Just northwest of Portland along the Columbia River, there's a road that stretches seaward through a green, beautiful land unsung by guidebooks. Highway 30, a hundred miles long, offers myriad views of the Columbia and a few flashes of sophisticated urban culture amid the ham-and-egg charms of rural Oregon. To make these stops, give yourself a full day.
- SCAPPOOSE BAY KAYAKING Twenty miles north of Portland in Warren, take a paddling tour through wetlands as you watch for ospreys, river otters, and bald eagles. (877) 272-3353, scappoosebaykayaking.com.
- ST. HELENS In Oregon's oldest port town, the Klondike Mediterranean Bar & Grill serves delectable shish kebab in a circa 1910 four-story building that once housed a brothel. (503) 397-4297.
- CLATSKANIE The highly acclaimed short story writer Raymond Carver (1938–1988) was born here. The son of a mill worker, he wrote about the hard luck of everyday people. Find a plaque honoring him at 161 North Nehalem Street. clatskaniedays.com.
- SHOOTING STAR LAVENDER Farm Some 4,000 lavender plants, soft and fragrant, grow here. (503) 728-4236, shootingstarlavender.com.
- WESTPORT Catch the Wahkiakum County Ferry (www.co.wahkiakum.wa.us/depts/pw) and gaze northeast toward Mount St. Helens as the boat makes its 12-minute trip to Puget Island. Then take a four-mile pastoral drive into the village of Cathlamet, Wash., and savor high tea at the Bradley House Inn (360-795-3030).
- ASTORIA COLUMN At the terminus of the Columbia, register the river's full force by climbing the 125-foot-high column and watching the wide flow crash into the sea. Then roll into Astoria for a drink by the port.
Illustration by Michael Klein
This article was first published in May 2006. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.