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From Our Editors
The Orenco Hotel is tucked into the trendy Orenco Station neighborhood of Hillsboro, lauded as the Best New Burb by Sunset magazine. Adding to the appeal is its lively town center, which is filled with wine bars, restaurants, and live music. At the nexus of this area is the 3-acre Orenco Station Central Park, which was modeled after a French city park near Versailles. About 4 miles northwest of the inn, the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals contains a working collection of more than 20,000 earth-hewn, geological specimens, which are housed in a sprawling ranch-style home listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though it began as just a husband and wife's private collection, the ranch eventually garnered national attention; its galleries twinkle with rubies, sapphires, an opal-filled thunderegg, as well as dinosaur fossils, meteorites, and fragments of Humpty Dumpty's shell. The crystal collection numbers more than 4,000, highlighted by the bright-red Alma Rose rhodochrosite crystal—an extremely valuable gem unearthed from a mine in Alma, Colorado. Nearby, in downtown Hillsboro's restored Venetian Theatre, resident theater company Bag&Baggage produces a varied lineup of quality plays. The upcoming Shakespeare's R&J puts a fresh spin on Romeo and Juliet: after Catholic-school students discover a copy of the Bard’s classic tale, they gradually begin to take on the roles of the story. Throughout the downtown area, there’s an inviting small-town feel; crowds course through the pedestrian-friendly streets to pop into antique stores and art galleries.