Trip Report: Portland and North Coast

Old May 13th, 2006, 09:02 PM
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Trip Report: Portland and North Coast

My husband, our 4-yr-old daugther and I just returned from our quick trip to Oregon and want to thank everyone for the great advice, which really helped in planning our trip. Here's a report on our travels, which may be helpful to others.

Day 1 - flew from LAX to Portland early a.m., took bbqboy's advice and headed straight for the Columbia River Gorge. Spent the day touring, visiting the falls, lunch in Cascade Locks and ice cream in Hood River (wish we could have held out until Hood River for lunch but the little one was getting grumpy...). At the suggestion of our waitress at lunch, we drove back to Portland on the Washington side of the river, since she said "Oregon is prettier than Washington." Checked into the Holiday Inn Express Downtown Portland NW on Vaughn - not stellar but perfectly acceptable for a place to sleep, plus we enjoyed the pool and spa. Easy walk to dinner at Pastini on 23rd. Very nice meal, once we got seated after a bit of a backlog, probably due to an onslaught of prom-bound diners.

Day 2 - spent the (rainy) day in Portland. First stop was the Children's Museum in Washington Park. We got there right at opening, which was good because it got very busy. After a couple of hours, we headed out for lunch and landed at Sammy's Restaurant, which also happens to be on 23rd Ave. but near the park. Relaxing meal and good food. Then we headed to the Museum of Science and Industry. What fun! We could have spent the whole day there, had we known what a great place it is. Saw a movie at the Omnimax, checked out lots of exhibits and spent a long time at the Science Playground, which is like a mini-children's museum. Headed back to our hotel, then out to dinner at Wildwood on 21st Ave. We knew it was a more upscale restaurant than we usually take our daughter to, but I wanted a nice place to celebrate my husband's birthday. They do not have a children's menu but the waiter graciously offered us the options of a cheese pizza or plain pasta for her. She chose pasta but since she had had no nap that day, she fell asleep shortly after it arrived. Fortunately, we had a lovely booth and she curled up next to my husband, so we were able to enjoy our dinner and not have to cut our night short.

Day 3 - went to Mount St Helens, which was so interesting! My husband was a bit disappointed that the top of the mountain was in the clouds, but we still had pretty decent views of the crater. From there we headed to Astoria, driving first on the Washington side of the river to Cathlamet, then crossing by bridge and ferry (our daughter loved the ferry trip!) back to Oregon. We stayed at the Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria and it was awesome! Small, intimate, nothing but water between our room and the bridge. The staff was so nice. We arrived just before the complimentary wine and cheese tasting they offer every evening, and since our daughter immediately decided to try out the clawfoot bathtub, they gave us a tray to take goodies back to our room (although the lobby is a lovely place to relax as well). We took their suggestion for dinner at Baked Alaska, which was quite good and came with a lovely sunset behind the Astoria bridge. Both my husband and daughter fell asleep early, so I took advantage of the 24-hr spa and sauna on my own.

Day 4 - a beautiful blue sky greeted us as we headed down the coast. Stopped at Fort Clatsop, Seaside and Cannon Beach, then our daughter took a nap, so we headed for Tillamook for lunch. However, we didn't make it there before she woke up hungry so we settled for a mom-and-pop place in Rockaway Beach, then on to Tillamook for cheese and ice cream. Our destination that night was the Coho Inn in Lincoln City - quite a comedown from our hotel in Astoria, but we got a 2-room suite with a fireplace, so at least we had room to spread out. In hindsight, we probably should have aimed for the Inn at Spanish Head or someplace like that instead, but it was fine for a place to sleep. We had dinner that night at Kyllo's and again enjoyed a sunset from our table. It was a good choice because they offer the full lunch and dinner menu all day, and after 4 days of restaurant food, we didn't need another big dinner, so we were happy to have the option of lunch-size portions.

Day 5 - our last day was spent first driving south to see a bit more of the coast. We turned around at Cape Foulweather and headed back through Lincoln City, then through wine country via Hwy 18 and 99W. We got some picnic goodies and stopped for lunch at the park in McMinnville, which just by chance, had a wonderful play area where our daughter wore herself out. She fell asleep enroute to Duck Pond Winery just north of Dundee, but we stopped anyway and she eventually woke up as we tasted and purchased some wines. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and they even have a small swing/slide playset, so it would have also been a great picnic spot. Unfortunately, we lingered there too long and struggled through rush hour in Portland to get to the airport, but we made it with a few minutes to spare and caught our flight home.

Thanks again to everyone who offered suggestions. We found the same friendly welcome everywhere we went, and really enjoyed the natural beauty of Oregon. It was not the most relaxing vacation ever, but it truly was a break from routine and life in L.A. We'll be back to see more of this lovely state!
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Old May 15th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Hi cmgreen! Great report and I'm glad you enjoyed the Cannery Pier Hotel. We have had not so great experiences at Baked Alaska, but the views are gorgeous from the dining room and outdoor deck there.

We have a home in Astoria that we purchased about fifteen years ago. The town has been through many changes over the past several years and is now a major tourist destination spot in the PNW! The Cannery Pier Hotel is a great addition to the lodging choices there. If you visit again, check out Fulio's or the Silver Salmon Grille for some great food, located right in downtown Astoria. ***kim***
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:10 AM
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Glad you enjoyed your time here I always recommend OMSI to people with kids, as ours still enjoy it.

Kim--Are Fulio's and Silver Salmon Grille on your list for the next time you visit Oregon?
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Old May 15th, 2006, 10:45 AM
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kimamom, in past posts you have said you rented a property for 20 years in are confusing me and that is not hard to do LOL

cmgreen..So glad you enjoyed your visit!
We like Sunday Brunch at Sammys with Pup , outdoors when the weather is acceptable

I am so glad that your choice of Wildwood was perfect for you .. and the birthday boy

I like Cannon Beach but heard that the Cannery is nice. I am sad to hear that they will be building a huge ethanol plant across the river from Astoria beginning this summer..

I thought Duck Pond vineyards was pretty too.
Don't you love that name, Cape Foulweather? so apropros!
Except this week where we are having hot sunny summer days..
I hope you return soon, thank you for your report
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Old May 15th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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