What a day I had yesterday. Whew!
I was up in San Francisco and then some (lots of some), with full intentions of coming back home by last night...
Well that didn't quite happen. I finished up rather late and although we hit the road, exhaustion had hit and it hit rather hard. I'm not even sure where we were, but I know that we set our alarm and totally zonked out.
A couple of hours later the alarm started buzzing and shouting at us, however it somehow only woke the likes of me. But I still needed another 30 minutes or so of shut eye.
Then without any further hesitation I was in the drivers seat and we were on the road once again!
We pulled up to my driveway at just past 8am this morning.
I'll be doing a bit of baby sitting of Aurora today and a wee bit of shopping. But not much else.
Here's to a relaxing weekend!
We are back - and with better wifi than yesterday. Boy, I don't know what was up yesterday, but I struggled with my wifi all day.
I managed to get The Scoop posted, but it got pretty impossible to get everything up, so Tanya and I decided to hold back our latest Friday edition of Local Mini Road Trips and publish it today.
We made a slight change to the itinerary - shortening it a bit. Sometimes Tanya and I forget that most people enjoy a bit of relaxing, easy travel and that not everyone approaches travel like warriors - which is the case with your favorite Travelin' Cousins! Our original trip itinerary had us traveling south in Oregon from Astoria to Brandon Beach, which is an approximate 5-hour drive - one way!!. This does not, of course, include visiting and touring time.
We had to remind ourselves that these Local Mini Road Trips were not meant for folks to be in the car for long periods of time and losing precious "sight enjoyment" time.
As a result, Tanya and I switched gears and decided to break up the Oregon Coast mini road trip into a few segments, all of which will be forthcoming on our blog in the near future.
Today, we have featured the short segment from Astoria to Seaside, Oregon, which provides much to see and do and only a 30-minute distance between the two towns.
We hope you enjoy what we've put together!!
Before we move on to our Mini Road Trip story, I wanted to bring you up to date on a few new TSA rules, as we are slowly getting back to air travel as a nation. So, take note of these four new regulation changes:
4 New TSA Rules
1. Travelers Hold Onto Their Boarding Passes
Upon entering the TSA area, travelers are now required to scan their own boarding passes at security checkpoints instead of handing them over to TSA employees to examine.
2. Hand Sanitizer is Exception to Liquids Rule
Under the new rules, hand sanitizer is the new exception to the long standing 3.4 fluid ounces limit to allowable liquids brought onto the aircraft. Travelers are now allowed to pack hand sanitizer in containers up to 12 ounces, however, the hand sanitizer must be removed from luggage to pass through X-ray screening separately. All other liquids must be less than 3.4 fluid ounces.
3. Personal Items Should Not be Put Directly on Trays
Unlike in the past when passengers were required to put their personal items like cell phones, wallets and keys directly onto the security trays, now, they are required to put these items inside their bags in an effort to avoid contamination.
4. New Acrylic Barriers in Designated TSA Areas
Major airports around the country have begun installing acrylic barriers, with the goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19 between travelers and TSA agents. Designated areas where these barriers will be seen include 3TSA podiums, X-ray and secondary search areas, and at checked baggage drop-off locations.
Astoria to Seaside, Oregon | Coastal City Discoveries
Whether you are a resident of the area searching for an aesthetically pleasing getaway or a visitor to the state of Oregon, this mini road trip is sure to please. From the waterfront city of Astoria with its maritime heritage and scenic River Walk to the picturesque town of Seaside, known for its fresh seafood and historic aquarium, exploring this segment of the Oregon coast offers a respite from the demands of daily life.
Beginning your local exploration in the city of Astoria, the oldest city in the state of Oregon and the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, you’ll soon understand why it was named number 5 Best Small Towns to Visit by Smithsonian Magazine. Located a few miles from the Pacific Ocean, this delightful west coast city is full of natural beauty, lining the south banks of the Columbia River, and the north banks of Young's bay.
Depending on where you are arriving from, you might have the opportunity to cross one of Astoria’s three river crossing bridges.
A fun fact for bridge fanatics - The Astoria Bridge stretches 4.1 miles across the Columbia connecting Oregon and Washington along US 101, making it the longest bridge of its type in the world.
You’ll want to get an early start to enjoy some of the famed city sites, including the nationally acclaimed Columbia River Maritime Museum on the downtown riverfront boardwalk, which is home to one of the country's finest displays about shipwrecks, lighthouses, fishing, navigation and naval history. During your visit you can walk the bridge of a World War II warship and be part of four interactive, hands-on exhibits which include taking the helm in a tugboat wheelhouse. If you are a lover of National Historic Landmarks, like we are, then you’ll want to get up close and personal to the Columbia River Lightship situated outside the museum.
Next, head to the River Walk to take in the majesty of the Astoria waterfront. You’ll have access to 6.4 miles along the Columbia River. A leisurely walk offers an opportunity to capture some picturesque photos of the ominous ships passing by or some of the resident seabirds and sea lions that can be found moving about the area. Bicycling is another beloved way of navigating the River Walk as well. We actually love riding the newly restored Old 300 trolley to traverse the waterfront on Astoria's original train tracks between the East End Mooring Basin and West End Mooring Basin, passing by Astoria's historic working waterfront.
Having worked up an appetite touring and viewing the scenic surroundings, sit and relax for a bite to eat at one of the many local eateries. Take your pick from specialty restaurants, delis, bistros, brew pubs and coffee houses. According to Eater.com, “Just about every bar and restaurant in town is downtown along one strip; many are in reclaimed canneries or other industrial buildings, and have retained much of the original structures, with exposed bricks and stone floors, plus views of the Columbia.”
For a true seafood adventure, visit South Bay Wild Inc., with its direct sea-and-river-to-plate dining experience. This family owned combination fishing company, seafood market, and restaurant is “dedicated to harvesting high quality, sustainably caught seafood,” according to owners Rob & Tiffani Seitz. Menu options include fish tacos to Native American style seafood or vegetarian fry bread topped with red pepper tapenade and parsley chimichurri.
With your tank filled, your day is far from over as you take a short six minute drive over to the Astoria Column on Coxcomb Hill. Located at the top of Coxcomb Hill, this monument is one of the finest American tributes to those who built the West. Built in 1926 to celebrate the discovery, exploration, and settlement of the West, it was commissioned by Ralph Budd, then-president of the Great Northern Railroad at a cost of $27,133.96. The striking Column is made of concrete and measures 125-feet high, with 164 steps to climb to the observation deck which provides a panoramic view of the formidable Columbia River and the city. The grounds and park area around the Column provide a relaxing space for a late afternoon picnic.
With nightfall, drive back into town for a bite to eat before settling in for your first overnight on this mini trip. Bridgewater Bistro, a Tripadvisor 2020 Traveler’s Choice has been transformed into an inviting restaurant from one of the old canneries, with breathtaking 270 degree views of the Columbia River as well as views of the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Their menu offers a varied selection of food from salads to small plates, meats, fish and pasta and do their best to accommodate dietary restrictions from gluten-free to vegan.
Settle in for the night and stay at one of the many quaint city accommodations. Depending on your preference for a hotel stay or a quaint B&B experience, there are numerous well-ranking options on the official Astoria Oregon website from which to choose depending on your mood and needs.
Wake up on your second local mini road trip day ready to head south towards the distinctive town of Seaside. A short 30 minute drive has you at this coastal Oregon town, which has been characterized by Thrillest as getting as close as you can on the West Coast to the “windswept jaggest beaches of the British Isles.”
If your senses are still craving the charms of coastal enchantments, Seaside is a bustling little haven overflowing with the quintessential elements of a...well...a seaside town! With quaint shops, super places to eat, miles of sandy beach and a glorious 1.5 mile long oceanfront Promenade to stroll, you will not want for activities and experiences.
You may want to remember to pack your binoculars for your trip to Seaside for some spectacular birdwatching. The natural environment of this coastal town brings together open space and the ocean with a diversity of habits including wetlands, grassy dunes and fresh and saltwater ponds, making it a haven for more than 300 varieties of birds who call it home year-round and seasonally. Seasideor.com provides a wonderful PDF for birdwatching beginners.
Fill your morning with a few historic sites with a short visit to Fort Stevens State Park, a short drive from the town of Seaside. Originally built during the Civil War, Fort Stevens was the recipient of a barrage of 17 shells fired from a Japanese submarine on June 21and 22, 1942 - the only continental United States Fort to be involved in World War II. Fortunately, there was minimal damage, but makes for an interesting visit.
For a bit of historic, seafaring intrigue, make your way just to the sight of an abandoned Victorian ship. The Peter Iredale was a Victorian ship built in 1890 on its way to England. On October 25, 1906, in an effort to avoid bad weather, the ship’s captain decided to alter course towards the Columbia River. Unfortunately, due to strong winds, many of the ship’s masts were destroyed and rendered useless. The crew and two stowaways were rescued and the Peter Iredale was abandoned on Clatsop Spit near Fort Stevens in Warrenton about four miles south of the Columbia River channel. After the wreckage washed up on the shores of Fort Stevens State Park, it became an overnight attraction.
The outdoor air will surely work up your appetite, so head back to Seaside, which like many other coastal towns has built a reputation for yummy street foods like elephant ears, ice cream and salt water taffy. The town’s website boasts that there are at least 20 different chowders to be found within its eclectic dining center. Bell Buoy of Seaside has been serving up fresh seafood since 1946. This family-run restaurant boasts “boat to table” razor clams, succulent crab and fresh tuna. Walk off lunch with a stroll past the bronze sculpture depicting Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Seaman by Stanley Wanlass, sometimes called End of the Trail which was installed in 1990 and marks the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail.
A short 7-minute drive brings you to North Promenade Street to The Seaside Aquarium. Whatever your age, you will revel in the company of the resident sea creatures at this vintage aquarium, which opened in 1937 and happens to be the oldest privately owned aquarium on the West Coast. The building itself was built in 1924 serving as a salt water bath house and swimming pool named the "Seaside Baths Natatorium".
For an evening of fun, head back over to Broadway Street, only two blocks from the ocean and you’ll find yourself at the Seaside Carousel Mall. This vintage location was once the site of The Bungalow Dance Hall which opened in Seaside on June 19, 1920. For more than 20 years, it was a destination for some of the biggest names during the big band era. The likes of Duke Ellington, Bob Crosby and Glenn Miller all played there. Since 1985, the Seaside Carousel Mall has been a must-visit for tourists filled with fun, interactive games, eateries and shops and of course, carousel rides.
Settle in for the night at one of several hotels and/or B and B’s. The River Inn Seaside is a new hotel and a 2020 Tripadvisor Traveler’s choice. It has a number of amenities that can make your stay enjoyable including river view rooms of the Necanicum River , a salt water pool, ready-to-borrow beach cruisers, complimentary breakfast, Fitness Room, complimentary bike rentals, complementary cookies upon check-in and it is also pet friendly if you are bringing Fido along. Best part is that it is only one block from downtown and two blocks from the beach.
Wake up to the sea air of Seaside and take a walk along the beach before heading back to Astoria where you can walk around, grab a bite to eat or do a bit of shopping on your last day of your mini road trip before heading home refreshed!
Happy Road Trippin,
Elisa and Tanya