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Grandparent’s Day Itinerary

Posted on: September 11th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Grandparent's Day Itinerary in the Tualatin Valley near Portland
What’s your favorite memory with your grandparents? If you’re lucky enough to have grandparents around—or are a grandparent yourself!—then make family memories in a new setting. Whether you’re visiting family in the area or planning a few low-key days in the Greater Portland region, take an afternoon to explore these grandma and grandpa-friendly activities in the Tualatin Valley!

Stop and smell the flowers at Al’s Garden Center. This unique garden center shares locally-grown plants in a state-of-the-art facility. In fact, the retractable roof adjusts depending on the weather to ensure that plants and plant-lovers are perfectly sheltered on drizzly days. In addition to Oregon’s best flora, find sweet workshops (terrariums anyone?) and a plethora of locally-made gifts.

Next, let the knitters in the family sit passenger seat so they can knit, crochet or simply get drive-by ideas along the Quilt Barn Trail. Find hand-painted blocks with quilt patterns mounted upon rustic structures in the Tualatin Valley. We suggests making a point to see the panel at Gates Century Farm (32720 NW Hornecker Road, Hillsboro) because its panel’s quilt pattern is called the “Grandmother’s Fan.”

For a family-friendly lunch that everyone in the family—from every generation—will love, head to the Cruise In Country Diner. The diner, decked out in classic car memorabilia from the 1950s-1960s, will thrill nostalgia and maybe evoke some great memories from the grandparents. While the décor is old school, the menu is decidedly new school with and sustainable local produce and meats paired with tasty local beer and wine.

With easy parking and easy-to-navigate downtown streets, lodging in the Tualatin Valley is extra easy with both grandparents and kids in tow!

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What Others are Saying about the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: August 31st, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

What others are saying about the Tualatin Valley

The blogosphere is loving Smith Berry Barn, SakéOne and the Old Scotch Church.

As is readily apparent, here in the Tualatin Valley we are not afraid to toot our own horn every now and again (Toot! Toot!). It’s hard not to when there is so much beauty here and so many ways to enjoy said beauty. But don’t just take our word for it! We’ve been happily overwhelmed with stories of others praising the Tualatin Valley. Below, check out a few of our favorite summer pieces about the area.

A Visit to the SakéOne Brewery in Oregon from Umami Mart
The writers of the Japanese food and drink blog, Umami Mart, extended their Portland trip to make time for a Tualatin Valley getaway to SakéOne in Forest Grove. The post takes readers through the brewery tour experience, which will only fuel your desire to visit SakéOne yourself.

An Oregon Gem: The Tualatin Valley from Going On Faith
While this is a guide for faith-based travel planners, truly anyone can take advantage of the publication’s excellent guide to Tualatin Valley’s attractions of museums, culinary adventures and the beautiful and pioneer era Old Scotch Church.

Berry Hot from Posie Gets Cozy
Alicia Paulson of the blog Posie Gets Cozy shares a sweet photo essay of her and her daughter exploring Smith Berry Barn and the South Store Café.

Six Cultures’ Favorite Junk Foods from USA Today Travel
USA Today Travel instructs readers how to upgrade their snack game, including Dutch stroopwafels from the Dutch American Market and Import Store. Take a bite of that chocolatey waffle goodness.

Stoller, Raptor Ridge Mark 20 Years from the Statesman Journal
Raptor Ridge Winery celebrates 20 years of great growth in both its vines and business—cheers!

Top 10 Local Restaurants in Tigard from The Culture Trip
The comprehensive travel website, The Culture Trip, takes a break from its globe-trotting coverage to settle into the best eats of Tigard. The post celebrates that some of the best ethnic food in the Greater Portland region is in fact, outside of Portland and into the Tualatin Valley.

Where to Wine, Dine, Recline in the Willamette Valley from the Statesman Journal
In the land of Pinot, a trip to the Willamette Valley isn’t complete without a stop at Ponzi Vineyards Winery for great wine, dazzling modern architecture and stunning vineyard views.

For more of what others are saying about the Tualatin Valley, check out this Pinterest board.

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Late Summer Wine Events in the Northern Willamette Valley

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

Taste the North Valley at Orenco StationOh, summer nights—we love you! As record high temperature days mellow into the warm, breezy evenings, wine lovers find a nirvana of summer’s splendor in the northern Willamette Valley. With wineries and vineyards a short drive from Portland, it’s easy to plan a last minute wine weekend. Use our wine events guide in your planning.

Northern Willamette Valley Wine Events

Neighbors Night at Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Cooper Mountain Vineyards | August 28, September 4 & 11 from 5-8 p.m. | $8
Uniquely located in a residential neighborhood, Cooper Mountain Vineyards is the best “neighbor” one could have this summer. They might not have a cup of sugar, but you can definitely get a glass of biodynamic wine.

Harvest Winemaker Dinner
Kramer Vineyards | August 22, 6-9 p.m. | $85
Taste the Willamette Valley—and think beyond just wine! Taste nibbles of local hazelnuts, cheese, vegetables and even salt. Purchase your ticket here.

Ponzi Summer Sundays
Ponzi Historic Estate | August 23 & 30, September 6 at 6 p.m. | $15
Listen to a wide array of music genres with a glass of wine in hand. For added summer flare, pack a picnic!

Taste the North Valley
Orenco Station | August 27, 4-8 p.m. | $25
Want to taste wines from 15 different wineries and vineyards all in one go? If yes, then this inaugural event is for you. Sample both red and white wines while enjoying music and bites from local food carts. Purchase tickets here.

Labor Day Wine and Art Show
Plum Hill Vineyards | September 5-7, noon to 5 p.m. | No cover charge
Art looks better when looked at while drinking wine and wine tastes better when sipped around art. View amazing artists while drinking fantastic Oregon wine.

Storm Large at Ponzi Vineyards
Ponzi Vineyards | September 6, 6 p.m. | $150
Portland’s own Storm Large puts on a phenomenal show with all proceeds going to CASA for Children. A ticket includes a gourmet meal and two complimentary glasses of Ponzi wine. Purchase tickets here.

How will you make your last summer days linger? Just like wine, the answer is on the tip of your tongue. It’s a trip to the northern Willamette Valley!

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Tualatin Valley All-Outdoor Trip Idea

Posted on: July 29th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Forest Grove Uncorked

Forest Grove Uncorked presents dozens of local foods, wines and brews.

Sometimes, we’ll be looking ahead into our events calendar and see a grouping of events that would make for one perfect, unforgettable weekend. Then, of course, we just have to share the itinerary we concoct with you. As you may have guessed by now, such an occurrence has entered our radar for the weekend of August 14-16. Tack on a few days to your Portland trip and explore the Tualatin Valley. Itinerary below:

Friday, August 14
“Sit by my side, and let the world slip: we shall ne’er be younger.” Live by these words from Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew while watching the play at Ponzi Vineyards with the Willamette Shakespeare production company. As the show is free of charge, you can unwind with an extra glass of wine during the outdoor performance. Show begins at 7 p.m.

After the show, catch some zzz’s at a cush nearby hotel.

Saturday, August 15
We’re rolling into prime cycling weather in the Tualatin Valley via the Beaverton Banks & Beyond Bicycle Tour. Novice to advanced cyclists can sojourn the farmlands and trails in a 32, 64, 85 or 100 mile ride. Register now!

Unwind in a casual atmosphere with Forest Grove Uncorked, which features dozens of local wineries, craft breweries and restaurants on the Main Street drag. Admission is $10 and nominal tasting fees may apply.

Sunday, August 16
Choose between two great outdoor events. On the mellow side, there is the Tualatin River Family Paddle Day where one enjoys the gentle lapping sounds against a canoe or kayak on a peaceful stretch of the Tualatin River.

For a more rev-your-engines kind of day, there is the Banks Bar-B-Que and Truck & Tractor Pull that includes the happy hum of big vehicles and a jubilant parade.

What an accomplished weekend! Theater? Check! Fitness? Check? Amazing Oregon wine? Double check! Bonus points for every activity being outside, soaking up the Tualatin Valley’s rays of sunshine.

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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 1 Comment

Montinore Estate
It’s time to discover Oregon’s wine country. If it’s your first time visiting the northern Willamette Valley, then it can be daunting to choose which of the 30+ wineries to visit first. While we think every wine tasting trip should include multiple vineyard destinations, here’s a quiz to help you choose which winery to stop at  first.  

What type of wine do you gravitate toward?
A. Pinot Gris
B. Riesling
C. You trust a winemaker’s blend
D. Pinot Noir

Though, please note that each winery excels at multiple varietals!

What’s your favorite home décor style?
A. Sleek modernism
B. Traditional with lots of classic wood pieces
C. Open-concept with free flow between indoor and outdoor
D. Italian villa

What activity do you like to do—with a glass of wine in hand—most?
A. Bocce Ball
B. Nerding out about organic farming
C. Getting cozy by the fire
D. Discovering new herbs for creative recipes

What kind of view do you like?
A. Panoramic views of the Chehalem Mountains
B. Coastal mountain range
C. Mt. Hood
D. Colorful gardens

Who are your wine tasting companions?
A. A mellow bachelorette party
B. Someone who has only wine tasted in California before
C. Your valentine
D. Your extended family


Mostly A’s: Ponzi Vineyards
Ponzi Vineyards in Sherwood is an Oregon old-school winemaker with lots of new-school charm. The multi-generation winery serves its wines, like the 2014 Pinot Gris that was picked as an “Editor’s Choice” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, in its incredibly classy gray-hued tasting room.


Ponzi Vineyards

Ponzi Vineyards

Mostly B’s: Montinore Estate
Montinore Estate in Forest Grove has a tasting room as regal as many esteemed Napa wineries. The Oregon twist? The stately décor remains unfussy, encouraging tasters to relax, ask questions and learn about the biodynamic winemaking process.


Montinore Estate

Montinore Estate (photo: David Brunkow)

Mostly C’s: Árdíri
Árdíri Winery and Vineyards in Cornelius was voted one of the best vineyard views in Oregon, which it celebrates with lots of patio seating tucked around multiple fire pits. Try the 2011 Pinot Noir Due Stati, which blends the best of Willamette Valley and Napa Valley reds into one tantalizing sip.


Árdíri Winery

Árdíri Winery

Mostly D’s: Alloro Vineyard
Alloro Vineyard in Sherwood transports wine lovers into an Italian daydream. In addition to the winery’s standout Pinot Noir offerings, be sure to peruse the herb garden for heavenly scents and serene views.


Alloro Vineyard

Alloro Vineyard


Which winery did your quiz results reveal? Be sure to explore all of the area’s wineries, vineyards and wine shops!


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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