Forest Grove Things to Do
Fern Hill Wetlands
For those who like chasing birds, this is a place for you if you visit the Forest Grove area. This is particularly true in winter. Along with Canada geese, you will also see a number of other water and marsh birds. Fish live in the water, and bald eagles and red tailed hawks are fairly common visitors to eat whatever they can find. Various shore birds dig through the mud on the bank looking for various things to eat as well.
There are several miles of trails here, which are mostly gravel maintenance roads (the water here is actually the runoff from the local sewage treatment plant). Along with the wetlands, there are also farm fields that are managed for wildlife habitat.
Dogs are not allowed on the trails of the wetlands - on or off leash.
As of 2012, restrooms and a picnic shelter have now been installed at the parking area. Quite a lot of work is being done here, with work scheduled to continue into 2017 and possibly beyond. For some additional photos of the ongoing works please see my Photos from January 19, 2013
By March of 2013, parts of the newly reconstructed northeast segment of the main pond were open to the public, but it is obvious that this will continue to be developed. See my March 17, 2013 Travelogue of some of the changes being made. There are several bridges and new watercourses that will feature waterfalls, but there is no water in them yet.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Annual Forest Grove Sidewalk Chalk Art...
I think the name pretty much says it all: since 1990 the sidewalks of Forest Grove have been made into artist's canvas. Anyone can participate, including children, actual professional artists, and those with a political cause wanting to make a temporary statement on the streets of Forest Grove.
Along with the sidewalk art, various other festivities are part of this festival, including live music, clowns, and some educational programs performed by local groups.
The event happens every 3rd Saturday of September, and is sponsored by the Valley Art Association. See web site below.
The sidewalks are broken into segments that are numbered, and each artist can decorate that section of the sidewalk as they see fit with whatever chalk they decide they would like to use.
If you participate, be prepared for the temporary nature of this event: even someone running past can disturb the artwork, so naturally things disappear quickly. In recent years, people wandering around on cell phones not paying attention to where their feet are and walking on the artwork have been a particular problem.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
3 Hotels in Forest Grove
Forest Grove Hotels
3933 Pacific Avenue, Forest Grove, Oregon, 97116, United States
Good for: Solo
I have never stayed at the McMenamin's Grand Lodge, but I feel that it is best to point out here the...more
3306 Pacific Ave, Forest Grove, OR 97116
Good for: Solo
Forest Grove Restaurants
Pac Thai: Typical Thai on Main Road
The Friday and Saturday evening crowds here come in waves based on the schedule of the movie theatre two doors down. Dinner items are somewhat more expensive than the lunch menu. The menu features two pages: one with the expected Thai dishes and the other with specialties of the house. This can be a fairly busy place on some weekends due to the movie theatre and Pacific University being very close by.
Favorite Dish: Tofu Delight is a stir fried with curry for $8 at lunch and $10 at dinner.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Road Trip
El Torero: Mexican & Latin in Old Downtown Area
Restaurant serves mostly Mexican food, but there are a few other items from all over, including a Peruvian dish and some Spanish selections.
There is also a bar which looks like it might be a bit busy late at night.
The decor inside attempts to create an old-world Mexican / Spanish feel.
Except for the window by the cash register out front and the men's bathroom that overlooks the rear alley, there are no windows in this place - but it is a lot larger than it looks as it widens out the further you go back.
Vegetarians may have a hard time here: there isn't much here without meat in it.
However, there are some good deals for children's meals.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.
Forest Grove Nightlife
McMenamin's Grand Lodge: Movies, Events, Drinks, Food and More
It's a hotel. It's a restaurant. It's a movie theatre. It's an event space. It's a brewpub. It's also just about the only real "Thing to Do" and "Nightlife" place of regional significance in Forest Grove.
The Grand Lodge was built as a Masonic Lodge in the 1920s, but eventually fell on bad financial times. It was purchased by the McMenamin Brothers and converted into one of their eccentric establishments, which now include just about anything you could ask for in a night spot - or even an afternoon spot.
There are events of various types throughout the year, including concerts. Movies are shown on a regular basis in the movie theatre section of the establishment.
See the web site for more information, as that will give you the best idea of what may be going on here on any particular day or night.
Dress Code: Pacific Northwest Semi-Formal (that is, wear clothes of some sort)Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Food and Dining
- Spa and Resort
Forest Grove Transportation
Getting Here: Your Various Options
Getting to Forest Grove is fairly easy, and at the same time not easy. From highway 217 in downtown Beaverton just take highway 8 - the Beaverton Hillsdale Highway west, and eventually it gets to Forest Grove. From Highway 26 north of Forest Grove, there is a reasonably well marked exit that points you the way here. From Banks you can take Highway 47 south to downtown Forest Grove.
Highway 8 from Beaverton is a very slow route because of all the traffic lights. Highway 26 and then coming south isn't fast either because of the sheer number of rural roads with slow traffic on them (watch for farm machinery in the road!!!).
Forest Grove is also the furthest west point of TriMet bus service, and thankfully bus service is popular enough that the route to this point operates until reasonably late at night. In Hillsboro it connect with the MAX blue line, and connects with both the red and blue lines in Beaverton. By public transit, your best option really is MAX all the way to Hillsboro and connect with bus route 57 there. Getting this bus in Beaverton is a very slow option due to highway 8 being covered in traffic lights.
Other bus services that come here do so only once or twice per day, and really are not good options.
Forest Grove Off The Beaten Path
While it is not of exceptional size or with a significant array of trails, the Beal Pond is known for attracting a variety of birds, especially in winter. Most of these are the typical neighborhood pond birds but every once in a while something shows up here that triggers regional "Rare Bird Alert" messages.
The pond has several benches long the north side of Beal Road, and one wooden observation deck with benches from which it is possible to see the pond itself. Unfortunately, the benches along the sidewalk don't have great visibility of the pond due to brush along the edge of the pond.
Don't forget to check the small swamp on the south side of the road too! Sometimes interesting stuff shows up there as well.
For some examples of the bird life seen here, please see my January 19th, 2013 photos.
How to Get Here:
Highway 47 from Banks or Forest Grove. Pond is located somewhat north of Forest Grove. From traffic light at highway 47 and Beal Road and Sunset Drive, take Sunset Drive going west / south.Turn right onto Bonnie Lane, then Right on Main Street, and Right again onto Beal Road. The wetlands are on the immediate north of the road.
The nearest transit is in downtown Forest Grove (TriMet bus route #57). From downtown Forest Grove it is a 1.2 mile (2 km) walk north on Main Street to get here from the nearest bus stop.Related to: