Astoria‘s charm is in its history and urban form. The oldest permanent U.S. settlement west of the Rockies, next year Astoria celebrates its bicentennial. The downtown is compact and walkable, and though not exactly bustling, there are a couple book stores, several cafes, and quite a few restaurants and bars.
Heather and I have visited Astoria several times over the last couple years. Our first road trip together included a stop at the Astoria Column. Later that same year we drove out from Portland to visit the Fort George Brewery and Public House. Last fall we paid homage to the 1400 block of Duane Street, my favorite block in Astoria. And last summer we spent a weekend in Astoria to take in the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival.
Last weekend we visited again. Valentines Day is our anniversary, so to celebrate we sprung for a suite at our favorite place to stay in Astoria, the Commodore Hotel. The room prices are surprisingly reasonable, and the hotel is right downtown, putting all the restaurants, cafes, bars, museums, and shops at our doorstep.
On Saturday morning after coffee at the Blue Scorcher, we went for a walk. We discovered, just up the hill from the cafe, a replica of Fort Astoria.
Friday night we’d enjoyed several stouts at Fort George Brewery. February is Stout Month. Badda Bing, a Flanders-style cherry stout was my favorite. The Murky Pearl, a true oyster stout (i.e. brewed with oysters!) was curious, but not fishy. And a bourbon barrel Cavatica stout was impressive. The next day, after checking out the fort replica around back, we toured the brewery and sampled an IPA and a Porter straight out of the zwickel as part of the state-wide Zwickelmania.
After the brewery visit we stopped by the Shallon Winery (recommended to us by Sláinte Mhaith in a blog comment last year!). I insist you add a visit to the winery, and the man who runs it, Paul van der Veldt, to your next trip to Astoria. Make sure you have about a half hour for the brief winery tour (the winery is very small) and the tasting (which is unlike any wine tasting you’ve ever experienced). Read more about our visit to Shallon Winery at Mile73.com: Astoria: The Most Wicked Place On Earth
Sunday the sun finally broke out. I hadn’t been to Fort Clatsop since a field trip in grade school, so we paid a visit. Apparently now the fort is part of something called the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
After defending the fort for a while, we followed the Netul River Trail to a purported old canoe landing.
The weekend was complete.
And visit Mile73.com for more photos and stories of our weekend adventure!