One Night In Astoria
If Deception Pass State Park gave us a wonderful welcome back to the US and to Washington for the first time, the little town of Astoria gave us just as great of a welcome to Oregon for the first time.
Astoria is a small town of just under 10,000 people as far northwest as possible in Oregon, situated right on the wide, wide Columbia River. Trust us, when you take the bridge from Washington to Oregon or vice versa, you’ll feel like it’s never going to end. So what’s there to do in this little hamlet?
We weren’t at our campsite for 20 minutes before we were advised to head up to the Astoria Column. This 125′ tall column sits on a bluff 600′ above sea level. Needless to say, the views from up here are unbelievable, as long as you’re willing to hike up the 164 steps to the top.
Sunset is the time to go. As you’ll see in the pictures (and in the lead picture), from up here, you get an incredible vantage point to watch the sun set out over the Pacific Ocean, complete with Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia right in line with the sun.
It’s free to visit, though donations are accepted.
For foodies like us, a sign that says “Farmer’s market” is like K-Mart announcing a Blue Light Special or a big sign saying “FREE!” for most people. We were lucky. We drove into Astoria on a Thursday and the Astoria Farmer’s Market is on Thursdays from 3-6.
The farmer’s market is quite small, only 8-10 booths. It is a town of 9,500 after all. Nonetheless, the lamb sausages and produce we picked up were top notch.
Goonies Never Say Die!
Some of you children of the 80s already know this. For those that don’t, here’s a tidbit of trivia sure to change your life: The Goonies was set and filmed in Astoria, OR.
But for you movie buffs, that’s not the only well-known movie filmed in this city. Here’s a short run-down:
- Short Circuit
- Kindergarten Cop
- Free Willy
- Into The Wild
You can celebrate all of these movies (plus the numerous other dozens that were filmed in Oregon) at the Oregon Film Museum, which is in the old Clatsop County Jailhouse. Although the jail has been converted to a movie museum, the cells are still there, so don’t act up.
If you’re feeling especially creative, you can use their movie sets to create your own 1 minute shorts. We’ll spare you the agony of watching the couple Scott made. It’s $4 for adults and $2 for kids.
Fort Clatsop National Memorial
Our last stop on the way out of town was Fort Clatsop National Memorial. If there’s one thing this trip has given us, especially across the north, it’s exposure to the Lewis & Clark Expedition. This is yet another site on that great westward journey.
Fort Clatsop was the winter 1805-06 encampment for the expedition. Of course, the fort that’s standing today is a replica of the original. Nonetheless, you’ll find Park Rangers in period-specific costumes giving various demonstrations, such as lard rendering and candle making. Inside the Visitor’s Center is a fairly extensive museum of the expedition and a very interesting short film about it.
Even though we were only there for a night, you know we wouldn’t leave you without some pictures. For any of you PCH travelers, Astoria is worth the overnight stop to see a few things.