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Sunday, February 25, 2024
Feb. 25, 2024

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Connect with Oregon through a new travel guide

Book provides insight on not just outdoors but also eats and drinks along the way

By , Columbian sports staff
Published:

Ever wanted to explore the Columbia River Gorge like a local?

Heading to Bend, Ore., or even the Oregon Coast and want to know where to grab a bite to eat or sip a craft beer?

Portland-area author Matt Wastradowski, a former features writer at The Columbian, has been doing all that as a travel guide writer. His latest book Moon Oregon, from Moon Travel, is scheduled for release Dec. 5.

The 488-page book highlights coastal getaways, hiking and camping sites, and craft beer and wine establishments as well as provides background information on many places to visit throughout the state.

“Everything in the guide is brand new,” Wastradowski said. “My publisher said they wanted to focus on the outdoor adventures, kind of what makes Oregon special. There’s just such a wide breadth of attractions and adventures, so trying to narrow that down is really tough.”

The guidebook will get anyone around Portland, the Gorge and Mount Hood, as far as the closest places to Clark County goes. But it’s also very handy for those who would like to road-trip to the Oregon Coast, down the Willamette Valley or even farther out to Crater Lake National Park or Eastern Oregon.

“I feel like I could put out a whole separate guidebook with just the stuff that I ended up leaving on the cutting room floor,” Wastradowski said. “That was the Tetris puzzle that I tried putting together every single day for a year and a half.”

The 41-year-old writer started this book — his fifth for Moon Travel — in the fall of 2021, just as the world was coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During that time, in addition to traveling around Oregon to gather information, Wastradowski collected photos (some his, some by others) and maps that are included in the book.

Wastradowski specifically included places to eat and drink while exploring the cities and towns. After all, exploring can be hard work worthy of a refreshing beverage or meal, and knowing where to go is key to any successful adventure.

“How does this reflect Oregon’s uniqueness?” he said. “I tried to include, let’s say, seafood restaurants on the Oregon Coast, specifically restaurants with locally sourced seafood, fresh catch, that kind of thing.

“Or like breweries in Bend, I could only include a certain number of them, so what makes each so special? In some cases this brewery is one of the old guards of the craft-brew scene. Or this one is pretty new and women-owned and operated, which is pretty unique in the industry. So it was a mix of what makes this a unique Oregon experience.”

One challenge Wastradowski had was trying to keep up-to-date on restaurants that were temporarily closed or going out of business due to the challenging economic environment.

“I started to see why guide books go with more established restaurants rather than new ones because you want the book to be relevant when it comes out,” he said. “A lot of places closed in the midst of writing this book. I kept up with that as much as I could, but obviously there will still be some outdated businesses when the book hits the shelves.”

Wastradowski points out how an established restaurant might bring someone to Portland. But he also includes places that would appeal to anyone, including readers just wanting to grab a beer or burger and not spend $50 for a single plate.

“I can say I’ve been to about 90 percent of the places I wrote about,” he said. “For the most part, this book is really a product of exploring Oregon almost nonstop over the past nine years.”

His favorite places include the Columbia River Gorge (for which he also did a guidebook), Crater Lake, and Fort George Brewery in Astoria.

“I don’t expect everyone is going to love the same things that I do,” Wastradowski said. “I hope there’s enough (in the book) so that people, readers, can find their own craft beer or their own story and really connect with Oregon.”

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Oregon from Moon Travel is available for preorder now ($24.99 paperback, $17.99 ebook) through major online book retailers and at moon.com

Other titles available now by Matt Wastradowski from Moon Travel include “Pacific Northwest Hiking,” “Columbia River Gorge & Mount Hood,” and “Oregon Hiking.” Also coming soon is “Coastal Oregon with Portland.”

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