Tucked into the curve of the Columbia River about 30 miles north of Portland, the little town of St. Helens is a day-tripper’s dream. Take a boat out on the river, explore historic Highway 30 and check out the views of the mountain for which this charming river town was named. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop in for a meal at one of this friendly town’s great dining spots.
St. Helens’ Houlton Bakery provides a tasty breakfast and lunch spot as well as a local source for custom-decorated special occasion cakes. Don’t miss the breakfast pastries, artisan bread and fresh brownies. (2155 Columbia Blvd.)
Dockside Steak & Pasta offers a hearty, traditional menu of classic Italian food with an emphasis on great steak and fresh seafood. A broad menu of pasta, salad, meat and fish has something for everyone. Enjoy lunch or dinner on the breezy patio or a cozy booth inside this family-friendly spot. (343 S. 1st St.) For a taste of Thailand, check out Roythai, located right on the river and open for lunch and dinner. Try the khao soi chicken, sizzling beef plate and signature drink — Roythai Liquid Sunshine. (295 Strand St.) On the second floor of the historic St. Helens Hotel, find Klondike Restaurant & Bar, a classic American steakhouse with a robust menu and full bar. Enjoy daily chef specials and delicious weekend brunch. (71 Cowlitz St.)
Brews and spirits
Founded by four good friends with strong engineering backgrounds, Ye Ol’ Grog Distillery offers handcrafted spirits created from a proprietary designed Reflux Still. Libations on offer at the tasting room include Good Morning Glory Grog (a rum-like concoction), Dutch Harbor Breeze Grog and Dog Watch Vodka. (35855 Industrial Way, Unit C) For good old-fashioned Oregon craft beer, look to Columbia County Brewing. Open Thursday through Saturday, the small-batch brewery offers a limited menu of tasty food (with the likes of brisket, quinoa salad and scratch chicken and dumplings) as well as ale, IPA and wheat beer. (164 S. 15th St.)