 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment

10 Can’t-Miss July Events in the Tualatin Valley

Ten Can’t-Miss July Events in the Tualatin Valley


With Independence Day in summer’s rearview mirror, continue celebrating your freedom to travel and experience new things. Whether you’re extending a business trip, tacking a few days onto a pre-existing trip to Portland or just want to plan getaway with friends, find Tualatin Valley festivals and events to make July the best. See our top 10 suggestions below.

1. Bluegrass Music

The Annual Northwest String Summit at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains is four days of soul-satisfying bluegrass and Americana music (July 16-19).

2. International Air Show

The Intel Oregon International Air Show welcomes the Blue Angels with its first woman pilot, Navy Capt. Kitty Higgins, on a C-130 Hercules aircraft.

3. Oregon Craft Beer Month

Celebrate Oregon Craft Beer Month with the 14th Annual Roadhouse Brewfest (July 18). Tour the McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse brewery and chat with brewers.

4. Lavender Farms

Smell that? The Oregon Lavender Festival comes to four Tualatin Valley lavender farms (July 10-12). Frolic in the purple fields!

5. International Dancing and Fairs

Ten Tiny Dances (July 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and the Beaverton International Celebration (July 25) highlights a mix of traditions from Beaverton’s diverse population.

6. Watch Dressage

Dressage of DevonWood in Sherwood boasts one of the largest dressage events in the Pacific Northwest (July 17-19).

7. Act Like Robin Hood

The Sherwood Robin Hood Festival (July 17-8) transforms Old Town Sherwood into an even older stomping ground of Robin Hood and Maid Marian. The Tualatin River’s MidSummer Night Paddle is best for those who fancy themselves mermaids over maidens (July 18). 

8. Drink Rosé

Yes way, rosé! The Drink Pink! rosé wine festival is a chance to visit 25 different Willamette Valley wineries, each offering rosy options (July 18).

9. Old Car Shows

The Tualatin Valley is a hot bed for hot rods with the Concours d’Elegance in Forest Grove (July 18-19) and The Classic at T-Hills in Beaverton (July 25).

10. Eat Crawfish

The 65th Tualatin Crawfish Festival is a quintessential Tualatin Valley summer tradition, complete with eating contests, local brews and live music (July 31-Aug 2).

Bonus: Sports fanatics can watch baseball at a Hillsboro Hops game (various dates), as well as the ASA 18 Gold Softball Championships (July 19-25). Prefer the view more than the game? Trade clubs for pianos at the Ten Grands on the Green (July 25).

How will you make the most of July? Your first step is booking a room in the Tualatin Valley!

Best Camping in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: July 2nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

A vacation doesn’t have to be expensive, elusive or exhaustive in planning (that doesn’t sound like a vacation at all!). Sometimes that respite you crave can be satisfied by throwing your tent in the back of the car, driving a few miles down the road to an area that looks a world away and camping yourself into a restful restoration. Enter, camping in the Tualatin Valley. In addition to your tent, what other toys will you bring on our camping getaway? We’ve picked out some of our favorite camping spots below, all designated by an awesome activity you will find at each one.


Gales Creek

Camp creekside at Gales Creek in the Tualatin Valley.



Camping in Tillamook is easy with Browns Camp along the Wilson River Highway. Adrenaline junkies map out this spot for dirt bike adventures—expect a messy, good time!
    Other area features: ATVs and 4x4s

Mountain Biking

Camping in the Forest Grove area means the gurgling of flowing water at Gales Creek Campground. If your two wheels doesn’t have a motor, then the trails here are perfect for a lush, green ride.
    Other area features: fishing, hiking, wildlife watching


Camping near the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, just west of the Tillamook State Forest, is clutch at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, which offers a disc-golf course close to the site’s charming cabins, RV Park and campgrounds.
    Other area features: horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, geocache sites, dog
    -friendly  areas.

Horseback Riding

Camping in the small community of Timber, Oregon is a quaint experience at Reehers Camp. The area includes a day use trailhead accessible to horseback riders (along with horse camp sites to match).
Other area features: hiking, historical background

What are your camping tips? Happy trails!

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

Quiz: What Oregon Winery Should You Visit?

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment

Montinore Estate
It’s time to discover Oregon’s wine country. If it’s your first time visiting the northern Willamette Valley, then it can be daunting to choose which of the 30+ wineries to visit first. While we think every wine tasting trip should include multiple vineyard destinations, here’s a quiz to help you choose which winery to stop at  first.  

What type of wine do you gravitate toward?
A. Pinot Gris
B. Riesling
C. You trust a winemaker’s blend
D. Pinot Noir

Though, please note that each winery excels at multiple varietals!

What’s your favorite home décor style?
A. Sleek modernism
B. Traditional with lots of classic wood pieces
C. Open-concept with free flow between indoor and outdoor
D. Italian villa

What activity do you like to do—with a glass of wine in hand—most?
A. Bocce Ball
B. Nerding out about organic farming
C. Getting cozy by the fire
D. Discovering new herbs for creative recipes

What kind of view do you like?
A. Panoramic views of the Chehalem Mountains
B. Coastal mountain range
C. Mt. Hood
D. Colorful gardens

Who are your wine tasting companions?
A. A mellow bachelorette party
B. Someone who has only wine tasted in California before
C. Your valentine
D. Your extended family


Mostly A’s: Ponzi Vineyards
Ponzi Vineyards in Sherwood is an Oregon old-school winemaker with lots of new-school charm. The multi-generation winery serves its wines, like the 2014 Pinot Gris that was picked as an “Editor’s Choice” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, in its incredibly classy gray-hued tasting room.


Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Vineyards

Mostly B’s: Montinore Estate
Montinore Estate in Forest Grove has a tasting room as regal as many esteemed Napa wineries. The Oregon twist? The stately décor remains unfussy, encouraging tasters to relax, ask questions and learn about the biodynamic winemaking process.


Montinore Estate

Montinore Estate (photo: David Brunkow)

Mostly C’s: Árdíri
Árdíri Winery and Vineyards in Cornelius was voted one of the best vineyard views in Oregon, which it celebrates with lots of patio seating tucked around multiple fire pits. Try the 2011 Pinot Noir Due Stati, which blends the best of Willamette Valley and Napa Valley reds into one tantalizing sip.


Árdíri Winery

Árdíri Winery

Mostly D’s: Alloro Vineyard
Alloro Vineyard in Sherwood transports wine lovers into an Italian daydream. In addition to the winery’s standout Pinot Noir offerings, be sure to peruse the herb garden for heavenly scents and serene views.


Alloro Vineyard

Alloro Vineyard


Which winery did your quiz results reveal? Be sure to explore all of the area’s wineries, vineyards and wine shops!