Gerry Frank's picks: Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa shows off Astoria's charm and picturesque beauty
The Pilot House at the Cannery Pier Hotel offers a panoramic view of the Columbia River. (Michael Lloyd/2013)
Situated on 100-year-old pilings and jutting out roughly 600 feet into the mighty Columbia, the Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa (10 Basin Street, Astoria; 503-325-4996, 888-325-4996; cannerypierhotel.com) matches Astoria's charm and picturesque beauty. What was once the Union Fisherman's Cooperative Packing Company, now houses 38 contemporary rooms and eight luxurious suites which have private balconies with river views, hardwood floors, gas fireplaces and in-room mini-fridges, microwaves and a personal wet bar. Further amenities include complimentary wine, cheese and lox 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, chauffeured transportation in a classic car and bike rentals as well as a full-service spa with a Finnish sauna (open 24 hours), an exercise room and a hot tub with river views. Although the location is sure to please any traveler, there's a romantic notion about watching ships pass beneath the bridge, a fireplace lit in the background and beautiful river views right from your tub (Jacuzzi tubs in suites, claw foot tubs in standard rooms). Every last detail down to the cozy Pendleton throws make you feel like you're home away from home. If you're travelling with your furry companion, take a look at their select pet-friendly packages including treats and necessities.
Another establishment located in a former cannery is Buoy Beer Co. (1 - 8th Street, Astoria; 503-325-4540; buoybeer.com) where you can enjoy tasty locally-sourced food, great beer and even catch a glimpse of the sea lions. I'm a sucker for great hamburgers and at Buoy they don't skip a beat, everything from the Oregon beef and bison down to all the trimmings and condiments are made fresh, often from scratch and/or bought local. Although the hamburgers are good, the creamy clam chowder paired with fresh garlic bread, rockfish and chips and Willapa Bay oysters are not to be missed; always served fresh, never frozen. Other satisfying entrees include hearty salads, a daily pasta special, pan-fried petrale sole, rib eye and other seasonal daily specials. Wash your meal down with one of the dozen and a half handcrafted lagers or ales; the Czech Pilsner tends to be a popular choice. Don't worry about leaving your furry companion at home as dogs are welcome on the patio. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, extended to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
If you're a beer connoisseur, you'll find Buoy Beer Co. and more on Oregon's North Coast Craft Beer Trail (oregoncoastbeer.com) leading you on a journey through ten brew pubs beginning at Rogue Ales Public House (rogue.com) in Astoria and ending at U Street Pub & Eatery (ustreetpub.com) in Seaside.