Sense of Place – Astoria, Oregon

chowder

With no destination in mind – but with a firm desire to road trip – I left my last meeting on Friday with only the open road before me.  I had to get home from Dash Point, Washington to Portland.  This is a quarterly trip so I was used to the routine of getting on I-5 south.  Part of me wanted to get home and be a responsible leaf-raking home owner.

For no reason that I can explain, just north of Centralia I veered off the freeway and headed to the coast.  Ironically – the retreat I had been just attending was all about decision making. My head was full of ethical discernments.  This was spontaneous – absolutely no discerning other than seeing a road sign saying “Aberdeen/Raymond” next exit.

Taking all the anticipation out of this road trip tale – I ended up in Astoria, Oregon for 2 days.  Best decision I have made in quite some time – I must have learned something at that retreat.

Some of the highlights:

Early morning photo shooting in Astoria and exploring this wonderful and historic town – founded in 1811!

cannery
Early morning at the Cannery Hotel

Wave watching at Cape Disappointment (not disappointing!!)

capediswave2

Buoy Beer for dinner

buoy-beer

And finally, there is this little church about 2 miles west of the Astoria Megler bridge on the way to Ilwaco, Washington that I have passed a hundred times.  It’s in the middle of nowhere but is beautiful in its simplicity and isolation.  I have regretted never stopping and learning the story of this church by the sea.  I stopped.

stmarys
St. Mary’s Church, McGowan, Washington

History fans (I am one!) should read Peter Stark’s Astoria – recently released in paperback – for a closer look at the early years of Astoria.

Astoria has transformed from river city with an economy and industry (most significantly fish canneries) reliant on the Columbia River – to an artistic corner of Oregon – focused on tourism and the two mainstays of Oregon – beer and coffee.

The Columbia River is still a strong force.  Cargo ships provide entertainment as their huge hulks pass by the waterfront. And the nautical history is never far away – including the Flavel House Museum (George Flavel was the Columbia’s first river pilot back in 1850).  But you are more likely to see Willapa Bay Oysters featured on area menu’s than Columbia River salmon.

ship

9 thoughts on “Sense of Place – Astoria, Oregon”

  1. Hi. Thanks for following my blog and I’m glad to find yours. I love the Cape Disappointment waves (I wonder why it’s called that?). You can almost hear the roar of the wave as it crashes onto the rocks. Looking forward to reading your future posts.

    Like

    1. Denzil – thank you for your kind comment. I love that we can share our mutual homelands even though we live far apart. Cape Disappointment was named by a fur trader sailing down from Vancouver Island – who was hoping to find the mouth of the Columbia River. He turned around at the cape in disappointment. Little did he know that the Columbia was just around the Cape.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love that town! We go to stay at the Cannery Pier hotel for our blog last winter. If you haven’t been inside, it’s worth going in just to look at all the old pics on the walls. Great hotel, too.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s