Lake Oswego Family Getaway Plans for This Month’s Three Day Weekend

Thanks to George Washington, Abe Lincoln and their successors, you’ve got a three day weekend coming up this month. If you’re wondering what to do with the kids, I’ve got some suggestions for you.

If you can take Monday off as well and want to plan a getaway, consider one of these popular winter family escapes.

SUNCADIA RESORT. This Washington vacation spot is only a four hour drive from Lake Oswego and promises to pack a lot of winter fun into your weekend. Snow activities include cross country ski and snowshoeing, sleigh rides, guided cross country ski and snowshoe tours, ice skating, and a rope tow inner tubing hill. The Junior Rangers program has a lineup of themed activities planned for President’s Day weekend. Other recreational activities include Build a Bear, Tie-Dye Snow Art, Canvas and Cocoa and Bounceville with adult offerings that include a Mixology Class and Couples Paint and Sip. Accommodations include rooms in the Inn, Condos and vacation homes.  3600 Suncadia Trail, Cle Elum, WA., 866.904.6300.

SUNRIVER RESORT. Oregon has its own answer to a family friendly winter wonderland that’s only 3 hours and 15 minutes from Lake Oswego. You can pack in a lot of fun without leaving the resort with an indoor pool and Surf Wave Machine, outdoor hot tub, year-round sledding hill, rock climbing gym, indoor basketball court, indoor tennis courts, and fitness studio rooms with classes like Zumba and Spin for adults and Beginning Ballet and Hip Hop for the kids. Don’t forget ice skating on the covered skating rink at the village mall. There is daily shuttle service to Mt. Bachelor which is only 20 minutes away and nearby sno-parks like Edison and Wanoga offer sledding and snow tubing. Accommodations include the lodge and vacation rentals. 17600 Center Drive, Sunriver. 855.420.8206.

BLACK BUTTE RANCH. Located just seven miles west of Sisters, Black Butte Ranch is a popular getaway for many Lake Oswego families. The Hoodoo Ski Area is only 13 miles away with options for downhill and cross country skiing, skating and a tubing park. Sledders will enjoy Santiam Sno Park just across the street from Hoodoo.  Back at the ranch, you can take advantage of the groomed trails around Big Meadow or Glaze Meadow Golf Courses for cross country skiing and snowshoeing as well as a sledding hill near the Glaze Meadow parking lot. Rent fatbikes to go exploring or head over to the Glaze Meadow Recreation Center to enjoy the indoor pool and fitness equipment. Accommodations include condos and vacation homes.

SKAMANIA LODGE. If your kids are older and aren’t afraid of heights, Skamania offers a Zipline Course with seven zip lines from 100 to 900 feet long, and three sky bridges. The guided tour should take about 2.5 hours. For the more adventurous (and strong) the Aerial Park has 19 platforms and 22 elements of varying difficulty to test your ability and balance. It’s all outdoors in the forest so you’ll want to bundle up. Back at the Lodge, you can warm up in the outdoor hot tub, enjoy the indoor pool and mini golf. The drive is only about an hour from Lake Oswego and the lodge is offering 20% off during their winter getaway special through February 28. Just enter the promo code WIN2019. Accommodations include guest rooms in the lodge but for a different experience check into one of their tree houses! 1131 SW Skamania Lodge Way, Stevenson, WA. 844.432.4748.

TIMBERLINE LODGE. This grand majestic spot invites you to just bundle up and stay a spell. But skiing is right outside your door as well as a ¾ mile groomed snowshoe trail. Be sure to pet resident St. Bernards Heidi or Bruno on your way out the door. When you come back in to warm up, enjoy the heated outdoor pool and hot tub, game room with shuffle board, ping pong table and board games and the fire in the towering stone hearth. Extend your stay an extra day and enjoy the Full Moon Snowshoe Stroll Tuesday night, February 19. Accommodations include rooms in the lodge as well as six condos six miles away at Government Camp. 27500 E. Timberline Road, Timberline Lodge, OR. 800.547.1406.

GREAT WOLF LODGE. Leave the snow behind and check into the Great Wolf Lodge with an indoor water park that is guaranteed to wear your kids out. Dry land activities include a ropes course, indoor miniature golf, and arcade and indoor fitness center with character appearances sure to delight the younger set. Located in Washington, the drive is only about 1 ½ hours from Lake Oswego. 20500 Old Highway 99, SW, Centralia, WA. 800.640.9653.

If you decide to stay close to home, here are a few things you can do without leaving the Portland metro area.

ICE SKATING. Check out sessions at the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton, Lloyd Center in Portland or the Sherwood Ice Arena.

CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION. The Lan Su Chinese Garden will be celebrating the Chinese New Year from February 5 through the 19th with special hours from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Activities include lion dances, cultural performances, martial arts, calligraphy, wishing tree activity, crafts and lantern viewing. Check the complete schedule.

AVALON THEATRE AND WUNDERLAND. Get out your nickels! This throwback hangout features 100 arcade games which after a small admission charge only cost a nickel a game. Could keep your kids busy for a while! Laser tag is available too. Check out the movie schedule as well and you can make an afternoon of it. 3452 SE Belmont Street, 503.238.1617.

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN™ IN CONCERT. The Oregon Symphony has geared this concert towards the up-and-coming music lovers with a popular storyline and shortened performance. Costumes are encouraged. At press time, tickets to the Sunday evening performance on February 17 at 7:30 p.m. were still available.

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Lake Oswego Reads Launches a Month of Hot Topic Events

One thing you can say about Lake Oswego Reads—it likes to stay topical. Last year’s book pick, Rise of the Rocket Girls, with its spotlight on the contributions of female mathematicians to NASA’s early space missions ensured that Lake Oswegans were discussing what the rest of America was discovering through the Academy Award nominated movie, Hidden Figures.

This year as immigration is part of the national discussion with legislators grappling over border wall funding and the fate of DACA, the library has a month-long lineup of activities surrounding the theme of The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. The book lends insight into the immigration experience through the eyes of one family who pick up everything they know in hopes of finding resources and opportunities for their daughter who has sustained a near fatal accident.

Free copies of the book were handed out earlier this month but check with the library—there might be extras. If not, you can try checking a copy out or find one online.

Be sure to take advantage of the variety of events the library has planned throughout the month and throughout the city. Here’s just a sampling of what’s in store. For a complete list check the Lake Oswego library website.

EVERYTHING ABOUT THE U.S. IMMIGRATION SYSTEM. Have questions about the immigration system but didn’t know who to ask? Legal advocate, scholar and Lake Oswego resident Susan Dussalt will be on hand to answer your questions like: How do people become U.S. citizens? How do some people live and work in the U.S. without legal immigration status? Come hear about the legal and human aspects of immigration. Friday, February 1 at 7:00 p.m. Lake Oswego City Hall Council Chambers, 380 A Avenue.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE SCAVENGER HUNT. Here’s fun for the whole family. Translate directions for each clue by completing different games and activities. Saturday, February 2 at 1:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Senior High School Gym, 2501 Country Club Road.

MEET SOME DREAMERS. Try putting some faces to the discussion. Meet Luis Balderas-Villagrana, a junior at Portland State University and student body president who came to the United States when he was seven to escape violence of drug cartels in Mexico. Saturday, February 9 at 10:30 a.m. Oswego Heritage House, 398 10th Street.

INTERRUPTING HATE CONVERSATION. Lake Oswego’s local group, Respond to Racism, offers a presentation on how hate escalates and the things we can do to change it. Sunday, February 10 at 3:00 p.m. Lake Oswego City Hall Council Chambers, 380 A Avenue.

AUTHOR PRESENTATION AND BOOK SIGNING. Hear Cristina Henriquez speak and answer your questions. Ticketed guests receive first seating. At 6:45 if seats remain, others can be seated. Send in your questions in advance. Wednesday, February 13 at 7:00 p.m. Lake Oswego High School Auditorium, 2501 Country Club Road.

HERE NOW: ART INSPIRED BY THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE. Attend the opening reception for this art show that gives you insight into the immigration experience through an artist’s lens. Friday, February 15 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ARTspace, 510 1st Street.

CONVERSATIONS WITH IMMIGRANTS. Don’t make assumptions. Educate yourself by listening to locals who have been through the experience. Jorge Zuniga, owner of Casa del Pollo, a Costa Rican restaurant here in Lake Oswego and attorney Luis Garcia with Marandas & Sinlapasai, P.C., also here in Lake Oswego.

MEXICAN COOKING DEMONSTRATION: SOUP TO SWEETS. Enjoy this hands-on presentation with cooking instructor Edurne Garcia-Andre from San Miguel de Allende. She will show you how to make Tarascan soup, Horchata water, Bunuelos and cinnamon tea. Register and prepay $5 at the library (706 Fourth Street) as enrollment is limited. Demonstration takes place at the Chamber of Commerce office, 459 3rd Street.

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Where to Celebrate Soup Month in Lake Oswego

 

January is Soup Month and there are plenty of restaurants in Lake Oswego that can help you celebrate. From a legendary creamy mushroom version to an authentic Vietnamese pho, you’ll find the variety, warmth, and taste that makes soup a natural dining choice in the midst of our cold, wet winter.

Here are some options for you to consider.

GUBANC’S RESTAURANT. While this third generation owned and operated restaurant features daily selections made fresh from scratch, the Cream of Mushroom soup that is serve d up every Friday is considered legendary. It dates back to one of the original owners—Anne Gubanc—who was known for her delicious creations and this one has stood the test of time. Recent Yelp reviews call it “to die for.” Check their website for this week’s lineup of soups. 16008 Boones Ferry Road, 503.635.2102.

FLYING ELEPHANTS DELICATESSAN. Elephant’s Delicatessen has had a Lake Oswego presence since 2005. They feature monthly soup specials (like Indian Spiced lentil and Mulligatawny) but are often lauded for their classics: Tomato Orange and Mama Leone. Several Yelp reviewers attest to combining the two for a true gastronomic delight! If you’re feeling industrious, you can follow the recipe for their Tomato Soup and make it at home. 5885 SW Meadows Road, 503.620.2444.

LA PROVENCE. The signature soup here is French Onion featuring deeply caramelized onions in a rich homemade beef consommé. Top it with melted Swiss and Parmesan cheese on toasted bread and you may feel so warm and cozy inside you won’t want to leave! One Yelp fan described it as a “rich brown homage to the humble onion with a thick beret of melty cheese.” 16350 Boones Ferry Road, 503.635.4533.

PHO’ LAVANG. Pho is Vietnam’s national dish and this family-owned Vietnamese restaurant does it justice. The rich, aromatic broth is filled with vegetables, rice noodles and your protein of choice from steak and chicken to shrimp and barbecue pork. 16120 Lower Boones Ferry Road, 503.697.6253.

POT BELLY SANDWICH SHOP. Want your soup served your way? You can customize your order here by adding ingredients to your soup. Add-ins include avocado ($1.25 extra), bacon (75¢), cheddar (65¢), jalapeno crisps (60¢), pot pie topping (60¢), or onions. Selections include Chicken Pot Pie, Loaded Baked Potato and Broccoli Cheddar.                  9 Centerpointe Drive, 503.840.6974.

TAVERN ON KRUSE. Priding themselves on their use of seasonal ingredients, you can enjoy Apple and Butternut Squash Soup here right now as well as Steamer Clam Chowder. 4835 Meadows Road, #133, 503.303.5280.

ZUPAN’S. Want to grab and go? Zupan’s rotates their daily selections and label whether they are gluten and/or dairy free. There are six to choose from with recent selections like Turkey Lentil, Steakhouse Beef Vegetable and Wild Salmon Smoked Chowder with Bacon. Call in and ask for the deli to get that day’s lineup. 16380 Boones Ferry Road, 503.210.4190.

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What’s the Housing Market in Lake Oswego Look Like for 2019?

Stocks aren’t the only investment undergoing a correction right now. So is the housing market. But that’s not necessarily bad news.

After decades of boom and bust cycles, slow and steady can be good for everyone. Here’s what I mean.

Home prices in Portland and Lake Oswego in particular are still going up but at a much slower and sustainable pace making homes more affordable for buyers. Sellers are having to adapt, relying more heavily on comparative market analyses from professional Realtors than on their personal ideas of what their homes are worth. While this may seem like bad news for sellers, if they are planning to move up or move on, the same market conditions work to their advantage.

These circumstances make it an excellent time for buyers to move into Lake Oswego where traditionally higher priced homes may have been out of their reach.

Other factors are also at work making the next five to six months a good time to make your move.

I believe interest rates will come down if not ½, then ¼ of a point in the next 90 days. All you have to do is look at the 10-year treasury note–it has no legs. It’s back where it was a year ago after climbing up 60 basis points and couldn’t hold it at all. The current average rate of 4.4% would look pretty good to buyers in 1981 who took out loans at almost 19% or even to those in 2000 with rates of 8.05%. We’ve enjoyed historically low interest rates under 6% since 2008, and while they’re not at the 3.31% we saw in 2012 they’re still much better than in years past.

That’s not to deny that even an increase of 1 percentage point can affect the price a homeowner can afford to pay for a home, which may keep a check on how fast home prices can increase.

A rebounding stock market will abate people’s fear factor, spilling over into the housing market as well. Why do I say “rebounding?” A couple of factors are at play. Historically stocks perform well in the third year of a presidential term. And while the current gridlock in Congress is frustrating to us voters, more often than not it has been good for the stock market. Psychological factors come into play as much as financial so an upbeat outlook bodes well on all fronts.

Housing supply is another condition that affects the market. I predict that the supply will remain steady for the next 12 months—about a 2 ½ to 4 months inventory of homes. It will be closer to 4 months in Lake Oswego where home prices are higher. This is a range that still tends to favor sellers but I am seeing more price adjustments being made on higher end homes. The Oregonian recently reported that in November, a third of active Portland home listings dropped their price. Again, this reflects the need to involve a professional Realtor when listing your home to ensure that prices reflect market conditions, not seller expectations.

If you’d like a personal assessment of how current market conditions are affecting the value of your home or the type of home you can afford to purchase, please give me a call at 503.939.98901 and/or check out my website. I’ve been helping people move in, move up and move beyond Lake Oswego for over 30 years. I’d love to put my experience to work for you.

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Here’s Your Lake Oswego Holiday Recuperation Plan

The holidays—whether you love them or hate them, now’s the time to celebrate you survived them! What better way to do that and to start off your new year than by taking a break to revive and restore.  Here are some ideas for how and where to do that in and around Lake Oswego. From a massage to a quiet respite, consider this your holiday recuperation plan.

SPA TREATMENT. Take some time out with a massage or facial that can put you in the ahh zone instead of the aargh one. Here are a few places to check out:

●rumi simone. How’s a candlelit Ritual Bath filled with stress relieving salts sound followed by an aromatherapy massage? Deciding what spa service to select will be challenging but once you cross that hurdle, all you have to do is unwind. 345 First Street, 503.699.8899.

●Skin Sense Spa. Choose from a long list of facials or after a long season of shopping and hitting the mall, you might want to opt for some Peppermint Foot Therapy—a 30 minute treatment that includes an invigorating scrub, soothing oil and foot massage.  15450 Boones Ferry Road, Suite 7. 503.307.3833.

●Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa. It’s a smorgasbord of options here including a massage with heated Himalayan salt stones that add a healing element to all that relaxation. If your partner has been working as hard as you, there’s a couples massage as well. 4328 Meadows Road, Suite 123. 503.308.1516.

LABYRINTH. Dating back to ancient times, a labyrinth has been called everything from a healing tool to a “watering hole for the spirit.” If you’re suffering from decision overload, a labyrinth is a perfect place to give your mind a rest. It’s a pattern of pathways that weave in a circle around a center point with only one way in and one way out. So all you have to decide is to start and the path will guide you. You can find some local ones like at Marylhurst Heights Park, 1800 Valley View Drive in West Linn or by checking out this website.

NATURE WALK. From lowering your blood pressure to improving cognitive function to reducing stress, a walk in the woods is a highly touted do-it-yourself escape route from a stressful day. Luckily for you, you don’t have to go far to get away from the maddening  crowds. Head out to one of these nearby parks.

●Tryon Creek Park. Eight miles of hiking trails and three miles of a paved bike trail help you meander through the 658 acres of second-growth forest right next door to Lake Oswego. Check the map for local access points. 11321 SW Terwilliger Blvd., 503.636.9886.

●Elk Rock Garden. Also known as Bishop’s Close, this close getaway is a tranquil spot with a view. A map with suggested garden walks is available in the Visitor Center. 11800 SW Military Lane, Portland. 503.636.5613.

●Lake Oswego Trails. Download one of the city’s maps detailing the growing system of trails and pathways that cut through our town and preserve nature’s beauty. Popular ones include the Iron Mountain Trail that runs behind Hunt Club and Cook’s Butte with one access point at the end of Atherton Drive.

MEDITATION. What better way to take a timeout than to tune in and tap into your awareness of your breath, your sensations and your space. Learn to observe your thoughts without being taken hostage by them. Could come in very handy when your New Year’s resolutions start screaming at you.

●Free classes through Gale Courses and your Lake Oswego library card. Learn different meditation techniques through online courses. Just click on the Gale Courses tab on the library website and register.

●Pause Meditation Studio. If you do better learning in person, then check out a drop-in class at Pause Meditation in Portland. There are a variety of offerings including Introduction to Meditation on Saturday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and Beginner’s Mind on Tuesday evenings from 7:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Drop-in fee is $12. Reserve a cushion online. 213 SW Ash Street, #209. 503.343.4831.

The holidays aren’t the only thing that can stress us out. Buying or selling a home can do the same thing. Let me make the experience stress-free for you by putting my 30+ years experience to work. Check out my website and/or give me a call at 503.939.9801.

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Catch Trivia Night Four Days a Week in Lake Oswego

Ever wonder when the first New Year’s Eve was celebrated? That’s the kind of trivia you might be asked at one of Lake Oswego’s popular Trivia Nights held around town each week. Since Friday is National Trivia Day, I wanted to give you a round-up of where to get your brainpower and your sense of humor tested.

The good news is that if you have a hankering for trivia, you are not alone. From Monday through Thursday nights, you can find a local spot to gather with like-minded folks. Check these places out.

HOP N’ CORK. This Lake Grove neighborhood taproom has added Trivia Nights on the second and fourth Mondays to its offerings. Enjoy premium craft beverages from a local Northwest IPA to authentic German Pilsner to help those brain synapses fire. Food offerings are available too. The fun begins at 7:00 p.m. 17450 Lower Boones Ferry Road, 503.305.5903.

HANKO’S SPORTS BAR AND GRILL. On Tuesdays you can get your trivia fix at this Mountain Park establishment. The questions start firing at 8:00 p.m. but you can warm things up during Happy Hour from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. 4 Monroe Parkway, Suite F, 503.697.7819.

LAKE THEATER AND CAFÉ. The competition starts at 7:00 p.m., every Wednesday but you can get there early and order something to eat and drink. Up to seven of your well-read friends can join you on a team. Top three teams get gift certificates valid for the next month at the café. 106 N. State Street, 503.387.3236.

GEMINI BAR AND GRILL. The questions start rolling at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday, but if you’re going to make a night of it, come in early for the Happy Hour from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 456 N. State Street, 503. 636.9445.

Back to my earlier trivia question, just in case the questions are New Year’s related this week. The first New Year’s Eve was probably celebrated around 2000 B.C. in Mesopotamia around the time of the vernal equinox in March. It wasn’t celebrated in January until 45 B.C. when the Julian calendar went into effect.

And since I’m a Realtor in Lake Oswego, here’s a little bit of Lake Oswego real estate trivia.

  • The number of homes sold in Lake Oswego through November of this year was 696.
  • The average sales price was $866,118.
  • On average, a home in Lake Oswego took 46 days to sell.
  • Prices increased 3.9% over last year.

Feel free to call me at 503.939.9801 with your real estate questions. Be sure to check out my website as well. I’ve been helping people move in, out and around Lake Oswego for over 30 years and I’d love to put that experience to work for you!

 

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New Holiday Traditions You May Want to Consider

Donning Santa hats while searching for the perfect Christmas tree is one of our holiday traditions that my kids moan about but that I think they may just carry on with families of their own someday.

Ask our kids about some of our holiday traditions and they’ll grimace and groan but I have a feeling they’ll carry on some of them like writing clues on every gift package and wrapping up jokes we find on the internet which when read, provide us all with the gift of laughter at a bargain price!

As much as I take delight in our own homegrown traditions, I love hearing about what other families do. Here are a few other rituals that might inspire you as they did me!

CHIP AND JOANNA GAINES CHRISTMAS COVERUP. In the latest issue of their magazine, Magnolia Journal, Chip Gaines wrote about a tradition he has carried on from his own family. A few days before Christmas he covers the door frame leading into their family room with wrapping paper to keep everyone guessing about the gifts and surprises hiding behind it. Come Christmas day, they rip through the paper to discover what’s on the other side, but not before they’ve had several days to anticipate which as Gaines points out, is truly the gift he is trying to pass on from his own childhood memories. Anticipation is half the fun, and the Gaines family has found a very creative way to draw it out and ramp it up.

REVERSE ADVENT CALENDAR. When our kids were little, my wife would list a different holiday activity on the Advent calendar that ranged from leaving their shoes outside for St. Nick on December 6 to baking Christmas cookies. In a recent article in the Lake Oswego Review, Tracy Smith, program coordinator at Tualatin School House Pantry suggested families consider a Reverse Advent calendar. Instead of getting things each day, families can give one food item to a food box to countdown the season. Hunger Fighters Oregon is a good place to donate your food once you’re done!

NEW YEAR PREDICTION LIST. We’re all familiar with New Year resolutions—how about predictions? This tradition has family members predicting what they think will or would like to have happen in their own lives or that of other family members, write it down on a piece of paper, and store it away in a prediction jar until the next Christmas season to see how well they looked into the future. My daughter Riley tried this last year with a planner, writing in activities, accomplishments, trips she wanted to take in the coming year. Read about it in a blog she recently wrote at sincerelyriley.com.

SCAVENGER HUNT. We have sent our kids on a scavenger hunt in search of one gift sometimes, but one family I heard about posts the first clue in the Christmas tree and then each subsequent gift has a clue leading them to the next gift. When they were younger, the gifts were spread out just around the house, but then as they got older, the hunt spread out into the neighborhood and eventually, once they could drive, around the city. Now that’s a great way to spend your Christmas day!

WRAPPING PAPER FIGHT. After all the gifts are opened, one family wads up all the discarded wrapping paper and starts throwing it at each other. After sitting for a while, it’s a good way to burn off some calories before your big Christmas meal!

HANGING STOCKINGS ON THE BED. When her kids were younger, one mom I know would hang their stockings on their bedposts so when they woke up Christmas morning, they could each unwrap the first gifts of the day on their own timeframe (and maybe buy Mom and Dad a few more minutes of shut-eye).

CHRISTMAS EVE SMORGASBORD. My wife’s hairdresser has warmed up to her in-laws’ tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve dinner with everyone’s favorites. So options may include everything from McDonald’s french fries to Green Machine sushi rolls from Bamboo Sushi. It’s Christmas–here’s to everyone getting what they wish for!

Have any holiday traditions of your own you’d like to share? Leave a comment below—would love to hear about them!

 

 

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