Scour Vintage Hardware for artifacts from Astoria’s 200 years of history – it’s the oldest settlement west of the Rockies – and interesting finds from Clatsop County. Located in the crumbling Deco lobby of the old Astor Hotel, this depository for furniture, architectural salvage, antique hardware, and custom-built pieces takes up 4,000 square feet. Recent memorable finds include arched French doors from an elementary school ($3,500) and an elk antler chandelier ($3,000), but there are plenty of items that go for single and double digits. If you’re visiting in summer, check out the Vintage Flea Street Faire, which sets up outside on Duane Street on the first Saturday of the month, July–October.
Check out the urbane newcomers that are giving this formerly rusty, industrial town a more contemporary edge. Sift through racks of vinyl at Commercial Astoria, opened in September 2012 by radio DJ Greg Glover, one of many Portland residents who’ve made the town their second home. You’ll also find screen-printed tees ($20) designed by Glover here, as well as Dixon soaps ($7), and Seaworthy jewelry. Another new arrival with city roots is beauty apothecary and spa Flourine & Co., which sells high-end cosmetics from Bare Minerals and Oregon City’s Alchemilla. Rounding out the mix is Portland-based Cargo, which imports unique global finds, from a Turkmen children’s hat ($84) to Indonesian teak chairs ($280).
Tap into the thriving local art scene at Imogen Gallery, which opened in August 2012 and focuses on exhibiting works made in Astoria and the Pacific Northwest. Exhibits rotate monthly, and this spring features Jennifer Mercede’s colorful abstract paintings and Kim Hamblin’s delicate paper cuttings. Alternatively, peruse crafts at the beloved Astoria Sunday Market (May–October), which heaves with 150 vendors and live music each week. Be sure to visit the hugely popular Hammered Frets, which makes functional guitars from cigar boxes and hand-carved necks.