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Forest Grove, Oregon: Weekender

A classic small-town holiday festival, prime pinot noir, and supersize cinnamon buns.

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  • fall color on the vines and hills at Apolloni Vineyards, west of Portland, Ore., picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Laura Gordon
    Photo caption
    Fall brings vivid color to the vines and the hills at Apolloni Vineyards.
  • long-billed dowitchers gather at Fernhill Wetlands, Oregon, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Gary Witt
    Photo caption
    Long-billed dowitchers gather at Fernhill Wetlands.
  • ceramics by Steve Schiefelbein at Valley Art Gallery, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Nashco
    Photo caption
    The Valley Art Gallery showcases ceramics by Steve Schiefelbein.
  • McMenamins Grand Lodge interior with fireplace, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo Courtesy of McMenamins
    Photo caption
    Art at the Grand Lodge portrays notable locals.
  • dartboard at King's Head Pub, picture
    Photo credit
    Photo: Nashco
    Photo caption
    The King’s Head Pub hosts a weekly dart league.

SIGHTS AND EVENTS

  • Christmas kicks off on Dec. 2 this year with Holiday in the Grove. Start your day with a Santa-hosted breakfast, then head over to the Community Auditorium for the Artisan Holiday Market, where you can peruse crafts made by more than 20 local artists. Stick around after sunset to bask in the glow of the Holiday Light Parade on Main Street.

  • The striking art collection at McMenamins Grand Lodge provides some insight into Forest Grove's unusual history. Many of the hotel's paintings depict people who made their mark on the area, from the indigenous Atfalati to the Walker Brothers, a local band popular in the 1920s. When you're done studying the art, relax by the fireplace at the cozy Billy Scott Bar. 3505 Pacific Ave.

  • For 83 years, the Visitation Catholic Church has served up a welcoming spread at the annual Verboort Sausage and Sauerkraut Festival. On Nov. 4 this year, organizers expect to serve 15 tons of sausage, along with sauerkraut, applesauce, and beer. Regulars begin lining up before dawn. 4285 NW Visitation Rd.

SHOPS

  • Corner Antiques and Collectibles features wares from more than 20 dealers. You can hunt for bargains on vintage items such as classic parlor furniture and a 1950s enamel slow cooker. 2019 Pacific Ave.

  • Established in 1966, the volunteer-run Valley Art Gallery displays the work of more than 200 local artists. Browse the eclectic assortment, from nature scenes carved in wood by retired forester Roy Woo to snaggletoothed clay creatures hand-sculpted by Jan Igaki. 2022 Main St.

EATS AND DRINKS

  • The family that runs Apolloni Vineyards traces its winemaking roots back to Italy, but its pinot noirs are pure Oregon. (Apolloni also produces Italian varietals such as sangiovese.) Enjoy a flight, then pick up a bottle of sparkling blanc de noir for your holiday table. 14135 NW Timmerman Rd.

  • Bites Restaurant serves up Mexican, Korean, and Japanese fusion tapas made from locally sourced ingredients. Noodle dishes such as udon with carbonara sauce are popular, but the burgers also satisfy: Try the bulgogi version with kimchi and a fried egg. 2014 Main St.

  • Take the chill off with a pasty or bangers and mash at the King's Head Pub. Built inside an old bank and as English as anything this side of London, the eatery is an ideal spot for a game of darts and a pint of Boddingtons. 2004 Main St.

  • Forest Grove's favorite breakfast spot, Maggie's Buns, is a bright, friendly place to fuel up before a day of exploring. Pastry lovers will not be disappointed by the huge namesake cinnamon buns, while diners hankering for something on the savory side can build their own Benedicts or breakfast burritos. 2007 21st Ave.

  • Learn how brewers transform rice into sake during the 25-minute tour at SakéOne. Once you know your koji from your moto, head to the tasting room to try the award-winning Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo. The brewmaster attributes its clean taste in part to the pure water from a nearby reservoir. 820 Elm St.

OUTDOORS

  • More than 200 species of birds have been counted at Fernhill Wetlands. The nearly 750 acres of ponds and marshlands have been designated an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society of Portland. During early winter visits, you might spot roundheaded American wigeon, great blue herons, and great egrets. 1399 SW Fern Hill Rd.

  • Even on a gray wintry day, an Oregon Helicopters tour of the Tualatin Valley will raise your spirits. The 15-minute ride gives passengers a spectacular view of the region's rolling hills, farmlands, vineyards, and coniferous forests. Departs from Hillsboro Airport.

This article was first published in November 2017. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.