On a recent trip, I learned something new about my Husband… he’s a Big ‘Ol Goonies Fan! While strolling Cannon Beach in Oregon a few days before driving into Portland, he turned to me with a look I thought I knew well. I was expecting a romantic turn of phrase like “I swim in your eyes.” Yes Italian men DO say such lovely things and yes it does make this midwest kid swoon. This time he really surprised me though, saying “do you remember that scene in the Goonies, where he lined up the rocks with the coin, look!”
On no trip before, has he been so adorably geeky to me. Typically, while walking on beaches, he soaks up the nature, takes photos for hours and I silently fill up my eyes. On this trip we walked on water and relived our childhood.
We both remembered a startling amount of details from the movie, as did my friends. I shared photos from the beach only to receive back text of “Watch out for the Fratellis!” “BABY RUTH!!!” “Never Say Die” which I yelled to my Husband as we ran in and out of the waves.
My Goonie memories start way back in Grove City, Ohio with a bucket of popcorn at a friends house. My Husband’s, in the only theater in Bardoneccia, Italy. Fast forward to present day, as a married couple having just flown in from our home on the East Coast, staring at the Haystack Rock on the West Coast, I found myself wondering. Despite having grown up half a world apart, by chance… were we ever doing the exact same thing, at the same time, like watching the Goonies? Truly the important thing, is that we grew up to share the same passions in life. We are experiencing the world through as much travel as we can muster and building our lives together towards the freedom to do so as often as possible.
Our trip to Portland was highly anticipated for months and I have to say, from shore to city to Mount. Hood, Oregon did not disapoint. I can easily see why so many people have fantasies of picking up and moving to the proudly weird city of Portland in the Beaver State as reported in this recent New York Times Article. If you like many take a trip to see what it’s all about, all I can say is don’t skip the shore.
For grown-up Goonies, Cannon Beach Oregon is a playful paradise. You get to be a kid, romantic, a food geek, a coffee, beer, nature and art lover and spoiled by nice locals all in one trip. We only had a few days and I craved more, I’m ready to go back… right now.
The Cannon Beach Hotel is a Unique Inns B&B that’s been “practicing hospitality” since 1914. Located just two blocks from Haystacks Rock inland, staying in this charming B&B at a reasonable rate felt like a treat. The room itself, left me leaping up and down at just the sight of the bathtub, let alone the Four Poster bed and the fireplace. Plus, any lodging that puts saltwater taffy on the bed and gives guests towels specifically meant to dry your hair faster, has me at “welcome.”
The Cannon Beach Café has a Parisian theme that somehow works in this Oregon coastal region. Located in the B&B itself, we were delighted to discover that breakfast was included with our stay. Each morning, we were greeted coffee at the ready, by Julianne telling us not to miss the homemade scones, frittata and granola all served up in a room awash with morning sunlight.
In between our hotel and the short drive to Ecola park the downtown area of Cannon Beach hosts many local art galleries. We jumped in and out, street by street, getting to know the local art scene. Oregon attracts a bounty of artists for it’s seemingly infinite natural beauty. Combine some of the most amazing beaches around with a more affordable lifestyle and you get the organic growth of a strong art community.
Here are a two not to miss Cannon Beach Galleries:
Archimedes: Perched above Insomnia Coffee Shop, the owners of Archimedes gallery know a thing or two about promotion and placed some choice pieces inside the coffee shop to draw people upstairs. That’s exactly how we found this well curated New Contemporary Art gallery. Rarely do I walk into a gallery and think, I want that and that and that! Here I did. Their pieces are accessible, mainly illustrations with a strong emphasis on Realism and Surrealism, youthful and playful. Once you walk into their space, you want to stay, maybe move into a back room for a while.
The Jeffrey Hull Gallery: As the wife of an artist, it’s inspiring to see another make a living with their own gallery. Aside from making me personally dream of the day Paolo Ferraris Colors becomes a destination gallery, the large format watercolors of Jeffrey Hull are inspiring in their own right. His works have a beautiful calm that lull you into relaxing as you walk through his second floor gallery. With sweeping views of Oregon’s lush nature waving in from each of the galleries window the watercolors around the walls seem to captures the regions spirit.
After all of our exploring, we were famished! I’d done my research and was excited to try The Irish Table. When we arrived there was an hours wait, my Husband seeing disappointment on my face, opted to put our name on the list. We settled in to wait next door at the Screw & Brew which is either exactly, or not exactly what it sounds like… depending on how far back into adolescence your Goonies trip takes you. Part hardware store, part pub the laid back spot served up the perfect pints to tide us over as our Irish Table turned.
I’m not a beer expert but since our trip to Belgium earlier this year, I’m game to try almost any pour. Much like in Belguim, with over 173 breweries to claim, Oregonians really know how to make and drink, their brews. In Oregon the answer to “what’s on tap” seems to never be “Bud, Bud Light, Stella, Heineken” it’s always “local this, hefeweizen that.” The list goes on and on with names familiar to locals, but for thirsty tourists your just a hop, stout and a malt away from a new favorite.
Just about the time we were considering a second round, the warm, friendly and accommodating host of The Irish Table, wandered over to get us in person. As our eyes adjusted to the intimately dark space, our appetites set in. Thankfully, warm Irish Soda Bread and butter hit the table just after our menus. Between traveling on a budget and trying to stay healthy, we’ve learned if you start with a little bread, that splitting a main is often plenty of food to share.
Frequently, waiters will pressure us trying to amp up our order to amplify their tip, something that frustrates my Husband. Throughout Europe, the waiters and waitresses do not depend on tips to make a living, so the restaurant experience is far more relaxed. Thankfully, our waiter at The Irish Table didn’t skip a beat, making us feel like we placed the perfect order for two. The seared Piemontese Flat Iron Steak, Colcannon (potatoes and local kale) Bacon and Jameson Peppercorn Sauce simply put blew my mind. The steak was cooked perfectly, each ingredient shined through yet the flavors blended nicely in this hearty comfort dish. Indeed it was plenty for two. Afterwards, we simply crossed the street to our hotel, flicked on the fireplace, opened an Oregon Pinot we had picked up earlier from the Wine Shack and settled in for the night.
The next morning, it was time, for the full on Goonies experience, we hit the road heading North to Astoria, Oregon. Along the drive as we veered farther from shore, the scenery changed. This short trip North drove home a strong reminder that logging is big business in this part of the country.
It somehow felt sad to see how the mighty timbers had fallen into the hands of industrial greed. It’s a sight I’m glad I had the opportunity to see. There are times when the big box stores, the prefab nature of American suburbs allow us to be blissfully out of touch with the impacts of our consumerism. Evidence we are cutting Mother Nature short was stacked up all around me on the drive. A trip through the Pacific Northwest would not be complete without the full picture. After we silently drove through the slaughterhouse of giants, I welcomed the sight of lush green Astoria as it rounded into view.
After stopping at Coxcomb Hill, the highest point in Astoria for a grown-up viewing of the historical territory once traversed by Lewis and Clark, we sat our sights on the true reason for our Portland detour, the Goonies! With a quick Google search, we found we were merely minutes away from the house so blazon in our memories.
On a very unassuming street, full of homes that people clearly loved and created life long friendships in, we got our first glimpse of the white house high on the hill. Walking up the drive, visitors are welcomed and respect for the neighborhood is requested by signs posted in yards all around. Everyone we pasted had a look of youthful satisfaction and recollections dancing on their faces. I found myself hopeful that any second now, Data would zip line right by us as we joined a few other tourists snapping pictures.
Through most of Oregon, we were accompanied by locals and American tourists. So it was somewhat surprising, to hear many different languages from passing tourist while visiting the Goonies house. Cresting the top of the driveway, perhaps the biggest surprise was the Isreali Flag hanging proudly from the front porch next to it’s American sibling flag. Both proudly waving to all the international tourists who sought out the shared memories of Chunk, Sloth, treasure maps and adventure. I’d be willing to bet when filming the Goonies, the actors now grown, would never have guessed people around the world would come to love their characters.
After letting our inner kids run wild, we reeled them back in just long enough to not be carded as we ordered up our next local Oregon pint at Fort George Brewery and Public House. It was here when I first realized two really cool things about the Oregon Beer culture. First, because there are so many local breweries, you can almost always get beer to go!
Second, if you’re in the mood for a chili verde burrito, not only is it going to be delicious and homemade with local slow roasted pork shoulder braised in tomatillo and Anaheim pepper sauce; but, your waiter will listen to what type of beers you like and suggest one that stand up to and cuts the heat of your dish. I loved this place, from the second we walked in. Full of locals enjoying a hearty lunch and a local brew, the water was in view and the staff was as knowledgeable as they were friendly.
Typically, when you know you’re going to write about the food your eating, proper edict would be to take a photo before you dig in, but when I start with half a beer… by the time the burrito hits the table and that spicy, warm pork hits my nose, I’m hopeless and start eating right away.
You don’t have to be a Goonie to fall in love with Cannon Beach or Astoria while in Oregon but it certainly makes the entire trip feel more like an adventure. With only three days and countless new memories already created, we still had the entire city of Portland to look forward to. As we wrapped up our time in Astoria with a final stop outside the Oregon Film Museum, I snapped one last photo of my Husband’s Goonie glow. The building served as the jail in the movie and as cheesy as it sounds I think a part of my heart is locked away in the dream of a future home base in the Pacific Northwest.