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A Narrator in Your Ear: Immersive Tour of N. Oregon Coast's Astoria Released

Published 04/27/22 at 5:45 M PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

A Narrator in Your Ear: Immersive Tour of N. Oregon Coast's Astoria Released

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(Astoria, Oregon) – It's not hard to walk around the atmospheric north Oregon coast burgh of Astoria and wonder about the past. Just about every building downtown and in the Uniontown district has a distinctive historic vibe and sense of being a colorful character in itself.

They are in fact full of stories, and now you can walk around with a storyteller in your ear, talking about the local history and the tales of various stops along the way. A company called Go Wild: North Coast just released a self-guided walking tour of Uniontown, where you download the small app to a computer, tablet or cell phone and let the storytelling commence. You can do so at home, far away from Astoria, but owner / creator Dan Sizer says it's really much more fun to make it a real experience by walking the place in person and then stopping at the pinned spots to listen to their story.

It's a tour of “Finns, fishing, persistence, innovation, and rebellion in Astoria, Oregon's Uniontown,” Sizer said. Once purchased it's delivered to your device. As you walk through town you get to see before and after photos as well as listen to the narration. However, there is an added benefit of pounding the pavement: tour recipients earn exclusive deals at five local shops in Uniontown and at Finnware in downtown Astoria. 5% off all proceeds are donated to the Clatsop County Historical Society.

Sizer also owns Go Wild: American Adventures, which specializes in developing similar self-guided tours for other little towns, having done so for a walking and tasting tour of Baker City. The pandemic came and shut that one down, so to fill time and yet expand he created others. He wanted to come up with some sort of aspect to this that could still access the history for travelers while also providing a physical walking experience, making these doable during quarantines.


Finnish Socialist gathering in 1922

Thus the idea of the self-guided tour was born.

Inspiration also struck when he moved to the north Oregon coast town at the beginning of the pandemic.

Each of these tours takes more than six months to research and then many more to finally launch them.

“I let the history speak for itself,” Sizer said. “There are so many wild things that happened in early Oregon and especially in Astoria, that I don’t feel the need to embellish.”

If you want drama and a glimpse into crazy times, this north Oregon coast town has plenty.

Adding incentives for discounts at local shops was another interesting lightning strike of inspiration.

Sizer said he encountered numerous surprises in researching the tour, including the old world of Finland and how immigrants worked their way through the new world, including cultural aspects such as the saunas and even politics.

“This last point was particularly interesting - how experiences in Finland and movements taking place in Europe and the US influenced the socialist bent many Finns took once in Astoria,” he said. “The goals of socialist Finns in Astoria and how much those differed from the perception of 'socialism' by Astorians was particularly noteworthy. Also, how Finnish socialism made a space for the Ghadar Party revolution to be possible was a finding that struck me as – wow - more people need to know about this.”

He was also struck by how in some ways not much had changed in 100 years.

The Astoria Uniontown Walking Tour is currently going for $14.99, a discounted rate as some things about the tour are still in development and improvements or changes may be made. You simply go to https://www.gowildnorthcoast.com/ to make the purchase and then download from there.

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