To the tip of the Long Beach peninsula
Long Beach, Washington: Another dreary day
- it isn't windy and it is warm, so I shouldn't complain too
much. We decided to drive the Honda north to the end of the road. It isn't a
long drive - 15 miles or so - but it is very pretty and we found a few
interesting stops along the way.
Our first stop was near Nahcotta to the
Willapa Bay Oyster House Interpretive Center. Pronounced Willa-paw,
this bay is one of the richest oyster beds in America. The bay has the
perfect combination of sea water and fresh water from incoming rivers to produce
fabulous oysters. Displays line the walls, explaining the history of the
oyster industry in the bay. The Interpretive center is built to resemble one
of the eight Oyster Houses that once dotted the bay. Each Oyster House
quartered a oysterman guarding the precious crop. Willapa Bay is entirely
commercial... if you step into the water and harvest an oyster, you could be
arrested for poaching.
Willapa Bay Interpretive Center
A map of the bay inside the Willapa Bay Interpretive Center
From the center: "Oysters are often hatchery-spawned. The
free-swimming larvae soon seek a hard surface (preferably recycled oyster
shell, called "cultch"), to anchor on. The cultch are spread out over Willapa
Bay. After the oysters are 3 to 5 years old, they are harvested. Dredges
scoop them up from the tideland, dump them onto the deck, and take them to
the cannery, where oyster workers open (shuck) and process the oysters. The
discarded shell is stored outside in piles, awaiting recycling as cultch."
Peninsula Port in Nahcotta, Washington
We continued north to Oysterville, one of the oldest
settlements in Washington State. The entire village is a historic district
and most of the homes were built in the late 1800's. The homes are very
charming and sit along the shore of the pretty bay.
Panorama of Willapa Bay
Oysterville Sea Farms has a shop selling fresh whole, shucked, smoked and
The northern tip of the peninsula,
Willapa Bay Wildlife
Refuge, is closed as a Snowy Plover breeding area. We tried to do some
hiking... but mosquitoes were swarming more than the plovers, so we ran back
to the car and headed south in search of deep-fried seafood. We stopped at
the Dunes Restaurant in Oceanview. The Dunes was extremely casual and the
food was really good - the breading was crisp and not gummy at all! Yeah!
(And the fries were really good too.)
DT had fried oysters. Again, they were absolutely massive.
I had the dainty little child's portion of halibut fish & chips
more stops on our tour today!
The first was to a super-tacky, super-huge, super-busy tourist trap known as
Museum. We had to see their main attraction -
Jake the Alligator Man. (Hey, I've been to some of the great museums in
the world - The Louvre, The Smithsonian and The Hermitage - and didn't
see anything like Jake the Alligator Man. Not even
in Arizona is as tacky as Jake the Alligator Man. Plus Jake is free and THE
THING? is $1.) However, Jake the Alligator Man is impossible to photograph
because he is displayed in a mirrored cabinet... but here is the general
I bought a postcard and took a photo of the card for your viewing pleasure.
He's creepy, eh?
In the corner is a shrunken head, also on display in the
junk shop museum.
Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach, Washington
Look who we spotted in Marsh's Free Museum?
Remember these girls from our swing through the south this winter? We saw
them in every
gift shop for weeks. Looks like they had a little damage on their trip
across the country.
The final stop of the day was to the
The Long Beach peninsula is home to many Ocean Spray cranberry growers.
Washington State University has an agricultural station here and offer a
self-guided tour through their cranberry bogs. The museum explains how the
berries are grown and harvested and they sell everything-cranberry in a cute
little shop. The museum also has a large collection of antique cranberry
Cranberry Museum display
Pacific Coast Cranberry Research Foundation bogs
The cranberries will be ripe in September or October
The museum from the cranberry bogs
Should we become cranberry growers? No!
While we were in Oceanview, we bought two Yukon Gold potatoes at the local
market. I knew we had a nice tenderloin steak in the freezer, but
little else in the bus to cook... and we had probably run the course of
restaurant possibilities on the peninsula. When we arrived back to the
Magna Peregrinus, I realized the packet in the freezer contained two
whole chicken legs. Oops! Improvise! DT grilled the chicken and I roasted
the potatoes (and two roma tomatoes) with chopped garlic and chopped fresh
basil. At the last minute, I added a thin slice of fresh mozzarella to the
top of the roasted tomatoes. Yummy dinner! (Everyone carries fresh buffalo
mozzarella and basil in their RV, right?)
Roma tomatoes roasted with garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and basil -
topped with fresh mozzarella
The campground is about half-full tonight. Weekenders have gone home.
Vacations and people escaping the terrible heat on the other side of the
coastal mountains remain. Another full day of activity and exploring on the Long Beach
peninsula. Did not see the sun all day though... think we will hit the road
tomorrow looking for the sunshine.
Until my next update, I remain, your