Sunday, June 14, 2015

Astoria Weekend Getaway

Bill and I just got back from a very pleasant weekend in Astoria.  We usually go on at least one flyout with the Columbia Aviation Association (a flying social club that we belong to) ever year.  This year we signed up for a trip to Astoria.

We don't normally stay at luxury hotels when we travel.  We usually look for the most inexpensive or reasonable place to stay.  But the hotel that was selected for this trip was quite wonderful.  It was the Cannery Pier Hotel and it is a relatively new one---only about 10 years old.  But it was quite impressive.  It was built 600 feet out into the Columbia River on a pier that was rebuilt for the purpose of building the hotel.  It is on the site of what used to be the Union Fisherman's Cooperative Packing Company Cannery.

It was built in a style to reflect the design of a cannery but is a totally new building.   They had a video about the building of the hotel which was quite fascinating to watch.  The fact that we were out in the river made the views from our room spectacular.  We could watch the ships go by, see the sunset over the mouth of the Columbia, view the bridge crossing over into Washington and watch the birds perch on the pilings in the river.  When the ships passed--it was like they were right next to the building--they were that close to get under the highest span of the bridge.  Unfortunately I never had my camera with me when it happened.  Once we were in the lobby for happy hour and saw one pass and another time we were eating dinner in a nearby restaurant--the Bridgewater Bistro (which is wonderful by the way).

 They had these two vintage cars that they would take people around in which were quite fun.

On Friday night, we ate at a nearby hole in the wall called the Portway Tavern.  It was established in 1923 and had quite a history.  I didn't go looking for it but there is a claim that there is a trapdoor under one of the tables in the bar that was used to Shanghai sailors back in the day.  Most stories about being Shanghaied are from the 1800's but there seems to be at least some proof that it was happening as late as the 20's.  

Saturday morning we went to the Coast Guard Air Station Astoria.  We were given a tour by two of the helicopter pilots, a rescue swimmer and a crew chief.  We spent a couple of hours there.  It was a great tour and we got to see one of the helicopters take off while we were there.

We also got to go inside this plane which was recently retired.  In addition to the helicopters, the Coast Guard needs additional air support to keep track of them in case they run into trouble.

In the afternoon, we headed out to Fort Clapsop to "get a little history" about the Lewis and Clark winter camp there.  I have been there with the boys and by myself in the past but Bill had never been there so we went out to tour the visitor center and the fort.

After a sumptuous dinner at the Bridgewater Bistro, we headed downtown to the Liberty Theater to hear a Beethoven concert.  This was the first weekend for the Astoria Music Festival and the Beethoven concert was just one of many concerts that will be taking place at a variety of venues in Astoria over the next few weeks.  It was a fantastic concert and they played the 5th Symphony which was fabulous.

Sunday morning we just relaxed until it was time to catch our ride back to the airport and fly back home.  Nice little get away to tide us over until the wedding in a couple of weeks.

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