Wandering the Waterfront of Astoria, N. Oregon Coast
Astoria, Warrenton, Gearhart Virtual Tour
(Astoria, Oregon) – Few places ooze history like the north Oregon coast town of Astoria. In fact, it probably screams history in a multitude of ways. More than just the proliferation of historical museums, the rusty and rugged remnants of the last two centuries abound in its architecture and numerous other objects found in the water and on land.
Case in point: Astoria's waterfront – really the northern and western edge of the town. And there's miles of it. The retro vibes of the bayfront and riverfront are real – not just the remodeled pathways, walkways and trolley tracks that give the place a further sense of history and which were created relatively recently. No, indeed, those plentiful pilings that line the river views here are the actual leftovers from bygone eras, some as late as the 80's.
Meander along this waterfront and you'll encounter a bevy of surprises. All these docks, for one. There are not only a lot of them, but some are still used and some are the decaying foundations of once-prominent businesses or functions. Most of them now serve the purpose of either hosting historical ships or to house historical-themed businesses, from upscale hotels to restaurants and shops of all manner and variety. Wandering in and out of these is like visiting a small labyrinth of the fun and funky.
The disintegrating docks provide some very real atmosphere to this north Oregon coast hotspot, showing the town is not all commercially geared but can give you a true, time traveling experience, even if it is merely wondering about what that waterlogged platform or structure would say if it could talk.
Most engaging, however, can be those pilings (although this one no longer exists). Now the lonely reminders of the town's once-flourishing fish canning industry, they stretch out through the waters and mudflats here, as if to reach towards the huge passing vessels wandering in and out of the Columbia River. Some were docks for boats or simply for fishermen to cast their nets. Others held up huge canneries and the long, snaking walkways that meandered between them.
Other parts of the walkways here instantly remind one of the waterways of Venice – albeit an Americana version of them. (This view is gone because of fire years before)
One of the more prominent features here are the viewing areas at the bottom of 6th, 14th and 17th streets. The 6th street platform is the most interesting in many ways, although parts of the area burned a decade ago. The viewing platform is still around. Other spots around Astoria's waterfront – although not elevated – still provide a ton of fascinating sights. (This exact view is no longer there as well)
Astoria is about a 25-minute drive from hotspots like Cannon Beach or Seaside, and about two hours from Portland.