Impromptu Oregon Coast Adventure (Part 1)


August 13, 2014 by Terumi

astoria column

I’d like to think our recent trip to the Oregon Coast was totally impromptu but as with most trips I have dreamed up in my head, this one was in the making for a while.  The only problem was we didn’t book far enough ahead, so the hotels I thought we’d stay at were all booked up.  But that wasn’t really a deterrent and I found last-minute accommodation in Seaside so we headed out early that morning to make the most of our day.

The brilliant thing about traveling with kids who are not babies anymore is that we don’t really need to stop as much as we used to and we made it as far as some gas station in Kelso where everyone else and their kids were running in to use the bathrooms too.

coffee girl, a unique coffee shop in Astoria, Oregonthe Coffee Girl in Astoria Oregon

And then we drove up to Astoria where I had decided on three things we were definitely going to see.  I wanted to have coffee at Coffee Girl because it was in an old Bumblebee cannery and apparently the oldest cannery in the west.  (I have a fondness for canneries-my parents met when they were teenagers working in one!)


cute little cacti in a coffee cupIMG_5199IMG_5195coffee girl

This museum was teeny and cool and I think this made this coffee shop one of the neatest coffee shops I’ve visited.  It was fun just to drive up to it on the dock and wander around, and the sandwiches and coffee were quite good too!sandwich at the coffee girl

We heard barking off the dock and realized there were seals nearby, so we walked across the railroad tracks to go and see them.  (Next time we’re totally riding the trolley when we visit!)  It was neat to see all these giant seals in the wild and we I could have stayed there for hours.

seals seals on the pier in Astoria

I also wanted to see the Goonies’ House and discovered that my husband has NOT seen this movie yet so we’re totally watching it when Sharkweek is over.  (Did anyone watch the episode with Submarine???!!  Yikes!)

goonies house goonies house

And thanks to Kate Spiller from the site Wild tales of I decided that we needed to go to the Astoria Column. I adore Kate and her adventures with her husband and her little guy, so when she posted a photo of this column thing you can climb and throw planes off of I thought it would be the awesome-est thing ever. We followed the painted road-signs to the park (It’s $2 to park) and we found the little gift shop where we bought four balsam wood planes for a dollar each.

astoria columnastoria column

I don’t think I really understood how skinny this tower actually was when I first saw it in pictures and I think I imagined it more like the tower in Volunteer Park in Seattle.astoria column with kidsat the top of the Astoria Column

But it is totally different.  This tower is skinny enough only for a small spiral staircase to wind it’s way up to the top and you use the same staircase to get back down along with anyone else coming up or going down.  And it’s not the most solid-looking stairway in the world.

throwing planes off the top of the Astoria Column

Kate, I may have cursed you a little, seeing as heights, tight spaces and fragile-feeling stairways are not my forte, but I am also absolutely thankful that I saw your post and I climbed this tower thing.  You made me the coolest mom ever that day and knowing that you did it carrying a little toddler all by yourself pushed me to inch my way hand over hand on the railing up and down the stairs and despite ending this journey in a pool of sweat and shakes, I felt totally exhilarated and I may even do it again one day.

This adventure tided me over until we arrived in Seaside, where we were greeted with a noxious smell and I was worried we had picked a horrible place to stay.  It turns out that we had timed our visit with a massive die-off of anchovies.

watching the volleyball tournament in Seaside IMG_5181 strolling the streets in Seaside Oregon volleyball tournament in Seaside, Oregon

Who knew anchovies could cause such drama and smell?  But it was such a good time to be in Seaside because there was a giant volleyball tournament happening too.  The rest of Seaside was lovely and quaint with probably more saltwater taffy stores than anywhere in the world. We enjoyed a little time walking around, hanging out at the beach and resting up from our journey and storing up energy for our next days’ adventure.  It has to do with puffins and it has to do with getting to Cannon Beach before 7:30am.  (And I’ll tell you the rest of the story in Part 2)

Have you been to Astoria or Seaside?  Any tips for next time?


  1. Kate says:

    haha! Love that you guys made it to Astoria Column crazy spiral stairs and all! So glad your little guys enjoyed it–so much fun 🙂

    • Terumi says:

      I’m seriously glad you posted that Astoria Column pic. It was terrifying but awesome, and I’m also totally excited about your upcoming adventures too-Congrats:)

  2. What a great adventure for you guys even if it was an impromptu one. Love that Astoria Column and such a perfect place for throwing planes. That’s such a neat idea and looks so fun. I was such a big Goonies fan and would have loved to see the house. It now reminds me that I should introduce this classic to my kids. We haven’t been to the Oregon coast yet but this is a lovely inspiration.

  3. […] that might have been what set this whole trip off in the first place and all the while that we drove through Astoria and Seaside, I could only think of seeing my favorite puffins in the […]

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