What’s the Word?In Washington County, Oregon

Posts Tagged ‘Forest Grove’

Ask a Local: Steve Vuylsteke

Posted on: March 31st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Steve Vuylsteke knows good saké—and the best of Oregon’s Washington County!

Steve Vuylsteke knows good saké—and the best of Oregon’s Washington County!

When it comes to vacation planning, nothing is more valuable than the local scoop. So, we turned to Steve Vuylsteke, President and CEO of SakéOne. Steve leads the only saké brewery in Oregon, utilizing the area’s high water quality to make premium sake. As a 55-year local of Oregon’s Washington County, he has the ultimate tips.

What makes SakéOne so special?
It’s America’s original craft saké brewery – the first one dedicated to making exclusively premium chilled saké.

What’s your favorite cocktail to make with SakéOne saké?
It’s simple to make and enjoy – g Lime, which is made of our g Joy saké on the rocks with a slice of lime. Refreshingly tasty!

At SakéOne, what do you love most about interacting with visitors?
Enlightening visitors as to what saké really is– saké is not rice wine and it is not distilled. Saké is saké: made like beer, drinks like wine!

Other than a visit to SakéOne, what’s one can’t-miss attraction for visitors to the area?  
I’m a golfer so either the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club or Forest Hills Golf Course.

What’s a favorite “hidden gem” of the area?
The Cruise Inn Country Diner has all organic and natural ingredients– I love the ’57 Chevy BelAir Burger!

Where do you go when you want some seriously good grub? What’s the standout dish?
Nona Emilia’s Italian restaurant and the standout clam linguine dish.

What should every visitor to Oregon’s Washington County take home as a souvenir?
Momokawa, Moonstone or G saké from SakéOne!

Describe Oregon’s Washington County in 5 words or less.
Love living and working here!

Previous Ask a Local Posts:
Bag&Baggage’s Scott Palmer
Vine Gogh’s Jenny Schildan

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

Itinerary: Go Irish

Posted on: March 3rd, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Chase a rainbow on The Reserve's course during the Luckython race.

Chase a rainbow on The Reserve’s course during the Luckython race.

And just like that, we’re ushered out of the month of love and into the month of luck. Here in Oregon’s Washington County, we never turn down an excuse to celebrate. Saint Patrick’s Day is no exception. Party like a leprechaun with our St. Patrick’s Day weekend itinerary.

Saturday, March 15
In other countries, the holiday is called “The Feast of Saint Patrick,” and a feast it will be with help from the Beaverton Winter Market and its accompanying St. Patrick’s Day Celebration  (12-1:30 p.m.). The closest you’ll come to a four-leaf clover will probably be in cookie form, but luscious green vegetables will be bursting from the stalls as the market transitions out of its winter harvest and into its spring one. Additionally, get into the Irish spirit with live Irish music and dance.

After filling up on super foods, chase after a pot of gold at one of Luckython’s series of runs: 5K, 10K, 15K, 15K team relay, 5K “Headlamp” nighttime run/walk at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club. The 7:30 p.m. Headlamp event is complete with green glow-in-the-dark accoutrement. Do an Irish-style reverse carbo-load with a post-run baked potato bar.

Sunday, March 16
Vacations are an excuse to go all out brunch-wise. Reedville Cafe offers a special Irish menu, including the O’Brian Scramble, mixing the classic corned beef with feta cheese.

With sustenance from breakfast, head to Henry Hagg Lake—it’s one of the best places to catch a rainbow. If the multi-colored arch doesn’t peek through the clouds, then fish for rainbow trout instead.

Of course, a St. Patrick’s Day weekend wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the pub. The Thirsty Lion’s St. Patrick’s Festivals at its Tigard or Hillsboro locations include Irish-themed cocktails and live music.

Monday, March 17
Taking a long weekend in the name of St. Nick? So are the McMenamins Grand Lodge and McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse with live bagpipers and locally brewed Irish-style Stout.

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

Quirky Roadside Attraction: World’s Tallest Barber Pole

Posted on: February 28th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey 1 Comment
The world's tallest barber pole, right here in Forest Grove.

The world’s tallest barber pole, right here in Forest Grove.

Barber poles seem to elicit a sense of 1950s  nostalgia. Truth be told, barber poles have a much darker history as Middle Age barbers used them as a sign for their services as a one-stop shop for bloodletting and tooth extractions (eep!). Thankfully, over the years the barber pole has manifested and evolved its happy, twirling stripes to be as American as apple pie. The tallest barber pole in the world—right here in Forest Grove—stands as a towering testament to that.

In 1973, the Barbershop Harmony Society held its international convention and championships in Portland. Area locals were so excited to host the suspender-clad singers that they erected the World’s Tallest Barber Pole, still holding the title today. The pole stands 70-feet tall with a two-foot-tall Styrofoam ball at the top.  Forest Grove native and barbershop singer, Chuck Olson, help spearhead the colossal installation’s permanent home next to Lincoln Park Stadium at Pacific University.

Turns out the barber pole has become a case of if you build it, they will come.  Forest Grove is affectionately dubbed “Ballad Town USA” not only for it record-breaking barber pole, but for its annual Northwest Barbershop Quartet Contest that draws a cappella singers from all over the U.S. and Canada.

This year’s event, held March 21-22, is the perfect excuse to mix history, culture, entertainment…and some roadside quirk.  Why not cheer on talented barbershop quartet groups as they bust their pipes in the name of victory? And, of course, come visit the world’s tallest barber pole where visiting barbershop groups are known to make a pilgrimage, often breaking out into song under its shadow.  

Past Quirky Roadside Attractions:
Breezy the Triceratops
Chief Kno-Tah
Bomb Crater at Rock Creek Tavern
What’s Up, Harvey
A&W Burger Family
Dress like a Quirky Roadside Attraction

Washington County is for Lovers!

Posted on: February 14th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Your sweet day can be even sweeter here.

Your sweet day can be even sweeter here.

Love is in the air! Nearly a quarter of a million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day. Couples from near and far choose Oregon’s Washington County as their place to say “I do.” And for good reason with gorgeous views, special venues, and all the accoutrement for the best day of your life.

Kick-off wedding planning with the Grand Lodge Wedding Expo (March 1, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., $15 per couple). Here, couples can envision their upcoming nuptials, from
primping at the Ruby Spa, toasting at the Doctor’s Office Bar, and concocting signature cocktails options.

Rustic Charm
We love the creative spirit of our brides, which shines through in their choice of venues: rustic beauty whimsically intertwines with modern style. Such is the case with historic downtown Sherwood’s Bella Via, as well as Hillsboro’s McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall. The 1850s roadhouse includes an octagonal barn that is darn right magical when laced with twinkle lights.

Au Natural
For a joyous, boho wedding day, look no further than Horning’s Hideout. Exchange vows by the lake, along a tree-lined creek, or on a large outdoor stage with room for 700 of your closest friends. With 24 hour rentals, guests can celebrate into the night and to camp under the stars.

Vineyard Views
With great Pinot, Oregon’s Washington County ensures some of the best wedding bars. Wineries like A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery host intimate wedding parties and rehearsal dinners.

The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club promises a picturesque black-tie affair.  Lovebirds tie-the-knot on the wildflower-bordered patio. For the party, the clubhouse is like celebrating in an Oregon-style castle.

All in the Details
Nowadays, it seems like no wedding is complete without a photobooth, such as local vendor Cheesy Mugs, or an after-party food truck. Guests can chow down on the ever-popular bulgogi tacos of Koi Fusion PDX food truck. For a fun twist on Oregon wine, rent the Union Wine Company’s wine truck!

Start planning your wedding! Get more resources on our Wedding Wonderland page.

And find more venues for your wedding, no matter your style: rustic charm, nature settings, golf courses, and vineyards and wineries.

Quirky Roadside Attraction of the Month: Breezy the Triceratops.

Posted on: January 31st, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Meet Breezy!

Meet Breezy!

For this month’s quirky roadside attraction, let’s talk about dinosaurs. One might think this requires us to allude to the Mesozoic Era; however let’s simply evoke our memories of 1993 and the instant summer classic, Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park and Oregon’s Washington County? On the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, the two meet at the intersection of NW Kansas City Road and NW Breezy Lane. This little corner of Forest Grove is home to “Breezy,” the Triceratops named after the street he lives on.

Unlike the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park, Breezy’s large frame is made of stone, but his searing stare fills the bikeway’s cyclists with awe whenever they bump into him. Campy as can be, Jurassic Park—whether you watched it as a child or an adult—made moviegoers excited for the unexpected.  Breezy has the same effect. Cyclists are always looking for something different in their rides. The Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway has many attributes that live up to the challenge, including being the only bikeway with a dinosaur along it!

If Breezy the Triceratops stirs a dinosaur enthusiasm in you, then you might as well indulge it with our other fossil attractions in Oregon’s Washington County. So, as Samuel L. Jackson says in Jurassic Park, “Hold onto your butts!” and head to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals for a display of mammoth tusks, dinosaur eggs, and “Tucker,” a three-dimensional baby Psittacosaurus dinosaur.  

We look forward to seeing you in Oregon’s Washington County, where dinosaurs are held in wonder for their history, magnificence, and their roadside quirk appeal.

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Pure Heart & Good Soup

Posted on: January 15th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Take home a soup-y souvenir with a vintage bowl from Rose City Modern.

Take home a soup-y souvenir with a vintage bowl from Rose City Modern.

Who knew Beethoven loved soup? He said, “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.” Oregon’s Washington County is pure-hearted and—in honor of January’s claim to National Soup Month—we are simmering soup for blustery days. Get a ladle and dip into our soup roundup!

Café Classics & New Creations
When Banks Café says it has fresh soup, it means it. Freshly-cut herbs from the café’s garden prove it. The über crisp ingredients take soup mainstays—like broccoli-cheddar and roasted red pepper—to the next level.

South Store Café is the quintessential lunch spot, offering daily soup specials. One favorite is the chicken and artichoke, which offers familiar flavors in a new and tasty way.

Old Deli Style
East Coasters revel in the Jewish deli standards at Sherwood’s Rose’s Restaurant and Bakery. Of course, no Jewish Deli would be complete without a piping hot bowl of chicken soup with a fluffy matzo ball plopped in it.

Asian Spice
Portlanders are known to break-away from their urban streets for Beaverton’s authentic Korean food. The Oregonian even dubbed Nak Won as the best spot for kalguksu, with knife-cut noodles floating delicately alongside thin ribbons of zucchini and tofu. For a truly special dish, the Duk Man Doo Gook cooks dumplings to perfection in savory broth.

Got a cold? Pho will kick it. Vivi’s Vietnamese Noodle House simmers fresh beef bones, ginger, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon into a replenishing broth. Vegetarians can enjoy the flavorful tamarind soup.

More is More
Can’t decide which soup to have first? Start with a three cup sampler at Fresh Thyme Soup Company. The soup shop has old-time favorite, as well as specialties on rotation: chicken, peaches, and cream; chicken and pear; and mulligatawny topped with raisins and coconut.

Speaking of soul-satisfying food, put gourmand tendencies to a good cause at this weekend’s Meals on Wheels Crab Feed in Beaverton, North Plains, and Tualatin. A $35 surf-n-turf meal will go toward millions of nutritious meals in the greater Portland area. Detox from the feast with soup!

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Inside Scoop from Oregon’s “Premier Citizen”

Posted on: January 13th, 2014 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Oregon's best in a Mason jar from 1910 Main: Pruitt farm fresh corn spoonbread with Oregon dungeness crab and a poached quail egg.

Oregon’s best in a Mason jar from 1910 Main: Pruitt farm fresh corn spoonbread with Oregon dungeness crab and a poached quail egg.

When it comes to trip planning, nothing’s better than getting the inside scoop from a real insider. You know—someone who lives and breathes for his home turf. Gerry Frank is Oregon’s ultimate insider, especially when it comes to down home grubbin’.

Gerry Frank is a seventh-generation Oregonian with 150 countries stamped in his passport. It is this mix of deep-roots and global flair that made him a tastemaker, a former head of the Oregon Tourism Commission, and—as of 2001—Oregon’s first-and-only “Premier Citizen.” These days, Gerry shares his old-time and newly-found favorites in The Oregonian and his Oregon Guide books. Of course, his round-ups often include gems in Oregon’s Washington County:

Broadway Rose Theatre Company is marked as one of Gerry’s favorite places to “be merry.” And merry the shows are indeed, especially with the much-loved “The Music Man” on deck this summer.

Classic Food Fare
Reedville Cafe has evolved in name and expanded in offerings since opening its doors in 1934; however, its friendly charm is ever-true. Come with an appetite to match the impressive menu. Look out for month-long specials, like January’s CrabFest and April’s SteakFest.

Locally-Sourced Everything
In his July picks, Gerry mentioned two Forest Grove favorites. First, 1910 Main’s locavore mindset is manifested through hearty meatloaf and lighter (yet scrumptious) vegetable stews. Next, Gerry picked Bistro Stecchino’s French-flair tapas.

Natural Wonder
Tillamook Forest Center is filled with long-weathered forests and rivers. Gerry suggests enjoying the Wilson River with a hike and picnic, as well as exploring the center when it reopens March 1.

When You Want It All
AZA Blue Market & Café’s  namesake impressed Gerry, as it is a confident nod to the chef’s ability to make anything “from A to Z.” It’s hard to resist the AZA Ba-Bomb, which includes every meat available in the house—really.

Salads & State Parks
After a gut-bomb at AZA Blue Market Café, Gerry offers healthy salads and hikes from Sweet Tomatoes and L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park.

To read even more praise for Oregon’s Washington County eateries, check out Accolades for Asian Eats.

Gifts for the Beverage Bon Vivant

Posted on: December 16th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

A sip of this, a slosh of that. Everybody has a beverage that really wets the whistle. For tea fiends, hot chocolate addicts, and lush libation lovers, gift new varieties of whatever leaves rings on your loved ones’ coasters:


Gift Guide: Beverage Bon Vivant
Gift Guide: Beverage Bon Vivant by jackie-xxiv featuring gift sets & kits


1 & 2 Stash Tea holiday blends include the peppermint-ginger “White Christmas” and the chocolate-peppermint-lavender “Christmas in Paris.” Sip it in a Stash mug while opening presents.

3 & 4 Moonstruck Chocolate Co. makes velvety hot chocolate. We pour it over treats for December 16’s National Chocolate Covered Anything Day…Which we’ve decided to celebrate through December (and 2014, too). Moonstruck’s Distillers Collection engulfs a bourbon truffle in rich milk chocolate.

5 Ponzi Vineyards offers delectable Pinot wine and the Ponzi Vineyards Cookbook. The cookbook seamlessly weaves recipes, harmonious wine pairings, and stories from the vineyard’s rich history.

6 Verbena Botanicals is not a drink, but these bath products smell so good that you’ll be tempted to taste it! Instead, soak in the herbal bath teas. The directions even call for “steeping” the ingredients.

7 SakéOne is a great gift for a sushi date in the New Year. Winning the Double Gold and Best of Show from the LA International Wine & Spirits Competition, Momokawa Ruby saké is a sure bet.

8 Bull Run Cider’s Bramble Berry Dry Cider is a welcomed departure from the season’s hot cider. Instead, take in the distinct flavors of Oregon’s apples and berries—gluten free foodies love this one!

9 McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse and Imbrie Hall brews some of McMenamins famous beers and spirits. As a reminder of the watering hole’s eclectic décor, gift a brass bottle opener embossed with McMenamins flair.

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

Christmas on Stage

Posted on: December 11th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Indulge nostalgia with It’s a Wonderful Life: Live Radio Play

Curtain’s up on Yuletide magic! Holiday shows are as much of a tradition as eggnog, elf on a shelf, and roasting chestnuts on an open fire (who actually does that anyway?). From long-established classics to kitschy new takes on festive cheer, you’ll have lots of low-stress, high-fun options while visiting family (or having family visit) in Oregon’s Washington County.

No theater savant wouldn’t dare miss the Nutcracker Ballet. Get your fill of sugarplum fairies, dew drops, and mouse kings, with a whimsical production by the Portland Festival Ballet (December 22-24, varying times at the Arts & Communication Magnet Academy Performing Arts Center, $12-$30). Artistic director John Magnus is a seasoned Nutcracker veteran. The New York Times called his past productions “glorious and sweetly inventive.” For other local productions of The Nutcracker, see our event listings.

Many families cap the season with a family viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. Oregon’s Washington County takes our fandom to a whole new level with It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (December 14-15 at H.A.R.T. Theatre) and the slapstick adaptation, It’s a (Somewhat) Wonderful Life (December 12-December 23 at the Venetian Theatre).

Keep cozy in the plush velvet poinsettia-red theater chairs with these additional Christmas shows:

•    Plaid Tidings (December 13-22) – Presented by Broadway Rose Theatre Company
•    The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (December 13-15) – Presented by H.A.R.T. Theatre
•    Annie (December 13-15) – Presented by Theatre in the Grove
•    Winter Dreams (December 13) – Presented by Hillsboro Symphony Orchestra
•    The Spirit of Christmas for Young & Old (December 14) – presented by Voices for the Performing Arts
•    Oregon Mandolin Orchestra (December 20) – Presented by Oregon Mandolin Orchestra
•    Handel’s Messiah (December 20) – Presented by Portland Chamber Orchestra

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Posted on: November 25th, 2013 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Once the Thanksgiving plates are cleared, we’re ready to deck the halls. Hauling home a tree is the kick-off for jingle bells, eggnog, and merriment. See our full listing of Holiday Tree Farms.

We asked three holiday tree farm employees to tell us what makes December so special in Oregon’s Washington County:

The Christensens, Owners of Christensens Tree Farm

The Christensens, Owners of Christensens Tree Farm

Christensen Christmas Tree Farm
Cindy Christensen: Owner/Accountant/Mom

1. What do you love most about working on the tree farm during the holidays?
Everyone brings their own ideas and traditions. Some like perfectly shaped trees while others look for ones with more “character.”

2. What is your favorite kind of holiday tree?
I put a Douglas Fir in the family room with ornaments and a Noble Tree in the front room with crystal. I live on a tree farm—why not have multiple trees in the house?

3. What is your favorite thing about the holidays in Oregon’s Washington County?
The Christmas Choral Show, The Spirit of Christmas for Young and Old.



Grace, "Cashier Elf" at Christmas Tree West

Grace, “Cashier Elf” at Christmas Tree West

Christmas Tree West
Grace Myers: “Cashier Elf” for the past three years

1. What do you love most about working on the tree farm during the holidays?
I love the cozy rustic holiday atmosphere. I offer kids s’mores packages to roast by the bonfire.

2. What is your favorite kind of holiday tree?
That’s hard to say since they all have particular qualities. All of them smell so good—especially fresh cut.

3. What is your favorite thing about the holidays in Oregon’s Washington County?
Looking at the holiday lights—it makes things so magical!


Jim  Kessinger, Owner of Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm

Jim Kessinger, Owner of Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm

Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm
Jim Kessinger: Owner

1. What do you love most about working on the tree farm during the holidays?
Watching families find, cut, and take home a tree knowing it will be a focus point for their holiday season.

2. What is your favorite kind of holiday tree?
The Noble. I like the spacing between branches. The decorations have space to really shine!

3. What is your favorite thing about the holidays in Oregon’s Washington County?
I love driving the area to see the beautiful Christmas lights.


Don’t forget to put presents under the tree! Our holiday shopping guide can help.