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Posts Tagged ‘Forest Grove’

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!

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Quiz: What Oregon Winery Should You Visit?

Posted on: June 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

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!


4th of July Events in the Greater Portland Region

Posted on: June 17th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

What do you love most about the 4th of July? For some it’s the crackle-pop of fireworks lighting up the sky. For others, it’s a chance to get out and be active. Additionally, it’s hard to resist a kitschy Independence Day festival. No matter how you choose celebrate freedom this coming 4th of July, we’ve got the events and attractions to match it. Just a few minutes’ drive from Portland, the Tualatin Valley is a perfectly patriotic escape for the holiday weekend. See our ideas below!

Find patriotic colors at Smith Berry Barn's Annual Berry Festival this Independence Day.

Find patriotic colors at Smith Berry Barn’s Annual Berry Festival this Independence Day.

4th of July Weekend Fireworks, Festivals and Parades

4th of July Fireworks and Family Picnic
Tom McCall Upper Elementary School| July 4 | free

Hillsboro Rotary 4th of July Parade
Downtown Hillsboro| July 4 | free

Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration
Tigard High School| July 4 | free

Wild West Celebration
Main Street, North Plains| July 4 | free

Annual Berry Festival
Smith Berry Barn| July 4 | free

4th of July Weekend Live Entertainment

Summer Concert – Ants in the Kitchen
Arnold Park| July 2| free

Thoroughly Modern Millie
Deb Fennell Auditorium| July 2-5 | $20-$44

Hillsboro Hops Game & Fireworks
Ron Tonkin Field| July 3 | $7-$16

4th of July Weekend Sport Events

Cook Park Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5k
Cook Park| July 3 | $30-$50

Stars & Stripes Marathon & Half Marathon

Fanno Farmhouse| July 5 | $15-50

4th of July Weekend Markets, Wine and Food Events

Beaverton First Friday
SW Broadway Street| July 3| free

Neighbors Night
Cooper Mountain Vineyards| July 3| $8

Beaverton Farmers Market
SW Hall Boulevard between 3rd & 5th| July 4| free

Wine & Watermelon
Plum Hill Vineyards| July 4-6| No cover charge

Hillsboro’s Sunday Farmers Market
Orenco Station| July 5| free

Tigard’s Sunday Farmers Market
Public Works parking lot| July 5| free

So, what’s it going to be? Parades, live music, an epic run or some good food—or why not do it up and experience it all in the Tualatin Valley? Have a happy and safe 4th of July Weekend!

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

Winners of the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole

Posted on: June 3rd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Arms swung. Bags flew. Winners conquered. The Oregon State Championships of Cornhole was a sight to be seen with cornhole players from Portland to Bend coming together for a weekend of good competition, good games and even some good beer.

The weekend kicked off with pre-tournament festivities at the McMenamins Grand Lodge. Many of the cornhole players stayed at this Forest Grove location not only for easy access to Saturday’s event at Pacific University, but also to take advantage of the property’s soaking pool, movie theater and the alcohol-infused snow cones! Lucky for you, these perks can still be found during your summer stay at the McMenamins Grand Lodge.

At Saturday’s championship event, top players from last year spared with new talent, bringing about fierce-yet-friendly matches for all of the five divisions. Of the new divisions, the juniors category showed off the fresh energy of the next generation of master cornhole players. It seems that a good arm runs in the family as the junior champion, Selleh Eberly, is the daughter of the singles champion, Scott Eberly. Here’s a full rundown of the Championships’ winners:

Youth: Selleh Eberly
Seniors: Bob Gallup
Womens: Brianna Malcolm
Doubles: Bob Gallup and Ben Fernandez
Singles: Scott Eberly

Get a glimpse of the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole from KATU:

Catch even more cornhole moments with our Facebook Album.

While our whirlwind of cornhole-playing fun is now over, there are still plenty of unique sports to add to your quirky fun in the Tualatin Valley:

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

Cornhole How-To and Tips

Posted on: May 27th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

The great thing about the upcoming Oregon State Championships of Cornhole is that you actually don’t need to be near champ status to participate. Total newbies and bonafide superstars are all welcome. If you’re looking for an official way to usher in the summer, then this day of lawn games in charming Forest Grove should do the trick. It’s not too late! Book a room with one of our hotel deals. Online registration is now closed, but there will be onsite registration at both the Friday and Saturday events.

How to Play Cornhole

As a single or doubles team, contestants take turns pitching corn bags at a cornhole platform until one contestant or team reaches 21 points. A points breakdown:

  • Corn bag in the hole scores = 3 points
  • Corn bag on the platform = 1 point

Sounds easy, right? It is, but expert players know that it takes a certain finesse to be truly great. Players can strategize by shifting the filling of the corn bag in their hands before throwing it. Here are a few throw options:

Basic Fold
Flatten the bag in your throwing hand, then fold the bag in half so that there is equal fill in each half.

Double Fold
Hold the bag by one corner, then fold the corner without any filling in it over the corner holding the fill. After that, fold the bag in half with the other two corners.

Flatten the bag completely and throw it underhand in a spinning motion (similar to throwing a Frisbee)

Hold the bag by one corner with your index finger and thumb so that you can then hurl (or—ahem—sling) the bag at the hole in a backspin motion. 

Cornhole Lingo

Even if you don’t nail the rules, you can still talk like a pro. Just use our cornhole lingo cheat sheet:

  • Ace-A bag that makes it onto the board, earning one point
  • Dirty Bag-A bag that touches the ground before it touches the board
  • Lipper-A bag that is dangling near the cornhole board’s hole, ready to drop and gain three points
  • Sally-Though we don’t love the gendered connotations of this one, a Sally is a bag that falls short of the board
  • Skunk-A game with an 11-0 score

Now that you have our expert tips, it’s time to register! Online registration is now closed, but there will be onsite registration at both the Friday and Saturday events.

More Cornhole:
Five Reasons to Play in the Oregon State Championships of Cornhole
Forest Grove Itinerary for the Cornhole Championships Weekend

What’s New in Our Cities?

Posted on: May 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
World of Speed Museum

The World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville, Oregon delights car and culture buffs alike.

The Tualatin Valley is blooming with more than just flowers as new attractions make their spring debuts. That’s right, there are fresh new tasting rooms, museums and more popping up all the time. Help us usher in newcomers with a visit—and maybe a drink or two. Below, catch the details on exciting new additions to Cornelius, Forest Grove and Wilsonville.

Cornelius: Dion Vineyards Tasting Room

Dion Vineyards’ Tasting Room is a new attraction for a long-celebrated vineyard. Dion Vineyards has made the northern Willamette Valley and its fertile slopes of Laurelwood soil its home for more than 30 years, spanning three generations. Now, the estate embarks on a new chapter as it sets roots beyond the soil with a new tasting room in the charming town of Cornelius.  
Location: 33155 Reidweg Road, Cornelius
Hours: Open June thru November, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: $15 tasting

Forest Grove: Bull Run Cider Tasting Room

Bull Run Cider’s Tasting Room fits right into the friendly college-town vibe of downtown Forest Grove. Bull Run Cider is rapidly growing in production as more people fall in love with its not-too-sweet ciders; it was only a matter of time until their popularity gave way to a tasting room, as well. Looking for a late night hang out? Bull Run Cider is a safe bet, serving up cider brews until 1 a.m.
Location: 2225 Cedar Street, Forest Grove
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Cost: varied tasting and by-the-glass costs

Wilsonville: World of Speed Museum

World of Speed is a car lover’s paradise that appeals to those less enthused by hot rods, as well. World of Speed doesn’t just tell the story of American automobiles, but the history and culture surrounds it. Mid-century modern décor, rock-and-roll music and racing stimulators in actual race cars delight every taste. The Holiday Inn Portland South is just a skip away, making this fun stop even speedier!
Location: 27490 SW 95th Avenue, Wilsonville
Hours: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday to Friday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Mondays)
Cost: $5 to $10; Simulator tickets $10

Taste what’s new in the Tualatin Valley—and then tell us about it with the #tualatinvalley hashtag!

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