Thursday, August 15, 2013

We didn't just paint Astoria Green

We didn't get into Astoria, our Oregon home base, until quite late. What looked like a small corner of Oregon on the map turned out to be hundreds of miles. After the Gorge, we did the Mt Hood loop. Very pretty. We got to Astoria well past check-in and then well past when the restaurants stopped serving though the hostess found an Italian one that was quite good, downtown a short walk away. Though we had a huge breakfast, no time for lunch and now it was after nine so the food tasted especially good. Later I discovered Astoria had a Bosnian restaurant that was supposed to be quite good.

The local theater group had a play going on Shanghaied in Astoria. Maybe I should title this blog that?

Our B&B was a beautiful Italianate house perched high on a hill built in the 1880s. Crystal chandeliers, tin ceilings, antiques all around..very cute. Best were the lush gardens and sitting areas outside. In the cool foggy mist, I took a cup of coffee out to the gardens and found the hostess. Yep it is raining in Astoria, we didn't just paint it green. There is a 3 or more mile long path along the waterfront where I ran in the fog. I could barely make anything out though the next day, I brought my camera as it is quite beautiful. I heard what I believed to be barking seals or sea lions but was confused as the Columbia River is fresh water. I returned to the area later once the fog went away to see that they were indeed sea lions perched right outside of the canning factory. Breakfast was individual blueberry baked pancakes and fruit. Off we high-tailed it to Cannon Beach for low tide as I wanted to see the tide pools which were great and discussed previously. Everywhere we went along the coast had signs for Elk. There was supposed to be an elk herd in Ecola St. Park but no sign of them unless you consider the big pile of poop that Steve was compelled to photo.. Part of the park are rain forests so lush and green. Then several beautiful rocky beaches. See photographs from yesterday's blog..Prince of tide pools. On to the coastal town of Gearhart for a late lunch as recommended by my Portland TNBC source. Steve had his chowder; whatever I had was quite good. It is now more than a week later so I am forgetting things.

Astoria is a mix of an artists colony, working town with canneries and some touristy things. It is located in a beautiful spot, across the river from  Cape Disappointment (love that name, origin unclear. Other interesting names we found were Zig Zag and Boring). Perched on top of a 600 foot hill is the Astoria Column based on Trajan's column in Rome. It is 125 feet, 164 steps high decorated with a history of the area and surrounded on three sides by water. The fog was lifted so we had good visibility. Steve is a sucker for look-outs so up the steps we went.At the base, they sell balsa airplanes to launch at the top. You write your good wishes and watch them float through the air streams. Amazing how far they would go. A large Douglas Fir, just NW of the place was covered in planes.

Down to our B&B where I chillaxed sipping wine in the gardens. Only one hummingbird, a drab large female of a different species than the ruby-throated ones I  have (yesterday as I was adjusting my feeders, one of my females flew inches away hovering in my face. Maybe  she thought I was stealing her food). We then walked along the waterfront trying to photograph those sea lions but the sun was all wrong. We ate out on a Pier surrounded by water and the setting sun at Baked Alaska started by a young dude who grew up in Alaska and had a soup food truck  there. He has now branched beyond soup with innovative dishes. This was our big splurge. I had huge grilled scallops on top of grilled donut peaches with a nice sauce. We shared their signature dessert, Baked Alaska set afire at our table turning brown before our eyes. Inside the meringue were layers of lavender ice cream and hazelnut torte. More walking along the waterfront at sunset and back up the hill to our place. A very good day.
Downtown Astoria from the waterfront. You can see the column to the left

Waterfront with the setting sun

Spooky mansion a block away

Interesting wine guy holding the bottle we bought

The column with Lewis and Clark adventures on it

Our B&B

Cannery which we could have toured (and never eat fish again) with its interesting slogan

Murals along the trail, also a trolley that would take us one end to the other for a dollar that I never saw

Love the beer name though we didn't go there

One of my morning run shots
One of the views from the column

The blue berries were so huge I assumed they were sweet cherries

The column again. You can make out the deck on top


Inside the top

Me climbing the 164 stairs. The guy in front of me sounded like he was going to have a heart attack

Cool theater

The bridge to Cape Disappointment
More column shots (of about a hundred Steve took) Red car is ours

Sea lions  though they are so large I thought they might be female elephant seals but they move like sea lions

Weird cafe near us
Cute coffee house downtown

Trash cans featured different fish products

View in the morning heading towards the bridge
Tasty Baked Alaska dinner: Me: Scallops! Steve  salmon

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