Showing posts with label Iron Springs Resort. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iron Springs Resort. Show all posts

Saturday, September 21, 2013

WAWeekend: Clamming–Can you dig it?


We’ve just returned from Vancouver Island’s West Coast. While there, we decided it might be fun to return during the winter’s stormy season (and when hotel rates were hopefully lower).

But then the voice of travel reason set in and we recalled that trip to our own Washington coast – Copalis Beach –  a winter or two ago. . .

We had a dazzling taste of a winter storm and an equally satisfying taste of the razor clams for which this area is known.  Copalis Beach is less than a three-hour drive from Seattle; not a few hours drive plus a few hours longer ferry ride to return to Tofino, British Columbia.


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Copalis Beach - Washington State
Having watched razor clam diggers at work on Copalis Beach  during our visit, but not quite understanding the what- and how- of what they were doing, we were further tempted to return when we got an email this week from Iron Springs Resort, (where we had stayed on the last trip) about a clam digging activity for folks like us.

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 093Actually, the guided Clam Digging Package offered this fall is designed for guests who are newcomers or who could use a few tips for spotting and catching the speedy bivalves:

If you sign up for the package, you’ll be part of a small group and you’ll have. . .

· Official clam digging license, available in the General Store at check in (licenses are required in this state and the cost of the license is extra)

· Digging essentials – clam guns, shovels, clam bags, lanterns and headlamps (Which save you from having to purchase one of those wacky ‘guns’ they sell along the roadside and in shops along the beach).

· Wine or hot cocoa, upon return from the beach (you may be chilled enough to opt for hot cocoa but a celebratory wine sounds good as well!)

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Clam cleaning station - Iron Springs Resort
· Clam cleaning tutorial and tools at the Iron Springs clam cleaning station (a real plus because we watched them do this as well – you need to know what you are doing.)

· Razor clam chowder recipe to prepare in your cabin
(Let me tell you, that if this is the same recipe as the thick, savory chowder served to us during our visit – you will love it!)




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Razor clam chowder - Iron Springs Resort

If You Go:

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Package Details: The package costs $50 per adult and $25 per kid, plus the cost of clamming license and cabin rates (starting at $149 a night), and can be booked through the resort’s reservation desk (1.800.380.7950).

And, of course, the “fine print:” Package is based on availability and the announcement of the official 2013 recreational razor clam season.

Realizing many of you live too far away to participate in the package, there is a recipe for clam chowder included in this post, One “Clam” Good Time. . . and more about  Iron Springs Resort here.

That’s it for now.  Have a great weekend and see you back here on Travel Tuesday when we’ll go ‘Beyond the Bar at Nanaimo’!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

‘WA’ Wednesday: 'Our Kind of Place' at Copalis Beach

Heading to a new destination over an unfamiliar route in a downpour doesn’t make for a pleasant travel experience. Compounding the matter was leaving the road map at home. We use maps – the old paper kind. We don’t 'do' GPS.

We were heading to two destinations: one a resort where we would stay and the other a place where we planned to eat that night.

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 008Windshield wipers flung rain off the windows as we traveled north on Highway 109, a two-lane road that snakes along Washington’s coastal North Beach area.





Our ultimate destination was Iron Springs Resort, where we were spending the weekend, but we were also seeking the Green Lantern Pub in the town of  Copalis Beach. We had just enough information about it to believe it was  ‘our kind of place’.



A handful of Yelp reviews and a hearty endorsement (“They serve the best steaks!”) from a cheerful lady in the tourism office at nearby Ocean Shores (where we got a map) convinced us to dine at the Green Lantern that night. 

The Green Lantern Pub



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Easily spotted on the corner of Highway 109 and the road that leads to Griffiths-Priday Ocean State Park, the place has had only five owners  since it opened in 1928. It’s also had the same name for all but two of those years.

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 023We literally bellied up to the bar at the Green Lantern Pub – the place was packed with others who were there for Friday’s Prime Rib dinner special. Sitting on those old round seat-bottom stools without backs we were within arm’s reach of a shuffle board table and not far from the lone pool table.

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 022I watched the woman next to me nurse a beer – served in a pint canning jar – for more than an hour while she tested her luck at a 10-cent pull-tab game (like the one pictured on the left).  She spent $40 but when she left, she carried a jackpot prize with her: a giant-sized box of Rice Krispy treat bars!

The Prime Rib dinner, at $14.95 per person, got us such large cuts of meat that had enough leftovers for another meal.  We passed on the large baked potato and still had a selection of five other sides from which to choose.  A dinner salad was included.

 Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 020The wine list – red, white, pink, - served from large bottle or box – didn’t impress, but the pours were hearty and with 10 brewskies on tap and a full bar from which to order, there was no room for complaint.

The “Daily Specials,” including barbequed ribs on Saturday night and a few days later, a $9.95 New York steak. . .had us nodding in agreement: it was our kind of place! 

We will certainly be coordinating our return visit to Iron Springs Resort with the nightly specials at the Green Lantern.

Perhaps during our next visit we’ll even meet some of the . . .ahem. . .tavern ghosts.  Our waitress  told us they have some regulars ~ she’s seen them. We didn't.

If You Go: 

Green Lantern Pub is at 3119 State Highway 109, Copalis Beach, 98535, 360-289-2297; because this place is a bar, no one under 21 is allowed.  It is an easy three miles from Iron Springs Resort, 3707 State Highway 109, www.ironspringsresort.com, 1-800-380-7950.  Griffiths-Priday Ocean State Park is a 364-acre marine park with beach, and low dunes. For information, 360-902-8844, www.parks.wa.gov

Thursday, March 15, 2012

TP Thursday: One ‘clam’ good time at Copalis Beach

In the early morning darkness they began arriving. From our cabin we watched dark silhouettes armed with ‘guns’ and shovels wade quickly across Boone Creek toward the ocean’s receding surf. Others arrived in cars and trucks; a scant parade of vehicles easing into position on the hard-packed sand. . .


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The ever-so-brief Pacific Razor Clam season had arrived on Washington State’s wet, windy, and oft-times wild Copalis (koh-PAY-lis) Beach.   The morning’s flurry of activity felt like a salt-sea version of  “Brigadoon” – the musical in which a place and time came to life for a matter of hours then disappeared as though it had never existed. 


Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 049We city slickers, with mere rain coats, gloves and jeans but sans heavy duty rain gear, opted to be spectators during the search for this most sought after shell fish in Washington State.


Its popularity in past years has attracted some 300,000 people, who’ve made nearly a quarter million digger-trips to the ocean beaches and harvested between 6 -  13 million razor clams. 







As we strolled the beach, we learned to look for three types of ‘clam’ signs. One, like in the photo, is the donut  hole in the sand. . .it  could be an indicator of a Razor Clam below . . .or of a shrimp. . .it takes practice to know the difference.


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Sometime you just need to dig and find out.  That’s what the clam ‘gun’ or shovel is used for:


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But only to a point. Then it is time to roll up the sleeves and really ‘dig it’:


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The beach was alive with diggers.  There are five Razor Clam beaches in Washington and it is not unusual to have as many as 1,ooo people per mile on those beaches on a spring clam dig day.


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Step Two:  Cleaning the Clams


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First  a dip in the hot tub. . .


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Then a bit of a scrub . . .


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And then the little critter was ready to cook.


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Step Three: Eating the Clams

We celebrated the harvest at a Saturday night feast which included Razor Clam chowder with our hosts at Iron Springs Resort.  (The link above will take you to the recipe they used – if’s courtesy of Kevin Davis of Steelhead Diner at Seattle’s Pike Place Market.)


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Gathered around the table with Doug and Dustin True (owners of Iron Springs Resort) and an assortment of their clam digging friends we shared  food, wine, stories and laughter. 

It was Pacific Northwest life at its finest.


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A few afterwards:  Razor clam season comes in one- or two-day spurts each year; sometimes the season can be as few as 15 or as many as 35 days. Clam diggers are required to purchase a state license and are limited to 15 clams per person per dig.

The clam cleaning station is one of the new additions at Iron Springs Resort, the mid-century resort that re-opened last year after a years worth of renovation and modernization. (See yesterday’s  Washington Wednesday for more on the resort.)

Today is Travel Photo Thursday so be sure to drop by Budget Travelers Sandbox for more photos from around the world.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Washington Wednesday: Iron Springs Resort

The brochure for Iron Springs Resort on Washington State’s Copalis Beach says it’s the place, “Where Traditions Begin”.

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 044It’s certainly true for us. 

A tradition has begun: we were checking available fall dates at this wet, windy, wonderful place high on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean before we’d completed our first stay here last weekend.


Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 010That in itself says a lot about the appeal of this mid-century resort turned new again by owners, the True family of Seattle. 

The Sun-seeking Smiths have long avoided  the Washington Coast for being too wet. . . too cold. . . and too gray.

And it was wet, cold and gray with cameo appearances of both the sun and moon.  Yet, there was also a certain spirit of place here; and it didn’t take long to be caught up in it.

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 083Hours slipped past as we sat in those two chairs pictured above. The flat-screen television and free in-cabin WI-FI couldn’t compete  with watching the pounding surf  through our rain pummeled floor-to-ceiling windows.

We sat in front of the fireplace each evening sipping our glasses of wine as firs swayed outside our cozy one-bedroom, one-bath cabin to the wind’s haunting melody.


Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 005It was wild. It was magical.

Although new to us, Iron Springs Resort has been around since the 1940’s.  Comments in our cabin’s guest book told the stories of loyal guests who returned each year, despite the aging decline of both the former owner and her cabins. 

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 015Many of those same loyal guests have penned notes of  delight about the renovation and modernization of the cabin interiors by new owners, (brothers and their wives),  Doug  and Janet, and Bill and Ruth True, who purchased the resort two years ago; then closed it for a year-long refurbishing that included new floor to ceiling interiors: bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, furnishings and d├ęcor.

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We were guests of the True’s last weekend and while we had neither dogs nor family with us, both are welcome at this 24-cabin resort that reopened last July.





During a break in the rain, we bundled up against the elements and walked for miles on the flat, hard-packed sand.  Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 040Beach access was easy – with proper wading boots we could have cut across nearby Boone Creek, but we opted for a well-maintained access trail through the forest not far from the resort office (it helped us keep our city slicker shoe-clad feet dry).

The beach surface is so firm that portions of it are a state highway, open to vehicles, as well as, an airport landing strip in the summer months.

Our two-night stay gave us time to explore other small towns that are within an easy drive of the resort. I’ll tell you about them next week in Washington Wednesday.

Iron Springs Alderbrook 2012 080If You Go:  Iron Springs Resort, 3707 Highway 109, toll-free 1-800-380-7850, phone 360-276-4230, reservations@ironsprings.com  Seasonal rates range from $169 per night to $269, plus tax. There’s a $20 fee per dog  per night for the first five nights. (Three dog per cabin limit.)  Each cabin has a different floor plan (they are shown on the resort website  - just click the link above). One-bedroom cabins are perfect for couples or small families. A few adjoining cabins on the property are perfect for large families or groups of friends who want to be together, but still have some privacy.

Check back here on Travel Photo Thursday to come along on  a Razor Clam dig at Copalis Beach, (that is koh-PAY-lis, by the way).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

‘Our Minds and Feet are Getting Restless. . .’

.. .recently wrote a fellow travel blogger.  We know that feeling.  We are ready to hit the road again. You travelers out there know the symptoms: 

DSCF1621A desire to explore. . .a new destination. . .an old  favorite.

Maps are pulled out of drawers. 

Travel guide books pulled from shelves, now sit within easy reach on the coffee table.

Photo albums are reviewed; memories renewed. 

Winter days are the perfect time for planning the next adventure.Old favorites might include a return to DSCF0072Spain. . .perhaps

A trip in late spring to Arizona. . .for sure





But we’ll quell our restlessness starting next week with a beach getaway.  . .and not quite the type to which the sun-seeking Hula Babe and Beach Boy are accustomed.

Map picture

We will be donning rain gear and blue jeans and exploring a tiny bit of  Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula

We’re heading  to Copalis Beach, “The Home of the Razor Clam”. Located just seven miles north of Ocean Shores, Copalis Beach in 2010 had a population of 415. That number swells to 1,500 when clam season rolls around. 

Our original plan was to go there to watch the winter storms that swell the ocean and crash its waves against the long flat stretch of beach. It is so flat and solid that  you can drive autos on it and in good weather it serves as an airport landing strip, (or so we've read).

However, yesterday we learned of an added bonus: our visit will fall on a day during which clam digging is permitted.

One of our hosts, Doug True, who dug his first clam there as a child, is going to lead us in our first clam digging adventure at his Iron Springs Resort.

We’ve never dug clams. I don’t think I know what a razor clam looks like. We’ve never stayed on the Washington Coast.  I think this getaway holds lots of new adventures for us.

What else should we do there? What else should we see? Let us know in the comments below or shoot us an email.

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