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Astoria, Oregon

The written history of Astoria dates back to the 1790's, sadly, we only know it by the 1980's cult classic, "Goonies" - so we had to do a little research.

The historic town of Astoria spreads up and over San Francisco-like hills. Astoria is the seat of Clatsop County, Oregon. Situated near the mouth of the Columbia River, the city was named after the American investor John Jacob Astor. The laid back town is known for it's artsy folk, Bumble Bee cannery, Californian sea lions, and much, much more we discovered! While we learned alot of historical facts about Astoria, we found ourselves wanting to know more about it's current day pearls. What's really neat about this sea-village is the pride the locals hold. With only 10,000 in population (the same count since the early 1900's) the folks here are a happy, tight-knit community willing to tell you all about Astoria.

So why Columbia River, easy answer, Robert Gray sailed over in his ship, the Columbia Redivia, in 1792 - he entered the river and named it - the Columbia River. 

We were advised to stop by the Columbia River Maritime Museum to discover more about the Pacific Northwest’s maritime history. We arrived just in time for closing:( At least we were able to read about the historical shipwrecks in the Pacific Northwest due to it's shoreline. 


Lucky for us, the $1.00 trolley was running so we jumped onboard. Jackpot! Angelo didn't have to hide our dog in his jacket! Dogs allowed! Mr. Meatball makes it hard to get mobile-guided tours. Meatball was not only welcomed, he was expected to be in photographs;)

The historic Trolley, “Old 300”, toured us along the scenic Astoria Riverfront. Old 300 was built in 1913 by the American Car Company of St. Louis, Mo., for the San Antonio Traction Company in Texas. 

The trolley is operated and maintained by a volunteer crew. Average round trip is about 1 hour. The trolley uses the same tracks going both directions, but the tour narration changes - we stayed for the whole ride:)

As we continued our search for another outdoor moment in Astoria, we headed for Coxcomb Hill and the Astoria Column per the trolley driver's recommendation. Apparently the Column has been voted best "non-trail'' outdoor experience in town and records the city's heritage of discovery. We climbed the 164 steps to the top for the best view of the city and the Columbia River. 

Continuing their 'welcome-wagon' spirit, the visitor center's guide gave us balsa wooden gliders to launch off the top of the Astoria Column. This, we were told, is a local tradition from the landmark atop Coxcomb Hill. Don't worry - they are biodegradable!

The 125-foot high cylindrical structure is at the top of a 600-foot high hill. 

And, of course, there's the coffee shops, you can find an original brew master on almost every corner out here - score for Team O'Do!

Switching gears, we hopped over to Fort Clapstop to read about Lewis and Clark's expedition of 1804-1806.  The stop proved worthy of our time. Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. The Lewis and Clark National Historical Park includes 12 smaller parks within Oregon and Washington. The park offers an endless bank of information on these two explorers as they reached the end of their journey to the Pacific. 

Things we did not know: Lewis and Clark's guide Sacagawea was won in a stick game. Apparently her husband, who had 3 other child-brides, used her to pay off his game loss to Lewis and Clark. We also discovered that eating dog was not uncommon. Lewis and Clark travelled with a dog - the tribe did not understand why they did not eat him.

Now on to the important history, "GOONIES":

We quickly found out that we would not be able to get our photograph in front of the house upon seeing the below note...

Attached was a photograph of the house and a list of things to do while in Astoria ...:/

The movie shot almost entirely in sequence in Astoria, Oregon on a 5-month shooting schedule. Other locations, like the tunnels and the cave with One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship, were shot on massive soundstages in Burbank, California.  

The old county jail was used at the beginning of the movie. The jail was in use up until 1976 and is now where the Oregon Film Museum is located. It invites visitors to make their own movie on sets inspired by the 1984 cult classic, "Goonies." Here we found The Fratellis' car and look, bullet holes!

Cannon Beach was where they filmed the ending Beach scene, at Haystack Rock. This view was definitely a legend before the movie. I wish there was a way to express the beauty here. Something happens to you when step onto this beach and the sweeping views of the ocean and dramatic Haystack Rock greet you. We stood there for what seemed like eternity just taking in the scenery.

As a closer, we thought you should know that June 7th is “GOONIES DAY.” The mayor of Astoria, Oregon named It in honor of the movie, and the town hosts an annual celebration.  We of course bought our shirts to celebrate it in Ohio!