The Weekender: Gaston, Laurelwood and Laurel
Located in the southwestern part of the county, the small city of Gaston is the smallest incorporated city in the Tualatin Valley. Gaston is home to acclaimed wineries and some of the best outdoor recreation this side of the Oregon Coast Range.
To the east of Gaston, are the two communities of Laurel and Laurelwood, which provide scenic stops along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.
Start the weekend with a visit to Elk Cove Vineyards, one of the pioneering wineries of Oregon. Elk Cove is known for its Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, and also produces a selection of other varietals, such as Riesling and Pinot Blanc. The tasting room also boasts great views of the estate vineyard, a prime spot to view fall foliage.
Time permitting, take a quick jaunt to Kramer Vineyards and taste estate-driven wines from its 20-acre vineyard, and lounge on the deck surrounded by grapevines, majestic oak, maple and Douglas fir trees.
After tasting Oregon wine with a view, head over to the One Horse Tavern, a fun tavern located just off Highway 47. The menu features 12 burgers, classic sandwiches and comfort foods.
Take a short drive to the city of Forest Grove and overnight in a hotel, such as Mcmenamins Grand Lodge.
There is no shortage of places to visit in the city of Gaston.
Start your Saturday by getting your adrenaline pumping and head to Tree to Tree Adventure Park. This aerial ropes course offers several heart-racing activities, including a tree-top obstacle course for all skill levels, a zip-line tour, tree climbing and bungee jump.
Celebrate your adventures with a visit to a couple of wineries. Plum Hill Vineyards offers wine tastings in its quaint farmhouse, which also is a gift shop featuring fun wine-related items.
Not far from Plum Hill is Patton Valley Vineyards, which produces Pinot Blanc, Syrah, and, of course, Pinot Noir. Choose from a classic tasting of five wines, a “reserve” tasting featuring Patton Valley’s Reserve wines, or customize your tasting with a personal tasting and flight.
Both the towns of Laurel and Laurelwood are located along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route, a 60-mile drive through the Tualatin Valley’s lush agricultural and natural spaces.
Spend a glorious fall morning at Henry Hagg Lake. This multi-recreational site is perfect for a fall drive, a brisk bike ride, nature walk or a rousing game of disc golf.
If cooler temperatures don’t scare you away from the water, swimming, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking and jet-skiing also are other fun water activities that attract adventurers to Hagg Lake.
Before wrapping up a Tualatin Valley weekend, set off along the Vineyard & Valley Scenic Tour Route, where you can drive through the picturesque farming communities of Laurelwood and Laurel. (While along the route, stop in the neighboring community of Scholls for some fresh-picked apples to take home with you!)
Wetlands and nature reserves are great places to catch the sun’s first break and curtain call.
Hagg Lake has been a beacon of outdoor splendor since its creation in the 1970s.
Gaston is the smallest city in Tualatin Valley, but it happens to have some of the best and biggest swimming destinations in the area.