What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Forest Grove’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

Vineyards After Hours

Posted on: May 30th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
At Ardiri Winery, friends can enjoy a summer evening toast, fire and movie.

At Ardiri Winery, friends can enjoy a summer evening toast, fire and movie.

It’s the end of Oregon Wine Month, but guess what?…The grapes are still growing ,vineyard dogs are still wagging their tails and the long summer days ahead will having our wineries open into the late evening. We’re listing the best dusk-hour sipping spots below:

Ardiri Movie Nights
June 14, July 12 and August 9 | 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. | $15 per person
Cozy up to one of the winery’s patio fire pits. Your entry cost covers food, a glass of wine and a classic movie. This is a popular event; so, RSVP early to info@ardiriwine.com.

Neighbor’s Night at Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Various Fridays June-September | 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | $8 per person
When visiting Oregon’s Washington County, locals will treat you like one of their own. Example: “Neighbor’s Night” welcomes all who enjoy live music and stellar wine (pretty sure that’s you).

Oak Knoll Toast to the Tunes
Various Thursdays June-August | 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. | $5 per person
Enjoy a leisurely wine tasting while chowing down on James Gang Dinner’s lip-smacking BBQ. Your picnic isn’t complete without a sweet serenade from a local band. Kids and leashed pups welcome, too!

Plum Hill Date Nights
Every second Friday of the month | 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. | Free
Summer lovin’, had me a blast. Summer lovin’, had me some snacks. Okay, we made up that second line, but couples keep the romance alive here with wine tastings, music and—yes—snacks.

One-Time Evening Wine Events

Field & Vine Dinner at Tualatin Estate Vineyard
June 17 | 5:30 p.m. start | $80 per person
A vineyard tour leads into an enchanting outdoor dinner. With six courses and a rustic-chic community table, foodies come together for a summer evening you’ll never forget.

Patio Grill Night at Apolloni Wines
June 20 | 6 p.m. start | $45 per person
In the last official day of spring, usher in summer with a gourmet four-course menu and wine pairings.  

Field & Vine Dinner at Beckham Estate Vineyard
August 16 | 5:30 p.m. start | $80 per person
Good food, good wine and good friends. What more could you want? Get it all at this very special outdoor dinner.

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

Ask a Local: Maggie Pike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rosebuds & Cornhole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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