Tag Archives: astoria

Today in Canned Things: Astoria and Cape Disappointment

So, Lewis and Clark.

They came, they saw, they all got malaria. The Northwest is filthy with L&C landmarks. You can’t spit without hitting the Historic Place Where Clark Peed Himself That One Time. I admit, I’m a sucker for it. There’s something so fascinating about this wildly optimistic, mistake-riddled journey. Something, dare I say, so American.

Right, enough of that. Let’s get some fish.

Along with our Flavel House visit a couple weeks back, Yean and I hit up some of Astoria’s more accessible tourist attractions.

I’m pretty sure this jail was still in use. But oh, what a historic treat for the inmates. I hear the drunk tank even has original fireplaces. Or maybe I’m thinking of the Flavel House next door.

I like to do this thing when I take pictures. Someone once told be it was only good to take a landscape photo if there were people in it. It makes sense, when paging through picture after picture of indistinguishable ocean views. So when Yean and I are admiring a view, I like to back up a few paces and take a picture of her looking pensive and thoughtful.

This is the view from the Ship Inn, where we had a late lunch/early dinner (henceforth referred to as “linner”) of oyster fish and chips. Oh my God. It was so good. I like that right away they ask you if you want lemon and extra tartar sauce, which is fantastic. We had a bit of trouble finding it at first, but discovered that if you so much as mention it to a local they’ll give you detailed directions, along with a gushing “mmm!” noise and a mini-review of the food.

Did you know there’s a Pier 39 in Astoria? And you can shop there? Well, there is and you can. There’s a little area with a couple surf/kayak shops, a nice but touristy bar, a cute coffee shop and a little free museum where the old cannery used to be. I’m also so into old canneries, even though it’s a dying industry and there are tricky sustainability issues. But this place was fascinating, and a little creepy. In one room there was a random tv turned to static, with a radio recording about canning blasting in the background. I tried to capture the Ring like quality.

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Also, there was this.

And this.

Hey, uh…soo…why do ya think they called him, uh…um. Well. Let’s not go there.

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Astoria’s Flavel House – Why is this not my house?

I’m sure there are a lot of complex psychological reasons behind my need to torture myself with things I’ll never afford, but now is not the time for that! Now is the time for pretty, pretty pictures of pretty, pretty houses. That some guy lived in a long time ago. I think his name was Flavel?

Ah yes! The Flavel House Museum, in Astoria, Oregon, which is a good place to learn about history and architecture and also a nice place to go if you’re bored and it’s too hot in Portland. I day-tripped out there a couple weeks ago with my sister lovely Yean for some fresh sea air and fresh sea…food, which they also have a lot of. I’ve got a general Astoria post in the works but first I’ll talk about the highlight of our trip, the Flavel House (which I think is pronounced flah-VELL, even though I’ve been rhyming it with “waffle.”)

This hallway was totally haunted

This hallway was totally haunted

Yean’s a sucker for old-timey home decor, and I’m a sucker for old-timey kitchens and also possibly haunted places, so we ended up having a blast despite our shared fear of breaking something expensive. Plus we’d both just read Victorian-era romance novels and now we want a historical romance set on the West Coast. He would be a rich frontier businessman and she would be the heiress to a cannery. Someone could even get shanghaied. Think of the fish-related shananigans!

Where the magic evidently happened

Literary cliches aside, the Flavel House has been lovingly restored, with original fireplaces and woodwork shining like new and period-appropriate furniture adorning the massive rooms. Compared to wealthier towns it’s rather modest, but for 19th century Astoria, this place was the shit.

This little gem was in one of the guest rooms, next to a diorama of stuffed dead birds and dried flowers under glass. I’m not entirely sure what was up with the hair wreath. Maybe people were just thriftier with their hairballs back in the day. Modern crafters have felt and faux fur and baby alpaca yarn to work with…these people had hair. Go fig.

I was probably more enchanted with the kitchen than I should have been. But hey, I’d just read Sherry Thomas’ Delicious and I was imagining it as the Kitchen Of Magical Sexing.

I think I might start a rolling pin collection. They're handy in the kitchen and useful in case of a zombie attack.

I wish I’d gotten more pictures, but it was quite dark inside to protect the furniture and flash photography wasn’t allowed. We got a dollar off the ticket price for having a AAA card, so for four bucks each it’s not a bad way to spend the afternoon. I’d say it’s worth it just to pace in front of the massive fireplaces pretending to be a brooding man of the house, which I totally did. Also the Historical Society must have figured that after all these roped off rooms and no-touchy rules, people, especially kids, would need a place to go nuts, so they dedicated the nursery to being the interactive learning room. I thought it was a nice way to sidestep the creepier aspects of antique toys, but clearly there was some sort of supernatural force at work anyway. Look what it did to Yean:

I don’t think that chair is period appropriate. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw it at Fred Meyer last week.

Flavel House Museum
corner of 8th and Duane st.
Astoria, OR 97103
503-325-2203

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