Thursday, January 27

Long Beach Peninsula, Washington

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
There’s a beauty that comes with youth. Carefree and playful, unmarred by life’s experiences ~ The summer's beauty. Another beauty grows from those experiences of life. The inner beauty of ... winter.

Just as with people, a landscape or town can bring forth an unconventional beauty from within during its later seasons.

The 28-mile stretch in Washington, Long Beach Peninsula, is a frolicking, topical beauty in the summer. Once winter sets in, its inner beauty — and strengths — awaken while summer hibernates.
Cranberry vine baskets

Gone are the tourists who arrive for the International Kite Festival, boating or to visit Oysterville Sea Farms for oyster shooters. Remaining are the locals to embrace the untold pleasures of the off-season.

Oysterville Sea Farms
Villages are strung along, one after the next, like a strand of cranberries gathered from nearby bogs and made into a Christmas tree garland. Ilwaco, Ocean Park, Long Beach, Oysterville, Nahcotta, Seaview...each awash in the muted hues of late December, casually meandering along the longest continuous sand beach in America. Each seemingly identical until, upon second glance, it's clear each has a separate identity and is interwoven with the others similar to the cranberry vine baskets available at Bay Avenue Gallery.

Showing no fear against the onslaught of 30-foot waves is Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, standing watch over the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean juncture. Pewter waves tipped in white become crashing cymbals against the cliff of Washington's oldest lighthouse, thinner sprays of silver beat as steel drums, the misty-green over spray balances the oceanic orchestra with its rhythmic droplets.
Sticky English Toffee Pudding

Widely recognized as pioneers of the sustaining food movement, Jimella Lucas and Nancy Main have down-sized from their previous eatery of 22 years, world-renown Ark Restaurant, to Jimella's Klipsan Seafood Market & Cafe. Lucas, widely recognized as the goddess chef of seafood, and Main, both classically trained chefs, weather all seasons equally with local, freshly caught seafood, including salmon, oysters and clams.

Main's decadent (especially the Sticky English Toffee Pudding) desserts, more often seen in an over-priced NYC eatery, are a sweet surprise to find in the laid back cafe. Local wines and gourmet food items are available in the market section (also the lobby) including in-house made sauces and necessities for all self-respecting gourmet cooks.

The Depot
The Depot, owned by executive chef Michael Lalewicz and Nancy Gorshe, manager and wine expert, is an old train station refurbished into an upscale, casual eatery. Relishing in its age, much like a favorite uncle or grandfather, the historical stop has stories to tell as you sip Washington reds and nibble Willapa Bay fried oysters with roasted garlic aioli sauce; fig-glazed, bacon-wrapped quail or local comfort food, crab mac 'n cheese.

China Beach Retreat
China Beach Retreat is at peace with summer's tourists and winter's serenity seekers. With a deck for the frolickers and a fireplace for the snugglers, the cottage, tucked away in a cove, allows sweeping views of the Columbia River from each of three enchanting guestrooms. Herons and deer keep watch should you venture out for a horseback ride on the beach, a clam bake or a pint at the retreat's sister B&B, The Shelburne Inn, Hotel, Restaurant & Pub.

Innkeepers David Campiche and Laurie Anderson restored the 1896 hotel to its former old world elegance, including rescued antique, stained glass windows dating from the late 1800′s. Lingering by the cozy fireplace after a gourmet breakfast, you'll notice the pottery of Campiche with colors reflective of the seasons found in the peninsula...and the artist.

Pelicano Restaurant
The Shelburne Inn
Winter boat enthusiasts know the pleasure of the off-season, vying for prizes at the lighted boat event each December. After slipping into the dock outside, it seems only natural to slip inside the upscale Pelicano Restaurant for local-fresh-meets-gourmet cuisine. The simplistic metropolitan decor and Mediterranean-inspired menu are enhanced by the panoramic views of the nearby port.
With the absence of summer, time becomes a friend as chefs, museum curators, sea farmers, and gallery, shop and restaurant owners share their love of peninsula life. Sipping a (locally grown) cranberry champagne cocktail at casually hip 42nd Street cafe, absorbing history at the World Kite Museum (WWII combat kites) or the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, seems a richer and more mellow experience ensconced in the winter's cloak.

In searching the seaside haven of Long Beach Peninsula for a solution to the winter blues, I found a deeper understanding of winter's hidden beauty.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.
Gotta Go is published in M magazine and the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.
Photos by EJMusgrave/Izzy Evans


Anonymous said...

Nice. I wanna go now. :)

shakti cove said...

one of the beautiful beach to visit.