Showing posts with label Pacific Ocean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pacific Ocean. Show all posts

Monday, June 30, 2014

WAWeekend: Canal cruising the “Venice of the West”

In need of a shot of the beach, we headed to Washington’s Ocean Shores on an early spring weekend. Actually, I was researching an article about this place on the coastline of the Pacific Ocean; the place once envisioned to be the “Venice of the West”. That story appeared Sunday, June 29th in the Seattle Times but here's a bit more temptation for you:

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Back in the 1960’s developers had a plan to turn this entire peninsula in southwest Washington into a California-style resort home development and built 23-miles of canals (to provide more waterfront lots, some say) and also because they hoped to attract boating enthusiasts to the area.

The development never quite took off but the city that was created as a result of the project now attracts some four million tourists each year. They flock to the area for birding (some 280 species) and the beach – a six-mile long stretch of flat, drive-able (it is a state highway in places) beach. 

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We’ve visited on a couple of previous occasions but like so many who visit, never have gotten far from the beach. We had no idea how much the area has to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Researching articles does make one focus a bit more closely on places.
 
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One of the most delightful discoveries was the maze of fresh-water canals that link to Duck Lake, both located just a couple miles back from the beach. An even better discovery was the company that rents electric boats so even those of us “Boatless in Seattle” folks can enjoy the waterway that winds past homes and wooded areas that front the canals.
 
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These electric boats put along at 5 mph, which is good for this ‘no wake’ zone. . .and it was about the speed a ‘land-lubber’ like myself could handle when it came my turn at the wheel.

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Owners Tom and Nancy Kimzey take you out for a brief training session to make sure you know how to navigate the waterways and even more importantly how to dock the boat when you return it!

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You can rent these cute little cruisers by the hour or half-day. (There are no restrooms aboard but there are back at the boat company headquarters.)

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If you are headed to Ocean Shores make it a point to go cruising on the canals – you’ll be glad you did!  To reserve a boat call 360-289-0487 or 360-790-2623, www.oselectricboat.com 

We are back in Greece hoping to put a new twist on an old tale for you! (For my blogger buddies out there, I apologize that I've been a bit scarce but internet has been spotty at best.  I'll be back visiting your posts as soon as I am more fully 'connected'.) See you then and thanks to you all for today’s visit!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Travel: It is not about ‘What you saw. . .’

January is that time of year when travel bloggers tend to write of their previous year’s journeys and start verbalizing their plans for upcoming adventures. 

It is a time for us to put into words the daydreams that will ultimately lead to new travel plans. Yet, moving to the next adventure can’t really be done without a backward glance or two. . . and a bit of introspection. 

This last year we were again reminded that travel isn’t so much about ‘what you saw’ but ‘how you’ve changed’ as a result of your experiences. 

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Musician in Pape'eti, Tahiti with traditional Maori body tattoos
Travel can rock your established, comfortable – albeit, routine – world, just by the smallest unforgettable glimpse of a new culture or land as did our brief series of stops in French Polynesia.

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A dining experience not to miss in Pape'ete, Tahiti

Once you’ve experienced the ‘different’ - smells, colors, people, food, music, religion, culture – you find that upon your return home you are different as well . . .

You’ve been reminded of  your insignificance as you sail across vast stretches of ocean. . .

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Setting Sail from Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Your mind has been exercised.  Stretching just a bit further each time you travel keeps the brain questing for even more adventure and stimulation. . .

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A view of Chora Sfakia, Crete
Your soul has basked in the beauty of remoteness.  . .

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Tahiti, French Polynesia

You’ve experienced worlds that once you had only imagined. . .

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Auckland, New Zealand
And after you’ve been home a few days that unmistakable restlessness starts prickling your senses.  You no longer question whether you travel too much and you know it is time to start putting those daydreams into action. . .

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Tahiti's Black Sand Beaches 

Where will your adventures take you this year?  How has travel changed you?  We look forward to reading your thoughts and plans. Tell us by adding a comment below or send us an email! 

Our wishes for Happy Travels and Happy New Year!

We are linking up with:
Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday
The Tablescrapers’ Oh The Places I have Been

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).

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