An estate house is surrounded by lush gardens, whose steps lead the way to a grass terrace that overlooks working vineyards and a gorgeous valley. Now, add locally made wine, picnics composed of organic fare, and live music. The call of, ?Mon Ami!? may be heard. But no, you have not suddenly turned into a French expat hanging out in Tuscany. This is Garden Vineyards, a family-run vineyard in Hillsboro. (Mon Ami is the family dog.)
Garden Vineyards serves as an afternoon destination for picnics, wine tastings, and festivals. The vineyards' estate house is also available to rent for a weekend getaway or an overnight or extended stay. Visitors who especially love the wine can become members of the wine club,which includes six bottles in the spring and six more in the fall. Visitors can also become members of the vineyards' community-supported agriculture program and receive produce straight from the gardens.
Some of the Current Wines
For more than 50 years, the geologists of Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals have invited the world to peruse their collections within a historic, ranch-style home in Hillsboro. But the specimens on display have been around for eons longer than that house has stood. There are cross sections of petrified wood, for instance, with a "Talking Log" exhibit to explain how wood transforms into stone over millions of years. Semi-transparent agate stones tell the tale of the planet's volcanic past with their intricately formed layers, and meteorites bear the pockmarks of their plummets to earth. A room of fluorescent stones glow neon in the dark?a remnant from the prehistoric days before cavemen discovered lava lamps.
Most of these collections are on display indoors, but the museum's outdoor grounds are also a draw. Visitors can wander along a sandstone-tiled path, exploring lush gardens filled with ferns, wildflowers, and rhododendrons. If you walk this path?whether during a spontaneous visit or during an organized event such as the summer festival?you may spot some natural wildlife, such as deer, rabbits, or hummingbirds frenetically sipping from a feeder.
Established in 2009, the Best of Oregon Food & Wine Festival supports the Beaver State’s thriving culinary industry every year with a lineup of local restaurateurs and vintners. The festival emphasizes the artisanal side of local cuisine, and every year proceeds benefit local charities that have included the Children’s Cancer Association, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, and the Oregon Food Bank. Between bites and beverages, guests can catch live sets by local musicians, or bid on an exquisitely invisible mime box at the festival’s silent auction.
The three Oregon Athletic Clubs welcome members into an oasis of healthy living, each developed to encourage those aspiring to wellness to reach their fitness goals. In addition to cardio and weight equipment for solo workouts, personal trainers tailor workouts to meet individual goals and lead group yoga and Pilates sessions to strengthen and flex physiques. As parents pedal into shape in the cycling studio or unwind at the onsite spa, kids can caper about or discuss their investment portfolios in the childcare center.
At each location, patrons can practice not drowning in the indoor pools and then retire to relaxation at the locker-room saunas. The Hawthorn Farm Athletic Club invites members to splash into the outdoor pool and lounge on the lawn and patio. To refuel for the day’s cartwheel quota, the clubs’ restaurants dish up light fare including salads and paninis.
When they first opened, Primrose & Tumbleweeds sold 47 types of wine by the bottle. Today, their selection has increased to more than 4,000 wines, with regional pride fueling its growth—the store features a gigantic sampling of wines made in Oregon and the Northwest. Such a sizable inventory might seem intimidating, but the staff has settled on a few surefire methods for doling out sips: daily tastings, an ever-changing "Today's Pour" menu, and a weekday happy hour that runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., not to mention live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Even though wine is the main event, the venue is no mere wine bar. More than 250 craft beers and 75 hard ciders round out the list of libations, in addition to small-batch spirits that are distilled locally. The food menu proves just as changeable as the drink specials, with seasonal dishes such as bratwurst simmered in Guinness and the remains of a local snowman. The kitchen's ingredients are typically local, and the prep, hands-on. For example, homemade soups full of mushrooms and Hungarian spices complement sandwiches piled with turkey, brie, and whole-berry cranberry sauce.
The weapons experts at Beavercreek Armory Range make guests’ safety their chief concern, which is why they maintain a membership system that ensures each of their guests are qualified, safety-savvy NRA members. A 12-lane indoor range keeps marksmen of all skill level comfortable with clearly displayed house rules and a high-efficiency ventilation system that quickly draws away gun smoke and replaces it with Clint Eastwood's captured sighs. In addition to supervising the range, Beavercreek’s team also leads classes that range from NRA-compliant defensive pistol and handgun classes to a youth safety course. Meanwhile, the in-house gunsmith can restore and repair firearms, as well as add customizations such as carbonia bluing or an antique car horn.