If Long Beach, WA has a "small town America" vibe, the same thing could be said of the other towns on the peninsula and Astoria, OR. But such a vague description encompasses so many flavours. Long Beach is a town that one drives to or drives through, with smooth flat roads and hotels and summer cottage rentals dotted along the coast. Further up the peninsula, Oysterville had an astonishingly well-preserved historic village. The little schoolhouse, red-and-white village church, and pioneer houses dating from the mid-19th century seem as though they were lifted from a novel. Our drive through other parts of the peninsula revealed further delights: bay views, an old cannery, boats at harbour.
On day three of our trip, we left Long Beach--crossing a bridge that was miles long and spanned the Columbia River--and made a brief detour into Astoria, OR. I have a pet theory that small towns always turn the former home of a prominent, upper middle-class Victorian citizen into a heritage museum, and Astoria fit that theory to a tee. We paid for a walk-through tour of the Flavel House Museum, a multi-storey Victorian mansion built in the Queen Anne style for Captain George Flavel, who sailed and navigated the Columbia's treacherous sandbars and made a fortune doing it. Then it was back in the car for our next stop: Portland!