Mom and I are the only ones who get up early, which in this house tends to mean "before noon." She was itching to pull some weeds along the fence and I needed a cuppa joe something fierce. I run an errand for her to drop off some mail at the post office, which I somehow forgot was in the needlessly huge, terribly historical building showing off its marble floors in defiance of any modernization effort. I forget how recalcitrant Astoria can be when it comes to updating anything as the town takes so much pride in having a rich history that it often simply refuses to move forward. Yes, that's part of its charm, but it also makes you feel really out of touch if you're a visitor.
After procuring my liquid ambrosia, I headed across the bridge to Warrenton's Fred Meyer to look around. The surrounding shops had changed since I've been here last, but this business giant stands as a sentinel of the supply chain for the area. I'm not much for the layout of the store, but I do a quick browse anyway. (Why on earth would you place toys next to bedspreads?)
Returning to downtown Astoria, I find that the Amazing Stories comic shop still stands as strong as ever, feeding the young and old geeks with continued tales of heroism and gaming supplies. I might have been a stranger, but they knew one of their own when I stepped foot in the store. A young man who was a bit on the heavy side but boasted a killer smile and boyish charm made sure I was finding everything I was looking for. Ah, if only to be just a few years younger again.
Mom called, citing her victory over the ever encroaching threat of malevolent flora and stating a desire to explore the shops with me. I zip back home, pick her up, and return downtown. We begin by exploring the 14th St. Bistro, a coffee/sandwhich shop that was connected to the lobby of the Commodore Hotel. It was a nice shop, but the real allure was in the lobby of the hotel for us. The seats were next to large walls and shelves stacked with numerous oddities which demanded my examination.
The lobby also boasted this perception-altering entryway into the rooms upstairs, with an odd chandelier and strange mural which had me twisting my head for so long that my neck began to ache. Of course, this means that the designer just acquired a complete victory from this curious monkey.
Following this, we meandered over to the Fort George Brewery. It's a new restaurant with it's own brewery within the walls, giving lunch customers the alluring odor which wafts from the store. A good selection of alcohol was available, though I chose not to partake at the moment. I should have though, as a cute ginger guy was behind the bar and I'm sure he would have made any meal interesting.
If you think that the above image suggests that something caught my eye, you'd be right. No, it wasn't the red-headed eye candy, but rather a little painting which immediately capture my attention. I'm unsure exactly what Vortex Monkeys is all about, but I can assure you that if my life was presented in a cartoon-like painting, it would probably look an awful lot like this.
We then swung by the Liberty Theatre, which has underwent numerous restoration efforts during my absence. When I was here, this theatre was almost always closed to the public due to leaking roof, lack of heat, and other repair issues. Astoria had to choose between tearing down the building or restoring it. It should be clear which path Astoria took, and true to Astoria's M.O., the Liberty Theatre is now a fully functional art center, capable of hosting plays, dance recitals, concerts, weddings, wedding receptions, and much more. The frescoes along the inside walls were restored, returning a sense of granduer to this location.
Man, I think I look quite tubby in that photo. :(
Anyway, we looked at the upstairs reception area and its limited view over the Columbia river, and the downstairs area where concessions would have been sold. It's nice and all, offering restrooms for Women and Me.
Yes, Me. All mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.
At this point, I'm just about to dive into some of Mom's homemade blackberry cobbler a la mode and go into a food coma for the rest of the evening. I should look into the drop-in/visitor rates at the gym at the entrance of town tomorrow; Mom's cooking, while completely scrumptious, is NOT helping me get back into shape to earn that black belt.