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Astoria, Oregon

Where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean

The Astoria-Megler Bridge from the top of the Astoria Column. The 4.1-mile-long bridge is an impressive feat of engineering that connects Oregon and Washington state. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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Astoria is a magical town. It's everything a historic port city should be: hills filled with Victorian homes, a historic downtown, eclectic shopping and delectable dining. The town has such a good mix of things to do that it is equally perfect for a family getaway or a couple's retreat. Make sure to take the scenic route from Joint Base Lewis-McChord by leaving I-5 south at exit 104. This route follows the banks of Willapa Bay and has miles of waterfront views.

One of the highlights of visiting Astoria is crossing into town via the Astoria-Megler Bridge, a local icon that towers over the town. It stretches 4.1 miles across the Columbia River, and its 1,232-foot main span is the longest continuous truss in the United States. There are many viewpoints on both sides of the bridge for good photos. It's an incredible experience.

Where to Stay

The Best Western Astoria Bayfront Hotel is a lovely, reasonably priced waterfront hotel that overlooks the Columbia River. Located at the western end of town, it provides easy access to local beaches and is at the beginning of the Astoria Riverwalk on Smith Point and a short walk to the Astoria Riverfront Trolley. Enjoy an indoor pool and a complimentary full, hot breakfast. It is also pet-friendly.     

Best Western Astoria Bayfront Hotel, daily, 555 Hamburg Ave., Astoria, Oregon, 503.325.2205,

Where to Eat

Astoria has a variety of great eateries that are sure to please any palate.

The Buoy Beer Company is a must-see -- if only for the floor-viewing portal that allows you to see the local sea lions hanging out under the dock. Another plus is that it's on the Astoria Riverfront Trolley Line. Enjoy fresh seafood, most of it local, and food made from scratch. Oh, it also makes great beer.

Buoy Beer Company, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 1 8th St., Astoria, Oregon, 503.325.4540,

The Astoria Brewing Company is a fun, family-friendly pub with a cool riverfront deck. Tasty handcrafted beers are offered along with a menu of burgers, sandwiches, seafood and some vegan options. Not typical pub fare; it steps it up a notch. The fish and chips are deep-fried with the Astor Haus pilsner and tempura. Other items on the menu incorporate some of the brewery's other beers. Astoria Brewing Company is also on the trolley line and features Columbia River views.

Astoria Brewing Company, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily, 144 11th St. Astoria, Oregon,, 503.325.6975

Silver Salmon Grille -- what a great restaurant; the whole family enjoyed it. My burger-loving teens found things they liked, and the hubby and I enjoyed the extensive menu, excellent service and the delicious take on traditional food. The traditional Cobb Salad can be made with Dungeness crab and pink Oregon shrimp, or try a Tropical Salad with coconut shrimp. Another highlight was the Crab, Shrimp and Avocado Melt. There was no option but to indulge in dessert after our waiter brought over a tray filled with delectable choices -- there was no willpower left to resist Peanut Butter or Key Lime Pie.

Silver Salmon Grille, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays to Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 1105 Commercial St., Astoria, Oregon, 504.338.6640,

Check back next week for Part Two and learn about the fun things to do in Astoria. While you are waiting for next week's issue, watch The Goonies, an ‘80s movie that was filmed on location in Astoria. It's a cute story about childhood adventures, and the town hasn't changed much since it was filmed.

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