Saturday, November 8, 2008

Where the Columbia flows into the Pacific

Astoria is a nationally significant historic city at the western end of the Lewis & Clark Trail. Astoria is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies; a place that takes visitors back to simpler times, its architecture dominated by hundreds of Victorian homes clinging to steep wooded hillsides and with a revitalized 1920s era downtown; all set against a backdrop of tremendous natural beauty in the temperate rain forest at the mouth of the Columbia River.

t 2 b: Astoria Theatre Detail by Tina of Pfeiffer Photos, Waterfront Trolley courtesy of, Columbia Barge by Chris, Flavel House Museum courtesy of

Visitors have an opportunity to escape into an appealing, intriguing past. Unspoiled and generally uncrowded, Astoria and nearby Warrenton have several first-class interpretive attractions including Fort Clatsop, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, the Flavel House, Fort Stevens State Park, the Astoria Riverfront Trolley and the Astoria Column. The area has an extraordinary sense of place and a feeling of history. [1]

Astoria has hosted the filming of a number of movies over the years including, Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, The Ring 2 and the most famous and beloved, The Goonies!

t 2 b: The Goondocks by Chris, The Goonies House courtesy of

A visit to Astoria for us means a stop for lunch at T. Paul's Urban Cafe. They describe their menu as Fresh-Eclectic Northwest Cuisine and we describe it as very tasty indeed. The atmosphere is casual, complete with a dimly lit coffee lounge in the rear. Overstuffed sofas surround a coffee table full of art and local magazines. A large saltwater aquarium glows in the corner. T. Paul's hosts live music on Friday and Saturday nights: blues, jazz or folk.

l 2 r: T. Paul's Urban Cafe by Tina

On our recent visit hiked the nearby 1.5 mile trail to view the Cathedral Tree, a 300-year-old spruce tree with a unique opening at the base.

Cathedral Tree by Tina

From the Cathedreal Tree the trail climbs to a wooded park towering above Astoria on Coxcomb Hill, Oregon’s highest hill. At the top the Astoria Column presents a spectacular view of the city and surrounding rivers, bay, forest, mountains and Pacific Ocean. The Astoria Column commemorates the westward move of discovery and migration. Built in 1926, it is 125 feet high and has 164 steps winding to the top.

t 2 b: Astoria-Megler Bridge and by the Astoria Column by Chris

Sometimes I think to myself that it would be nice to move to a smaller city with plenty of history, find an old house to live in and restore with my hubby and our two cats. Space to create, write, go outside, experience nature daily and steep in the quietness at night. A community that moves a bit slower, makes more personal connections with the people around us. Sometimes I just think this and that maybe, someday, it might be Astoria.

photos copyright of photographers as labeled.


text [except as noted], copyright pfeiffer photos 2008


Michael Lockridge said...

I haven't been to Astoria in decades. Thanks for sharing this! I loved visiting Astoria when my parents lived there (for only a year and some months) and I still lived in Portland.

The river and the sea, and a town with character, and so many waterways and so much history! Astoria is a great place.

Pfeiffer Photos said...

michael: thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. I love Astoria's connection to Lewis and Clark as well...glad you remember it fondly!

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