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I know many of you will be disappointed in me for this confession, but I have to let you in on a secret: my kids had never watched “The Goonies.” They made it all the way to the ripe old ages of 6 and 10 without ever seeing the truffle shuffle. So, a few weeks ago, we had Goonies night in honor of the great Goonie anniversary this month (30 years since the film’s original release, of course). They loved it so much, we found ourselves on the road to Astoria the very next weekend.
After a two-hour drive, we began the day at the Maritime Museum. Honestly, I am not a boat person. I’m not interested in nautical anything. But I truly enjoyed the museum. Everything I learned about bar pilots and the history of the area informed the rest of the trip. It was especially important in the Flavel House Museum, an enormous Victorian home and a true American castle, built by the wealth George Flavel earned on the Columbia River.
Determined to see as much as we could, our next stop was the Astoria Column. From the top of the column we could see for miles. Rivers coalesced and turned toward the sea while valleys stretched out in the distance. Even from up there we could hear the sea lions calling.
My daughter begged us to visit the Oregon Movie Museum, so we headed to the tiny jailhouse. It is a museum primarily focused on Goonies lore and memorabilia, and while I found it a bit claustrophobic, the kids absolutely adored the place. They made their own films, watched themselves on TV, and played with the seemingly endless props.
We decided to jump on the trolley. The old wooden seats are cleverly engineered to flip in order to change direction, so you are always facing forward. While riding along the waterfront, we passed just in time to see something extraordinary: a bald eagle and a sea lion chasing the same fish. The trolley gives passengers a view of the water and town that simply isn’t visible any other way.
We took a few minutes to step into the Bumble Bee Cannery Museum, a dark industrial building out on a pier. It appears as though the workers put down their knives and left just yesterday. The machines, uniforms, and timecards create such a sense of immediacy that we felt like trespassers on the factory floor while we looked at pictures and artifacts connecting us to the women and men who toiled there.
The Heritage Museum was a fascinating look at the way the area changed from the time Lewis and Clark first set foot there until it became a bustling (often lawless) town less than a century later.
Our last stop was one of our favorites. The Uppertown Firefighters Museum doesn’t look like much. But when we went in, the retired fireman who greeted us gave us an entertaining, educational tour, allowing the kids to try out the old, shiny red trucks; the oversized, battered helmets and the polished brass bells.
Honestly, we could have spent a week in Astoria and not seen all we might want to. Which means, of course, that we’ll go back. Hope to see you there when we do!