An Online Portfolio

Helvetia Last Saturday was about as perfect a day in the Pacific Northwest as you can get. My family took advantage of it by stopping by The Meating Place, a local butcher shop and cafe, to pick up sandwiches before driving out into the country to our new favorite picnic spot in the gorgeous Helvetia countryside. DSC00923 We spread our blanket under a large maple tree standing next to the road and shared our lunch while we watched a herd of cows doing the same thing in a nearby field. DSC00912

Down in the lower lands a tractor was turning dirt in a field and it’s long dark track revealed the fertility of the Helvetia farmland.

DSC00917Across the road is the Helvetia Community Church, a quaint house of worship that is reminiscent of the churches found in the Swedish and Germanic villages from which Helvetia’s European settlers immigrated. Of course, they weren’t the first people to claim this region as their own. The Atfalati band of the Kalapuya Indians settled in this region 10,000 years ago and today are a celebrated part of Helvetia’s history, with their presence being honored each year at the Helvetia Cultural Fest.

The famous Helvetia Tavern is a family favorite and as we drive back home my husband can’t help but roll down the windows to see if he can catch a whiff of the burgers he so passionately loves. Hot off the grill, these tasty burgers Helvetia_Tavern_(Washington_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(washDA0029)are juicy goodness between a sesame seed bun. Their fresh cut fries and onion rings are so delicious we never can decide on one or the other so we opt for a “half and half” order. Recently, a back yard patio has been added and from there you can watch the setting sun gild the entire landscape in its warm light.

All along the road you’ll find signs leading to privately owned farms that offer an abundance of fresh-from-the-field produce, meat, and wool products. Throughout the spring and DSC03240summer you’ll be able to harvest your own fruits and vegetables at many of the U-Pick farms. During the fall and winter months bring your children out to the pumpkin patches and christmas tree farms and let them experience a bit of farm life, too. Helvetia is facing the familiar threat of urban expansion. As the influence of the Hillsboro tech companies continues to creep north, the residents of Helvetia have organized to fight for their border rights. Save Helvetia protects rural Helvetia by advocating for rural reserves, challenging unnecessary urban growth boundary expansions, advising governmental bodies about interchange improvements and new road construction, and clarifying soil fill practices. DSC02933 Helvetia, Oregon can easily boast one of the most beautiful rural settings in the state, and maybe even in the United States. It’s productive farms are a reminder of what enticed the settlers to leave their homes and travel thousands of miles to stake their claim to the American dream. I’m glad I’ve done it because I believe I just may have found paradise on Earth.

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Comments on: "A Picnic in Helvetia" (12)

  1. Wanda said:

    Thank you Dena for a piece of traveler’s eye candy. I read an article just recently about a town north of San Fransisco that so prizes it’s anonymity and unique “not trending” style that it’s citizens tear down any road signs put up by the County…citizens and even store owners play down their town and ask visitors to NOT tell anyone else about it. They, too, face hi-tech moguls with billions to spend…in fact, one even has a place there! secretly of course. So at the end of your piece when you mention Paradise Found and earlier described encroaching hi-tech…I thought of your Paradise’s sister village in Marin County, CA. It’s a fine juggling act to stay original when commercial giants lurk nearby. From your lovely piece I get the need to rush there before anyone changes a single thing! But maybe the ripples have already begun. The butterfly wings have already fluttered.

    • When you and Jerry come out for a visit we’ll have to take you for a drive and a burger at Helvetia. I can see why these beautiful rural areas are trying to protect themselves from an influx of people. It’s a struggle to keep the natural settings that goes unnoticed by corporations. Grrr…!

  2. Jerald Hake said:

    Dena, positively gorgeous piece. Well done. As I read it and see it on Facebook (along with ALL your other articles)– I wonder how you protect your work? Especially from bloggers, but, really, from everyone who would take it and sell it as their own perfect jewel. Many bloggers, especially the food ones, are always complaining of such things. That one from Oklahoma, Pioneer Woman, even copyrighted her recipes which is laughable since chocolate chip cookies are a national icon and hardly unique…..but she’s trying. I commented on your article site. The town I mention is Bolinas, CA and a great article was in the NY Times about it.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • You know, so far I haven’t worried about being copied but maybe I should. I’ve been relying on the time stamp that would show up on my work. I’ve been using this blog as an online portfolio, a companion to my business blog. When someone is interested in checking out my writing style I send them here to see the range of topics and styles. I wonder if there is a way to copyright the posts. Mmm…

  3. What a gorgeous sunset! I haven’t been out to Helvetia for a while, but I also had a picnic on my trip. It really is so peaceful out there. Funnily enough I remember passing by Helvetia Tavern each time, but since we had a picnic ready we had to no reason to stop… maybe I’m missing out!

    • Thanks. They are so beautiful out here. I feel very lucky to have found such a spot to live my life. Next time you pass by Helvetia Tavern you’ll need to stop in and take a look at their new menu…they’re now offering salads that look so good. Thanks for checking out the blog.

  4. Sounds wonderful. Thanks! (your reviews of tasty stuff make me drool)

  5. Love the part about Mac sniffing the hamburgers as you drove by the restaurant! Great piece on the beauties of Oregon, sweetie!

    • Thanks, MaryJo! Have you begun blogging about your adventures? If so, I’d love to get the link.

      …I’m sure you can imagine Mac with his head hanging out the window of the car, smelling the sweet scent of his favorite burgers. LOL

  6. This looks gorgeous! I am adding Helvetia to my list of Oregon cities to explore. Thank you for sharing!

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