Mt. Hood peaks between the hills from time-to-time. Along two-lane backroads, you’re occasionally slowed by a tractor. Barns, livestock, orchards, farms, and vineyards dress the rolling hills. U-pick fields, farm stands, tasting rooms and cyclist pop-up along the way. You’ll easily forget a busy city is a few miles away.
Less than an hour from Oregon’s coast, and 30-minutes from the west side of Portland, Tualatin Valley is home to some of the greenest wineries, micro-breweries, cideries, organic farms and eateries in the state.
Laid-back Tualatin Valley is perfect for a weekend of wandering and exploring.
Lodging – It’s matchless. Surreal at times, and said to be haunted, McMenamins Grand Lodge is its own destination. The rambling building was a Masonic & Eastern Star retirement home. Today the repurposed property is a grand hotel, restaurants, entertainment venues, and spa. ‘Unique rooms’ seems far too tame for one of the most fascinating hotels you’ll visit. Restaurants, nightclub/w nightly live music, spa, and art are everywhere.
After checking in—stay put for the rest of the day. Everything you need for a wonderful re-wind is here. Be certain to wander the corridors. You’ll see some over-the-top décor and maybe the Lavender Lady. It’s said she reveals herself from time-to-time.
Breakfast – at the hotel. Take your time. The food is outstanding and the service flawless. Eggs come from the chickens out back, as do most herbs, and many veggies. Local coffees and loose-leaf teas are a highlight of the full-service coffee bar.
Hike – Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. Six miles from the hotel in Hillsboro, a 635-acre wetlands and wildlife preserve, has hiking trails ideal for watching the 200 species of birds. Star residents include a nesting pair of bald eagles and a great blue heron rookery. Photo ops for birds and wildlife are everywhere.
Lunch – at Cruise In Country Diner not far from the wetlands. Vegan or carnivore, they have a burger you’ll love. The café serves all natural & organic food, locally sourced. Burgers come in NW grass-fed beef, buffalo, lamb, alpaca, chicken, and veggie. Cruise In’s bacon & hot dogs have no nitrates or chemicals. Malts, shakes, beer and wine round out your lunch.
Cooper Mountain’s winery was once surrounded by farming as far as you could see, but the city has inched over the hill, sprouting condos and suburbs. Food and music events where all are welcome, happen spring till fall.
Ruby’s setting is majestic. On a clear day Mt Hood is smiling. The surrounding rolling-hills go crimson in the spring when clover blooms. A historic old barn houses aging wine. The tasting room is a wood beauty. Spend some time on the deck and enjoy their delectable wine.
Dinner at Yellow Llama. Music and decor will transport you to Peru. Authentic and fresh, with flavors that draw you back for more. Peruvian inspired, hand crafted cocktails compliment the food. Traditional dishes like, Arroz con Pollo (chicken and rice) a Peruvian staple, Empanadas (you’ll want a dozen), and Carapulcra – pork and chicken in savory Aji Panca sauce. Don’t worry, they’ll help you with the menu and make your meal a celebration.
Breakfast – at Maggie’s Buns. Full service breakfast with cinnamon rolls as big as your head. What more do you need? Maybe one of the huge omelets with toast from house made bread.
Zipline – at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour. Way, way more than a ‘bucket list’ check-off. You zing your way from treetop to treetop through the forest at heights up to 120-feet. You’ll cross rope bridges occasionally and always have highly trained guides keeping you safe. Reservations are required for this grand adventure.
Cider tasting at Bull Run Cider. Craft hard cider is being lovingly made in the foothills of Tualatin Valley. Bull Run makes apple and fruit cider, plus pear wine from organic, locally sourced fruit. Many of the cider apples used are heirloom variety, found only in the area.
Getting there – Fly or drive to Portland. You’ll need a car for this trip. Make your first stop McMenamins. Check their website for directions. Helpful to have – GPS, some of the back roads are tricky.
This area is rich with beauty, life, and activity. Wander, get lost, stop at a brewery, buy something from a farm stand you eat immediately, admire some cows, take more photos than usual, stop for coffee at a roadside stand. This is a fertile, productive area of farms and vineyards. Stand outside and smell the goodness. Inhale beautiful charming Tualatin Valley Oregon.