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NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

The OC, California
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NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

I saw a similar question on a previous post but it was a couple years old on a focused on a different topic.

We are 30 something couples taking a cruise on Norweigen Cruise Line and are stopping for a half day in Astoria on Wed. May 3.

We're not terribly interested in the cruise's organized excursion tour. We'd love some tips and advice and what we should see in the 5+ hours we have and the best way to get there. We love food, wine, tea, gardens, views, architecture etc. We would love any help you could give us.

Manzanita, Oregon
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1. Re: NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

Within the Astoria forum you might look under Astoria Overview and Attractions, I'm sire forum posters will be happy to discuss any questions and expand on information you find interesting.

Portland, OR
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2. Re: NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

I have the perfect plan for you and you definitely don't need to take an organized excursion!

i live in Portland and had only passed through Astoria for a festival a few times or just drove through on the way to another destination. My boyfriend and I headed to the coast for my birthday for a nice 3 day weekend but he had to stop in Astoria for a few hours on business.

Here is what I did:

I had my boyfriend just drop me off in town. I wandered down towards the waterfront and headed west along the trolley track. I had heard about a great place called the Lazy Spoon so when I ran across that, I stopped in for lunch. This place serves great Greek food along with some basic hamburgers. It was inexpensive and delicious!

As I left the Lazy Spoon the trolley just happened to be coming along. I hopped on the trolley, paid $1 and I was completely entertained by the guy talking ab out the history of Astoria!

I had planned on only taking it to 15th because I had another spot I wanted to check out. I asked the conductor how far the trolley went and what the cost would be if I road 'til the end of the line and back. He told me I could ride all day if I wanted on the $1!

We rode along the Columbia and he pointed out many great historic sites. On the return I stopped at the Columbia Maritime Museum. Don't miss this! I am not much of a museum buff but I really enjoyed this museum! It is full of interesting artifacts relevent to the history of passage of ships through the Astoria Bar, one of the most dangerous in the world. With the 48 admission charge you can also tour the Lighthouse Columbia Ship.

From there I headed north into town to find a wireless conection so I could get a little bit of work done. I fould a bakery/cafe/beer place that was perfect! I ordered a beer and plugged in my laptop.

Astoria is very charming with a lot of little antique shops and boutiques through out the town.

Wander around and discover great little places! You can't go wrong!

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3. Re: NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

How fun, there are many things to do and see in Astoria. There is a Maritime Museum there that is fun to go through. The museum is on the trolley run. I would recommend a a ride on the trolley, you can catch it at several different locations around the riverfront area. The Ship Inn, Cannery Cafe, Wet Dog Cafe, Baked Alaska are all on the trolley run and great places for a meal.

For your wine tasting, the Cellar on 10th St. is very nice. You can taste there and they have a great selection of wines to purchase. We were in Astoria a couple of weeks ago and did some wine tasting at the Silver Salmon Grille. Excellent wines for a minimal fee, they also have a seafood restaurant that is excellent. I have reviews with photos of the majority of theplaces I have mentioned thus far.

For a really nice view, go to the top of the Hotel Elliott, be sure to bring you camera here, the views are gorgeous. Right around the corner from the Hotel Elliott is Fulio's, if you like Italian food, this place is wonderful. Our meal there a couple of weeks ago was really good.

If you like to spa, the Columbia River Day Spa is a very nice place for a spa treatment, it is right across the street from the Hotel Elliott. Have fun in Astoria and on your cruise! :)

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

We (me & wife, mid-30's) just spent the weekend in Astoria and loved it. Stayed at Cannery Pier Hotel, which is near where the cruise ships dock just west of the bridge. Not sure how you plan to get around, but if you're on foot be prepared for a walk of over a mile into the center of town; taking the trolley is a good idea.

Architecture:

Much of the city was rebuilt after a fire in the 1920's destroyed a good part of downtown. Therefore, 1920's Art Deco style buildings are everywhere. We went to a performance at Liberty Theater on Saturday, it's a gorgeous remodel of a classic Vaudeville-era Movie Theater...you can't miss the big facade opposite Hotel Elliot ( agree with syrahgirl, it does have a nice panoramic view from the rooftop deck). Also you may want to visit the Flavel House, a restored ca. 1885 Queen Anne/Victorian mansion on the west end of downtown. You can't miss the tall 4-story spire (though unfortunately they won't let you inside the tower). The house inside is beautifully restored and filled with period furnishings; there's also an exhibit in the adjacent Carriage House.

Food:

Have heard excellent reviews of baked Alaska, very good food and a nice river view (it's on a pier at river's edge) For a meal that's low on the pretentious side, but high on the delicious & authentic side, you might try Columbian Cafe (1114 Marine) for lunch. Sit at one of the barstools, order the "Seafood Mercy", and strike up a conversation with owner/chef Uriah Hulsey. We went Saturday for lunch, riding out a nice steady rain...trust me you'll love the food and not many, if any, from your cruise line will find this place unless they know about it already. If you go, it's cash only, so be prepared...

For a good pub, you can try Wet Dog Cafe/Astoria Brewing around the corner of 11th (lots of fine beers and a deck on the water) or walk up to 1483 Duane St. and try the newly opened Fort George Brewery (March '07). We stopped in to Fort George on Friday and found the beers to be good (8 samples for $6, including the delicious Ginger-Wasabi Ale) and food excellent (try the sausage with a side of vinegary-mustardy German potato salad...mmmm).

Enjoy Astoria! Hope you have a nice day, weather-wise, but even if you don't, you can still have a good time.

Cheers,

Brian

Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

I'm not sure why no one's stated the obvious; maybe because the organized excursion will almost certainly take you there, but Astor Column is probably the most frequently visited attraction in town. It sits on the top of a hill, with sweeping panoramic views in almost every direction. Maybe the best part is that you can buy balsa wood airplanes to sail from the top. And, if you're interested, learn a little Lewis & Clark history.

For a different perspective of the mouth of the Columbia, head over the four-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge to the southern tip of Washington's Long Beach peninsula and Cape Disappointment State Park. Views from the north lighthouse and interpretive center are particularly spectacular.

Of course you'd want/need a car to do these things, and I think there are a couple rental agencies in town that could accommodate you. Though I suppose you would have enough time to hike up to Astor Column if you wanted. Oh, and if your stateroom will have a refrigerator, pick up some smoked seafood from Josephson's; some of the best you'll ever taste. And I can just picture you relaxing on the balcony with a nice bottle of wine and some seafood treats, watching the world float by. Ahh...... ;-)

The OC, California
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6. Re: NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

Thanks so much everyone!!! That was so helpful, especially the trolley idea since we're on a budget. All the suggestions were perfect, can't wait to go and explore and eat our way around the town!

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7. Re: NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

Sounds fun, one more thought for you: the trolley run has been extended a couple of blocks and now goes to Pier 39. I would suggest you stop here, the views are beautiful from the pier and we enjoyed a very nice lunch here at the Rogue Ale's Public House, I have a review with some photos of the area. Hope this helps! :)

8. Re: NCL Cruise stop: What to do...how to get there???

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