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

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

May Events in the Tualatin Valley
May is the sparkplug of summer fun in Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley. 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 art, festivals and sports to make May matter. See our top 10 suggestions below.

1. Art Walks

The Downtown Tigard Art Walk (May 1-15 on Main Street; free) includes an artsy re-vamp of the downtown area with new public art and bike racks made possible by a grant from the Washington County Visitors Association. Check out the pop-up gallery and a graffiti art demonstration the first weekend of the Art Walk.

2. Renaissance Faire

Forest Grove’s re-created medieval village, Faire in the Grove (May 2-3 at the McMenamins Grand Lodge; free), is a good excuse for history buffs and Game of Throne buffs to unite.

3. Cycling through Oregon Wine Country

The Montinore Bicycle Road Race (May 2 at Montinore Estate; $15-$30 registration) makes easy loops through lush countryside, while Reach the Beach Ride (May 16 at Southridge High School; $40 registration) offers a more challenging ride along farmlands.

4. Saké with a Twist

Oyster shooters just got more fun with the SakéOne’s Annual Oyster & Saké Event (May 2 at SakéOne; $15 per person). Pair fresh Pacific Northwest Oysters with different saké pairings.

5. Northwest Trail Run…with Peacocks!

Jog next to peacocks at Havoc at the Hideout (May 3, at Horning’s Hideout; $30 per person). Here, you’ll find some of the best forest trails in the Northwest.

6. Plant a Mini-Vineyard

Lay claim to four Pinot Noir plants at Buds to Bottles (May 16-17 at Plum Hill Vineyards), which will go on to become your own handcrafted Pinot Noir wine one day.

7. Spectacular Bird and Wildlife watching

The Tualatin River Bird Festival (May 16 at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge; free) is a fabulous way to see and celebrate wildlife. Go from land to water with the Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle, too!

8. Visit a Brand New Tasting Room

The Dion Vineyards Tasting Room Grand Opening (May 16-17 at Dion Vineyards; $15 per person) celebrates its new digs tastings of its small-production wines.

9. Play Cornhole for Cash!

Oregon State Championships of Cornhole (May 30 at Pacific University; $30 registration) is perfect for casual and competitive cornhole players. Warm up your arm at the Oregon Cornhole Championships Kick-Off Festival the day before at the McMenamins Grand Lodge.

10. Mother’s Day & Memorial Day

Of course, that’s just a sampling of May merriment. If you’re in town with your mom, then take advantage of these Mother’s Day Events. Plus, take a getaway for Memorial Day in the North Willamette Wine Country!

Have a happy May in the Tualatin Valley!

May Events in the Tualatin Valley, near Portland!

The Best Mother’s Day Events in the Greater Portland Region

Posted on: April 24th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Mom. Mother. Mama. Mommy.

No matter what you call the woman who helped raise you, it’s time to show her some special love this Mother’s Day. Luckily, there is no shortage of Mother’s Day events in the Tualatin Valley. Choose from brunch, wine, high tea and active Mother’s Day celebrations.

 

Celebrate Mother's Day with brunch and fabulous wine at Plum Hill Vineyards.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with brunch and fabulous wine at Plum Hill Vineyards.

 

Hillsboro Mother’s Day Events

Garden Vineyards Mother’s Day Brunch
12960 NW Dick Road | May 10, varying times | $20-$35
This stunning estate opens its grounds for a leisurely brunch based on century-old farm recipes. Eat a sustainable, hearty lunch of eggs, slow cooked pork and Bing cherry sauce

Hippie Chick Quarter and Half Marathon
Hillsboro Hops Stadium | May 9, 8 a.m. to noon | $79 registration
The only thing better than crossing the finish line alongside your mother is having a mimosa placed in your hands right after.

Mother’s Day Brunch at Cornelius Pass Roadhouse
McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse | May 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. | $16-$27
The cozy McMenamins’ spot has the famous octagonal barn—a perfect rustic-chic backdrop for your Mother’s Day pictures.

Tea’s Me Mother’s Day Tea
1601 B. SE Road | May 9-10, varying times | $25 per person plus $5 gratuity
Choose from the High Tea or a Crab Louie option—both are super fancy and will have your mother feeling like an absolute queen.

Portland Mother’s Day Events

Run Like a Mother 5k
Cook Park | May 10, 8 a.m. start | $40-$45 registration
For super active moms, start Mother’s Day with a heart-thumping 5k, followed by live entertainment in the park.

Nature Days: Roger Tilbury Park
965 NW 93rd Avenue | May 10, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. | Free
Little ones will love exploring local habitats, viewing how mother-child relationships play out in the wild.

Gaston Mother’s Day Events

Mother’s Day Brunch at Plum Hill Vineyards
6505 SW Old Highway 47 | May 10, noon to 2 p.m. | $35 per person
This friendly winery offers a five-course brunch paired with delicious wines from the vineyard.

What brunch, booze or beautiful view will you share with your mother this Mother’s Day? Any celebration in the Tualatin Valley will be sure to be a memorable one.

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Best Earth-Friendly Shopping and Souvenirs in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: April 22nd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Happy Earth Day! When it comes to treating our planet nicely, small changes can make big differences—even when traveling. In addition to our eco-chic itinerary, we wanted to share a few sustainably-minded souvenirs from Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley.

Used Books

Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing is the home hundreds of thousands of used—and often rare!—books. If you’re looking for a special, early-edition print of your favorite novel, then these are the shelves to scour. What’s more, this Powell’s Books location boasts an impressive collection of gardening and homesteading books so that you can work on your green thumb. For extra sustainability points, take the nearby MAX station at Beaverton Central instead of a car.

 

Literary greats often walk through the doors of the iconic Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing.

Find rare and special used books at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing.

 

Biodynamic Wines

Alaska Airlines has extended its Oregon Wines Fly Free promotion, meaning Mileage Plan members may check one case of wine (6 or 12 bottles) for free on their Alaska Airlines flights out of Oregon airports. You might as well make that case of wine full or biodynamic ones that you picked up while wine tasting along our Sustainable Wine Trail. Both Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate produce their wines with farming practices that respect and uphold the beautiful balance of vineyard soils and environments.

 

Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing the beauty, wine, and food along the Sip 47 Route.

Rudy Marchese of Montinore Estate is passionate about sharing his biodynamic wine-making process.

 

Antiques

Shopping antique is a win-win as you score a one-of-a-kind piece without adding the same carbon footprint as buying new goods. What’s your favorite decade? Whether it’s Victorian or totally ’80s, you can shop by the decade at one of our many antique, vintage and carefully-curated second-hand shops. Downtown Hillsboro is freckled with sweet antique shops ready for the most die-hard and leisurely of shoppers.

 

Can you spot any Depression Glass from the Railroad Street Antique Mall's window?

Can you spot any Depression Glass from the Railroad Street Antique Mall’s window?

Want even more ways to travel with Mother Earth in mind? Find more eco-travel tips—you’ll find ways to support and enjoy nature just minutes away from downtown Portland!

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An Eco-Chic Itinerary

Posted on: April 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

environmentally friendly itinerary near Portland, Oregon

Happy Earth Week! How do you keep your travel sustainably-poised? In Oregon’s Washington County: the Tualatin Valley, you can travel one environmentally-minded spot to the next, ranging from wineries to museums to restaurants. Extend your trip or plan a few extra days after visiting Portland to partake in our eco-chic itinerary,which can be completed year-round. Bonus points to those who complete it using an electric vehicle, which is easy when using our list of EV charging stations!

Environmentally Friendly Science Museum

The Tualatin Valley is home to a magnificent ecological history of volcanic proportions! To see what we mean, visit the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, which has recently been named as an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Prepare for a sustainable future by learning about the amazingness of the Earth’s past via thunder eggs, petrified wood, quartz, agate, jasper, metallic ores and gems.

Environmentally Friendly Restaurants

A healthy, earth-friendly cheeseburger?—yes please! A quick drive from the museum, the Cruise In Country Diner feels like a blast from the past with ethics focused on the future. Indulge your nostalgia for old-timey diners with classic milkshakes and juicy burgers. Every ingredient that goes into the food here is sustainable and often locally grown or raised.

Environmentally Friendly Wine Tasting

Drinking red can be oh-so green with a jaunt along the Sustainable Wine Trail. Going beyond mere organic practices, Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate employ biodynamic farming practices. This approach means that high-quality wine is produced through the utmost respects of the vineyard’s unique ecosystem.

Environmentally Friendly Lodging

If stargazing is on your end-of-day agenda, then book a cabin at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. In the morning, you’ll wake up to sweeping views of the valley and easy hikes that start, essentially, out your cabin’s front door.

Camp like a Girl Scout at L.L. "Stub" Stewart Park with many badge worthy activities at your fingertips.

L.L. “Stub” Stewart Park offers eco-friendly lodging with the best views of the Tualatin Valley.

We hope to see you at one of our environmentally-friendly attractions soon! Share your tips for traveling sustainably in the comments below.

Wine Talk with Blizzard Wines’ Dana Blizzard – Part II

Posted on: April 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Find new favorite Oregon wines with the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend.

Dana Blizzard, owner and winemaker of Blizzard Wines, welcomes wine lovers to the North Willamette Wine Trail weekend.

Are you a seasonal wine drinker, gravitating toward different varietals based on the weather? In the spring, many Oregon wineries debut new releases, making it a prime time to take a wine getaway. With the North Willamette Vintners’ annual North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend, happening this weekend (April 11-12), you can go on an Oregon wine adventure with more than a dozen wineries for a just a cool $45 (or $40, using the “WineTrail15” promo code).

We caught up with Dana Blizzard, owner and winemaker at one of the North Willamette Valley’s newest wineries, Blizzard Wines. First, read Part I of our chat with Dana. Then, find out her tips for the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend below.

What makes the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend so special?  
It’s special to see what makes each winery unique by visiting them in succession. They are all so different and have such great strengths: sweeping views, specialized wines and scrumptious food pairings.  

Any tips or suggestions for first time attendees to April’s wine trail?
Buy the 2-day weekend passes, get a designated driver and make an annual event of it. Remember—this is just the tip of the iceberg!  All seasons are great for wine tasting, especially in the North Valley since it’s such a short trip from Portland. Clear room in your cellar as you’re sure to find some new wines to love.

Dana has certainly convinced us to traverse the North Willamette Wine Trail! Here’s the skinny on tickets:

  • $45 per person includes the two-day Wine Trail weekend with activities, wine tastings, food pairings, and wine glass.
  • $30 per person for Sunday-only ticket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ticket includes glass, activities, wine tastings, and light food pairings.
  • $10 for a designated driver ticket

 

 

A short drive from Portland, enter the gateway to Oregon's Wine Country with the North Willamette Wine Trail.

Blizzard Wines offers a family-friendly environment for the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend.

Remember!—Use the code WineTrail15 (case sensitive) for a $5 discount on each ticket that you buy. Be sure to show us your time on the wine trail with the hashtag #nwwinetrail.

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

Wine Talk with Blizzard Wines’ Dana Blizzard – Part I

Posted on: April 3rd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey 2 Comments

Are you a true wine lover, always on the hunt for exciting new blends to try? With the North Willamette Vintners’ annual North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend, happening April 11-12, you can sip, swirl and savor wines from over a dozen wineries for a cool $45 (or $40, using the “WineTrail15” promo code).

We caught up with Dana Blizzard, owner and winemaker at one of the North Willamette Valley’s newest wineries, Blizzard Wines. She gave us the scoop on her family’s deep vineyard roots in the area.

 

 

Blizzard Wines of the Willamette Valley

Dana Blizzard of Blizzard Wines grew up around the vineyards of the North Willamette Valley.

 

Blizzard Wines is a relatively new wine label, but you and your family have deep roots in the wine country of the North Willamette Valley. How have you seen the wine industry here change over the years and what are you most excited about for the future?
My parents, Dave and Carol VanSchepen, purchased our family’s vineyard in Hillsboro in 1981 when I was 3 years old. Thirty years later, as a parent of my own toddlers, I came back home and started Blizzard Wines using that same vineyard and their 400 square foot garage. Now, my husband and I produce Pinot and Chardonnay from VanSchepen Vineyard and we are expanding, building a “proper” winery and tasting room scheduled to open next spring. Some things change and somethings stay the same—that’s what I love about North Willamette Valley wineries. It’s the same vineyards with new winemakers, new generations, new techniques.  

 

 

Dana Blizzard of Blizzard Wines tending to her vineyard.

Dana Blizzard of Blizzard Wines tending to her vineyard.

 

Blizzard Wines’ Wedding Blend keeps gaining accolades with wine lovers. Can you tell us a little more about it?
The Wedding Blend is a special wine for our whole family as it was made to serve at my brother’s wedding in 2013. It’s a traditional Bordeaux-style blend that’s been aged in select French oak—the joke was he was engaged for so long that we had time to let it age to perfection! Unexpectedly this spring, my brother is recovering from brain surgery and relearning to walk, use his left side and get back to daily life. He’s such a hard worker with an amazing attitude and his new wife is so dedicated to him. I’m proud my best wine honors such a loving relationship.

Check back on Monday for more from Dana as we discuss what makes the upcoming wine trail weekend so special.

p.s. Grab an overnight deal for the North Willamette Wine Trail from one of the participating hotels.

Celebrating Agriculture in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: March 18th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Celebrate agriculture in the Tualatin Valley!

Celebrate agriculture in the Tualatin Valley!

Happy National Agriculture Week! In the locavore-minded community of the Tualatin Valley, our farmers, chefs and food servers are supremely tied to the land, the food our area produces, and the farm-to-table experience that food provides for locals and visitors alike. We’d tell you to make a point to explore the agricultural wonders of the Tualatin Valley during your visit, but the truth is that we don’t have to—our farming and food culture is an organic (pun intended) part of any person’s stay.

Chew on this: the Beaverton Farmers Market is the largest all-agricultural market in the state of Oregon. Throughout the seasons, you can ogle at onions, gawk at gourds, chomp on chives and ruminate on raspberries. The final dates of the winter market are March 21, April 4 and April 18. The weekly summer market begins May 2. As each market runs Saturdays (through November) from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you can partake in some brunch and lunch from the local farm and food artisan offerings. For those traveling from far away, there are plenty of locally made goods that won’t spoil on your journey home. Head to the Unger Farms booth for jams that keep the juicy punch of their berries intact. Our markets reach beyond just Beaverton. In the summer, you can find a farmers’ market in one of our towns or cities almost any day of the week!

In addition to markets, take a drive on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route for a self-guided tour of the Tualatin Valley’s agricultural bounty. The tour route includes roadside crop signs, summer u-pick farms, charming taverns and classic general stores. Come July, the route’s road will be fragrant with the scent of not only fruits and vegetables, but herbs as well. Cruise into lavender farms for purple picture-ops and aromatic souvenirs.

Of course, the wineries of the northern Willamette Valley fit into our agricultural story, too. For a new take on wine tasting, plan a day traveling the sustainable wine trail. Not only do all of our winemakers make outstanding varietals, but many do so by organic and biodynamic standards—no small feat!

We hope you enjoy the bounty of the Tualatin Valley as much as our farms and markets enjoy growing and sharing it.

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

April’s North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Enjoy wine from the glass (and straight from the barrel!) during the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend.

Enjoy wine from the glass (and straight from the barrel!) during the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend.

Forget spring cleaning—let’s jump into spring drinking! While we love visiting wineries rain-or-shine, spring days give steam to our wine tasting game. With the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend April 11-12, the wineries of Oregon’s Washington County are daring us to a marathon wine weekend.  

From the North Willamette Vintners, the Wine Trail invites wine lovers to experience over a dozen wineries over two jam-packed days. What’s more, the Wine Trail weekend is actually about so much more than wine. It’s truly about our culinary community, from Oregon wine to cheese to other creative noshes. With this in mind, the Wine Trail pairs each winery with a thoughtful and unique food pairings.

One such pairing is the Apolloni Vineyards sharing some favorite Pinot Grigio, Rosé and Mélange Noir wines alongside tastes from Laurine Apolloni’s cooking demo with seasonal herbs. Additionally, Blizzard Wines defies its namesake by serving wood fired pizza from Maiale di Volo alongside its local wine blends.

Tickets can be purchased here, where you’ll be asked to identify your starting winery. A wine kit—including a glass, map, and brochure of each winery and its accompanying activity—will be waiting for you at that winery on April 11. Lunch options will also be available for purchase at many of the wineries.

Here’s the skinny on tickets:

  • $45 per person includes the two-day Wine Trail weekend with activities, wine tastings, food pairings, and wine glass.
  • $30 per person for Sunday-only ticket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ticket includes glass, activities, wine tastings, and light food pairings.
  • $10 for a designated driver ticket

Turn the Wine Trail into a full-blown weekend getaway by booking a room at one of the awesome hotels partnering with the North Willamette Vintners:

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

Founding Fathers Food Tour

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route would remind President Washington of Mt. Vernon!

The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route is as beautiful as Mt. Vernon!

Did you know that George Washington was a foodie? During his presidency, Washington hosted an official dinner at 4 p.m. sharp every other Thursday, often inviting legislators of all different regions and stances. In spite of his wooden dentures, the president and his wife would serve lavish courses, accompanied by good wine and beer. In honor of President’s Day, we’ve put together a Tualatin Valley food tour with America’s founding fathers in mind.

Soup Starter
Turns out, the first president was a peanut lover! A common course at his Thursday dinners was a savory peanut stew. So, we’re pretty sure good ol’ Washington would be delighted by the African peanut stew from the Native Foods Café at Bridgeport Village. This nutty stew includes one of Washington’s other favorite ingredients: sweet potatoes!

Fresh Fish Main Course
The showstopper dish on the presidential table was often roasted fish. If George Washington could magically travel in time to today’s Tualatin Valley, then he’d surely be a fan of the char-grilled pacific swordfish at Hall Street Grill. The accompanying butternut squash puree would remind Washington of the winter squashes grown at Mt. Vernon.

Cherry on Top
We all know the folktale of George Washington and the cherry tree. Well—no lying—there are amazing tastes of cherry all over the Tualatin Valley! Beaverton’s decarli restaurant often creatively works cherries into the menu with cherry compotes, house-candied cherries in its charcuterie or balsamic roasted cherries over a perfectly-cooked pork chop.

Aperitif
Washington’s diaries say that the president preferred port wine, which even stained his dentures. For a decadent treat, try A Blooming Hill Vineyard’s Pinot in a Port-style, VXX. The raised sugar with a Pinot Noir concentrate creates a smooth aperitif with yummy raisin flavor.

While George Washington himself can’t experience the delicious wonders of the Tualatin Valley, you certainly can! And while you’re at it, take a drive along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route!

Information about George Washington sourced from Smithsonian Magazine’s “Dining with George Washington.”

P.S. Play a President’s Day Two Truths & a Lie with us!

Valentine’s Day Itinerary

Posted on: February 4th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

 

Just outside of Portland, plan a heart-shaped itinerary for Valentine's Day in the Tualatin Valley.

Just outside of Portland, plan a heart-shaped itinerary for Valentine’s Day in the Tualatin Valley.


Whoo—we have a big weekend coming up, don’t we? Over four short days, experience the first Friday the 13th of the year, Valentine’s Day, and a luxuriously long weekend with President’s Day. Seize this trifecta with the perfect Oregon getaway to Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley!

Friday, February 13th
Welcome! Now, first thing’s first. Check into your hotel room, which you (of course) got a great deal on by booking one of these romance hotel packages. Next, head to happy hour at Bootleggers Whiskey Bar. Prohibition-era drinks and the signature meatballs will shun away any bad Friday the 13th vibes.  

Saturday, February 14th
Start your Valentine’s Day with a sweat at the My Muddy Valentine 5k. Single? Stick around for the speed dating with other runners.

Add some sudsy love to your romantic day with the Zwickelmania Oregon Brewery Tour. To make things super simple, the Orenco Taphouse (near the Orenco Max Station) is the starting location for a shuttle that will make a loop to five local brewery tours. Get the shuttle schedule here.

After your afternoon of beer, switch gears into a more theatrical state. Bag&Baggage theater production presents Cabaret Cupid’s review of romantic songs and dance at Venetian Theatre & Bistro, which conveniently also serves a chandelier lit dinner.

Sunday, February 15th
You’ll have time to cover all your boozy bases this weekend, especially with the Valentine’s Wine Loop. Make a day of vising five northern Willamette Valley wineries special wine tastings and pairings.

Next, the McMenamins Grand Lodge allows you to carry out a relaxing evening in one little hub. Get a couples massage at the Ruby Spa, take a dip in the soaking pool, grab a burger at the Ironwork Grill and watch a new movie in the old-world charm of the Compass Room Theater.

Monday, February 16th
Happy President’s Day! Celebrate the long weekend with a joy ride to the Cruise In Country Diner. The rockabilly décor is old school, but the chef’s take is new school with organic and sustainable produce. Have a slice of cherry pie in honor of George Washington!

Don’t forget to Instagram you whole weekend with us, entering the Winter Wonder Instagram Contest. Use the #mytualatinvalley hashtag to enter!

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