Vine-dotted hills, inviting galleries, and a crystal-clear lake teeming with trout and bass are just a few things worth toasting in this charming burg west of Portland.
SIPS Winetasting in the northern Willamette Valley is surprisingly easy on the brake pads. You won’t find bumper-to-bumper traffic jams—or spendy tasting fees—at the eight Forest Grove wineries pouring world-class pinot noir, pinot gris, and chardonnay. Arrange your itinerary at northwillamettevintners.com . SakéOne Take the free tour to learn how a rice mill works and why Oregon’s water produces premium sake, then sample rice wines and nibbles, such as duck mousse with an Asian pear ginjo. 820 Elm St., 357-7056, sakeone.com . Urban Decanter This downtown wine bar serves between 15 and 20 vinos by the glass and features live jazz and classical music on Friday or Saturday nights. 2030 Main St., 359 -7678, urbandecanter.com .
TO DO Chalk Art Festival Sept. 19. Townsfolk come out in droves for this annual street bash where both greenhorns and seasoned artists create sidewalk masterpieces such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, Michelangelo’s Hand of God, and SpongeBob SquarePants. Live music and animal balloons for the kids. Main Street, 357-0311, valleyart.org . Hagg Lake and Scoggins Valley Park Yank in a five-pound rainbow trout or smallmouth bass, or explore 15 miles of hiking and biking trails at this 2,600-acre recreation area just outside town. You might even spot one of the bald eagles that visit to feed on fish and waterfowl. 50250 SW Scoggins Valley Rd., 359-5732.
EATS Ironwork Grill Wave to the statue of Nataraja, the four-armed Hindu god of dance, as you settle in for casual comfort food. Start with a classic order of spicy wings, then move on to one of the nine flame-broiled burgers on the menu. McMenamins Grand Lodge, 3505 Pacific Ave., 9923425, thegrandlodge.com . Maggie’s Buns Students at nearby Pacific University come here for omelets, scrambles, and giant cinnamon buns served hot out of the oven. 2007 21st Ave., 992-2231, maggiesbuns.com .
SLEEPS McMenamins Grand Lodge From $50. This 1922 Georgian colonial–style retreat was once a Masonic retirement home. Today, guests roam hallways lined with artwork, curl up by six fireplaces, and soak in a heated stone pool. For entertainment there’s an on-site movie theater and a 10-hole disc golf course. Pick up a map of the building’s amenities at the front desk. 3505 Pacific Ave., 992-9533, thegrandlodge.com .
SHOPPING Collections in the Attic A two-story mall showcases the wares of 40 antique dealers. Pick up everything from Carnival glass candy bowls to a 150-year-old oak kitchen cabinet. 2020 Main St., 357-0316. Valley Art Gallery Browse dreamy landscapes, salt-fired pottery, and handbags fashioned from old neckties, all created by regional artists. 2022 Main St., 357-3703, valleyart.org .
GET GOING Request the Oregon & Washington TourBook and map at AAA.com  or any AAA service center. To learn about more attractions in the area, contact the Washington County Visitors Association at 644-5555 or go to visitwashingtoncountyoregon.com .
Photography courtesy McMenamins
This article was first published in September 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.