06 November 2005

At the Mouth of the Columbia River

Growing up, Astoria had three landmarks: the Astoria-Megler Bridge, the Astoria Column, and the Home Bakery. There may have been others, but those were the ones that counted to a young child. I knew we had almost made it to the ocean when we reached the small town of Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Now many years later, not much has changed for me as I travel to Astoria once or twice a year. I still gaze in amazement at the expansive length of the bridge that connects Oregon and Washington, hope for a clear day to enjoy the views from the Astoria Column, and stop in at the bakery for a maple bar or chocolate ├ęclair.

Sure, Astoria also has a growing number of trendy eateries, a riverfront trolley, and a maritime museum. There are ornate Victorian mansions perched on the sloping hills, and a rich Scandinavian history in the area as well. But what draws me back again and again are the familiar sights and smells of the three landmarks from my childhood.

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