Have you ever built yourself up to see something in the tour guides or on the map, and then you get there only to find it’s closed? Or under repair? Or something? Well, sometimes a splendid day of vacation can turn gray simply because you don’t read ahead to see if a landmark is ready for viewing. And for us, that’s what happened this summer during our coastal tour of Oregon.
It’s our Astoria Column story. Located on Coxcomb Hill in Astoria, Oregon, the 126-foot high Astoria Column patterned after Trajan Column in Rome (114 A.D.) is known for its pictorial bas relief using sgraffito technique. Inscribed on this column are 14 scenes and many messages commemorating the history of Astoria, a dream of Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern Railroad, who, in 1925, wanted to “properly salute Astoria’s explorers and early settlers.” Visitors (well, usually) can climb the 164 steps to the top for spectacular views of Astoria, the Columbia River, and even the Pacific Ocean in the distance. But time and weather have taken a toll on the column — so much so that the community of Astoria and Friends of the Astoria Column have sheathed it in grayish plastic during summer of 2015 while the column undergoes an extensive renovation. We had no idea since we obviously didn’t do our homework very well on what to see in Astoria. But with more than 400,000 visitors per year, we’re hoping most of them get the message. Otherwise, they, too, might have a gray day on Coxcomb Hill if they’re coming to see the column.
All was not lost, however. Take a look at the view from the hill (albeit at the bottom of the column). Absolutely superb!
For more information on Astoria Column, click here.
For more shades of gray, click onto Ailsa’s blog Where’s My Backpack for entries into the challenge known as Travel theme: Grey.
And our advice from our mistake: Talk to those people at the Visitor Center!
–Bert and Rusha