Long Beach Washington

We drove north from Portland.  We did a brief stop in Astoria and then headed to Washington. The bridge from Astoria to Long Beach is bizarre.  It can’t be intentional.  It feels like some sort of transportation Frankenstein like most of highways in Los Angeles.  It must have been built for one purpose and morphed into another out of necessity.  There are two drastically different elevations. I am sure this is for passing ships but must it be so wild?  Does it need to give you a rush once you completed it?  I could research the engineering of it but I am not going to. Let’s just say: I am not much of a thrill seeker.

The impetus for this trip was cranberry bogs. I have been obsessed with them since I saw Martha wading in one in the 80’s. I have been surprised since I moved to the Pacific North West how much of it resembles New England. Would the bogs be Martha worthy? 

We stayed overnight in Long Beach.  I am trying to figure out how I feel about Long Beach.  Here is the deal: you can drive on the beaches.  Not just the Bay Watch people.  You and me can take our car, for whatever reason, and promote erosion, disturb the peace and be generally ostentatious.  It is not for me, obviously.  Why not go for a walk?  Gather sea glass? I used to think kite flying bordered on excessive, but this was an entirely new exercise on perspective. There are also an above average amount of men with man buns drinking energy drinks.

We stayed at the Adrift.  It was an ideal location and exceptionally priced for an unobscured view of the ocean and beach (also known as a road in the state of Washington).  The service there was outstanding.  The lobby has all the things you need: good local wine, some sort of spa water, coffee, snacks. I think bikes for people who do that type of thing.  There was good wifi, the room was clean and a good size. We had a stunning view which made the trip. I wish there should also be a separate thermostat in your room, not one universal for the hotel.  Other than that, this is a great affordable hotel.


The hotel restaurant is also very good.  Again, great view.  Great booze.  Oysters.  I heard there are bands there occasionally.  I only ate there at 9 am (breakfast vouchers!) so I had a limited scope of all the things.  Everybody Wang Chung Tonight was playing so there is that.

Another favorite place to stop in Long Beach is the Cottage Bakery.  Within minutes of being there, I felt like an amateur.  I am always impressed with a place that collects a line of the authoritative about baked goods kind of people. One man was at the counter complaining about today’s lack of fillings. Another assertively bought a dozen of a pastry I never heard of. All the people justifiably gave me concerned looks during my obsessive and clearly silly picture taking. This place is for one thing and I should be focused.  Panicked and obviously embarrassed, I got in line to order.  I got a pumpkin spice donut (basic) and it was perfection. There was also ideal ambiance: fluorescent lighting, booth seating and gumball machines.  

The other highlights of the trip were Cape Disappointment, Oysterville and of course, the bog.  Cape Disappointment was a perfect state park visit   It required nothing of me than comfortable shoes and a general level of mobility. It had enough to keep me entertained.  Ferns!  Dead Man’s Cove! Doesn’t that feel like a location in the Pirates of the Caribbean?  Was this in Goonies?  A light house! Dramatic cliffs that you can look at from a safe distance!

Oysterville was a complete surprise.  I didn’t expect anything from it and it is now one of my favorite places in Washington. The town is the size of a postage stamp, filled with historic homes and a schoolhouse.   The architecture is a dream.  This place made this trip now a requirement every fall. It is unbelievably charming. Stop into the market for a paper tray of snacks, a beer and grab a couple cranberry jellies for gifts.  There is an idyllic deck to sit and relax on.

The Cranberry Bog and Museum was entirely satisfying even though I didn’t get in my waders and move the cranberries around with a rake for photos.   There were caterpillars everywhere which was worth the trip alone.  I feel like the last time I saw a caterpillar, it was in captivity for educational reasons which is deeply sad.  We should see them all the time and everywhere.  We should also be talking about this all the time. The self guided tour was informative and entertaining. There is a great gift store with cranberry ice cream.  I also bought a really delicious enormous block of cheese in a tin.  I hear this is a thing in Washington.  I am glad it is.

I am looking forward to another trip to Long Beach, maybe with a more lengthy stop in famous Astoria.  Long Beach is also known for their crabbing and clamming, both I am very interested in exploring. It would be an excellent place to rent a vacation house with friends.