Hillsboro

Portland Races for Families

A Good Gray Portland Races for Families

Want to be more active as a family? Try one of these local races that are juuuust right for families.
Dates for 2017 have been included.

SPRING
ORRC Hagg Lake Runs (Gaston): May 6, 2017, 10.5 miler, 10k, 5k; strollers welcome
Cinco de Mayo Run/Walk (Portland): May 7, 2017, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, Kids Half-Miler; jogging strollers welcome
Lake Run (Lake Oswego): May 13, 2017, 10k, 5k, Kids Dash;
Run Mama Run (Portland): May 14, 2017, 10k, 5k, Kids Fun Run; stroller friendly
Health Hillsboro Family 5k (Hillsboro): May 20, 2017, 5k; $5 adults, FREE under 18, stroller friendly

SUMMER
Grateful Dad Run/Walk (Portland): June 17, 2017, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, Kids Half Miler; this fun Father’s Day has a beautiful route along the Columbia River
Summer Solstice Sundowner at the Oregon Zoo (Portland): June 22, 2017 at 7:00 pm, 5k, Kids Run, Tot Trot; course runs entirely through the zoo
Color Fun Fest 5k (Portland): July 22, 2017, 5k; kids 12 and under free, wear white to this family-friendly run and brace yourself for some color!
Beaverton Sun Run (Beaverton): July 23, 2017, 10k, 5k, Kids Dash
Ladybug Run for CDH Awareness (Tigard): July 29, 2017, 10k, 5k, Kids Runs; this race raises money for children and families affected by CDH, a condition our sweet nephew, Jake, was born with
Garlic Run/Walk (North Plains): August 12, 2017, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k; no strollers

FALL
Hero-Up (Tigard): Sept. 2, 2017, Half Marathon, 5k, Kids Run; this fundraising race helps commemorates the life of the organizer’s son and raises money for children’s cancer research
Portland Marathon Kids Runs (Portland): Oct. 8, 2017, Marathon, Half Marathon, Kids and Toddler Runs

Any I missed? Let me know of your favorites!

Eek! It’s Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016Get the spooky scoop on all of Portland’s westside activities this Halloween.

OCTOBER 21 (FRIDAY)
Great Pumpkin Hunt at Garden Home Recreation Center (Portland, 6 to 8 pm, $10): Come for games, crafts, a bouncy house, and bring a flashlight and hunt for pumpkins out back

OCTOBER 22 (SATURDAY)
Monster Mash at Bridgeport Village (Tigard, 9:00 to 10:30 am): California Pizza Kitchen is hosting a fun morning for kids. Registration required.
Villains in the Village at Bridgeport Village (Tigard, 10:30 am to noon): Wear your costume and come fight villains at this fun, free event

OCTOBER 26 (WEDNESDAY)
Safe Trick-or-Treat at Pacific University (Forest Grove, 4 to 7 pm): This 18th annual event has free treats and activities for all
Night-time Walkabout at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro, 6 to 8 pm, ages 8 and up): Register for this free event

OCTOBER 27 (THURSDAY)
Night-time Walkabout at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro, 6 to 8 pm, ages 8 and up): Register for this FREE event

OCTOBER 28 (FRIDAY)
Squishing of the Squash (Oregon Zoo, 10:30 to 11:30 am, FREE with zoo admission): Some of the world’s largest animals squish some of the area’s largest pumpkins
Spooky Dance Party at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, 6:30 to 8 pm): Dress in costume and come shake it to spooky (but not scary) music
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm, various prices): Bring kids 8 and younger to the charming storybook-themed Enchanted Trail, or wait later to bring the big kids to the freaky Haunted Trail.

OCTOBER 29 (SATURDAY)
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm, various prices): Bring kids 8 and younger to the charming storybook-themed Enchanted Trail, or wait later to bring the big kids to the freaky Haunted Trail.
Howloween at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 10 am to 3 pm, FREE with zoo admission): Dress in costume and participate in this fun but educational scavenger hunt at the zoo, collecting treats and prizes.
Dia de los Muertos Crafts (Beaverton Library, 11 am to noon)
Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm): Skate in costume to Halloween music–games and costume parade too
Halloween Carnival (Beaverton Library, 3 to 4 pm, grades 1 to 5)

OCTOBER 30 (SUNDAY)
Howloween at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 10 am to 3 pm, FREE with zoo admission): Dress in costume and participate in this fun but educational scavenger hunt at the zoo, collecting treats and prizes.
Not-So-Scary Halloween (Portland Children’s Museum, 10 am to 3 pm): Trick-or-treating, crafts, and games
Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm): Skate in costume to Halloween music–games and costume parade too

OCTOBER 31 (MONDAY)
Spooky Babies (Beaverton Library, 10:30 to 11:15 am, up to age 6): Bring your little ones in costume for a parade and fun.
Halloween Dance-o-Rama (Tualatin Public Library, 11 am to noon, ages 6 and under)
Harvest on Main (Hillsboro, 5 to 9 pm): Downtown Hillsboro’s former “Safe n’ Sane” event is now Harvest on Main, and includes more activities and longer hours. You can still bring kids for trick or treating at local businesses as well as fun activities.
Trick-or-Treat at the Streets of Tanasbourne (Hillsboro, 1 to 3 pm, ages 12 and under)
Halloween at Orenco Station (Hillsboro, 3:30 to 5:30 pm): Trick-or-treat in Orenco Station, and enjoy games and crafts with Fancy That and the Dentists at Orenco Station
Spooky Storytime (Beaverton Library, 4 to 5 pm)
Trick-or-Treating at McMenamins’s Grand Lodge (Forest Grove, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, all ages)
Mall-o-ween at Cedar Hills Crossing (Beaverton, 6 to 7 pm): Trick-or-treat at participating stores

Anything I missed? Please comment below!

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8 MORE Dessert Places to Love in the Portland Burbs

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A while back I came up with 8 dessert places to love on Portland’s west side. Well since then, I’ve sampled—and fallen for—some new ones. So without further adieu, here are 8 more sweet stops I’m happy to take my kids to:

  1. Momo’s Hawaiian Ice: Hillsboro
    This place is the real deal—the ice is perfectly shaved, the flavors are extensive, and you can go big with ice cream and authentic Hawaiian toppings. Big portions, fair prices. It’s tropically delicious.
  2. Beaverton Bakery: Beaverton
    This bakery turns 90 this year, and through the years they’ve been perfecting sugar cookies, cakes, and other specialty bakery creations. We got our wedding cake here, and we love coming back and grabbing a treat with our kids.
  3. The Pie Guy: North Plains
    We first fell in love with his pies at the Hillsboro Farmers’ Market, but my sister just informed me you can now go to his stand. Daily. Stop delaying that gratification! My favorites are Razzleberry and Coconut Cream. Mmmmm boy.
  4. Alotto Gelato: Orenco
    This new-ish spot in Orenco Station (next to La Provence) offers rich, creamy, gelato and Italian sodas in various flavors. It ain’t cheap, but it’s a great sometimes treat.
  5. Donut Day: Beaverton, Tigard
    These are sweet, rich donuts. My husband raves about their coconut, I love their regular glazed. Also try the buttermilk bar and their fritters. Tip: It’s easier to access their Beaverton shop by the side street instead of TV Highway.
  6. Nothing Bundt Cakes: Beaverton, Tualatin, Clackamas
    These little darlings look adorable and taste amazing. The frosting is sweet, but the cake is rich, moist, and just right. They are a great place to order treats for parties or special occasions!
  7. Dutch Bros Coffee: Various locations
    Yes, it’s a drive-thru coffee chain, but it’s headquartered in Oregon and feeeeels local-ish. Also, a junior menu with delicious smoothies, shakes, and hot chocolate? It just hits the spot sometimes.
  8. Sesame Donuts: Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard
    We first tried these donuts (oddly enough) at the cafe in the Hillsboro Main Library. You can buy a ton of donut holes for cheap, and I found them to be a traditional yet tasty donut. Their other locations are open 24/7. Try their trademark Sesame Donut.

 

Easter 2016: Portland & the West Side

What’s hoppin’ this Easter? Get some ideas on how to have some eggstra fun with your family this year.

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MARCH 12 (SATURDAY)
Peter Rabbit Pancake Breakfast and Carnival (West Linn): This 40-year tradition at West Linn High School is a treat. From 8:00 to 11:00 am, pay a small fee for breakfast, games, auction, and a visit with Peter Rabbit.
Egg Hunt for Hope (Sherwood): This fundraising egg hunt begins at 1:00 pm.

MARCH 18 (FRIDAY)
Underwater Egg Hunt (Beaverton): Hunt for eggs in the pool and other fun Easter activities at the Conestoga Recreation and Aquatic Center. $7, 6:00 to 8:30 pm.

MARCH 19 (SATURDAY)
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Bridgeport Village (Tigard): For $10 a ticket you can enjoy breakfast, crafts, music, prizes, and visits with the Easter Bunny and Mother Goose.
Extreme Egg Hunt for Teens (Beaverton): This is part egg hunt, part scavenger hunt, and all fun for anyone 13-17 years old at the Tualatin Hills Athletic Center. $20, 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

MARCH 26 (SATURDAY)
Underwater EGGstravaganza at SHARC (Hillsboro): Bring your kids to hunt for eggs and prizes, and even visit with the Easter Bunny. $10/resident, $15/non-resident.
Rabbit Romp at the Oregon Zoo (Portland): Free with zoo admission, children 10 and under can hunt for candy eggs every 15 minutes from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Hippity Hop Bunny Hop Through the Pearl District (Portland): Come to the Pearl for fun activities, treats, and a hug and picture with the Easter Bunny. 10:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Spring Egg Hunt (Portland): This egg hunt—rain or shine—will have candy and prize eggs, as well as hot chocolate and donuts at Garden Home Recreation Center. $7, 11:00 am to noon.
Great Westside Easter Egg Hunt (Hillsboro): At the Washington County Fair Complex you can enjoy egg hunts and visits with the Easter Bunny. (Additional activities are available for an extra fee.) 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, $5/family.
Egg Hunt at Lee Farms (Tualatin): Each child 12 and under gets to hunt for eggs, decorate a cookie, see the Easter Bunny, and make crafts. 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. Tickets are $6 and are selling out fast.
Alpenrose Dairy Egg-stravaganza (Portland): Come for egg hunts (with prizes!), the Easter Bunny, and more, starting at 10:30 am.
Egg Hunt at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): Bring your little ones to hunt at one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. Come early for the hunts at 10:00 am and noon.

MARCH 27 (SUNDAY)
Sunrise Easter Service at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): What a beautiful place to start Easter Sunday! This 7:00 am Sunrise Easter Service in the tulip fields will be run by WAMA, Woodburn Area Ministerial Association.

Anything I missed? Please let me know in the comments below!

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St. Patrick’s 2016: Portland & the West Side

Whether you’re Irish to the core or just for the day, there’s plenty o’ fun for your family in our area this week.

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MARCH 12 (SATURDAY)
Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Hillsboro): Participate in this beloved 40-year tradition—parade, food, and children’s activities. Parade at 11:00 am, lunch at noon.
St. Agatha’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival (Portland): This Catholic school’s yearly celebration features a parade, carnival, 5k fun run, and live entertainment, all starting at 11:00 am.
Luckython (Aloha): Bring the whole family to the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club for fun runs for kids, competitive races for adults, and a potato bar for all.

MARCH 13 (SUNDAY)
Shamrock Run (Portland): With all sorts of races, ranging from stroller-friendly runs to a half marathon, this event has something for everybody.

MARCH 17 (THURSDAY)
Paddy’s St. Patrick’s Celebration (Portland): This tented street party is family-friendly from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm. Come for a Irish feast and exciting entertainment—bagpipes, dancers, bands, and more.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration by the Oregon Irish Club (Portland): From 4:00 to 9:00 pm at the Ambridge Event Center you can see Irish dancers and bands, visit the children’s area, and enjoy Irish food. See site for admission prices.
McMenamins (several locations): This Portland chain invites all ages to come for delicious food and special Irish entertainment.
St. Patrick’s Day Dinner (Hillsboro): Enjoy corn beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes, and more at the senior center. $6/person.

 

Anything I missed?? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

Portland’s Best Passes and Memberships for Families

We use Christmas money every year to buy a family membership somewhere around town. It’s exciting to pick where we’ll spend our free time in the new year.

Want to know why we love passes? (Of course you do!):
– It saves us money after just a few uses. (Case in point: one visit to the Oregon Zoo for an average family of 5=$48.50, membership for a household=$114.00. Go more than 2.5 times on the pass and it’s worth it. Boom.)
– The investment helps motivate us to get out and enjoy an outing with our family regularly. I hate to waste dinero, so we make that pass count and have fun doing it.
– Membership takes off the pressure to “see the whole place.” We can go for a short visit without the guilt.
– Passes usually include discounts to on-site shops, special extended hours, or other perks.
A Good Gray: Portland's Best Passes and Memberships for Families
We’ve stuck to the Oregon Zoo membership so far, but we’re ready to try something new. I’ve been researching some of the best annual passes around, and here’s what I’ve found:

EVERGREEN AVIATION AND SPACE MUSEUM* (McMinnville, $125-150/family): This museum ain’t close but apparently it’s amazing. It has tons of information on air history, from airplanes (including the real Spruce Goose!) to space travel, and also a kid zone, playground, and carousel. Pass offers discounts for water park and IMAX theater. **A smart friend just told me that this pass is part of a reciprocal passport program that can get you into dozens of other museums across the country.

OREGON MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY (OMSI) (Portland, $105-$135/family): This big ol’ museum is hands on and full of scientific fun for all ages (there is even a baby/toddler area for little ones). Around May there’s an OMSI Groupon for a highly-discounted membership deal (in 2015 it was 46% off!). **A smart friend just told me that this pass is part of a reciprocal passport program that can get you into dozens of other museums across the country.

OREGON PACIFIC COAST PASSPORT ($35/vehicle): This annual vehicle passport will get you free day passes into various popular coastal parks, including Fort Stevens, Cape Lookout, and Sand Lake.

OREGON ZOO* (Portland, $114/family): With a wide variety of animals in a variety of settings, it’s hard not to find something to love here. There is also a train, summer concerts, Zoo Lights, and new renovations (we were fascinated by the new Elephant Lands). This pass can also get you into 120 other zoos across the country.

PORTLAND ART MUSEUM (Portland, $95/couple, children always FREE): If you’re a family of art lovers—or you’re trying to become one—head to the art museum for extensive exhibits in a variety of art forms.

PORTLAND CHILDREN’S MUSEUM (Portland, $80/2 people, $25/each additional person): If you have small children, this museum offers hours of entertainment and discovery. They provide hands-on play both indoors and out, and our kids love this place.

RICE NORTHWEST MUSEUM OF ROCKS AND MINERALS* (Hillsboro, $90/family): This small museum is full of a world-class collection of fine rocks and minerals, as well as fossils, meteorites, and gemstones.

WASHINGTON COUNTY MUSEUM* (Hillsboro, $100/person+3 guests): This is a small and simple museum featuring local history and is best for older children.

WORLD FORESTRY CENTER* (Portland, $50/person+5 guests): We found this discovery museum to be interesting but also best for older children. They have rotating art exhibits throughout the year as part of the museum.

*One cool advantage of these starred venues? If you buy a pass to one of 8 participating attractions, you can get into the other 7 for FREE during different months throughout the year. Here’s the schedule for 2016:
January – Oregon Zoo
February – World Forestry Center
March – Oregon Historical Society
April – Lan Su Chinese Garden
June – Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals
September – Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
October – Washington County Museum
December – Historic Deepwood Estate

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Christmas 2015: Festive Family Fun in Portland’s West Side

Festive 2015

There are so many ways to make merry this holiday season! Try out some of these Portland-area activities with your family.

Long-Running Festivities:
Pittock Mansion Christmas Exhibit (Portland, Nov. 23 to Jan. 2, 11 am to 4 pm): Their annual holiday exhibit doesn’t disappoint. Walk through “The Magic of Wintertime” while local musicians play. Adults $11, Youth (ages 6-18) $8, Children under 6 FREE.
ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, Nov. 27 to Jan. 3, 5 to 9 pm): The zoo dazzles with a million and a half lights. Prices vary, members are free. It gets busy, so plan for a crowd.
The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights (Portland, Nov. 27 to Dec. 20, 5 to 9:30 pm): Walk through the impressive light displays at the Grotto, a 62-acre Catholic Shrine and botanical garden. There are half a million lights, holiday concerts, and outdoor caroling.
Christmas Ships (Portland, Dec. 4 to 20, 7 to 8 pm): Since 1954 Portlanders have paraded down the Willamette and Columbia Rivers with their boats and ships blinged out for Christmas. Find a spot on the waterfront and enjoy the fun.
Christmas in Dairyville and Storybook Lane at Alpenrose Dairy  (Portland, weekends until Christmas, times vary): This charming little Portland-area tradition runs throughout the Christmas season. Admission is free.
The Nutcracker Ballet (Keller Auditorium, Portland, Dec. 12 to 26, 7:30 pm): Share the magic of the Nutcracker ballet with your child. Performed by the Oregon Ballet Theatre.
Peacock Lane Christmas Lights (Portland, Dec. 15 to 31, 7 to 10 pm): These neighbors have a long gone all out providing beautiful Christmas displays. FREE. It gets busy, so it’s best to park far and walk more.
The Polar Express by the Mt. Hood Railroad (Hood River, various dates and times until Dec. 27): Join Santa on this magical train ride based on the popular book and movie “The Polar Express.” You’ll get treated to hot cocoa, music, and a special gift. Buy tickets in advance!
24 Days of Music at the Portland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Lake Oswego, Dec. 1 to 24, 7 pm): Come to the visitor center for nightly choirs and performances. Admission is free, but seating is limited.
Winter Village at Orenco Station (Hillsboro, Dec. 18 to Jan. 3): This brand new holiday tradition brings the only open-air ice skating rink to the area.

December 4 (Friday)
Holiday Open House & Tree Lighting (Beaverton, 4:30 to 7 pm): Come to the city library to see Santa and celebrate the season.
Festival of Trees (Portland, 10:30 am to 8 pm): At the Oregon Convention Center you can catch this annual tradition. Come see 25 themed trees, visit with Santa, and enjoy the entire winter wonderland.
Starry Nights and Holiday Lights (Tualatin, 5 to 8:30 pm): At the Lake of the Commons you can catch the tree lighting, Santa, and holiday choirs.
Downtown Tigard Tree Lighting (Tigard, 6:45 to 9 pm): Santa, local choirs, and the tree lighting, of course!

December 5 (Saturday)
Festival of Trees (Portland, 10:30 am to 8 pm): At the Oregon Convention Center you can catch this annual tradition. Come see 25 festively decorated trees, visit with Santa, and enjoy other holiday entertainment.
Holiday in the Grove (Forest Grove, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm): Enjoy holiday fun all day long, including Santa, a holiday market, wagon rides, music, and more.
The Nutcracker by Ballet Forest Grove (Forest Grove, 1 and 6 pm)
Sherwood Winter Festival (Sherwood, 4 pm): Community parade, holiday music, Santa, and the tree lighting.

December 6 (Sunday)
The Nutcracker by Ballet Forest Grove (Forest Grove, 1 and 6 pm)

December 10 (Thursday)
– Snow Globe Craft (Hillsboro, 3 to 4 pm): Come craft with your kids at Shute Park Branch Library.

December 12 (Saturday)
Santa Visits the Streets of Tanasbourne (Hillsboro, 1 to 4 pm): Santa will arrive by horse-drawn carriage and then start visiting with little friends. Enjoy hot chocolate and carriage rides.

December 26 (Saturday)
– Origami for the New Year (Hillsboro, 2:30 to 3:30 pm): Come to the Main Library for this fun activity for all ages.

Thanksgiving Play 2015

I’m grateful (get it?) that Thanksgiving is one of the simplest holidays. It gives you lots of family time and often lots of free time. Winning!

So if you’re looking to get out and kick off the holiday season in Portland’s west side, check out my list of fun Thanksgiving activities below. image_1

November 23 (MONDAY)
– Thankful Crafts at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, 6:00 to 7:00 pm): Come make some free crafts with your friends at the library.
Gratitude Month (Portland Children’s Museum, November): Participate in different gratitude activities with your kids all November long.
The Magic of Wintertime (Pittock Mansion, Nov. 23 to Jan. 2): Enjoy the annual holiday exhibit at Pittock Mansion with local musicians. Children welcome.

November 24 (TUESDAY)
20th Annual Hillsboro Youth Turkey Trot (Hare Field, 3:30 pm): A FREE fun run for youth up to the 8th grade. Come rain or shine!

November 25 (WEDNESDAY)
Turkey Trot 5k Run/Walk + Kids Trot (Portland International Raceway, 6:45 to 10:00 pm): Come run through the raceway’s holiday lights. Dogs welcome.

November 26 (THURSDAY)
Turkey Trot at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 8:00 to 9:45 am): This 4-mile fun run or walk winds through Washington Park and ends at the zoo. Children events included, and jogging strollers welcome. Register today.
Give ‘n’ Gobble (Sherwood High School, 9:00 am): This 5k walk or 10k run with a food drive is a Thanksgiving tradition. This race sells out, so register in advance.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show (Portland International Raceway, Nov. 26 to Dec. 27, 5:00 pm): Drive through one of the largest light shows in the country. $20/car.

November 27 (FRIDAY )
My Macy’s Portland Holiday Parade (Portland, 9:00 am): Kick off the holidays with Portland’s own Macy’s parade. Geared towards children.
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pioneer Square (Portland, 5:30 to 6:30 pm): Witness the lighting of the 75-foot Christmas tree with holiday music and festivities.
Holiday Express Train Ride (Portland, weekends Nov. 27 to Dec. 20): Take a 1-hour ride along the beautiful Willamette with Santa on this holiday-decorated train. Made possible by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.
Zoo Lights (Portland, Nov. 27 to Jan. 3, 5:00 pm): Come see your favorite zoo all lit up for Christmas.
Christmas Festival of Lights (Grotto, Nov. 27 to Dec. 30, 5:00 to 9:30 pm): This family-oriented tradition includes dozens of choirs and hundreds of lights.

November 28 (SATURDAY )
Hillsboro Holly Days (Downtown Hillsboro, 1:00 to 6:00 pm): A Christmas extravaganza featuring Santa, live reindeer, train rides, the tree lighting, shopping, music, activities, and more.
Cinnamon Bear Cruise on the Spirit (Portland, weekends Nov. 28 to Dec. 27): Take a 2-hour ride on the Portland Spirit with Cinnamon Bear and friends. Enjoy snacks, drinks, and holiday activities.

 

5 U-Pick Fruit Orchards in WA County

U-Pick Orchards in WA County

I’ve highlighted U-pick berry farms in our county before, but now it’s time to talk tree fruits: apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and more.

Late summer (or mid-summer if it’s been a hot one!), you can start bringing your family to local farms and orchards to gather some of the juiciest, sweetest fruits out there.

Always check their sites for hours and availability.

1. Jossy Farms: Hillsboro
Apples, peaches, and pears of many varieties. This orchard is large, easy to get to, and well-organized. The trees are short and don’t require a ladder, and the paths are clear and clean. They have boxes or you can bring your own containers. Use their wagons to carry your fruit.

2. Grossen Peaches: Hillsboro
Peaches galore. This is a family farm in the beautiful Helvetia area. They have wagons and boxes available, or you can bring your own containers. They also have a store and host events like weddings (for real!).

3. Bells Orchard: Beaverton
Peaches, apples, pears, and cherries. They’re proud to be a short orchard with trees short enough to not require a ladder (even your kids can pick!). This relatively new orchard (started in 2005) also offers honey from their own bees.

4. Sherwood Orchards: Sherwood
Cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, prunes, apples, pears, quince, and persimmons (yes! I know! they have approximately 2000 trees!). This a strictly u-pick farm that’s been around for 150 years. They have some of the cheapest prices around, but bring your own containers. Cash or check only.

5. Bays Farm: Banks
Peaches, plums, nectarines, apples, pears, and kiwis. Fruit can be picked from the ground. Call for availability 503-324-0261.

A Good Gray: U-Pick Orchards in WA County

A Good Gray: U-Pick Orchards in WA County

Washington County Fair

What: Washington County Fair
Where: Washington County Fairgrounds,
Hillsboro, Oregon
Who: All ages
When: Usually last weekend of July, 10 am to 11 pm (2016 dates: July 28 to 31)
Why: It’s has Big Fair Fun for everyone in your family
Cost: Admission and many activities are FREE; prices vary for food and rides

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About mid-winter my oldest daughter starts asking when the fair is coming to town. And since she’s still figuring out how times and dates and seasons work, she keeps asking. And asking. So let’s just say I’m pleased as punch that it’s fiiiinally fair time once again.

The Washington County Fair has become one of our annual traditions. One weekend each July the fairgrounds fill up with rides, concessions, livestock, performers, vendors, and games, creating a magical place with a little bit o’ something for everybody.

Admission is free, and many of the activities are free too. We always start in the Growing Grove, the free children’s area. They have crafts and activities that keep our kids well occupied. Then we wander around checking out all the animals, trying to act like we know stuff and we’re not city folk.

In the carnival area each coupon is $1, or you can get an Unlimited Ride Wristband for $25. There are a bunch of rides, but keep in mind small children will have limited options. Kids under 36″ can’t ride any of the attractions, and kids from 36″ to 48″ can only ride a few. Fortunately your kids can still go buck wild at the games.

The food is overpriced of course (that’s standard, right?), but at least they offer deep-fried everything—last year I tried deep-fried cookie dough. Conclusion? Not everything should be fried.

Parking is $7/car. Of course you can also come by foot, bike, or train (there’s a MAX station right at the fairgrounds). Strollers are welcome.

So check out the schedule of events and get yourself over to the fair. Your kids just might love it enough to bring it up all. year. long.

A Good Gray: Washington County FairIMG_3939IMG_3942A Good Gray: Washington County Fair

We always take pictures of animals with our family members' names. Last year we found this nice tribute to our niece.

We always take pictures of animals with our family members’ names. Last year we found this nice tribute to our niece.