Blog, Oregon, Outdoor Adventures, Portland Travel, WCVA

We Recommend Biking in Oregon!

Apr 21, 2012

 

Warmer weather means one thing in Oregon: time to hit the great outdoors! Hopping on your bicycle and hitting one of the many bike paths and trails in our region is nothing less than blissful.

Fortunately for us, there is no shortage of bicycle trains to explore for all levels. Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or a newbie- there is something for everyone here.

Just remember to travel at a safe speed and follow the rules of the road!

WCVA recommends checking out the Banks-Vernonia State Trail for 21 miles of uninterrupted, car-free, smooth riding.

L.L. Stub Stewart State Park (featured in the above video), a 1,673 acre park where outdoor lovers are invited to explore more than 20 miles of trails. Bring your horse or bicycle and spend hours exploring the far reaches of the park.

Other tips:

5 Free (or almost Free) Attractions to Visit in Portland

Apr 02, 2012

Credit: Travel Portland

Want to take a grand tour of Portland without breaking the bank? Lucky for you, there are many ways to enjoy our city on the cheap! Here are 5 of our favorite ideas from the article, Portland on a Dime on Travel Portland.

You can even get to many of these attractions for free when you ride on The Free Rail Zone which includes most of downtown Portland (within the boundaries of the Willamette River, NW Irving and I-405), as well as MAX stations from the Rose Quarter to Lloyd Center.

1) Visit Powell’s City of Books: You will find a book lover’s heaven in the heart of downtown Portland. Powell’s City of Books is the largest used and new bookstore in the world. You can spend an entire day browsing their estimated 1 million titles. You are even allowed to bring up to 3 books into the coffee shop for perusing). Location: 1005 W. Burnside St. 503.228.4651 www.powells.com

2) The Grotto: This serene and beautiful sanctuary and gardens located on Northeast Sandy Boulevard at 85th Avenue is filled with surprises and attracts over 175,000 visitors each year. There is no charge to see the lower-level gardens and structures. To access the upper gardens, each visitor must purchase an elevator token. Tokens are $4.00 for ages 12-64, ages 6-11 $2.50, and seniors over 65 $3.00. Children under 6 are free. 503.254.7371

3) Pioneer Courthouse Square: Located in the heart of Downtown Portland, this is a public space hosting more than 300 programmed events each year. With more than 26,000 people visiting the Square each day, it is the single most visited site in Oregon’s most visited city. Location: Bordered by Southwest Sixth Avenue, Broadway, and Yamhill and Morrison streets.

4) Visit the 24 Hour Church of Elvis: 3 words: Elvis, Quirky and Free. Need we say more? Location: 408 N.W. Couch St.

5) Portland Farmers Market & Saturday Market- Features locally grown and prepared foods, live music, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, artwork and more!

The Portland Farmers Market is held on Saturdays in the South Park Blocks at Portland State University, March-December. On Mondays, the market comes to Pioneer Courthouse Square (June-October), and Wednesday’s market is held in the South Park Blocks of the Cultural District (May-October).

Portland Saturday Market: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March through December 24. Location: Southwest Ankeny Street & Naito Parkway (in Waterfront Park, Skidmore Fountain MAX station) 503.222.6072

8 Great Annual Events in Portland this Spring

Mar 30, 2012

Credit: Travel Portland

Springtime is here, which means- sunshine (on some days), Easter, Mother’s Day, warmer weather, and Portland comes alive with fun events and festivals.   Here are just a few event highlights from Travel Portland to check out during your visit this spring:

Portland Farmers Market Saturdays, March 17 through December 15
Celebrating its 20th season, Portland Farmers Market operates vibrant farmers markets that contribute to the success of local food growers and producers, strengthen the food economy and serve as community gathering places.

18th Annual Spring Beer & Wine Fest April 6-7, 2012
A Taste of the Best! Sample from over 100 brewers, vintners, cheese makers and chocolatiers on April 6-7, 2012 at the Oregon Convention Center. The festival also features great food and music.

2012 Bridgetown Comedy Festival, April 12-15
The Pacific Northwest’s premier comedy festival, returning for its fifth year! Local comedians and fans banded come together at one of the nation’s funniest and fastest-growing comedy festivals.

Stumptown Comics Festival April 28 & 29, 2012
The annual Stumptown Comics Fest is the largest comic book convention in Portland, Oregon, dedicated primarily to the artists, writers, and publishers who make everyone’s favorite comics! “Best. Comic book festival. Ever.” -Travel Portland

28th Annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta May 4th, 5th, and 6th, 2012
Waterfront Park will be transformed into a Mexican Fiesta for the weekend and features live entertainment, authentic food, rides, family fun, and much more!
Presented by Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association (PGSCA).

Taste of the Nation Portland, OR Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Held at JELD-WEN Field, this is one of the city’s premier food and wine-tasting events. The best part is ticket sales support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger. This event features food from the finest Oregon chefs and restaurants, wine, microbrews, local music, and a silent auction.

Crafty Wonderland SPRING SHOW - Saturday, May 12th, 2012
Portland’s Art + Craft Extravaganza features 200+ artists selling their amazing handmade goods!

Portland Indie Wine Festival May 14, 2012
Join the independent producers that represent the heart and soul of Oregon’s world-class wine industry as they pour their wines on May 14th at the Bison Building.

7 New Attractions to Explore in Oregon’s Washington County

Feb 20, 2012

Photo: Paul Loofburrow

From wine tasting to hiking; from shopping to golfing, there is something for everyone who visits Washington County Oregon (located just outside of Portland and home to Tigard & Tualatin). We are thrilled that many new attractions and businesses have been added to our area in the past year. On your next visit, we recommend taking some time to experience some of these new additions. Here is a list of some of the newest attractions:

Source: Washington County Visitors Association

1. Mountain Bike Freeride Trail. Washington County’s first single-track, mountain bike freeride trail and skills area is scheduled to open at L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park in spring 2012. Spearheaded by the Westside Trail Federation and built by a grassroots group of volunteers, the freeride area will add another amenity to the four-year-old state park. Earlier this year, the park saw the completion of an 18-hole championship disc golf course.

2. Super Zip-Line. Tree to Tree Adventure Park, a seasonal aerial ropes course complete with tree-top obstacles and zip-lines that opened to much fanfare and success in 2010, will mark its spring 2012 opening with an 800-foot-long “super zip-line” and up to 10 additional lines.

3. Create Your Own Glass Art Masterpieces. Live, Laugh, Love Glass is an innovative glass-blowing studio, located in downtown Tigard.  The studio, which opened May 2011, offers private and group instruction for artists of all levels. Saturday evenings, the studio hosts a unique style of dinner theatre, “Dinner Party and Hot Shop Show,” where guests participate in a group creation of a glass masterpiece, while dining on a buffet meal provided by local caterers. 12230 SW Main Street, Suite B, Tigard, Oregon; 800-913-7015 (toll-free); 503-244-7811

4. Two Kilts Brewing Company’s tasting room opened in Sherwood in 2011. In its short time, Two Kilts has amassed a following and praise from local beer enthusiasts with their India Pale Ale, Scotch Ale and other brews made with local ingredients. 14841 SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road, Sherwood, Oregon; 503-625-1700

5. Comfort Food with a Twist. Forest Grove, Ore., welcomed its newest upscale eatery, 1910 Main – An American Bistro, in April 2011. With entrees that put modern spins on American classic comfort food, chef Russ Schillereff uses locally sourced ingredients in a menu that changes weekly. 1910 Main Street, Forest Grove, Oregon; 503-430-7014

6. Banks-Vernonia State Trail. After nearly a decade, the final portion of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, linking the towns of Banks and Vernonia, Oregon, was completed in late 2010. Construction of the 21-mile trail, which follows the route of an abandoned railroad corridor, started in the 1990s and was Oregon’s first rails-to-trails project, spearheaded by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. While parts of the trail—paved and unpaved—have been accessible to the public for several years, the opening of the trailhead in the town of Banks marks the completion of the final leg of the trail. The trail is open to all non-motorized traffic—hikers, runners, cyclists and horseback riders—and is marked by moderate and steep climbs. This scenic trail boasts 13 bridges and two 700-foot long, 80-foot high railroad trestles, popular spots for wildlife viewing and photography. Camping is available at nearby L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park, which also is home to the Hares Canyon Horse Camp.

7. Blend Your Own Wine at Tigard Wine Crafters-Billed as a “local micro winery,” Tigard Wine Crafters is a new tasting room specializing in custom-made wine blending and features a range of white and red wine varietals. Guests can handcraft their own wine blends, design custom labels and receive 27-30 bottles of their own handcrafted wines after the fermentation and bottling process is complete, according to their website. The process is simple: guests create their own blends, while the winemakers at Tigard Wine Crafters ferment the custom-made blends for six weeks. Guests return after fermentation to bottle their creations and add their own specialty label. The tasting room, which opened in late 2010, also pours wines from around the world, including a merlot infused with dark chocolate and other surprising varietals. 12436 SW Main Street, Tigard, Oregon; 503-895-0538

ABOUT OREGON’S WASHINGTON COUNTY
Oregon’s Washington County is scenically situated between Portland and the Oregon Coast. The destination covers 727 square miles and includes the growing communities of Banks, Beaverton, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Gaston, Hillsboro, King City, North Plains, Sherwood, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville. Washington County is home to world-class golf courses, award-winning wineries, an array of outdoor recreation opportunities, lush, natural and scenic wetlands and wildlife preserves, superb dining, and myriad shopping. For more information, visit the Washington County Visitors Association’s official destination website.

Fun Winter Festivals in Portland

Jan 24, 2012

Sure it is the middle of winter, but that does not mean you can’t plan a fantastic trip to Portland! There is always something to do in Portland; here are just a few fun festivals to check out during your stay:

Happening Now
Fertile Ground Festival through January 29, 2012
This is a 10-day, citywide arts festival presented by Portland Area Theatre Alliance.  This event showcases play premieres, art installations and events, all created by local artists.

Chinese New Year January 23-February 6, 2012
Celebrate the Year of the Dragon!  This is a two-week celebration at the Lan Su Chinese Garden and includes lion dances, children’s activities, martial arts and cultural and historical demonstrations. The festival culminates with a traditional lantern-viewing ceremony. Events are free with garden admission.

Coming Up:
Portland Seafood and Wine Festival February 3-4, 2012
This festival celebrates both the bounty harvested from the Pacific Ocean and the state’s vineyards (and scheduled smack dab in the middle of the Dungeness crab season!).  Festival-goers enjoy great food, wine and live music at Oregon Convention Center.

Portland Jazz Festival February 17-26, 2012
Timed to coincide with Black History Month, the Portland Jazz Festival features performances around the city, including ticketed headline concerts, free shows and a range of educational opportunities.

Want more?   Visit travelportland.com for a great list of art galleries, museums and other attractions (like Powell’s City of Books) to explore this winter.

Downtown Portland’s Winter Blah-Buster Supports the Arts!

Dec 28, 2011

Oregon Ballet Photo Credit: Don Van Wart

Lets face it.  The middle of winter can be a bit….well……blah.  So what better way to spice things up than to take advantage of special offers that grant affordable access to Portland’s vibrant creative arts scene!  We think it is pretty cool that Downtown Portland promotes the performing arts in our city with the successful Blah-Buster promotion  kicking off in February 2012.

For more than a month, arts groups including Portland Center Stage, Oregon Children’s Theater, Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Oregon Symphony will offer two-for-one tickets for events throughout the city.

Full details will be available later this year at www.downtownportland.org.

Other Winter Events Coming Up:

Portland International Film Festival – February 9-25, 2012
The granddaddy of Oregon film events, the Portland International Film Festival packs 100 films from 30 countries into a busy two weeks every February.

Oregon Seafood and Wine Festival – February 3-4, 2012
Scheduled smack dab in the middle of the Dungeness crab season, this upscale festival celebrates both the bounty harvested from the Pacific Ocean and the state’s vineyards. More than 130,000 square feet (3,962 square meters) at the Oregon Convention Center allows plenty of room for festival-goers to wander while enjoying great food, wine and live music.

Travel Oregon and Sustainable Travel International Announce Innovative Travel Philanthropy Program

Dec 19, 2011

Travel Oregon, in partnership with Sustainable Travel International, is proud to introduce the Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund. The first statewide program of its kind, this fund will support sustainable tourism development in Oregon by connecting businesses and travelers to projects that improve the environment, support local culture and enhance the destination for future visitors.

Participating businesses throughout the state can raise funds for projects via an optional $1 donation from customers. All projects selected as beneficiaries of the fund protect Oregon’s natural assets and/or support communities in a way that improves their appeal as a destination.

“Oregonians have a rich history of stewardship of the land and love of community,” said Kristin Dahl, Travel Oregon’s Senior Manager of Destination Development. “This program is a natural fit as we will raise funds to directly improve and enhance Oregon communities. We expect this to result in enriching experiences for visitors and participating businesses.”

The Oregon Travel Philanthropy Fund will work with lodging properties during the initial phase of the program, which lasts through 2012. Other types of businesses, such as restaurants, tour operators and retail stores, will be invited to participate in the next phase. Individuals and corporations can also contribute directly to the fund.

The fund will support one project from each of Oregon’s seven tourism regions. Examples include: supporting agritourism in Eastern Oregon by developing new point-of-sale options for local food products; creating a new recreation trail from the town of Rogue River to the Rogue River Valley, provided by The Rogue River Greenway Foundation; and in Portland, the Living Highways Project will plant and maintain over 5,000 trees along I-205, as part of the Greenspace Initiative. For more information and to view the full list of selected projects, go to: www.traveloregonforever.com/giveback

“We chose these projects because they represent some of the best work being done to steward the environment, build community and showcase the food and culture that make Oregon a great destination,” said Jon-Paul Bowles, Sustainable Travel International’s Vice President of Destination Stewardship.

Travel Oregon
The Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, works to enhance visitors’ experience by providing information, resources and trip planning tools that inspire travel and consistently convey the exceptional quality of Oregon. The commission aims to improve Oregonians’ quality of life by strengthening economic impacts of the state’s $8.7 billion tourism industry. www.TravelOregon.com

Sustainable Travel International
Sustainable Travel International’s (STI) forward-thinking solutions strengthen the positive impacts of tourism worldwide, with a clear focus on the bottom line. The STI team specializes in connecting constituents across the value chain in order to effect change in the industry. As a result, STI partners with destinations and multi-national corporations to advance their sustainability efforts, and offers small to medium-sized businesses a suite of turnkey sustainability management tools.
Ultimately, STI’s programs help tourism businesses safeguard the authenticity of the destinations
they serve, helping to protect their natural and cultural heritage, while contributing to local
economic development.

Annual Holiday Attractions in Downtown Portland

Dec 14, 2011

Portland, Oregon comes alive during the holiday with these annual events. Spend a few days here and you will see why Portland, Oregon is one of the best travel destinations in the country!  There are too many local holiday events to mention in one blog post so visit downtownportland.org and plan your own outing.

Festival of Lights at The Grotto – Through Friday, December 30, 2011.. Closed Christmas Day
The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. The 2011 festival features nearly 170 indoor holiday concerts and an amazing display of more than 500,000 lights. illuminates the largest choral festival A petting zoo, puppet shows and seasonal food and beverages also highlight the event.

Parade of Christmas Ships – December 8 – 20, 2011
This year marks the 57th year for the Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in Portland, Oregon. This fleet of 55-60 brightly lit boats has staged performances on the Willamette and Columbia rivers during the holiday season. Visit the Christmas Ships website for dates, times and best viewing locations.

ZooLights Festival – Through Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24 & 25)
The Oregon Zoo becomes a holiday fairyland as one of Portland’s largest light displays blazes to life. More than a million sparkling lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. Decorated train rides, kids’ activities, and music by community groups.

From great coffee to beautiful lights to the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Portland will be merry this season!

Local Celebrations Feature Holiday Markets, Food, Wine & Beer Tasting!

Nov 15, 2011

There is a bounty of local festivals and celebrations this month in and around Portland, Oregon! Here are a few highlights of what you will find just minutes from The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport.   A special thanks to the Washington County Visitors Association for sharing this great info!

Beaverton Harvest Market Saturday, Nov. 19 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Fill your cornucopia at this one-time harvest market, timed perfectly for the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In addition to seasonal foods, the market features vendors offering flowers and crafts

German Holiday Market at German American School, Beaverton
Saturday, Nov. 19 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) &
Sunday, Nov. 20 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Enjoy traditional German food, novelties, nutcrackers and live entertainment at this free, two-day event, which is in its 12th year. Admission is free. For more information, please contact the school at 503-626-9089

Thanksgiving Wine Weekend- Various Washington County wineries Friday, Nov. 25 – Sunday, Nov. 27
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Celebrate Thanksgiving weekend in Washington County’s wine country, when wineries are all open and often have special perks such as vintage tastings, live music and/or light appetizers.

16th Annual Holiday Ale Festival November 30th – Sunday, December 4th, 2011.  Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland.  Each year, the Holiday Ale Festival annually gathers up dozens of these winter warmers for a joyous five-day celebration. More than 40+ breweries will be featured at this year’s event, all of which are created specifically to bring warmth and cheer to the holiday season.

Hillsboro “Holly Days” Market Saturday, Dec. 3 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Second & Main Streets, downtown Hillsboro
This seasonal market is held in conjunction with the tree lighting and Santa visit. This year, there will be about 35 vendors, as well as live entertainment and activities for children. More info.

 

Best Places to Go Antique Shopping in Oregon’s Washington County

Oct 27, 2011

On your next visit, we recommend you check out some of the many antique, vintage and collectibles shops found in Washington County. With 150 years of history, it’s no surprise that antique stores are abundant in Oregon; visitors have their pick antique boutiques rich with history and hidden treasures.

You can find shops that appeal to all collectors, from furniture to jewelry, and everything in between throughout the region. Here are a few top picks we found on www.visitwashingtoncountyoregon.com

Hillsboro, Oregon
Hillsboro has become a haven for the antique hunter, and a stroll down the city’s downtown area, including Main Street is like a trip to yesteryear, with its fine collection of art, consignment and antique shops.

Antiques take center stage on and near Main Street, with shops such as Le’Stuff Antique Mall, a co-op with thousands of antiques ranging from furniture and jewelry to unique knick-knacks.

Sherwood, Oregon
From Sherwood’s historic “Old Town” to the main drag, many antique shops in this growing city have attracted many collectors from around the globe.

In historic “Old Town” Sherwood, the Railroad Street Antique Mall is a haven for antique lovers, with collectibles ranging from toys and advertising, pottery and glassware, costume jewelry, furniture and much more.

Just a quick walk from the Railroad Street Antique Mall is the Lavender Tea House, a traditional, English-style tea house that is located in a quaint house in Old Town.

Unger’s Trading Post is an antique mall conveniently located on Highway 99W, between Newberg and Sherwood. The Trading Post has a wide variety of vintage and antique pottery, furniture, clothes, collectibles and art.

Forest Grove, Oregon
The city of Forest Grove is not a typical college town. Home of Pacific University, a small, private institution, Forest Grove’s retro-feel blends well with its popular wineries, saké brewery, performing arts venues, art galleries and eclectic shops.

Main Street is home to three of the city’s antique shops, and becomes a hub of activity the first Wednesday of each month with the “Forest Grove First Wednesday” event. Many local businesses, including antique shops, in downtown Forest Grove welcome visitors with special offers and tastings from Oregon wineries.

Antique collectors will enjoy the vast selection of items at Collections in the Attic, which boasts a wide selection of hard-to-find items, ranging from small collectibles to plates and glasses and furniture.

For a treat, antique hunters can stop into Maggie’s Buns,, an eclectic, retro-style coffee shop, that serves homemade baked goods, vegetarian-friendly entrees and salads. The “Buns” in Maggie’s Buns refers to the delectable cinnamon buns, which often sell out quickly.

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