Gerry Frank's picks: Lewis and Clark National Park in winter offers glimpse of the explorers' lives in 1805

By Gerry Frank / Published at

Much has changed in the world since the winter of 1805 when explorers Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and the Corps of Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean and set up Fort Clatsop at what is now the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (92343 Fort Clatsop Rd., Astoria; 503-861-2471;  Visit the park during winter months to get a sense of their rain-soaked mission to construct winter quarters; a minimal 50-foot-square abode that housed 33 people.  Development of this area preserved trails, including a portion of the Lewis and Clark Trail, the historic canoe landing and other features; the location of the replica of Fort Clatsop is on or near the original site.  A visitor center contains an exhibit hall with rotating displays and exhibits, theaters showing films chronicling the trials and tribulations of the expedition's winter and a bookstore.  During the summer, interact with buckskin-clad rangers who demonstrate some of the daily tasks of the early corps and lead kayak and canoe tours along the Lewis and Clark River.  The visitor center and Fort Clatsop are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the year; until 6 p.m. during the summer.  By the time the group arrived in this area, they ran out of salt which was necessary to preserve meat.  Their salt works in Seaside replenished the salt supply.  The salt works remains today on Lewis and Clark Way just off Seaside's famous promenade.  The Prom also is a favorite vantage point this time of the year for winter storm watchers. 

Warrenton, sandwiched between Astoria and Seaside, is often overlooked when it comes to breakfast or lunch on the North Coast. Serendipity Caffe (160 S. Main Ave., Warrenton; 503-861-0222; is a welcoming spot and serves breakfast all day and lunch from 10 a.m. until close.  The fare is what one expects to find at a small town café and is frequented by locals and others who want no-nonsense food, good service and fair prices.  All the basics are on the menu with portions intended to satisfy hungry eaters.  Omelet choices range from eggs and cheese to Italian, Greek and chicken-fried steak concoctions, with hash browns, of course.  For a south-of-the-border twist, order the same combinations stuffed into a breakfast burrito.  French fries, potato salad, chips or cottage cheese accompany tasty sandwiches and burgers.  Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

"Gerry Frank's Oregon" all new guidebook (June 2014) is available through; 503-585-8411;; or P.O. Box 2225, Salem, OR 97308. 

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