You Goonie!

The Goonies is by far one of our favorite family movies and we couldn’t make a trip to the coast of Oregon without paying homage to the fabulous adventure of Mikey and his friends.

After watching The Goonies movie we headed to the Oregon Film Museum which celebrates the many movies filmed in Oregon. The museum is located in the old Astoria jail which was used for the jail break scene in The Goonies. The kids got a huge kick out of the many props displayed at the museum including the Fratellis’ Jeep and Data’s jacket.

However, the most exciting part of the museum was the film studio set up with cameras, lights, and three different sets. Visitors to the museum are invited to use the studio to make their own short videos. Props are provided as well as dialogue from popular Oregon movies. Visitors can film up to 5 takes and the museum staff then sends you the clips you filmed via email. The Younger Fives had such a blast with this feature of the museum and are so excited to have the film clips that they created as a memento of their visit to the Oregon Film Museum.

From the film museum we headed to Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park where many scenes from The Goonies were filmed. First we headed to the beach to view Haystack Rock which appears in several scenes of the movie. From there we took the road to Ecola State Park where the bicycle scene in the movie was filmed. The view from Ecola State Park is absolutely gorgeous and the kids had a blast exploring the park.

Being in the area where The Goonies was filmed was great fun for the whole family. It made one of our favorite family movies a little more special.

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A Day In Astoria

Until a week ago we didn’t know much about Astoria, Oregon. However, with our vacation rental being located just over the 4 mile long Astoria–Megler Bridge we have spent a great deal of time these last two weeks getting to know this city of just under 10,000 residents. Situated on the bank of the Columbia River, Astoria is designated as being the first permanent U.S. settlement on the Pacific Coast. Since the early 1800’s the Port of Astoria has been vital in the shipping of goods to and from the area. However, not all of Astoria’s attractions have to do with the fishing or shipping industry and on a recent overcast day we kept ourselves busy by exploring some other sites of interest that Astoria has to offer.

The Astoria Column
There is no better place to get a view of Astoria, Oregon than the Astoria Column. This monument stands 600 feet above sea level and offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. The column was constructed in 1926 and is decorated with a hand-painted spiral frieze that depicts historical events of the area. While the 164 step climb to the very top of the column can be a bit dizzying (the staircase is a spiral the entire way up) the view from the top is remarkable. In addition the visitor shop sells small wooden gliders that can be thrown from the top. The Younger Fives really enjoyed launching their gliders from the top and were given several gliders to toss by older visitors to the tower. The boys would have happily spent the entire day going up and down the tower to throw and retrieve gliders.

Flavel House Museum
We made our way down from the Astoria Column and headed to the large Queen Anne style house on the corner of 8th and Duane streets. The beautifully constructed house was owned by Captain George Flavel who was a bar pilot on the Columbia River and a prominent businessman in Astoria. After being very successful in a variety of business ventures over the years he had the house built in 1886 for his wife and their two daughters. The house was eventually left to the city in 1934 and has since been transferred to the Astoria Historical Society who have restored the house and property to reflect the Victorian period and the history of the Flavel family. The history of the family was interesting, but we especially enjoyed the architecture of the house and the variety of trees planted in the garden including a very large Sequoia Tree.

Astoria River Walk and Sea Lion Dock
After being on our best behavior around the antiques in the Flavel House we needed to let off some energy. Thankfully the Astoria River Walk trail offered the ideal location to run around and view all the activity along the Columbia River. The paved path is about 6 miles long and follows the old train tracks. Starting in the spring a passenger trolley makes its way along the route. Unfortunately the trolley wasn’t running during our visit, but we had a wonderful time exploring the River Walk from the Maritime Museum all the way down to the Sea Lion Dock. While there has been a lot of controversy in Astoria about the presence of Sea Lions on their docks we all really enjoyed watching the large group of male sea lions trying to find a dry patch of dock to relax on. Their barks are so loud that we could hear them about a half-mile before we reached the docks. Watching the younger sea lions try and muscle in on the much older and bigger males was a very interesting end to our day in Astoria.

Journey to the Center of the Maize

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For our family the Halloween spirit usually takes a year off between visits. Last year our time in Rome was low key, fun but with little time or forethought put into costumes or an aura of spookiness. This year, however, we’ve vowed to pull out all the stops and have no regrets come November 1st.

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En route to a Halloween in Seattle, we came across the Portland Corn Maize, a perfect Halloween warm-up activity (and conveniently located halfway between our former rental in Oakridge, Oregon and Seattle). This was the Younger Fives’ first time in a corn maze; a different Maize was right down the road from where we used to live in Western Maine, but we had never actually made the trip. Outfitted with our rain gear and rubber boots, we were ready for an a-“stound”-ing (trying hard not to make the obvious “maze” pun) adventure.

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The maze entrance had plenty to get the kids excited for their journey. Each Five chose a trivia clue card (with different themes ranging from Halloween to Movies) that gives hints (but by no means spoilers) about which way to go at various numbered locations inside the maze (assuming you can figure out the correct answer). We were also advised to be on the lookout for Cornundrums, visual puzzles along the way. Glad to have our boots on, we set forth into the unknown.

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The first half of the maize went pretty smoothly. We took a few wrong turns, but many of the paths looped back around so we ended up where we need to be in the end. We still had plenty of energy left when we reached the halfway point, a convenient exit that lets you take a break if needed then resume right where you left off.

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The second half was definitely more challenging than the first but struck a good balance between making you work to find the right path without getting too frustrated. We definitely commented, “I think I’ve seen that ear of corn before!” several times on this section of the maze, and we had to really retrace our steps and engage in some spirited conversation to figure out what we were missing. Eventually we found the right path, and from there it was smoothly splashing the rest of the way. Our 4-year-old was just starting to lose his enthusiasm at this point, so it worked out perfectly. By the time we reached the exit, we felt like we had really accomplished something and, even better, we had gotten our fill of fall fun for the day 🙂

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Oregon’s Coastal Cornucopia: Cape Perpetua

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Having a few days to explore the Oregon coast with Nana Five, we were looking for a place with great tide pools, beaches, and temperate rain forest trails to explore. We found all this and more at Cape Perpetua National Scenic Area in the Siuslaw National Forest. From anemones and sea stars to krumholtz trees and Sitka spruce, Cape Perpetua really has it all. Factor in an awesome visitor’s center with super-friendly and enthusiastic rangers (they took more time reviewing the Younger Fives’ Junior Ranger booklets than anywhere else we’ve been), and you have all the ingredients for a memorable coastal visit!

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Falls and Flows (and Falls Again)

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On an unusually seasonable day last weekend (imagine having to wear a jacket in October!), we headed out to visit two of Oregon’s lesser known but nonetheless spectacular natural wonders. Nana Five had just arrived for a visit, and we thought a trip to Salt Creek Falls and Newberry National Volcanic Monument would be a great way to experience the wonderful variety of landscapes in Central Oregon.

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Heading east on Highway 58, we first came to Salt Creek Falls. Descending the observation trail from the parking lot, we could feel the mist almost immediately. At 286 feet, this waterfall sends out plenty of water into the air, creating a fairly steady rainbow at the base of the falls. We enjoyed the different viewpoints from the trail and marveled at how unassuming the creek looks just before it plunges downward.

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Next stop: Newberry Volcanic National Monument, just south of Bend. We were pleasantly surprised to find the Paulina Visitor’s Center still open (warmer temperatures allowed it to open several weeks early this year and remain open two weeks later), and even more excited to find they had a Junior Ranger program. We all got a hands-on feel for the different kinds of volcanic rock found at the monument, and the park ranger gave us plenty of tips about what to see during our visit.

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We knew the highlight of our day would be the Big Obsidian Flow trail, just a few miles past the visitor’s center. This expansive landscape of obsidian and other volcanic rock is the result of the Newberry Volcano’s most recent eruption 1,300 years ago. As we wound our way through the mounds of volcanic glass, we felt like we were in another world, and it was not too shocking when the Younger Fives read to us from their Junior Ranger booklets that astronaut Walter Cunningham tested out a moon suit here in 1964. The view from the top was limited by clouds sending flurries downward, but we could make out the shores of Paulina Lake. If the weather had been clear, we likely would not have been able to see past the rim of the volcano’s caldera, the large depression at its summit formed during a large explosion 75,000 years ago. Newberry Volcano covers an area the size of Rhode Island, and it is carefully monitored for signs of future activity.

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We decided to end our day the same way we started, this time feeling the mist from Paulina Creek Falls (80 feet high). Located just on the other side of the Paulina Visitor’s Center, it was a nice contrast from the volcanic desert we had seen just minutes before. As we relaxed at the edge of the falls for a final snack before heading back, we definitely felt like we had made the most of our daytime hours. We hadn’t made it to the National Monument’s other sections (including Lava Cast Forest and Lava River Cave), but those would just have to wait for another day 🙂