I got a hall pass last weekend! With a couple of days all to myself, a friend from Seattle (Mary) and I met up in Astoria! When it comes to food, my family's more into quantity than quality, so I was particularly excited to be dining with Mary.
The drive up the coast on Saturday morning was spectacular. Post-Labor Day traffic was light, and I made it to Seaside in time to see the cool, classic cars parade through town in the annual Wheel and Waves Car Show. Hotels were at a premium on Saturday night, and we opted for the budget-friendly Shilo Inn in Warrenton. The great view from our window and the comfortable beds sold us on the spot.
A friendly local, clearly recognizing our need for a refreshing cocktail, directed us to the Inferno Lounge at Pier 11. New to craft spirits, I was blown away by the tea-infused vodka and lemonades that we enjoyed along with the water view. My friend from Seattle couldn't get over the reasonable prices of the drinks, which the food matched in quality and price point. After dinner we settled in at The Voodoo Room, a dive bar in the Columbia Theater building. You'll find our restaurant guide helpful when selecting dining options at your destination on the North Coast.
We were up early on Sunday to beat the rain. A good thing, too, as there were so many fantastic vendors to see at the Astoria Sunday Market. The flowers, particularly the dahlias, were stunning. The variety of food vendors filled the air with aromas of beignets, incredible flavors of hummus, kettle corn, an array of cheeses. Clever artists repurposed items into artwork. I marveled in particular at a booth of fine Damascus steel knives that I was very sorry that my teenage son wasn't there to see. Lunch was both delicious and a bargain with two Dungeness crab cakes cooked to order for just $10.
The visit was made complete by the lovely young woman offering poems on the spot. With her old-fashioned typewriter, she earnestly composed a poem for someone as the rain started, so I was unable to get a poem for myself. That alone seems like reason enough to return to the Astoria Sunday Market before the season ends on October 6.
Sunday night we were able to reserve a room at The Adrift Hotel in Long Beach, so we made our way across the bridge to the peninsula in the light afternoon rain. The cool thing about Long Beach, besides how long it is (28 miles), is that the beach itself is an actual state highway. You can drive on it, and we did. Well, Mary did, her car better suited for it than mine.
After checking out some the neat shops that lined the main drag in Long Beach, we made our way to The Depot Restaurant, a popular and well-regarded restaurant on Long Beach Peninsula. It was clear why this charming restaurant, located in the old train station in Seaview, enjoys such an excellent reputation: We were greeted warmly, and the service, the wine and the food were perfect.
Breakfast Monday morning at The Pickled Fish featured farm-fresh eggs and thick slices of homemade bread, all delicious. Afterwards, all too soon, it was time to head home. One thing for certain is that Mary and I will make the trip to meet on the North Coast again. I'm used to life in a small, coastal town, so spending time in Astoria was a nice change of pace. It was cool to experience the hustle and bustle, the city vibe. Alternatively, my friend more appreciated the sand, the ocean, the peace and the quiet. Both settings were easy for us to experience on our North Coast road trip.
Late summer and early fall are excellent times to be in these towns. The summer crowds are gone, and the weather is still fabulous. Friday is the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum's 2019 Cottage Tour, which gives the public an opportunity to view some of the area's most interesting homes and gardens, 12 to 5 p.m. If you're into geocaching, be sure to check out Cache, Dash, Splash - Graveyard of the Pacific happening Thursday through Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. at the Bolstad Beach Approach in Long Beach.