Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Astoria, Oregon

Roger here...  If you are my age, and have children, you may remember the movie, The Goonies.  This fantasy/adventure flick was very popular with the pre-teen set.  I saw it enough times with our daughters to remember the friendly monster who joined up with a group of middle school-aged kids.  The monster continually yelled, "Hey you Gu-u-u-u-ys!" every time the kids tried to ditch him.  Strange what the human mind recalls.  I also remember being fascinated by the tall-roofed Scandinavian and Victorian Houses perched on steeply slanted streets that were filled with kids on bicycles.  I thought, "What a cool looking town."  That movie was filmed in Astoria, Oregon, where we spent a full day.  The scenes from the movie did this town justice.  This is the oldest settlement on the Pacific coast.  What a cool place.

It was close to lunch time when we pulled into town, and as always we were hungry.  Jay had googled places for lunch and thought Bowpicker Fish and Chips sounded interesting.  We were expecting a sit-down restaurant on the fishing dock.  What we found was a rescued fishing boat on dry land, two picnic tables, and a line of people.  We waited quite a while in the line, as each serving of fish (albacore tuna) & chips was fried to order by the two cooks.  The menu was extensive ---- fish & chips, large or small.  We gobbled them down in Jay's rental car.  Delicious.  Dianne and I may go back again.

The Columbia River Maritime Museum was directly across the street from Bowpickers.  We had heard good things about it, so decided to check it out and were not disappointed.  

We learned several things that we did not previously know.  Evidently, the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean is one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world.  The meeting of the waves from the ocean and the current from the river create huge and dangerous waves.  Many lives have been lost here as well as many vessels.  The floor-to-ceiling sound videos of ships passing through the bar (as it is called) made me a little seasick.  It is also interesting that many of the explorers looking for a northwest passage sailed right by the entrance without seeing the Columbia River.

A shot of the Columbia, docked on the river, through the gigantic windows of the museum.

There were several animated visual displays on TV screens, as well as interactive displays, large vessels, and visual displays similar to the collection of canned fish labels in the photo.  This is one of those museums that is worth the price of admission.

The next activity was a trip up one of the steep hills to the Astoria Column.  

We have seen many monuments over the years.  This one is unique.  It was financed by the descendants of John Jacob Astor, who made his fortune trading furs in the area.   The tower itself is Italian in design, not what you would expect in a Scandinavian town in Oregon.

 The tower is covered with a spiraling mural that depicts the history of the westward expansion.  One could spend hours circling around with binoculars looking at the depictions and reading the captions.  Very well done.

Oh, and what fun!  We were able to climb to the top!   Three days later Dianne was still complaining about sore calves.  The views from the top?  OMG!

The bridge across the Columbia River, the town, and the bar in the distance.

Fort Stevens State Park, where we will soon spend a week.  The bar is at the extreme right of the photo.  I am looking forward to watching the turbulence on the point.

A nice view of the town with all those interesting houses hugging the Columbia River.

A freighter moving through the river.

Hey you g-u-u-u-ys!  It is time to look at the cool houses.  I don't have a picture of the teenage boy with the skateboard who we saw flirting with a girl on one of the angled streets, but it certainly fits with the atmosphere of this place.  

I love architecture.  If I could have chosen a second career, I would have been an architect.  I insisted that Jay drive through these streets over and over.

The picture below is Dianne's favorite because of the garden and because it shows so much of the detail in these beautiful homes.

Time to head south.  We stopped on the way out of town so that Nancy could buy some smoked salmon for us to enjoy before dinner.  We also paused to enjoy the view of the beach at Manzanita, below --- the beach where we walk every day.

The pet picture of the day exemplifies Tequila's tendency to take after our daughters during their teenage years.  Always the last to get up.  Can I have 15 more minutes?


klbexplores said...

I loved my time there recently. I always seem to find something new to do in Astoria. I have always wanted to tour the Victorian House Museum not far from the Maritime Be sure to have bug spray....You will need it at Fort Stevens! Lots to see and do there also.

Suzi said...

Astoria was one of our favorite places to visit - and that fabulous Bowpicker fish and chips! We dream about it...... Definitely on our list of places to return.
thanks for taking us back there.

Bill and Nancy said...

Spectacular photos of the landscape and houses. Sooooo BEAUTIFUL!!!

Annie from Oregon said...

What beautiful photos you took!! Captured so much of the flavor of Astoria. I liked the way you mentioned a topic and then photographed it! Did you get to travel over the Astoria-Megler Bridge? It is awesome both to Washington and back to Oregon. =o) You know by now that the Columbia River Bar is actually the open water - not the land (That is the Clatsop Spit. BTW...did you get any of the delicious Thundermuck coffee? One of them is called Clatsop, who wouldn't want to take That Home for everyone to enjoy!!?? LOL You made your tour through town a lot of fun! Thanks!