Once they reached the ocean, Lewis and Clark hoped to return home by ship. When none came, they built Fort Clatsop, a few miles south of present-day Astoria, to ride out the winter of 1805-6. Today the fort is a national memorial with exhibits, living-history demonstrations, and trails through the surrounding wetlands. The town itself nestles into the southern bank of the Columbia River, one long bridge ride away from Washington state. Cruise visitors can climb the spiral steps of Astoria Column for a view of the town, the river and the surrounding countryside. Climb down and you can walk or ride a trolley along the river.
Beautiful, brilliant San Diego has the sun, the beaches, and the climate to die for. But don't let that fool you the city is a power. It's the sixth-largest city in the U.S. and a center for military industry, trade, and biotechnology. Of course, it's a great place for cruise visitors. The San Diego Zoo is one of the world's best. Balboa Park is both a natural space and a collection of wonderful museums. Old Town is a colorful gaggle of shops and restaurants. Oh, and the beaches: Coronado, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla. The forecast is for a high of about 75 degrees. Every day. Sigh.
Harvester of trees. Provisioner to gold rushers. Gateway for sea commerce. Incubator of jazz and grunge, jets and literature, coffee and computer software. Seattle is as much about reinvention as it is a landscape. But what a landscape! There are lakes and mountains and forests everywhere you look. The rest is an archipelago of neighborhoods studded with boutiques and coffee shops. Catch a salmon at Pike Place Market, ride to the top of the Space Needle, sample a local microbrew in Fremont, or slurp a bowl of steaming pho down in the International District.
Hello, England. Fancy meeting you here! Victoria is a city that started as Salish Village, spent a roustabout adolescence as a main port for gold prospectors and opium traders, and then transformed itself into an icon of British gentility after the completion of the trans-Canada railroad put neighboring Vancouver in the ascendant. Two events were seminal: the opening of Butchart Gardens in 1904 and the completion of the Empress Hotel in 1908. Butchart is a collection of gardens more than a single garden -- highlights for cruise visitors include the Sunken Garden (built from a former limestone quarry), the Italian Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Rose Garden (breathe deeply). The Empress Hotel is merely a national icon. Come in for high tea.
If you could watch the history of Vancouver as a time-lapse movie, you'd see the creation of a sawmill and a community that grew up around it, which then became the townsite of Granville. Then comes the railroad, and development of the great natural harbor. Then: a sudden linkage to the Orient, Eastern Canada, and Europe. Immigrants come, business blooms, and the skyscrapers rise up along Burrard Inlet, always with the mountains visible in the spaces between the buildings. Go for the galleries, boutiques, public markets, and restaurants of every flavor. Visit vibrant Chinatown and Stanley Park, with its 1,000 acres of forests, gardens, lakes and lawns in the heart of the city.
Apr - Oct