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Driving the Oregon Coast

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Photo: Courtesy of the Cannery Pier Hotel

Portland, Oregon, doesn’t lack for fashionable boutique hotels, but to the west, along the Pacific Ocean, the options have tended to be as primal as the shoreline. Recently, however, a group of properties has sprung up on the northern coast, aiming to seduce 21st-century travelers with designs steeped in post–World War II Modernism. Each stop on this easy three-night itinerary provides a stylish Oregon beach getaway—along with postcard-worthy water views.

Day 1: Portland to Astoria

Follow the Columbia River Highway (U.S. 30) as it meanders along the waterway that led Lewis and Clark to the sea. (For more shore-hugging river views, cross the Oregon Way Bridge, just west of Rainier, and drive on Washington’s Ocean Beach Highway—but be sure to return to Route 30 by crossing back over at Cathlamet.) Make your way to Astoria, the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies (founded in 1811), a revitalized former fishing town with Victorian architecture and a restored 1913 riverfront trolley.

Take in the town—and the mouth of the Columbia River—from the 125-foot Astoria Column, and for a dramatic close-up of the Astoria Bridge, which connects Oregon and Washington, check in to the Cannery Pier Hotel (doubles from $299). Built on the site of a fish-packing facility on a pier that extends 600 feet into the river, the four-year-old hotel embraces a Pacific Northwest version of loft architecture, with exposed steel beams in the atrium-style lobby and hardwood floors in the 46 balconied rooms.

The best place to eat is just a short stroll down the pier at the Bridgewater Bistro (dinner for two $75). The restaurant offers exceptional views of the river and bridge, a tasting room for the Oregon Coast’s Flying Dutchman Winery, and a small-plates menu featuring watermelon-and-feta salad and a savory cheesecake with Dungeness crab.

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