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Posts Tagged ‘Forest Grove’

2015 Oregon State Championships of Cornhole

Posted on: January 23rd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments


Mark your calendar, book your hotel room and start warming up that arm. The Oregon State Championships of Cornhole are coming to Forest Grove May 29-30! But wait…what is cornhole?

Cornhole: A lawn game where players alternate taking turns strategically throwing bags of dried corn into a hole in a raised platform. Also known as bean bag toss, corn toss and soft horseshoes.

Sounds easy, but—despite its funny name—there is a definite art to cornhole. It’s about stance, form and a certain finesse. Whether you’ve been playing cornhole at tailgates and bars for decades or you’ve never even laid hands on a corn bag, we want you to participate in this year’s championships. Hey, why not? The championships are open to Oregon residents only, and men and women of all ages and all experience levels (as in, no experience necessary) are invited to register for the championships.  Then, get excited for two days of fun in the Tualatin Valley.

With just a $35 registration ($30, plus $5 processing fee), this might be the most affordable and fun way to play your way to a cash prize.

Friday, May 29: Pre-Tournament Festivities
Join us at the McMenamins Grand Lodge for a kick-off event! There will be free open cornhole games, as well as pay-as-you-play challenges. See which McMenamins beer helps you throw the best. The event is open to the public, and you need not have to participate in the tournament to join in on the festivities.

Saturday: Championships Tournament
This all-day event at Pacific University includes competitions for singles, doubles, women-only, juniors and seniors. All players are guaranteed a minimum of two games.

Because a cornhole champion is nothing without a good night’s sleep, be sure to book a hotel room at one the hotels offering a special rate for the weekend:

America’s Best Value Inn and Suites
Best Western University Inn
McMenamins Grand Lodge

Get more details on local (and pet-friendly!) hotels in the area.

So tell us, do you have what it takes to be the Oregon state champion of cornhole?


The Four B’s of Brand New Bars

Posted on: January 7th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

BBW-polaroidBodacious boozes of beer, brandy and bourbon. Say that three times fast! The letter “B” had a banner year in the Tualatin Valley—specifically in Beaverton and the Bethany area (more B’s! Go figure!). In the tail end of 2014, three great new drinking holes emerged onto the scene. Read on for the scoop on each.

Bethany Public House is part of the growing number of upscale taphouses in Oregon’s Washington County. Of the 25 craft beers on tap, five are the public house’s own brews. Staying true to its northwest roots, the Thinker IPA boasts a variety of hops into one easy-drinking ale. On the other end of the spectrum is the Camel Brown oatmeal porter, flavored with notes of Irish steel cut oats and malted chocolate. Mix and match the craft beer alongside tasty American bites with an Italian twist.

Big Bottom Whiskey isn’t new and it isn’t a bar, but it certainly still deserves a spot in this roundup. The independent bottler of high quality whiskey has been gaining some major fandom from all other the United States. Gear Patrol even named the bottler’s 111-proof bourbon one of the best bourbons not from Kentucky. Visit the tasting room on Saturdays to find out for yourself!

Bootleggers Whiskey Bar’s historical nod to all things booze fits right into its spot in historical downtown Beaverton’s lineup of cozy-cool spots. Taking cues from the 1920s and ’30s prohibition era, the romantic and dark bar serves us old-timey cocktails and an all-star lineup of whiskey, as well as moonshine for good measure.

Brannon’s Pub & Brewery is the newest kid on the block, bringing even more freshly crafted Oregon beer to Beaverton. With nine of its own new brews on hand, you can make a night of trying their inventive takes on IPAs and other styles. Be intrigued and delighted by the Benzonator Black IPA, which infuses strong flavors of pine, lemon and roasted malt into the usually milder IPA. Don’t just come to the pub thirsty, but hungry, too. Pair the great brews with locally sourced grub from the Neapolitan pizza oven. Sports lovers will rejoice with the sheer volume of high quality viewing options here, as well, including individual screens for certain tables.

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Post-Holiday Detox

Posted on: December 31st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

holiday detox collage
Confession: I ate a five day old Christmas cookie for breakfast. Like so many of us, I’m going to keep munching on sweet treats and sipping bubbly until the clock strikes midnight. Even if eating healthy isn’t part of your 2015 agenda, you might at least be ready for a break for all the decadent holiday spreads. See below for tips on a post-holiday detox in the Tualatin Valley; but it’s really more a refuel. You won’t be deprived of anything—simply replacing the junk with the utterly good.

Joyous Juice
La Vida Veggie has got some Life Force, literally, as that’s the name of their favorite made-to-order juice. The blend includes orange, kale, cucumber and celery. This Latin-inspired vegetarian spot also has chewable menu items, as well, like the savory walnut meat tacos or “kale obsession” salad. Hey, the restaurant’s motto isn’t “peace, love and kale” for nothing!

Voracious Vegan
Sweet Lemon Vegan Bistro was founded by lifelong vegans ready to share their love of healthy fusion cuisine at this Bethany area restaurant. Think wholesome soups packed with nutrient-rich vegetables and ultra-satisfying noodle dishes.

Magnificent Massage
If you ask us, a massage is a crucial part of any “detox.” Visit Ruby’s Spa at the McMenamins Grand Lodge for a massage and allow your body to release all the tension from the previous year, followed by a dip in the mineral soaking pool. You’ll feel like a new person for the New Year. Of course, there are a plethora of other spa options in the Tualatin Valley to choose from, as well.

Welcome Well-being
RoseSpring Center for the Healing Arts thinks big picture when it comes to physical and mental health, relaxation and general well-being. The holistic care practitioners can guide you through a rejuvenating day of massages, dance and even energy healing!

P.S. Take a look at our New Year’s resolutions you can keep.

New Year’s Eve Itinerary

Posted on: December 19th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The kitschy, yet regal McMenamins Grand Lodge is a perfect mix for New Year's Eve dancing.

The kitschy, yet regal McMenamins Grand Lodge is a perfect mix for New Year’s Eve dancing.

Let the countdown begin—we’re mere days away from saying hello to 2015. With all the holiday hullabaloo going on, it’s easy to let New Year’s Eve plans fall through the cracks. But not this year, friends! We’ve taken the busy work out of the equation—you can simply use our New Year’s itinerary for a sure-fire good time and good New Year.

First, check into a room at the McMenamins Grand Lodge or one of our other standout hotel options. Just be sure to make reservations ahead of time!

Afternoon Bubbly Excursion
Before the sun sets, hop in the car to search for some sparkling wine to pop open come midnight. Though, you won’t have to search very hard—simply head to Shafer Vineyard Cellars for the Shafer Cuveé. Open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the winery produces its sparkling wine in the traditional French champagne method, Methode Champenoise. Very classy, indeed.

Dinner: Small Plates on a Big Night
We’re looking into your future—near future that is—and we see dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. So make dinner light, yet delicious at small plates at 1910 Main. As the name would suggest, you and your dinner companions can share delicious morsels of creative cuisine. It’s a celebratory meal that doesn’t require a post-feast nap!

Party Time!
Back at the McMenamins Grand Lodge, a night of good music and revelry will kick off at 9 p.m. with  New Year’s Eve at the Grand Lodge. Boogie to live music from three different bands. Choose from Americana, rock or Motown beats.

Welcome to 2015!
Start the year off on the right foot, literally, with the ranger-led America’s State Parks First Day Hike at beautiful Stub Stewart State Park. Here, you’ll find fresh air and a fresh perspective.

Now that you’ve properly worked up an appetite from your hike, chow down at the Ironwork Grill. Using seasonal ingredients from local growers, your meal will fill you with meaningful sustenance for the first day of the New Year.

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

Winners of the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest

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

We’re on the final countdown to the winter solstice, which means it’s time to soak up the last few days of the official fall season. It has been a gorgeous few months of bright leaves, birds and skies—and we have the pictures to prove it! As entries for the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest came rolling in, we were continuously reminded of how beautiful the Tualatin Valley really is.

After much deliberation, the judges weighed in and the crème de la crème of the photo contest have now been placed and awarded. Though it’s worth mentioning that each entry was standout in its own way. See all of the entries on our Flickr page.

First place: Larry Chow, David Hill Vineyard & Winery

second place_Batmobile_88
Second Place: Corey Rudolph, Autumn’s Pass at Bald Peak

Third place_Corey Rudolph
Third place: Alec Haskard, Solitary Egret in the fog at Fernhill Wetlands

Honorable Mention_Alec Frank
Honorable Mention: Jason Lindseth, Buxton Trestles over the Banks-Vernonia State Trail

Buxton Trestle
The winning photos of the Focus on Autumn Nature Photo Contest showcase a cross-section of the Tualatin Valley outdoor experience. Each location is easily accessible and utterly gorgeous. While the Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint is a thing of wonder with its wide view of mountains and valleys, the drive to it on its own—as Corey Rudolph’s photography proves—is well worth it on its own. Use a complimentary copy of our Nature Passport to learn more about the lovely birdwatching at Fernhill Wetlands, as well as smooth cycling jaunts down the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. And, of course, striking outdoor vistas include vineyard views, too. This is the case with David Hill Vineyard & Winery, whose vines gracefully exemplify the best of every season. Use these winning photos—and the places where they were photographed—as inspiration for your own itinerary to Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley.

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Holiday Events in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: December 3rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Happy ho-ho-holidays! December is a prime time for travel, ranging from family getaways to visiting friends and family. Whatever brings you to the greater Portland region this winter, you’ll find that holidays are especially warm-and-fuzzy when celebrating with Oregonians! Beyond the holiday tree lightings and tax-free shopping events in the Tualatin Valley, we’ve rounded up a gaggle of other festive outings.

beaverton holiday decorations

All I Want for Christmas: Toy and Dolls We Remember
Runs through January 3| Washington County Museum | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.| $4-$6
Remember when all you wanted for Christmas was a dolly? This museum exhibit showcases iconic dolls through the years, from Scarlett O’Hara to Barbie.

Helvetia Christmas Festival
December 5-December 14| Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | free
Celebrate the holidays like they did in the good ol’ days with a warm drink to hold while you wait for your marshmallow to roast over the fire. The holiday tree farm’s gift shop smells of more than evergreens, but homemade lavender gifts, too!

Annual Holiday Market at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
December 7 | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | noon to 5 p.m. | free
Wander the perimeter of the charming octagonal barn while sipping mulled wine and you’ll feel as festive as all get-out. Then up the ante even with holiday treats, décor and presents. Look out for the Dickens Carolers in Victorian garb!

Breakfast with Santa at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
December 13-14 | McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | 8 a.m. & 10 a.m. | $13-$18
Who wants to have breakfast with Santa? That’s just what the kids can do at this relaxing event, sharing a hot and toasty meal with the big guy in the red hat.

Storytime with Mrs. Claus
December 13 | Al’s Garden Center in Sherwood | 10:30 a.m. | free
Mrs. Claus loves to read to the elves—so she’s taking storytime to kids in the Tualatin Valley next!

The Nutcracker Ballet
December 13-14 | Forest Grove High School | 1 p.m. & 6 p.m. | $8-$12
Ballet Forest Grove presents its annual production of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Delight in the a classic story, magical sets and whimsical costumes.

Holidays on the Hill
December 13-14 | Plum Hill Vineyards | 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. | free
What’s the holiday season without a little wine? This tasting room transforms itself into a quaint holiday shop for the weekend.

Live Theater

A Christmas Survival Guide
December4-21 | Broadway Rose New Stage | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $20-$35
A light-hearted revue takes playful jabs at holiday traditions and holiday stresses.

Miracle on 43rd Street: A 1940s Holiday Radio Massacre
December4-23 | Venetian Theatre & Bistro | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $22-$32
The Christmas classic gets a seedy makeover, complete with a mob boss!

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
December5-21 | HART Theatre | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $11-$17
Be transported to the world of a bygone era, filled with the music and heart of the 1940s.

The Wines of Christmas
December 21 | Renaissance Wines | 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. | $20
Enjoy a tasting of local wine and food pairings while enjoying the merriment of a holiday-themed reading.

Choral & Orchestra Events

Live Nativity Scene and Musical Open House
December 4-6 | Tualatin Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints | 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. | free

ISing Noel: Christmas in France
December 5-7 | Bethel Congregational United Church | varying times | donations welcome

Hillsboro Community Youth Choir Winter Concert
December 10| Liberty High School | 4 p.m. | $2-$8

Spirit of Christmas: A Time for Joy
December 13 | Sherwood High School Performing Arts Center | 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. | $6

Oregon Mandolin Orchestra Annual Holiday Concert
December 19 | Walters Cultural Arts Center | 7:30 p.m. | $15-$20

Selections from Handel’s Messiah and Judas Maccabaeus
December 19 | St. Matthew Catholic Church | 7:30 p.m. | $25

That’s a whole lot of holiday cheer for you—and we didn’t even include everything! For a full listing of holiday events, check out our events and festivals page.

Thanksgiving Weekend Events

Posted on: November 3rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Over Thanksgiving weekend, pick up knitting supplies and meet new friends at the Alpaca Open Barn & Holiday Sale.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, pick up knitting supplies and meet new friends at the Alpaca Open Barn & Holiday Sale.

The Tualatin Valley is happily flooded with new faces, visiting family and friends over the holiday weekend. Every year, we are so grateful to share the start of the holiday season with locals and guests from all over the country. With so much hubbub on actual Thanksgiving, plan ahead for the relaxing days after the big feast. To start, check out our seven things to do in the Tualatin Valley this Thanksgiving. And see below for even more Thanksgiving weekend events:


Give & Gobble Thanksgiving Run/Walk
November 27 | 9 a.m. start | Sherwood High School | $15-$70
After you gobble, it’s time to wobble across the finish line. Choose from run and walk options, completing a 5k or 10k options.

Jump Start Christmas Celebrations

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
November 28-November 30 | 7:30 p.m. | HART Theatre | $11-$17
This musical is full of Americana charm as a duo of beautiful singing sisters travels to a Vermont lodge—owned by their former army commander—on Christmas.

A Christmas Survival Guide
November 28-November 30 | 7:30 p.m. | Broadway Rose New Stage | $20-$35
Shed the bahumbugs for a few laughs with this light-hearted review of that teases holiday traditions.

Miracle on 43rd Street: a 1940s Holiday Radio Massacre
November 28-November 30 | 7:30 p.m. | Venetian Theatre & Bistro | $22-$32
This classic radio broadcast gets a gritty do-over as a Mafia mobster gets in a tangle with a New York detective.  

Forest Grove Holiday Tree Lighting
November 28 | 6 p.m. | Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce | free
Fa-la-la-la-fall is almost over, but a visit from Santa makes the incoming winter less dreary. Your face will  light up just as the holiday tree does at this annual tradition

Hillsboro Holly Days & Marketplace
November 29 | 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. | Hillsboro Civic Center Plaza | free
Feel holly and jolly with a tree lighting, live music, a visit from Santa and even an indoor playground!

Art and Gift Shows

Student & Alumni Holiday Art Sale
November 28-November 30 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | OCAC | $10 suggested donation
The Oregon College of Art and Craft welcomes 70 of its current students and alumni to share and sell work inspired by the Pacific Northwest.

Helvetia Christmas Festival
November 28-November 30 | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Helvetia Christmas Tree Farm | free
Beyond the delicious smell of holiday trees, the scent of homemade lavender gifts delights the scenses…as does the marshmallow roasting station.

Alpaca Open Barn & Holiday Sale
November 28-November 29 | 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Alpacas of Oregon | free
Meet some fuzzy friends before heading into the gift shop for all your winter knitting needs.

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

Ask a Local: Urban Decanter’s Rebecca Kramer

Posted on: October 10th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Rebecca Kramer, owner of Forest Grove's Urban Decanter, shares her local tips.

Rebecca Kramer, owner of Forest Grove’s Urban Decanter, shares her local tips.

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Rebecca Kramer, owner of the Forest Grove wine bar Urban Decanter. Having grown up and then started her own business in Oregon’s Washington County, she has the ultimate tips.
What makes Urban Decanter so special?
The cozy wine bar offers guests a comfortable atmosphere with a great selection of northwest wines, craft beer and cocktails. We also have homemade soups, panini and small plates. We have created what our guests refer to as a “Cheers” like place to gather.
What do you love most about interacting with visitors?
I love connecting with visitors and finding out their stories. So many of my regular guests are like family that it creates a great community around us.
From where do you get your cooking inspiration?
Two places: When I go out to eat and Pinterest. I am on Pinterest A LOT to keep my imagination in the kitchen fresh and creative.
What’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?
You have to go see Forest Grove’s newest tap room, Waltz Brewing…Tell them I sent you!
Describe a perfect day in Oregon’s Washington County.
We are the gateway to wine country, so wine tasting is a MUST! I would also be sure to stop and eat at one of the local restaurants such as 1910 Main before finishing up the evening with a bottle of sparkling wine around a fire pit!
What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
The Wilson River. I love that river. It is so relaxing to just drive into the forest and explore.
Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub?
Pac Thai doesn’t have one stand out dish, but five: spicy crispy chicken basil, pad thai, pumpkin curry, crab fried rice and tom yum soup!
What should visitors to take home as a souvenir?
This is easy! Wine!

Describe the Tualatin Valley in five words or less.
Outdoors, libations, family, farms and picturesque!

The welcoming Urban Decanter is filled with top-notch Oregon wines and Rebecca's soul-satisfying cuisine.

The welcoming Urban Decanter is filled with top-notch Oregon wines and Rebecca’s soul-satisfying cuisine.

Other tips from locals:
Curiosities Vintage Mall’s Travis Diskin
Maggie Buns’ Maggie Pike
Clean Water Service’s Sheri Wantland
SakéOne’s Steve Vuylsteke
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan
Cooper Mountain Vineyards’ Barbara Gross
Abbey Creek Vineyard’s Bertony Faustin

An Apple Itinerary

Posted on: October 8th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Oregon Heritage Applefest is known for its tasty caramel apples.

The Oregon Heritage Applefest is known for its tasty caramel apples.

Hold up, pumpkins. You and your pumpkin patches don’t get to have all the fun this fall. In the Tualatin Valley, apples shine in all of their glory, too. To prove it, we’ve created an itinerary for an apple-tastic day.

A healthy breakfast need not apply today! Instead, grab donuts from Sesame Donuts (multiple locations; open seven days a week, 24 hours). The popular spot excels at apple donuts, crumbles and fritters.

Morning Apple picking
With low-hanging branches, Fuji apples are ready for the picking at Bell’s Orchard (24350 SW Farmington Rd., Beaverton; Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

With 10 varieties on hand, Oregon Heritage Farm (22801 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Hillsboro) shows its devotion to all things apple with an annual Applefest (October 11; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; free), complete with an apple sling shot and apple rope maze.

Yet another great apple farm is Smith Berry Barn (24500 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Hillsboro; open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The farm’s 21st Annual Heirloom Apple Festival (October 11; noon to 4 p.m.; free) includes chicken apple sausages topped with caramelized sweet onion. Plus, the farm store always has a great assortment of apple goods.

Just across the street, grab lunch at South Store Cafe (24485 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Hillsboro; Tuesday-Friday from 8:30 to 2 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Of its many specialties, don’t miss the chicken salad’s crunch of apples, almonds and currants.

Cider visit
In lieu of happy hour, tour Bull Run Cider (7940 NW Kansas City Road, Forest Grove). Using only fruit that is grown within 100 miles of the cidery, Bull Run Cider loves Oregon apples. Tours are offered by appointment—schedule yours!

Devoted to northwest ingredients, Bethany’s Table (15325 NW Central Dr., Portland; daily dinner service) serves local apples paired with beehive cheese and Marcona almonds.

Whip up scrumptious apple recipes, including our sweet potato and apple pizza, as well as our surprisingly delicious apple and Gouda oatmeal cookies.

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

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!