“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.” Van Morrison
Ahh, the aroma of that salty sea air hits my nose as we head West out of the metropolis of the city and along Hwy 101 towards the Washington coast. I stick my head out the passenger side window for a moment, like a pooch sniffing the wind. We are on a long-weekend. Destination is the cozy, little beach town of Westport.
Westport is a fishing town, through and through, with a quieter beach area than some of the larger resort towns near by. The city itself became incorporated in 1914 just as the town expanded with it’s fishing industry and a variety of outdoor activities. Today people still flock to the area during certain seasons of the year to snag that catch of the day including crab, runs of salmon, lingcod, and albicore tuna.
Rolling into town, our first priority is the beach! But first, we check in to our beach condo for the weekend at Vacations by the Sea.
Anxious to set foot on the sand, we drop our bags and head out the door and back down the three flights of stairs. A path outside the condo building leads us to the surf.
Oh, how sweet it is too! I take in a deep breathe of the misty and salty air letting my serenity begin.
The walkway along the condo also leads onto a segment of the 1.3 mile paved trail of the Westport Light State Park. This paved pathway follows the beach and is a great way to get out, see the sights, and surround yourself with nature, especially if you have any physical limitations.
The park consists of a 560-acre area with 1,215 feet of shoreline. At one end we find the jetty which is a very popular surfing spot as well as a dozen, or so, surfers. Stopping we watch them ride the waves for awhile.
Second only to fishing, Westport has become world reknown for it’s surfing thanks in part to what is known as “King Tides”. These tides are the highest of the year, when earth, moon, and the sun all align strategically to produce a very dramatic show at sea. And to a surfer – these are the most thrilling.
Overlooking the park and the harbor is Grays Harbor Lighthouse , the tallest lighthouse in Washington with a height reaching 107-feet. For a small donation you are welcome to climb to the top, up a narrow and spiraling staircase to a spectacular 360 degree view.Reservations are required to tour the tower.
Bites and Brews in Town
After hiking the beach we worked up an appetite. A couple of blocks up from our condo we found Blackbeard’s Brewing Company. This pizza and beer hub looked like the perfect solution to satiate our hunger, and we were not wrong.
Looking for a great gourmet pizza and ales brewed in-house? Look no further. I even ordered mine on a gluten-free crust!
Our next day took us into town, exploring the shops, the waterfront, and another local lunchtime favorite, Aloha Alabama BBQ. Now, I am not a BBQ fan, at all. And as a vegetarian, I was more than a little skeptical of what I would find on the menu.
Aloha Alabama BBQ sits on the main street and as the name suggests, their offerings are a fusion of Southern and Hawaiian flavors, with a little bit of Northwest style. Using both Yakima apple and Hawaiian kiawe wood they smoke their entrees creating a unique BBQ flavor, which is replicated in their sauce and is also available for take-out.
We sampled the deep-fried pickles, a new dish to our palette but one we continued to run into all over Westport. It’s a thing, these deep fried pickles.
The International Mermaid Museum and Westport Winery
Our next adventure was what really brought us out to the coast on this long weekend. The long, anticipated International Mermaid Museum just opened it’s doors and owner Kim Roberts graciously offered to show us around. The museum is located right next door to the Ocean Daughter’s Distillery and Sea Glass restaurant and located inside the Westport Winery Garden Resort grounds.
For a high-tide culinary experience the drive out to Wesport Winery is well worth it. Their menu is creative and vast. As a world renowned winery and distillery (earning numerous national awards), they offer both wine and whiskey flights, allowing you to sample several varieties during one meal.It certainly was a challenge to pick just one libation to bring home!
The Westport Winery Garden Resort is open, free of charge, to merfolk of all ages. As we meandered the winding, whimsical garden paths situated on 15 acres, we passed by over 80 sculptures and art pieces, all by local Grays Harbor artists. Out front of the museum near the sentinel Mermaid is a game of Petanque set up (a french game much like lawn bowling). I stop and pitch a few balls.
Westport may be a cozy, little beach town but it is a beautiful place to recharge your soul. Come ready to slow your pace and stay for awhile.