We had planned to spend one night at Fort Stevens State Park, then move south to Portland the following day. But when we got a glimpse of the small town of Astoria, Oregon on our way to the campground, we decided to stay there an extra night and postpone Portland to the following day.
Before I share about our day in Astoria, two camping-related notes:
- At the Fort Stevens State Park campground we encountered a weird and frustrating problem related to the (free!) hot water showers. I don’t know if this is a common issue or if we just got lucky, but on three separate occasions we went to take showers and there was no hot water because someone had turned on several of the showers and just left them running. The first time it happened, Ryan actually caught several small children running in and out of the showers, turning them all on. Another time we saw a random dude exit the shower facilities, leaving the water running behind him. I’m curious to see if we encounter it again at other Oregon state parks.
- We car camped again both nights at Fort Stevens, and once we’d learned how to thwart the killer raccoons, it was a great experience. The car kept temperatures quite comfortable, and it was much roomier than the tent. One night we even had a movie night using the Tahoe’s backseat DVD player, which was pretty fun. I’ll let Ryan write a longer post about our setup and process, but in the meantime: Two thumbs up to car camping.
Now — our day in Astoria!
We started by getting a couple hours of work done at the 3 Cups Coffee House in downtown. This was a beautiful relaxing space with great coffee and very friendly staff.
Next stop: The Flavel House Museum, a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian home built in 1885. The home was built by Captain George Flavel, an influential Astorian who made his fortune guiding ships across the treacherous sand bars between the Oregon Coast and the Columbia River. The house is 11,600 square feet, has 14-foot ceilings, and stunning detail work.
Next it was on to downtown Astoria to check out Main Street and grab lunch. After wandering through many antique shops and bookstores, we settled on lunch at the waterfront restaurant Baked Alaska. We were not disappointed in our choice — it took us about 20 minutes to choose what to order because everything looked so delicious. (Ryan settled on fish and chips, while I enjoyed a gluten-free pizza with spicy red sauce and fresh mozzarella.)
Our last sightseeing stop in Astoria was the Astoria Column. The 125-foot column stands at the top of the city, with tremendous views of the Columbia River, Young’s Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. Inside the column is a 164-step spiral staircase ascending to an observation deck at the top. The exterior of the column is a hand-painted spiral frieze detailing important moments in Astoria’s history.
There was still much more we could have explored in Astoria, but we had a date with the beach, the sunset, and a bottle of wine. We drove the car back down to the beach, popped open the hatchback, and relaxed on our air mattresses while watching the sun go down … the perfect ending to a lovely day.