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Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Crawfish boils aren’t just for Louisiana. Nope—not for a long time! In fact, The Tualatin Crawfish Festival is celebrating its 65th year of crawfish-lovin’ fun from July 31 to August 2 at the Tualatin Commons. Whether this is your first crawfish festival or you’re a many-seasoned festival goer, this is an easy, unique and must-see weekend event. As the festival is just a short drive from Portland and has the lovely Century Hotel a stone’s throw away, your weekend getaway is as easy as it is convenient.

In addition to the traditional crawfish boil and crawfish eating contest, the festival celebrates more than crustaceans. Other favorite activities include the ridiculously cute “Atsa My Dawg” costume show, the “Corks and Kegs” area with local sips and brews, a Chef’s Mystery Box Cook-Off and an all new “Food Cart Friday.”

For go-getters and those who just want to work off all the food they’ve been eating at the festival, the Crawfish Crawl includes a 5k, 10k and half marathon option that run through Tigard, Tualatin and Durham. Every participant will receive an InCRAWdible Medal and t-shirt.

Tualatin Crawfish Festival Details:
Admission to Friday’s events is free; $4 for adults on Saturday.  Hours: 6-10pm Friday, 10am-10:30pm Saturday, and 10am-6pm Sunday.

Of course, while you’re in the Tualatin Valley you’ll want to scope out other hot happenings in the area. In addition to The Tualatin Crawfish Festival, be sure to make time for these other fun events nearby:

Come take part in the longest-running crawfish festival west of the Mississippi!

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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.

Heroes of the Tualatin Valley: Blue Angels & Robin Hood

Posted on: July 13th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

How do you plan a weekend of heroic proportions? In the Tualatin Valley—this coming weekend especially!—it’s easy to vanguard a valorous itinerary simply by meeting characters who are distinguished by their courage, brave actions and noble hearts. We’d have to say the visiting Blue Angels, as well as the more fantastical Robin Hood and the Knights of the Round Table, fit that bill.

As the United States Navy’s flight demonstration squad, the Blue Angels team has long been an emblem of in-the-sky bravery with jaw-dropping flying aerobatics. Lucky for visitors, the Blue Angels will be headlining the Intel Oregon International Air Show at the Hillsboro Airport. Amidst this team of heroes, we’re extra excited to cheer on the Blue Angels’ first ever female pilot, Captain Kitty Hayes, flying a C-130 Hercules (even the plane’s name is heroic!).

 

See the Blue Angels perform at the Intel Oregon International Air Show.

See the Blue Angels perform at the Intel Oregon International Air Show.

Harking back to days of old school chivalry and courage, take part in Old Town Sherwood’s epic transformation into a picturesque Renaissance village for its annual Sherwood Robin Hood Festival. Take part in the merriment of live music and local vendors while Robin Hood causes a joyful raucous amongst the crowd. Plus, don’t miss the knighting ceremony.

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival

Everyone can be a hero at the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival.

If you like to enter the Marvel universe to get your hero fix, then take in the latest flick from the franchise at the super plush Cinetopia Progress Ridge 14, followed by comic book scouring at the beloved comic book store, Things from Another World in Beaverton.

So go ahead and plan a weekend getaway to the Tualatin Valley. Just a quick drive from Portland, you’ll be your family’s own hero for planning such a carefree summertime adventure.   

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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!

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

Key:

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!

 

Ten Reasons to Love Oregon Wine

Posted on: May 13th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Celebrate Oregon Wine Month in the northern Willamette Valley!

It’s Oregon Wine Month and we’re taking full advantage of all the grapes, barrels and new releases that entails. In case you need any convincing, we’ll give you 10 reasons to visit the wineries of Oregon’s Washington County, proudly part of the northern Willamette Valley!

1. Gateway to Oregon’s Wine Country

So, you’re in Portland, drinking lots of fabulous local wine. Meet the makers of your new favorite blends! The northern Willamette Valley is your closest option with nearly 30 wineries just a short drive away.

2. Oregon Pinot

The Willamette Valley is known for its Pinot—and for good reason! The temperate weather and south facing slopes of our vineyards create Pinot that is earthy and nuanced.

3. More than Pinot

…But the northern Willamette Valley is so much more than Pinot. Try delicious Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau varietals (just to name a few!).

4. Biodynamic Wine

Organic wine-making is an enormous feat, which makes biodynamic wine truly incredible. Try wine that is created extra-sustainably at Cooper Mountain Vineyards and Montinore Estate.

5. It’s a Family Affair

Luisa Ponzi carries on the tradition of her parents, who established Ponzi Vineyards in 1970. Similarly, Elk Cove Vineyards was founded in 1974 and remains family-run today.

6. Creative Architecture        

Ponzi Vineyards modern tasting room is a treat for architecture buffs. The Beckham Estate Vineyard is handbuilt and double-duties as a gallery for the winemaker’s pottery art.

7. Live Music

Oak Knoll Winery’s bi-monthly summer concert series, Toast to the Tunes, pairs melodic soul with your Sauvignon.

8. Find Romance (and Scope out Wedding Venues)

Oregon’s Washington County is for lovers—and it shows with six vineyards wedding venues offering their views as the perfect backdrop for your “I do.”

9. Joy Ride Wine Tasting

Make wine tasting a full-out adventure by taking a drive on the rural side with the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.

10. Check Oregon Wine for Free on Alaska Air

It’s true, Oregon Wines Fly Free through the spring of 2017. Check a full case of wine for free on Alaska Air flights leaving from Oregon.

Now, tell us why you love Oregon wine!

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Tualatin River Bird Festival Itinerary

Posted on: May 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Ca-caw! Hoot hoot! Tweet tweet! No matter how we say it, the May 16 Tualatin River Bird Festival at Sherwood’s Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is coming to. Novice and veteran wildlife watchers love event, which is heightened by our itinerary for it!

Friday May 15
The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport is excited to host attendees of the Tualatin River Bird Festival—read their tips!

Near the hotel is Cabela’s World’s Forestry Outfitter for last minute, tax-free outdoor gear. Then, head to Hayden’s Lake Front Grill for upscale classics and a sunset view of the Tualatin Commons and its shimmering lake.

Rise with the sun for phenomenal wildlife watching at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Rise with the sun for phenomenal wildlife watching at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

Saturday, May 16
5:30 a.m. Guided Birding Trail
Meet the early birds with a guided walk-and-talk with expert Ted Buerger, FWS. Watch the world and all of its wonderful creatures wake-up and begin the day.

7:30 a.m. A Buzz of Your Own
That’s not a buzzing bee, it’s you getting your coffee fix at Sherwood’s Symposium Coffee and its baristas that have that magic latte touch.

8:30 a.m. Bird Fest Paddle
Go from dirt trails to waterways with the Tualatin River Bird Fest Paddle in Tualatin. Have a kayak or canoe view of neotropical migrant birds, including black-headed grosbeaks and lazuli buntings. Register for this event!

Noon: Feed Time
No worms for you! Head to Fat Milo’s Family Kitchen for biscuits and gravy because—after that paddle—you deserve it!

 

Catch a glimpse of heron and neotropical migrant birds.

Catch a glimpse of heron and neotropical migrant birds.

Rest of the Day: Festival Time!
Take full advantage of the Tualatin River Bird Festival and its decoy painting, archery, guided nature walks and more. What will you do first?

7 p.m. Dinner
Rally for dinner at Tree’s Restaurant. The treehouse-like setting fits into your day exploring the lush Tualatin Valley. Plus, this Creole cuisine is awesome.

Sunday, May 17
Ready for more nature goodness? A hike at Cooper Mountain Nature Walk is just the place. Cyclists can hop on a bike and traverse the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway, starting at Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro.

Explore nature in an agricultural sense with Buds to Bottles at Gaston’s Plum Hill Vineyards. Plant your own Pinot Noir! For $25 year, the vineyard will tend to your vines and when the vines mature, you will receive a case of your own unique wine! Sip it while dreaming of your next visit to the Tualatin Valley.

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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.

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

 

Nature Passport: Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge

Posted on: April 15th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

 

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge's Wildlife Center includes lookouts, exhibits and a nature store.

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge’s Wildlife Center includes lookouts, exhibits and a nature store.

Sometimes, we must go beyond the boundaries of our homes to find refuge. We mean refuge here in the metaphorical sense, feeling comfort, safety and a much-needed respite from a loud world. For your next refuge, make like the birds and head to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. A quick drive from downtown Portland, the buzz of the urban world is replaced by gentle pitter-patters of a natural one.

Those pitter-patters come from the nearly 200 species of birds, 50 species of mammals and 25 species of amphibians and reptiles that take their own refuges here throughout the year. Keep a look out for ducks (and their spring ducklings), songbirds, coyotes, hawks and even an eagle rearing its young in a magnificent eagles. Bring your binoculars, your camera (so you can take pictures like the winner of our Instagram contest) and your Nature Passport. Don’t have a Nature Passport yet?—order a complimentary copy now! This handy guide to the Tualatin Valley’s 727 square miles of nature spots encourages outdoor lovers to seek out the best wildlife watching with stamps to be collected at 10 different locations. A rubber stamp print of a cooper’s hawk will be waiting for you at the wildlife center of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

For a full weekend of wildlife wonder, plan your stay–or extend your visit–in the Tualatin Valley during the May 16 Tualatin River Bird Festival, which celebrates all things bird with guided tours, decoy paintings, casting clinics and more. Year-round, there’s the wildlife watching itinerary. The first stop is the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge—which we’ve hopefully sold you on—followed by more wetlands, sweeping views and beautiful birds at Cook Park, Jackson Bottom Wetlands and Cooper Mountain Nature Park.

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge at sunset

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge at sunset.

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Location: 19255 SW Pacific Highway, Sherwood, OR 97140
Phone: (503) 625-5944
Refuge Hours: Dawn to dusk daily
Wildlife Center Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Past Nature Passport Blog Posts:
Banks-Vernonia State Trail
Cook Park
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Fernhill Wetlands
Jackson Bottom Wetlands Loop
L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park
Magness Memorial Tree Farm
Rood Bridge Park
Tillamook State Forest
Tualatin Hills Nature Park and Interpretive Center
Tualatin River

Order your Nature Passport and share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram. Tag your photos with the #tualatinvalley.

Five Family-Friendly Easter Weekend Activities in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: March 30th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Easter Events near Portland

Kids can fill their Easter baskets with healthy (and not-so-healthy) treats in the Tualatin Valley.

Sweets and treats, chicks and a pastel mix—signs of the upcoming Easter weekend are all around in the Tualatin Valley. Just a short drive from downtown Portland, you and your family can engage in picturesque egg hunts along with great food, natural beauty and art. Catch our top five family-friendly picks for your Easter weekend.

1. Annual Great Westside Easter Egg Hunt
Washington County Fair Complex | April 4, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. | $5 per family
Held in an expansive county fair complex, this is a super-sized Easter egg hunt. Moms won’t want to miss the special egg hunt designated just for them, which includes jewelry and gift certificates hidden throughout the maze of the complex.

2. Spring Artisan Bazaar
Cedar Hills Recreation Center | April 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. | $3-$7
Create an Easter basket on-the-fly with goodies from amazing vendors. Find sweet hand-sewn stuffed animals, baked Easter goods and much more.

3. Thunder-Egg-Stravaganza
Rice NW Museum of Rocks & Minerals | April 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. | $5
For a more geologically-minded interpretation of the Easter egg, this esteemed museum will offer thunder-eggs, as well as thunder-egg cutting, all day. Science lovers can learn about these marvels of nature with the 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. curator talk

4. Our Table Farm Easter Egg Hunt
Our Table Farm | April 4, 11 a.m. start | free
Kids can get in touch with nature as they search this organic farm for eggs hidden among blueberry. Be sure to thank the pasture-raised chickens for the eggs!

5. Orenco Station Easter Hop
Orenco Station | April 4, noon to 2 p.m. | free
The Easter Bunny is making a special appearance at this annual family scavenger hunt. Take pictures, collect treats and explore this cute pocket of Hillsboro.

If you’re looking to trade in Easter pastels for wine Pinot, then escape to Oregon’s Wine Country for a Tour and Taste Daytrip.

Celebrating Passover in the Tualatin Valley? Find the best matzo ball soup with help from our “Four Questions” Passover guide.

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