Since 1959, St. Helens Golf Course, just a short 30-minute drive from Portland, has enveloped golfers in a quiet serenity as they propel their golf balls along its nine holes. Before tackling the course, players shake the rust off their short games on the putting and chipping green and perfect their wind-ups inside the hitting cage. The course’s relatively short layout and lack of crowds enables players to finish a round quickly and leave the rest of the day for daydreaming about perfect putts and whittling tees into figurines of favorite golfers.
Course at a Glance:
Hands & Voices was originally founded to unite people within the deaf community who had chosen different methods of communication. It began when a parent-support group in Colorado witnessed a national debate over the merits of oral versus ASL communication within the deaf community in response to an exhibit at the Smithsonian. Aggrieved by anger that resulted in the exhibit being shut down, the parents worked to create an entity that would represent and aid all deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
A local autonomous chapter of this national movement, Hands & Voices of Oregon helps new parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children. When children do not pass the newborn hearing screening, Hands & Voices of Oregon contacts their families with information about follow-up diagnostics and educational and communication services. Each family also gains access to a guide who can provide emotional support, connect parents to resources and other families, and attend developmental planning meetings at schools.
Since opening its gates in 1946, Portland Meadows has hosted exhilarating thoroughbred and quarter-horse races on its 1-mile oval every year from July to December. As racehorses burst forth from the track's 12-stall starting gate every thirty minutes during nine daily races, crowds of up to 4,400 shout their favorite ponies' names from indoor and outdoor seats and cheer on jockeys in a secret language known only to horse whisperers. Adults may place wagers on the races, test their luck at video lottery terminals, or take a closer look at the horses at the saddling enclosure; meanwhile, kids can blow off steam at the HorsePlay Kids Zones, which welcomes guests every weekend. Admission is always free at Portland Meadows, as is parking in its 300,000-square-foot lot.
By supplying patrons with eco-friendly art supplies in addition to local beer, wine, and artisan food, The Canvas encourages self-expression while eliminating the menace of a noisy, empty stomach. Begin an artistic feast by choosing adornable surfaces, such as 8"x8” canvas boards ($4 each) or 9"x12” stretched canvases ($6 each), and retina-stimulating water-soluble oil pastels ($4) or acrylic paints ($5). Mixed-media offerings such as eco-friendly markers and recycled color papers ($3) will keep clever collagists absorbed, and complimentary graphite, charcoal, and sketch paper are provided for brainstorming over draft beers and local wines. To soak up excess alcohol and artistic inspiration, The Canvas offers soups, salads, shared plates, and hearty sandwiches. The Jackson Pollock splashes fresh bread with apples, brie, and Oregon blackberry preserves ($8), while the Andy Warhol peppers roast beef and campagnolo bread with pops of gouda, tomato, mesclun greens, sundried-tomato aioli, and at least 15 minutes of fame ($8). Some menu items can be made gluten-free, and many are herbivore friendly.
The foursome behind Ye Ol' Grog Distillery doesn't just make specialty liquors—they make the tools that make specialty liquors. Comprised of three engineers, the team built the microdistillery’s two stills, including a completely redesigned version of a traditional pot still. This machinery not only helps churn out an extremely smooth vodka, but two variations of Ye Ol’ Grog’s namesake, an alcohol beloved by sailors throughout history. Sweetened with blue agave, the distillery’s grog includes the butterscotch-flavored Good Morning Glory and the 100-proof Dutch Harbor Breeze, which is aged in charred oak. To add an extra touch of sweetness, Ye Ol’ Grog’s proprietors complement samples of their liquors with adult shaved ice's made in house.
A family of ducks swims along Devils Lake, river otters play across Lake Merwin, and a kayak tour floats along the water. When Tracie Driver started NorthWest EcoExcursions, she envisioned a recreation company that would combine outdoor thrills with respect for the environment. To this end, NorthWest's guides, who each boast either a postgraduate education or more than 10 years in park-ranger experience, educate their customers on local wildlife and geology during trips that run the gamut from hiking to whale watching to goat-packing tours. The staff also maintains eco-friendly practices, serving strictly organic foods on camping trips and ensuring all of their office's plants are 100% solar powered.