A Charming Old Town Just 30 Minutes Away
If it feels like you’ve tapped out your list of new places to explore, try heading to Sherwood, Oregon, just 30 minutes south of Portland. Over the last few decades the small town of Sherwood has grown into a swelling community off of Highway 99 just west of Interstate 5 South. But expansion isn’t all bad: Sherwood’s been revitalizing its charming downtown, and easy access from major roads makes it a quick destination. It’s also close to berry picking farms, Bridgeport shopping center, and the Tualatin River Nature Preserve, which makes a trip to downtown Sherwood the perfect compliment to a day of family activity. Like any good kid-friendly town center, Sherwood boasts a yummy family diner, an adorable bakery, a great coffee shop, and rainy day entertainment—a pottery painting place and a scones shop that serves high tea.
From Portland, take Interstate 5 south to the Nyberg Road exit and head west on the Tualatin Sherwood Highway; then drive south on Oregon Street, and you’ll hit downtown Sherwood. Or you can take Highway 99 West and then head south on Southwest Sherwood Boulevard. Railroad Street, with a real railroad right there, borders one edge of town and generally has plenty of street parking.
What To See & Where to Eat
Downtown (or “Old Town”) Sherwood is adorable, and will entertain you and the kids for a morning or afternoon. A trip to The Painted Plate for pottery crafts, or high tea at The Lavender Tea House is a good start. Tuesday through Saturday the tea house offers three seatings for tea, and reservations are recommended.
For younger kids who might not have the patience for tea or painting, head to Fat Milo’s Family Kitchen, which offers good food made with fresh, local ingredients, plus a children’s toy corner and a great changing table in the bathroom (always a plus if you have a baby around!). French fries at Fat Milo’s are hand cut and hot chocolate comes with whipped cream and sprinkles.
For a taste of something sugary, head to Sweet Story, where cupcake flavors like animal-cracker, Oreo, and chocolate-peanut-butter will tempt you to get one of each in the mini sizes. Or head to Sesame Donuts located in the library and City Hall building. The new Sherwood Library opened in 2005 and offers story times throughout the week. If you happen to have a Washington County library card, you can pick up books here and return them at your local branch.
If you are in town on a Saturday May through September, try the Sherwood Farmers Market, which hosts local vendors, farmers, and offers live music from 9 am – 1 pm.
While you’re already south along the Tualatin River, take some time to explore the beautiful surrounding areas. You’ll be surprised to encounter so much open space this close to Portland. A local gem is the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, located on Highway 99, which was petitioned for by local residents and is home to almost 200 species of birds, including herons and bald eagles. The refuge is worth exploring even on a wet or cold day, because the large and lovely visitor center has an indoor viewing area and museum display that features replicas of the habitat you’ll see. Check the refuge’s events page to see what’s coming up. Special events often include puddle-jumping for kids, native plant sales, and bird festivals.
Farms abound near Sherwood and berry picking and harvest seasons offer lots of family fun. Try Baggenstos Farms which opens in June for picking and has a play structure, picnic tables, and farm animals. Schlichting Century Farm offers produce, flowers, and birdseed at their farm store starting in May. To sate your appetite for spring even when the farms aren’t open, try Al’s Garden Center, which is a lovely drive from Old Town, and grows practically everything they sell.
— Evelyn Shoop (she even took the photos too!)