We arrived in Seaside mid-afternoon, and decided to head into town after setting up the RV. We haven’t visited many resort towns in the off season, and we have to say, it is a nice experience! Less amenities are open, however the crowds are non-existent and we had the beach to ourselves. We arrived a bit before sunset, and were able to capture the sun sinking over the horizon while the kids ran around on the beach. It is moments like these that make us so happy to be doing what we are doing!
Our visit to Astoria the following day was all about the The Goonies! Dominic planned out a Goonies tour ahead of time, which started with a visit to the Flavel House Museum (where Mikey’s father works in the movie). The Flavel House is a gorgeous Queen Anne style house built in 1886 for Captain George Flavel and his family. The museum felt a bit like stepping back in time, not all of the furniture was original to the house, but it was authentic for the period, and often came from family members or additional residences owned by the family. It was fun visiting the kitchen, to see how food prep would have been done back in the day!
We purchased a Museum Pass at the Flavel House Museum, which included our next stop, the Oregon Film Museum (otherwise known as the prison in the Goonies!) We were able to tour a couple of locations in the film, along with learning about other movies filmed in the area (The Shining, The Ring, other non-horror related films). Who knew Astoria was such a hotspot for film? We found out about The Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe from the woman working at the Film Museum, and elected to head over for lunch. We try to pack lunches as our usual course of action, but we were glad we had slacked off that day, as The Blue Scorcher was fantastic! In addition to a fabulous menu (including a delicious Tempeh Reuben on gluten free bread) they also had a kids play area and a lovely honey and cardamom latte. We loved their focus on local and organic foods, such an awesome spot!
We had driven past the Astoria Co-Op Grocery en route to the cafe, and made a grocery pit stop after lunch. Adele had been asking for elderberry syrup, so we were pretty thrilled to find dried elderberries in the bulk herb section! We love being able to find so many great local food shops with a focus on organic and locally sourced foods. Knowing where our food comes from is really important to us, and we are happy to be able to continue focusing on conscious consumerism while traveling.
We finished our Museum Pass with a visit to the local Heritage Museum. We had no idea that clowns were a thing in Astoria! We also discovered that Clark Gable got his start at a local theatre, that the red light district was hopping back in the day, and also learned about First Nations in the area. Very cool indeed! It wasn’t a stop on our list, but thanks to the Museum Pass we found a really great spot!
Our next stop was also not on our list, but was well worth a visit - the Astoria Column! Both Juliette and Armand required a bit of motivational speaking going up the massive staircase - Juliette due to fear of heights and Armand due to the sheer number of steps! They are both proud to report that they did it - and Juliette managed to ease along the wall far enough to launch a wooden plane off the top (provided to us by the visitor’s centre below!) It took an hour or so for the nausea to subside afterwards, but full marks for doing it anyway! The view from up top was spectacular, especially with the sun beginning to set over the horizon.
We drove by the street with the Goonies house (no drive or walk by’s allowed) and then made our way to Pier 39, for one last stop to see the resident Sea Lions in action. We learned about this pier earlier that day while chatting with the lady manning the Heritage Museum. While we were standing on the pier soaking in the view (and very rambunctious audio, aka barking) we met Big Tom Hilton, who works with Hanthorn Crab Co. Our visit with him was so fantastic, we learned all about crab fishing and took a walk through the on site fishing museum (provided by Bumble Bee Cannery) after an impromptu tour with Tom. So much fun! We have found that impromptu visits and meetings are often the most fun. Finding something special when you least expect it is pretty awesome indeed.
We completed our Goonies tour the next morning before heading further south. It included a drive through Ecola State Park where the Goonies bike down to the coast and a visit to Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock where most of the oceanside scenes were shot.
Astoria was a pretty fantastic town, we would definitely be up for a return visit at some point!
Seaside & Astoria Highlights
Seaside Beachfront - the beach at Seaside is spectacular, expanding for miles along the waterfront. We happened upon it at sunset, a very beautiful time to be down there! If you are in to all things Spooktacular, it is worth noting that the Oregon Ghost Conference is coming to Seaside March 31 - April 2. Information can be found in the Seaside link attached to this blurb. All other highlights are in Astoria, as our time in Seaside was brief.
Museum Pass - We took advantage of the Museum Pass, available for purchase at (and including visits to) the Flavel House Museum, The Oregon Film Museum and the Astoria Heritage Museum. Sadly there is no website available for the pass, but at the time of writing the pass is available at each of the museums listed above.
Flavel House Museum - this fully restored Queen Anne style house dates back to 1886 and it is spectacular! The detailed craftsmanship that went into all of the woodwork and fine details is pretty incredible. We really enjoyed reading about the history of the house and the people who lived there. It felt just like stepping back in time!
Oregon Film Museum - The Oregon Film museum is focused mainly on The Goonies, but also gives a nod to other films made in the area (including The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Ring). They have a funky production room where you can film your own scenes!
Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe - This was one of the trip highlights for us (did I mention we are all about the food?) The Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe is a locally run, organic & locally sourced food co-op that features a delicious menu featuring a wide range of options, many of which accommodate both vegan and gluten free diets. Their gluten free bread is the best we've had to date. The meals are whole food centered and delicious. We honestly can't recommend this lovely spot enough! Did we mention that they have a great play area for the kids?
Astoria Co-Op Grocery - We loved this grocery store, just around the corner from the Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe. They have a great selection of organic produce, plus a bulk bin section of herbs and spices - including dried elderberries! It is a fantastic spot, and if you bring your own bag the shop will make a donation to local charities (you get to pick which one using the bean given to you upon checking out!)
Heritage Museum - housed in Astoria's old city hall, the Heritage Museum is run by the Clatsop County Heritage Society (which is also in charge of the Flavel House Museum). We visited displays depicting First Nations history, first settlers, the local clown troupe and even a very interesting (but perhaps more adult) display talking about the local red light district. It made for a very fun afternoon!
Astoria Column - The Astoria Column offers a breathtaking (if also terrifying, for those afraid of heights) view from the top of _____ stairs. The horizon stretches on for miles, affording you a beautiful view of the town and surrounding ocean.
Pier 39 - home to the Hanthorn Crab Company and a fishing museum established by Bumble Bee Cannery, Pier 39 is a very cool stop. Did we mention that there is a sea lion colony just off the pier? They are a chatty bunch, and conceded to allow us to take some photos of them preening on the rocks.
Ecola State Park - a lovely state park, with lots of hiking trails and gorgeous views of Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.