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Mt Hood Territory Blog


Harvest Celebration happening at Luscher Farm

September 13, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman
Harvest Festival

Harvest Festival

Photo courtesy Luscher Farms

Several years ago a group of truly brilliant people set aside some land outside the city of Lake Oswego for the use as a community garden. Since then it’s become a growing attraction; pun totally intended.

Luscher Farm  is a gorgeous spot in the countryside just outside of Lake Oswego filled with more than 150 plots used by locals to grow flowers, vegetables, fruits and just about anything else you can think of. The demonstration gardens are used to grow even more, with all the food going to the local meals on wheels program. People are learning how to grow food, and then giving that food to other people who need it most. It’s a wonderful program that could serve as a model for countless other cities and towns.

The farm is open to the public and makes a great place to visit for a nice afternoon out on the farm. This Sunday would be a perfect time for that trip, as it’s their annual Harvest Celebration. It runs from 10 am to 3 pm and offers a great array of fun activities and events. There’s live music from local acts, line dancing, a petting zoo and a reptile exhibit plus a great selection of food vendors. And it all takes place in a beautiful setting.

Also at Luscher Farm is the Rogerson Clematis Garden. It’s a breathtaking display in hundreds of clematis. They vary in size and fragrance, but they’re all gorgeous flowers. Also free to the public, the garden makes for an excellent spot to enjoy a beautiful afternoon.

Bring the kids out to Luscher Farm Sunday for a great chance to get them interested in where their food comes from. You’ll be glad you did.


Jarrod Lyman

Jarrod Lyman has more than 12 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht FacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest accounts. His work has recently been recognized by the TTRA with the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award.

Harvest an amazing meal this fall

September 5, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman

Fall has always been an important time in Oregon for indigenous populations and the pioneers who later settled here. It’s when the fertile soils of the Willamette Valley would yield their bounty, providing sustenance for fall feasts and on through winter. Today our survival may not be as contingent on a good harvest as it once was, but the results sure are good for the soul as our farms and farm businesses open up their doors for some amazing harvest-themed outdoor dining events.

Always at the top of the list for any foodie are Field and Vine Events dinners, which take place at farms throughout Mt. Hood Territory and beyond. When you combine the freshest of ingredients, often times harvested that day from the very farm you’re dining at, with the culinary prowess of chef Pascal Chureau and his exceedingly talented team, add a local wine or two and then serve at an outdoor venue, you have a recipe for a truly memorable dining affair.

You still have time to book a dinner this fall, but hurry. Upcoming events in Mt. Hood Territory include Terra Vina Wines Vineyard in Wilsonville Sept. 16, St. Josef’s Winery in Canby Oct. 7, Tumwater Vineyard in West Linn Nov. 4 and Rosse Posse Elk Farm in Molalla Nov. 11. Visit their full list to find the dinner (or dinners) that best fits in with your schedule.

Our Table Cooperative Farm and Grocery Store is another amazing business created by people who love food and know what it takes to create a truly special meal. Located on a picturesque plot of farm land between Sherwood and Wilsonville, the food produced here is organic, and the foods sourced from other local farms are crafted with the same level of attention to detail.

Should you want to experience the magic of these ingredients prepared by the hands of an expert, plan on attending their Our Table in the Field events. The final one is Sept. 16. Dinner is at 4:30 and promises to be something truly stellar. If you’re more of a brunch type of person, then head over on Sept. 10 for their Farm Brunch at 12:30. No worries if you can’t fit it in to your schedule this year, just keep that calendar open so when they announce next year’s schedule you can pounce.

Be sure to use our #omht hashtag when you’re sharing images of your meals. We love a good food pic and will enviously follow along on your journey.


Jarrod Lyman

Jarrod Lyman has more than 12 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht FacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest accounts. His work has recently been recognized by the TTRA with the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award.

Fishing in the spray

September 5, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman

Fishing in front of Willamette Falls. Photo by Gary Lewis.

A person can learn a lot about the history of our state in the spray at Willamette Falls.

Here, the Clackamas peoples and the Wasco, Warm Springs, Multnomah, Yakama, Molalla, Tualatin and other tribes fished and traded for salmon and lamprey.

Above the falls, on the east bank, was a village called Canemah. Downstream, opposite the mouth of the Clackamas, stood an Indian town called Walamt (sounds like).

The Chief Factor of the Hudson’s Bay Company built the first sawmill in 1829. In the 1840s and 1850s when the migration to Oregon was in full swing, all roads led to Willamette Falls.

My favorite way to study history is with a fishing rod in hand. As a kid, I’d bring my school books home in a bag and leave them there while I fly-fished for trout in small streams that bled into the Columbia.

That’s why I pulled home-schooled 12-year-old Gus Smith away from his studies last week to make the run to Oregon City. We parked the Ford at the Pow Wow Tree, to run our fingers in the moss and bark of a 270-year-old bigleaf maple then checked in at the Best Western Rivershore Hotel near Clackamette Park.

In the morning, we met up with Sam Pyke for a cup of coffee, drove up to the old townsite of Canemah then trotted out on the dock to meet Rob Crandall and 11-year-old Tanner.

Overhead, on I-205, commuters had conspired to spread a traffic jam betwixt Vancouver and Tualatin. We passed beneath the George Abernethy bridge then went under the Oregon City bridge and could see the falls ahead. Salmon fishermen trolled for late spring chinooks and shad anglers were anchored in various runs.

American shad were introduced to the American west in 1871 when fish were released in major rivers up and down the Pacific coast. Today millions of shad still return to the Sacramento, the Umpqua, the Siuslaw, the Columbia, Willamette and other rivers. Plankton eaters, the American shad is the biggest of the herring species and averages three to five pounds. They bite and fight with abandon.

Rob Crandall targets shad with a fly rod. His favorite setup is a 5-weight equipped with a 12- to 15-foot sink tip, a 30-inch Maxima leader and a pink, orange or chartreuse shad dart.

When we had three anchors overboard to hold the boat in the heavy current, Crandall made a short cast to demonstrate to Gus how to present the fly. A moment later, a shad grabbed, ripped ten feet of line off the reel and broke the surface in a gill-rattling tail-walk.

For the first half hour, we hooked fish on every third cast, trading places with the fly rods and the net. Gus hooked one that pulled harder than the rest – a sturgeon. When the line went slack, the 12-year-old held his hands four feet apart to show how long it was.

At the other end of the boat, my casting zone wasn’t as productive as the spot where Gus and Tanner were fishing, so I pulled out my secret weapon, a bottle of Pro-Cure Fish Oil Garlic Plus. Dribbling water soluble goodness on the shad dart earned me a fish the first cast each time I freshened the scent.

No one counted, but we must have brought 25 or 30 to hand in three hours. Sam Pyke and I fought two fish to the net at one time and Tanner netted them.

Shad hit the Columbia system in May and run up to Bonneville and beyond. In the Willamette River the good fishing starts when the spring run-off subsides. Fishermen start to pick them up in May and can have 50-fish days in June. The action continues into mid-July.

The falls on the Willamette are 24-1/2 miles up from the confluence with the Columbia. It is still a gathering place and is the most significant historical natural feature in the West.

Gary Lewis is the host of Frontier Unlimited TV and author of Fishing Central Oregon, Fishing Mount Hood Country, Hunting Oregon and other titles. Contact Gary at

Mustang event gives public chance to see wild horses

August 31, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman
kiger mustang

kiger mustang

A unique event coming up in Mt. Hood Territory in early September will give people the chance to experience a little slice of a bygone era in Oregon.

The Kiger Expo and Mustang Challenge is the only event of its kind in Western Oregon, and showcases a type of wild horse that lives only in Oregon. Kiger mustangs are powerful, intelligent creatures descended from Spanish horses that were brought here in the US in the 17th century. They’re the last of the wild mustangs originating from that area, making them unique in both their heritage and their status as wild horses.

Kiger mustangThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) oversees a pair of herds that roam the Oregon countryside. When their numbers get too large for sustainability, some animals are brought out and offered for adoption to families looking to take care of these amazing animals. The Kiger Expo and Mustang Challenge is the second such adoption event in Mt. Hood Territory, and offers people a truly unique chance to see these majestic creatures up close.

In addition to adoptions, there are gentling demonstrations as well as colt starting. A mustang obstacle course will allow owners to show off the skills their adopted horses have learned in their new homes. There will also be food, wine tasting, live music and various hands-on activities.

The challenge takes place on Sept. 9 at 10 am to 6 pm at the Lake Oswego Hunt Club. You can get more information on their website or by calling 503-709-4310.


Jarrod Lyman

Jarrod Lyman has more than 12 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht FacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest accounts. His work has recently been recognized by the TTRA with the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award.

Pat’s Acres: real racing fun in Canby

August 30, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman
Pat's Acre's go kart racing

Pat's Acres go kart racing

Some people don’t get to have fun at their job. I feel sorry for them pretty much every day. Today more than most, as I got to fly around a racetrack at 50 some odd miles per hour at Pat’s Acres Racing Complex in Canby. Believe me when I tell you, this is a blast and you need to do this. A lot.

Pat's Acre's go kart racing

This wasn’t me. He knew what he was doing.

Pat’s Acres has go karts you can rent from them and race on their half mile track. The karts have 13 hp and go a little more than 50 mph. That may not sound like a lot, but you’re just a few inches off the ground, so it feels like you’re flying. As owner Chris Egger said, “Speed gets real.” And by real, we mean real fun. It was a blast.

After talking to Chris for our live video, I strapped on my helmet and took a few laps. I was feeling pretty good about myself, as I was in front of the group of other racers out there to show me the ropes. Granted they were taking it easy on me, but I prefer not to think about that. Well, I was in front until I mashed the brakes a bit too hard and the next thing I knew, I was facing the wrong way. Oops. No worries, I just turned around and kept on racing.

Sure, I didn’t win. I didn’t even place. I’m also sure I didn’t impress anyone. But who cares, it was fun! And that’s what it’s all about.

For most people, Pat’s Acres is a spot to bring out friends and family and have some good friendly competitive fun. Kids as young as 12 can race along with their moms and dads and feel like they’re really getting into some big-time racing action. They also bring in a lot of corporate team building groups. Chris says that they have a lot of groups that come each year, as the friendly competition helps co-workers bond in ways you can’t get in more traditional settings. Plus it’s a lot more fun. Did I mention that?

They also host a number of really cool special events that motor sports enthusiasts will love. The PARC Drift series culminates in a two-day festival Sunday and Labor Day Monday that is going to be epic. Hundreds of racers will be on hand to show off their skills, and we hear that many drivers even offer ride-alongs for people who want a front seat view of the action. Check out our live video below. Then, head over to our lodging page to book a place to stay so you can spend a few days out here. It’s worth it!


Jarrod LymanJarrod Lyman has more than 12 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht FacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest accounts. His work has recently been recognized by the TTRA with the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award.


Kayaking, Rafting and Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) Guides in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory

Summer is the perfect time to head to the refreshing rivers in Mt. Hood Territory. With endless adventure possibilities on the water you might not be taking advantage of some of the most fun class IV rapids closest to Portland…and you should be!

With plenty of outfitters and guides to choose from in The Territory it’s time to start practicing, or showing off your skills, as you navigate your way down the riffles and rapids of our amazing rivers.

Here’s a selection of some of our awesome guides to help you craft your perfect trip before the season ends.

eNRG Kayaking – Oregon City

Take a trip down the Clackamas River or paddle up to the Willamette River to scenic and historic Willamette Falls, the second largest waterfall (by volume) in North America. Even if you’ve never been paddling before, eNRG Kayaking offers instruction and rentals of kayaks and stand up paddle (SUP) boards and classes, plus kayak fishing instruction at Clackamette Park. For a truly unique experience try out their stand up paddle (SUP) board yoga classes at Willamette Park.

Blue Sky Rafting – Estacada

Explore the Wild and Scenic Clackamas River or head out on the Sandy River with experienced rafting guides since 1997. Thrilling whitewater rafting for groups and families, beginner to advanced levels. Half or full day excursions that are just a quick drive from Portland.

Northwest Whitewater Adventures – Estacada

Northwest Whitewater Adventures celebrates human power and the natural environment by offering exhilarating whitewater rafting, group or family trips and personal boater training. Full and half day rafting trips on the Upper Clackamas River available.  Call for group discounts.

Paddling the Willamette Falls with eNRG Kayaking

River Drifters – Estacada

One of the most tenured and experienced rafting companies in Oregon and Washington. Class 3-4 whitewater rafting on the Sandy Gorge and upper Clackamas River, March-August. Groups up to 50 in rafts of 6, for half or 1 day trips with lunch, plus multi-day trips.

All-Star Rafting & Kayaking – Estacada

20 years experience guiding half day and 1 day rafting trips on the upper Clackamas River. Raft rentals on the lower Clackamas from McIver Park to Carver Park. Experience class 3-4 rapids and bring groups of up to 50 for full day or half day with lunch.

Clackamas River Outfitters – Estacada

Renting recreational kayaks, stand up paddleboards and fishing kayaks, plus tours to the bridge and back and downriver SUP. Clackamas River Outfitters is your source for paddlesports rentals, tours, and instruction on the Wild and Scenic Clackamas River. Two locations include Timber Park – Estacada Lake and Promontory Park – North Fork Reservoir.

Have a go with any of these experienced guides for a half or full-day trip down one of our scenic rivers. Match it with the perfect hotelcampsite or even vacation rental, and you’ve got the makings of a memorable time in Mt. Hood Territory.

Hope to see you out there!

Molly Johnson is on the Marketing Team for Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory.  She assists the team with social media, web content, public relations, co-op advertising and marketing efforts.

Jump and Slide your way into Sandy

August 7, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman
Kid on slide Wippersnappers
Wippersnappers Sandy Oregon

Photo courtesy

Whip and Ney Ney your family over to Wippersnappers in Sandy, Oregon for kids indoor adventure to the max!

What makes Wippersnappers better than any other indoor kids play place? Let me count the ways…

  1. Wippersnappers is owned by a local mountain family whose young daughter inspired this world of adventure. There is no better place to stay and play local.
  2. Your kids will be challenged and entertained by a myriad of structures including tunnel slides, a trampoline room, monkey rings, and web crawls.
  3. Did we mention the rock bouldering? With a padded floor and easy hand holds, this is the safest place for the littles to start developing their Pacific Northwest climbing hobby.
  4. Wippersnappers didn’t forget about the parents. Let your kids go wild in the clean, safe play area while you lounge nearby perusing the local beer and wine drink selection and watching the latest sports game on the multiple flat screen TVs.
  5. The family’s last name is Wipper, so the place not only is named after a term for young people, it’s a play on words, so that makes it even more awesome.

The next time you’re out and about in Mt. Hood Territory and the kids are aching for something they think is just for them, head on up to Wippersnappers in Sandy. They’ll burn off some energy and you’ll have a great time for yourselves too.

Newest winery opens in Mt. Hood Territory

August 2, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman
Tumwater Vineyard tasting room exterior

Tumwater Vineyard tasting room exterior

As Oregon’s reputation for creating world-class wines continues to grow, so does the number of wineries throughout the state. That’s true about Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory as well, as yet another winery has opened their doors here, and people are already singing their praises..

Tumwater Vineyard recently opened on Pete’s Mountain in West Linn. This sprawling vineyard has 45 acres of of grapes laid out on rolling hills, offering gorgeous views from their tasting room patio. Inside you’ll find a beautiful space that is somehow both rustic yet luxurious and still homey. It all comes together in a spacious area that is ideal for small get-togethers, corporate meetings and of course, Sunday wine tasting with your friends.

Tumwater VineyardThe wines themselves are fantastic. Their steel barrel aged chardonnay is bright and refreshing. The rose’ is warm and easily paired with chicken or pasta. The Pinot noirs really shine, however. They have several of this variety as they really embrace Oregon’s reputation of creating top-flight pinots. The one we sampled was warm and smooth while the fruitiness was pleasant without hitting you over the head. It was a fantastic wine that I would happily have in my collection (if I actually had one.)

The story of how this vineyard came to be is just as entertaining as partaking in a tasting flight. Owner Gordon Root calls himself the “accidental vintner.” The property had originally intended to become 40 or so homes. Zoning changes however only allowed for four, and the area was selected as the Street of Dreams for 2016. He opted to remove the blackberries, poison oak and other nuisance plants on the property and planted grapes, making lemonade with the lemons; or wine with grapes if we can change the proverb.

It’s probably one of the best accidents around, as the property is simply beautiful and the wines are amazing. Visit and find out for yourself. The winery is located moments from the Historic Willamette District of West Linn and only 20 or so minutes from Portland. They call it “wine tasting in your back yard” and you’ll be glad you made the trip. In fact, you can visit a whole host of wineries in the area, as Tumwater joins Twill Cellars, Pete’s Mountain and Oswego Hills Wineries which are all nearby.

Of course, you’ll need a place to stay if you visit that many wineries. Check out our wide selection of lodging properties ranging from hotels to bed and breakfasts and even vacation rentals.


Jarrod LymanJarrod Lyman has more than 12 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht FacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest accounts. His work has recently been recognized by the TTRA with the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award.

Out in the Garden Nursery – rare plants and fun animals in Molalla

July 26, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman
baby goat

Out in the Garden Nursery

What do you get when you cross rare ornamental plants with friendly goats?

No, it’s not the worst lead in for a joke ever, but the premise behind Out in the Garden Nursery in the country town of Molalla. The nursery is the dream of the aptly-named Carol Westergreen. Instead of the same-ol’ same-ol’ plants and flowers you see at the big box garden centers, Carol specializes in species that are both perfectly suited for Oregon’s climate and a little more rare than the standard roses and rhododendrons people may be used to seeing. Plus they are gorgeous. With a degree in landscape planning, Carol lends her expertise in plants and how to lay them out so that your garden can be the envy of the neighborhood.

baby goat

Seriously, how cute is this thing!?

While most of the time the kids complain about having to go to the nursery, they’ll be begging you to visit this one. In addition to the beautiful plants and flowers is a pen filled with curious, friendly goats waiting for some attention from you and your kids. While they’re all hilarious and adorable, the baby goats are simply precious and worth the visit alone.

It’s free to visit the farm, as it provides an opportunity for people who have never been able to hang out with goats and other farm animals the chance to enjoy a new experience. Carol believes this is important, as she’s had many customers who told her how amazing it was to pet a goat for the first time.

There are numerous events throughout the year. Coming up this weekend is the 6th Annual Wine and Cheese in the Garden festival. Enjoy live music from the award-winning Rae Gordon Band while sampling delicious artisan cheeses from and other craft food and beverages. Plus the goats will be there. Did we mention the goats?

Watch our live video below to learn more, or visit the nursery for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.




Jarrod Lyman

Jarrod Lyman has more than 12 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht FacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest accounts. His work has recently been recognized by the TTRA with the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award.


2017 dahlia festival primed to amaze

July 25, 2017 | Jarrod Lyman
Pom pom dahlias

Swan Island Dahlia Festival

Mt. Hood Territory is home to the largest display of dahlias put on by one grower in the entire country, and that event is coming up fast.

You could say Swan Island Dahlias in Canby is kind of a big deal when it comes to their chosen flower. The grower has been in operation for more than 90 years and in addition to putting on the massive Dahlia Festival, they ship cut flowers and tubers worldwide. They also create new varieties, going through the years-long process of planting new seedlings, nurturing them and then introducing 5 to 15 of those new varieties to the public each year. People who attend the festival regularly always get to see something new.

Pom pom dahliasIn addition to strolling through the many acres of countless varieties, guests can take in the more than 15,000 cut blooms on display. There are also floral arranging demonstrations and live tuber dividing lessons daily. Local food and wine vendors and music acts round out the offerings, truly making the atmosphere as festive as it is beautiful.

This year’s festival is Aug. 26-28th and Sept. 2-4 from 10 am to 6 pm. For the full schedule and line up, visit their event page. To get a sneak preview of just how gorgeous it is, watch our live video from last year below.

If you’re feeling adventurous, kick off the event with the 7th annual Canby Dahlia Run. You could easily make a weekend of the visit, touring several other great farm attractions around town with the Canby Farm Loop. If you’re a wine lover, Canby has some top-notch producers with St. Josef’s Winery and Whiskey Hill Winery. And of course no trip to Canby is complete without a ride on the historic Canby Ferry, one of the last ferries operating on the Willamette River.


Have you ever wanted to name a flower? Here’s your chance! Each year they unveil a few new types of dahlias during the festival. One of the new ones doesn’t have a name. That’s where you come in. The folks over at Swan Island Dahlias will take your suggestions and if you come up with something good, you could have the honor of naming a new type of flower. Remember, it has to be good! No Dahlia McDahliaface. Leave a comment with your suggestion below.


Jarrod Lyman

Jarrod Lyman has more than 12 years tourism experience. He is currently loving his job overseeing content for the #omht FacebookInstagramTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest accounts. His work has recently been recognized by the TTRA with the J. Desmond Slattery Professional Marketing Award.