Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lovely day in Astoria

Even though we spent a day in Astoria over spring break (in March), we decided to return for another visit last week--on Christopher's 15th birthday no less. Chris had a hankering for the Wet Dog Cafe again.
First we started off the day at Fort Clatsop--we all had a strong feeling that the "cousins" would love the fort like our kids did, and Kieran and Nick were anxious to share their Lewis & Clark reenactments. Much to Nick's dismay, they had dismantled the "try-on-the-Lewis & Clark-costumes" exhibit, but never fear! Nick had brought along his trusty coonskin cap (with a firefighter coat), so all was not lost!

Last time we visited, the kids climbed all over this bronze statue.
Later my sister saw them doing that and said she didn't think it was okay.
The boys informed her that it was, because Aunty Marie said it was okay.
They asked one of the rangers, though, and were told it was NOT okay. Aunty Marie, Strike One!
The fort had far more activities going on because of the summer season. Fun, fun, fun for kids!!
They got to try their hand at writing with ink quills and powdered ink

They had staff dressed up in authentic period clothing, doing demonstrations and answering questions about the Lewis & Clark exhibition. This young woman was a history minor, and her prescription spectacles were specially made and authentic to the period!
Nick was quite taken with this process!
At 1:00, we attended a demonstration of tools and weapons led by this highly engaging park ranger, dressed in period gear. He taught elementary school for 30 years, and that was not surprising! He asked for volunteers and no surprise--Kieran was chosen.

Their mission: to shoot a grizzly bear!

Lining up

Taking a shot
After the kids had fun pretending to shoot the offending grizzly, the ranger and an assistant actually demonstrated the firing of a period rifle. Very exciting!
At first, I had the kids scramble up on this log for a photo op.
However, a ranger came scuttling out to tell them to get off because of the "danger."
Aunty Marie, Strike Two!!
Then it was off to lunch at the Wet Dog Cafe, where Chris wisely did not order the insanely spicy "Hot Chicks" burger and was able to enjoy his food much more! Again I had the grilled halibut burger and again I loved it. The waiter brought a birthday sundae, too!

Drat! They were out of Bitter Bitch, so I had to settle for a Guinness!
Then we walked along the Astoria waterfront. While we were at lunch, the skies miraculously cleared up and the sun came out. Hooray!

While hanging out on the waterfront, we could see the Astoria Column up on the top of the hill. According to my Mapquest, it was less than 2 miles away (but all uphill). We told the kids that we were going to hike all the way up there. Interesting, because my kids believed their aunt, and her kids believed me. I guess they thought that aunts never lie!! They were quite relieved when we told them we would be driving. And they didn't appreciate our little joke--imagine!

Apparently, my parents took us to the column when we were kids, but I had no memory of it. It was amazing, and I highly recommend the trip for anyone who visits Astoria and is lucky to have a clear day. (The city was clouded over in March.)
The column has murals of Robert Gray's voyage of exploration
(Chris went to a middle school named after Robert Gray)

The panormic view--after climbing 164 steps--was phenomenal!
It's a good thing I've been walking up and down 7 flights of stairs at work recently!

Unfortunately, my camera batteries had died so these are poor-quality iPhone photos


The other side of the column
You can purchase gliders and fly them off the top. Kieran caught a few as they came down!

After leaving the column, we did a bit of shopping for birthday cake at the Warrenton Costco (which I love--no one was there!!!) and stopped by the Carter's Outlet in Seaside.

Celebrating Chris' 15th birthday with tiramisu cake

Happy boy

We also celebrated Nick's birthday early

He was so happy to be with his beloved cousins
(who gave him a bagful of their Thomas trains, which he loved)

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