I swear, with everything that’s going on in the world today, maybe traveling in the Pacific Northwest is a better bet.* But no matter what’s going in on the world, I do love to visit Oregon, and last Fourth of July weekend we found ourselves camping with family at Fort Stevens State Park, a very nice campground that’s conveniently located near Astoria, Oregon.
Once upon a time not so long ago, Astoria was a bit depressed, as was the lot of many smallish city-towns that relied heavily on industries like canning and timber, only to have those industries collapse. But today, Astoria is still a smallish city-town (about 10,000 people), but it has a lot of character and, as I was happy to discover, some really good food and craft beer!
Driving through town en route to the campground, I kept spotting cute little places (bakeries, cafes, and so on) that made me exclaim, “Oh, I want to go there!” Well we did go back that very night, to, of all places, a Bosnian restaurant. I’ll admit that this was the first time I’ve eaten Bosnian food, and I certainly didn’t expect my first time to be in Astoria. See, never assume!
We started with a little appetizer assortment of charcuterie, stuffed yellow pepper, sauerkraut, and red pepper spread to go on the acompanying bread (not pictured). A nice amount for four people (i.e., not so much that we weren’t hungry for dinner). I had a glass of Bosnian beer, too, and I don’t know why I didn’t take a photo of it.
Then we moved on to the main course…lamb meat! This was amazing lamb, tender and flavorful. It was served simply with some fresh fruit and veggies. Again, not too much food, which isn’t always the case in restaurants (the amount pictured is for two people…Jeff and I split it).
On the Fourth, we headed back into town to hit a few of the fabulous craft breweries (if we had more time, we would have visited more). We got a sneak peek at Costco the day we arrived, because a few brewers were on hand to do tastings (yes, we added quite a few bottles of beer to our cart to take home with us).
We chose our first brewery, Fort George, with lunch in mind. The burger looked fabulous, but I was craving a salad. They have different menus depending on whether you are upstairs or downstairs in the Public House, or over in the brewery and taproom. I can’t remember what beer I had…one of their IPAs, for sure.
Then we walked across town to Buoy Beer Company (we already had several large bottles from Costco stashed away at our campsite). Oh, heck, I think this was another IPA (although I was tempted to order the Benedict Cumberbatch). We were outside because this time we had Dug with us, and no dogs are allowed inside unless they are service animals. I still don’t quite get that, since they were serving food outside, but oh well…anti-dogtites! At least he got lots of love from strangers.
Refreshed (again) we kept walking, and ended up at Astoria Vintage Hardware, where I took a photo of this bicycle and found myself buying a vintage Pyrex bowl. (I justify this, because it’s turquoise and white, which is a Pyrex color that I don’t have in my collection, and it’s a different shape than my other Pyrex bowls, so there. I fully admit that my inhibitions may have been lowered by beer.)
Then we walked some more, and I had to take a picture of this cute trash can…
…and this one. Obviously an homage to the city’s cannery past. Why can’t more cities have cute, thematically appropriate trash cans?
I look forward to going back to Astoria and staying in the city. Lots more places to check out, and it’s position near the mouth of the Columbia River is really quite lovely. It’s about 40 minutes from Cannon Beach, so you could easily group the two into one trip. Again, lovely. It’s less than two hours from Portland (traffic permitting), in case you’re curious.
* I kid, somewhat, about not being safe to travel elsewhere (well, maybe not to Chicago). I am still hoping that the situation in Istanbul stabilizes by December, when we have a trip planned. One of my patients today said that she loves Istanbul, that it’s been her favorite travel destination, and that she dreamed of living there. Sigh. I hope we’ll be able to visit soon, too, and not just because of the cats (this film played at the Seattle International Film Festival this year, and I missed it, sadly.
P.S., if you need to see more, Google “cats of Istanbul” and click on the “images” tab. You won’t be disappointed.