Tuesday, June 12 – We visited our last town of the rugged Oregon Coast today – ASTORIA.
It wasn't the most perfect day, weather wise, but a little fog and drizzle makes for a good hair day! Photos from today are a bit blurry and rain covered.
Located on the northwestern tip of Oregon, Fort Stevens is a 2800-acre State Park.
The Fort Stevens Military Museum and Visitors Center contains displays and artifacts spanning the history of the Fort.
We really enjoyed the old photographs of the Fort during WWII and an HO train model of the entire Fort. Its geographic location at the mouth of the Columbia River has added to its importance as a defensive position during the American Civil War and especially WWII. It actually was shelled by the Japanese in the early days of WWII, being the only military installation in the lower 48 to be attacked by a foreign power since the War of 1812.
Much of the military equipment has been stripped form the Fort since the War, but they are currently re-building one of the 10 inch guns on the West Battery.
The entire grounds are open to visitors, and we were able to venture on a self-guided tour of the Fort or ride on a converted army truck through the grounds. The truck is currently under the weather awaiting repair. There are signs on all the building remains, and a map to explain all the areas of the Fort.
Almost forgot to tell you that since we stayed in an Oregon State Park, we got in FREE to any all State Parks during our stay. We just left the ticket on our mirror and that gained us access to the Park. Thank you Oregon!
We then moved a couple miles down the mouth of the Columbia River to the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The Visitors Center is very interesting where we watched a film covering the Corps of Discovery, viewed historical artifacts, and learned about this most interesting time in American history. What an amazing accomplishment for these early American explorers.
This is a recreated Fort where the Corps of Discovery (the Lewis and Clark Expedition) lived from December 1805 to March 1806. Here at the end of their 4,000 mile trek across the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, the Corps spent the winter before their journey home.
One of the interesting facts we learned was about the maps prepared by Lewis and Clark. After their 4000-mile journey, using only a compass to prepare their maps, they were able to construct very accurate maps that when compared to modern day maps are only 40-miles off. Pretty amazing!
Next was the Port of Astoria, a very busy seaport for local fishing fleets and huge ocean going ships waiting to sail down the Columbia River to Portland. From here you can see the famous Astoria-Megler Bridge.
The Astoria-Megler Bridge stretches 4.1 miles from Astoria, Oregon, across the mouth of the Columbia River to Point Ellice, Washington. The bridge contains the longest continuous three-span through-truss in the world. When completed on August 27, 1966, the bridge completed US-101 as an unbroken link between the Canadian and Mexican borders. Today, about 6,000 cars a day cross the Astoria-Megler Bridge without paying a toll.
Continuing our sightseeing, come rain or shine, we drove around Astoria admiring many of the Victorian style homes in this historical city.
The homes are built on the hillside reminding us of the steep streets of San Francisco. These residents sure don't have to worry about a Tsunami, that's for sure!
At the top of this wind-swept hill is the Astoria Column. No visit to the North Coast would be complete without a stop here. Standing 125 feet tall atop Coxcomb Hill, the Column offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Oregon and Washington coast mountain ranges, Columbia River and the city of Astoria.
This one-of-a-kind structure, built in 1926, has 14 different scenes, each 25 feet long, representing triumphs, conflicts and turning points of the Pacific Northwest.
The artwork is known as Sgraffito, an Italian art form that combines carving and painting into the concrete structure. More than 400,000 visitors a year visit this unique memorial.
There are 164 spiral steps available for climbing to the top of the column to enjoy the view of the area. Being foggy (That's our story and we're sticking to it.), we choose not to climb the tower and instead, enjoyed the stunting view from ground level.
Our final stop of the day was the Silver Salmon Grille in downtown Astoria for a late lunch.
One of our Blog readers recommend this stop for our chowder tasting-tour. You can eat in the fabulous restaurant or the historical lounge.
We choose the lounge, with its hand-carved 1880's back bar, for our taste test.
Paul choose the regular Clam Chowder, and Marsha selected the soup of the day – Sturgeon, Smoked-Salmon, and Halibut Chowder. They were both excellent! We both agreed the Silver Salmon Grille is our FAVORITE CHOWDER on the Oregon Coast!
Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!