What Lake Oswego’s Tree Lighting Ceremony Has That The Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony Doesn’t

holiday tree lightingLake Oswego is celebrating its 50th annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony this year.

While places like the Rockefeller Center have longer traditions (almost 80 years) and bigger crowds, they are missing three key ingredients that make Lake Oswego’s ceremony my favorite.

1. Small town charm. Tens of thousands crowd next to each other to catch a glimpse of the Rockefeller tree and millions watch it broadcast on television. There’s bling and celebrities and razzamatazz. If you’re looking for more of a homegrown holiday, a harkening back to simpler times, then take your place among the crowd of hundreds at Lake Oswego’s ceremony.

2. Two trees. Okay, the Rockefeller Center may have a 75-85 foot tree bedecked in 30,000 to 45,000 LED bulbs, but Lake Oswego lights up two trees! One at Bigelow Plaza on the corner of 5th and A Avenue featuring giant snowflake lights and the other at Millennium Plaza Park at First and Evergreen. Take that New York!

3. A Parade. What sounds like more fun? Being crammed up against a bunch of strangers in the freezing cold while you wait for the lights to go on and then disperse? Or mingling with neighbors and friends as you stroll down main street going from one tree lighting ceremony to another? If you picked the latter, see you in Lake Oswego.

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16 Ways to Bring in the Holidays in Lake Oswego (Part 1)

holidaysLake Oswego makes it easy to get in the holiday spirit with activities planned for the young and the young-at-heart.

Check these out and then put a few on your calendar to keep the “we give thanks” and the “ho ho ho” in your season. This is the first installment. Stay tuned for round two the week of November 30.

Holiday Poetry Greeting Card Workshop. Surprise your holiday card recipients this year with poem. Inspiration and ten handmade cards provided. Wednesday, November 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue. Register for Class 10278. Fee: $10/ACC Members; $15/Others.

Paper Plate Turkey Craft for ages 3-5. You know you need more Thanksgiving decorations and the library is willing to help you out. Tuesday, November 18 and Wednesday, November 19 at 11:00 a.m. 706 Fourth Street. Register: 503.697.6580.

Thanksgiving Wine Tasting. Let the experts guide you in the proper pairing of wine with turkey! Friday, November 21 from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Fee: $15 for 6 wines; $5 bonus pour. World Class Wines, 269 A Avenue, 503.974.9841.

Lake Oswego Reunion Market. Local farms bring autumn’s bounty to downtown Lake Oswego. Enjoy shopping in the crisp fall air and pick up some fresh ideas for your Thanksgiving feast. Saturday, November 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Millennium Plaza Park, First and Evergreen.

Horse Drawn Wagon Rides. Bundle everybody up and take a tour through scenic Lake Oswego. Saturday, November 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Millennium Plaza Park, First and Evergreen. Rides are first come, first served. Fee: $3/adults; $2/youth.

Holiday Craft Workshop for ages 6-12. Get it all done here: greeting cards, gifts, decorations and wrapping it up. Pizza lunch included. Saturday, November 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. West End Building, 4104 Kruse Way. Register for Class 10011. Fees: $30/Residents; $45/Non-Residents.

50th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Enjoy one of Lake Oswego’s longest standing traditions which includes tree lighting, caroling, treats, and a visit from the big guy decked out in red and white. Friday, November 28 at 5:30 p.m. Begins at Bigelow Plaza on the corner of 5th and A Avenue and proceeds down to Millennium Plaza Park.

Lakewood in Lights. This annual event features food, complimentary wine, entertainment, live and silent auctions and festive trees to benefit the rising star program at Lakewood Theatre Company. Wednesday, December 3, 5:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street. Tickets are $75/person ($50 tax deductible) and can be purchased at the box office, online or by calling 503.635.3901.

Check back November 30 for the next round of holiday events. Subscribe to “52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego” to make sure you don’t miss it–just click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column.

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5 Things Lake Oswego Homeowners Can Give Thanks for This Thanksgiving

ThanksgivingIf you are lucky enough to own a home in Lake Oswego, here are five things you can add to your gratitude list when you gather around the turkey this month.

1. Your home is going up in value. Just by owning a home in Lake Oswego, your net worth has gone up 11.3% this past year. That’s on top of a 7.6% appreciation the year before that. What does that look like in terms of dollars and cents? A home I sold last January in the First Addition for $660,000 is now worth $755,000 based on recent sales. In Lake Oswego, your home does more than provide shelter. It provides financial security too.

2. Interest rates are still working in your favor. Thirty year fixed rates continue to remain low at around 4.25%. Five year adjustable arms can be found at 3-3.25% and 15 year adjustables are coming in at 3.25 to 3.5%.

3. It’s the best of all markets. We’ve gone from a buyer’s market during the recession to a seller’s market the last year to more of an even playing field, making it better for everyone involved. No one is “making a killing” or “getting a steal.” Prices tend to rise slowly and evenly during a market such as this which is much more sustainable than the crash and booms of the past. The Lake Oswego real estate market is primed to offer both buyers and sellers a win/win situation right now.

4. Location. Lake Oswego can stand on its own with shopping amenities, restaurants and a thriving downtown; however, it’s also close to everything else the Portland metro area and state of Oregon has to offer. And depending on what’s important to you (access to I-5, walk-ability to schools, close-in to downtown, you can find a neighborhood that gives you just what you are looking for.

5. Schools. If you read my blog, you know there are more than 52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego. But in my twenty plus years of selling real estate, I’ve seen the school district’s reputation bring in as many homebuyers as the lake, the location, or the community. Our strong schools bring people in, fuel home values, and keep the demand for housing high.

Anything else you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving season? Leave a comment and share with us.

If you’d like to give thanks for living in Lake Oswego, give me a call at 503.939.9801. You’ll be thankful you did!

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Family’s Group Jump Photo Wins Lake Oswego Photo Contest

2014 group jump 2Thanks to all of you who voted for our Group Jump picture in the Lake Oswego Photo Contest. We came in first place in our category! Check out the other winners here.

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Why Rudyard Kipling Thinks You Should Attend Lake Oswego’s Festival of Words

festival of wordsRudyard Kipling once wrote, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

Stories have a direct line from the heart to the brain, allowing us to feel something first so we remember it later.

The Lake Oswego Public Library is determined to strengthen this connection with its fourth annual Festival of Words set for this weekend, November 8-9. Events are designed to entertain and teach you how to entertain. All events are held at the Lake Oswego Public Library 706 Fourth Street, unless otherwise noted. Here’s the lineup:

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8

Friends of the Library Book Giveaway. 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Begin with stories on the printed page by selecting a free book at the library’s Booktique, 3975 Mercantile Drive, #225. 503.699.9109.

Are We There Yet? 11:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Award winning recording artist and master storyteller Anne-Louise Sterry will engage children of all ages with her stories and music.

Step into Storytelling-Learning to Entertain Family and Friends with Stories. 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. This is a hands-on workshop to free your inner narrator complete with tools and techniques compliments of popular storytellers Ken Iverson and Anne Rutherford.

Story Swap. 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Put what you’ve learned or already know into practice—share your favorite travel story. Emceed by Ken Iverson.

Flying in the Wind: Tales of Adventure, Travel and Dreams. 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. See where three master storytellers can take you! Ken Iverson, Anne Penfound and Anne Rutherford will take you on a wild ride.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9

Train Travels with Terry. 1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. All aboard the imaginary train with local storyteller Terry Jordan as your conductor. This interactive journey is aimed at preschoolers but everyone is welcome.

Artful Storycatching. 2:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Let artist and writer Carole DeMar help you capture your own story through guided memoir writing and mixed media art. Registration required: 503.675.2540.

Storytelling Matinee with Storyteller Habiba Addo. 2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Get immersed in stories from another culture while you learn more about your own.

Storytelling Matinee with Storyteller Julie Strozyk. 3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Do a little time travel as Strozyk shares traditional, mythological and epic tales from early cultures.

If you want to read stories about what makes Lake Oswego such a great place to live,  subscribe to my blog. Just click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column. Stories will be delivered to you weekly.

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The Secret to How Lake Oswego Homeowners Earn Money in Their Sleep

dollar signWhat if I told you that you could make money while you were sleeping?

If you’re a skeptic, you’d say, “Prove it,” and I wouldn’t blame you.

Well, here’s the proof.

According to the RMLS (Regional Multiple Listing Service) Lake Oswego home values have appreciated 11.3 percent so far this year. That means every night while Lake Oswego homeowners are sleeping, they can almost hear the floors creaking, “cha-ching.”

That beats what homeowners in West Portland (8.5%), West Linn (10.1%) and Tigard/Tualatin (4.8%) are earning while they snooze.

The only area that tops Lake Oswego this year is Southeast Portland that saw a 12.5% increase. But when you look at another statistic, you realize that Lake Oswego still owns bragging rights.

That percent increase is based on the average price of homes in the area. So Southeast Portland has gone up 12.5% on a median price of $461,217. Lake Oswego’s 11.3% is based on a median home of $658,487 going up in value. So Lake Oswego homeowners are still ahead of the game.

Granted Lake Oswego homes had some catching up to do. When the real estate crash hit in 2008, prices over the next four years saw a 30.2% decline. So far they’re recovered 21.1% of their value when they were at their peak.

Southeast Portland’s recovery has come quicker because it didn’t get hit as hard. But even at full recovery, the average home value is almost $200,000 less than in Lake Oswego.

So consider giving a whole new meaning to the saying, “Sweet dreams.” Buy a home in Lake Oswego and earn money while you sleep (or if you already live here, consider whether a move to a different house and/or neighborhood might be a good way to take advantage of this appreciation).

If you’d like to see some real examples of homes that make you money while you catch some zzzz’s, give me a call at 503.939.9801. I’d love to show you around!

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Catch Luscher Farm Scarecrows Through Halloween

scarecrow 6

There are many reasons to visit Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego but one of my favorite is the scarecrows.

Fashioned out of empty milk jugs, wigs, costume jewelry, second-hand clothes and garden tools, they are more likely to make the crows come in for a closer look than fly away.

Checking out the scarecrows isn’t just something your young kids will enjoy. My two young adult daughters played, “Name that Doppelgänger” on our tour, dredging up names of old teachers or relatives as they came up with look-alikes for much of the garden art.

Here’s a preview of what you’ll see. Scarecrows are up through Halloween so get over there soon!

scarecrow 18 rake scarecrow 4

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scarecrow 20scarecrow 8

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scarecrow 23 horizontal

scarecrow 7scarecrow 24

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Treat Yourself to One of Lake Oswego’s Halloween Activities

HalloweenLake Oswego has all kinds of special events planned to help you count down the days until Halloween. You’ll find something for everyone from spider web crafts for preschoolers at the library to Halloween wine tasting for the 21 and over set. I’d say in most cases, you’re in for a treat!

Lakewood Theatre Company Costume Sale. Take advantage of the Lakewood Theatre’s “fall cleaning” and pick up some costumes from old shows or all the ingredients to create your own. In the past my wife found such gems as an adult size blue gingham dress from a Wizard of Oz production and a drum major hat. Saturday, October 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 19 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. Lakewood Center for the Arts Community Room, 368 S. State Street.

Harvest Celebration. Help celebrate another successful season at Luscher Farm with wagon rides, trick or treating in the milking parlor, plant sale, live music, petting zoo, and kids’ activities. Wear your costumes and pose with the farm’s scarecrows. Saturday, October 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. $5-$15 suggested donation. Please walk, bike or park at C3 Church at 17979 W. Stafford Road and take the shuttle. Luscher Farm, 125 Rosemont Rd. 503.534.5284

Dennis’ 7 Dees Lake Oswego Garden Center October Kids’ Club: How Cover Crops and Scarecrows Help Farmers. Learn about cover crops and help make a scarecrow for the garden center’s fall display. Sunday, October 19 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Garden Center, 1090 McVey Avenue. $5/pre-registration.

Legends and Lore. Sign up for this inaugural haunted historic tour of Lake Oswego. The family-friendly evening will be filled with folklore, antique sites, spirits and storytelling. Friday, October 24, 5:30 p.m. Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue. 503.675.2549. $13 fee. Register for Class 10470 through Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation.

No Carve Pumpkin Decorating. Make your pumpkin spooky or stylish. Materials provided. Saturday, October 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Luscher Farm, 125 Rosemont Rd. Register for Class #10227 through Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation. $10/Resident; $15 Non-Resident. 503.675.2549.

Get Crafty with Pumpkins. Use natural materials to decorate your un-cut pumpkins. All ages welcome. Saturday, October 25 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Dennis’ 7 Dees Lake Oswego Garden Center. 1090 McVey Avenue. $5/pre-registration.

Spider Web Craft for Ages 3-5. Tuesday, October 28 and Wednesday, October 29 beginning at 11:00 a.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street. Pre-registration required: 503.697.6580.

Costume Party for kids in grades 6 and up. Enjoy snacks, crafts and pumpkin bowling. Thursday, October 30 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street. 503.636.7628.

Halloween Wine Tasting. The folks at World Class Wines have some special wines in store, all of which promise to be juicy and blood-red including “Bone Shaker” – a Zinfandel with a glow-in-the-dark label. 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. $15 for 6 wines; $5 bonus pour, 269 A Avenue, 503.974.9841.

Trick-or-Treating. Check out my blog on best trick-or-treat neighborhoods in Lake Oswego.

If you want a real treat, sign up to be notified of when a new 52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego comes out by clicking the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column.

Photo Credit: samarttiw

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