In June, Dan and I took a one-night road trip from Portland to Astoria. We had visited Astoria in the past, primarily so that I could see the filming locations for my favorite childhood movie, The Goonies. You can check out that blog trip report here.
We embarked on this trip with a hotel booked, but with no specific touring plans for Astoria. We just wanted to explore the town and check out the things that we had missed on our previous visit.
We set out on a Friday evening, as soon as Dan was finished with work. Unfortunately, it was during rush-hour, so progress getting out of the city was slow. Astoria is in Oregon, but our route had us cross over to Washington state, where we stopped for Dairy Queen Blizzards. This was Dan’s first visit to a Dairy Queen! For bonus points, it was located in a small town with signs displaying the mascots of the local high school teams. Even though we live in a smaller town currently, I’m still very much a city-girl and I get a kick out of small town life.
Most of our drive was during the waning daylight. We drove across a huge bridge that took us back into Oregon state. We also stopped at a scenic point for sunset snaps.
Our hotel was the Hampton Inn Astoria, located right on the water.
We have been primarily staying at Hilton properties to build up Hilton Honors Points and we’ve become very aware of the various Hilton brands. This Hampton Inn was a little older and grander than the average Hampton Inn. I don’t know for sure, but my gut tells me that this was not originally a Hampton Inn.
My favorite aspect of this hotel was the sea lions warning sign at the check-in desk.
I was disappointed when we didn’t get a room facing the water. Normally, I’m not too fussed about views, but I would have loved to have seen the sea lions. I wanted them to sing the song of their people to me! To be fair, they were noisy when we walked outside. Very noisy. I didn’t realize it until we checked-out of the hotel, but we were actually given a room that faced the Walsh house from The Goonies. It was dark when we arrived, so I never noticed it, but I should have been geeking-out!
Our hotel was just a short walk, over train tracks and along a pier, to the Rogue Public House, where we ate dinner.
The Rouge Public House is an Oregon staple. Their beer, which is delicious, is sold everywhere in Oregon. The restaurant itself was dead for a Friday night. We were among only a handful of patrons and it was empty when we left. Still full on Blizzards, we stuck with a bowl of clam chowder each and shared smothered fries. The fries were amazing and the portion was enormous; enough for six people. What the Rogue Public House lacked in atmosphere, it more than made up for with delicious nibbles, cold beer, and attentive service.
Hampton Inn’s have decent breakfast buffets, but in efforts to enjoy Astoria, we skipped the hotel breakfast and left early to hit the town.
Our first stop was the Astoria Column. Located on the top of a hill, the Astoria Column is a tower, which you can climb a narrow, spiral staircase to be rewarded with amazing views of the city. This historic landmark was built in 1926 and is 126 feet tall. The exterior is decorated with a mural that depicts key moments in Oregon’s history.
Views from the top!
Access to the Astoria Column is free, but there is a five dollar parking fee, which actually gives you parking access for an entire year. Make sure to visit the gift shop before you walk up the column, to purchase a small wooden glider to launch off the tower. Ask for tips to make your plane glide further than those of your friends and family. My husband sneakily got the inside scoop and his glider really traveled!
Downtown Astoria is quaint. It is filled with antique and specialty stores. It also has the oldest and smallest JC Penney’s that I’ve ever seen!
For breakfast, we landed at the Blue Scorcher Bakery Cafe. It was jammed and based on its popularity, we decided to give it a try. Oh my goodness, it was delicious. I had an enormous breakfast burrito that I am still craving. If we lived in Astoria, we would be regulars. Great food and an utterly charming ambiance.
Keep an eye out for my next Astoria post, all about our afternoon spent at Astoria’s Columbia River Maritime Museum.