Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I visited Ocean Shores for the first time since the 90s

From K.

And not a whole heck of a lot has changed! Same saltwater taffy shops. Same eateries. Same mopeds. Even the oddly named Gitchee Gumee still stands, though it appears for sale. Another thing that hasn't changed is how windy and wild this beach is. No sugary sand and lapping waves here. This is a working beach, complete with rip tides, loud waves, gulls sailing overhead and plenty of interesting driftwood.

The journey there was much fun. Hopped the ferry to Kingston from Edmonds (well, hopped may be an exaggeration. This being summer, we missed fitting on the first two boats), drove through the lavender festival traffic in Sequim, ate at First Street Haven cafe in Port Angeles (marveling at the "Twilight" souvenir bonanza all the while), hiked Hurricane Ridge, motored alongside gorgeous Lake Crescent then craned our necks to watch beach after rustic beach zoom by the rest of the way to OS. Loved it.

What to pack for a trip to the Washington coast:
_A hat, headband, scarf or something else to hold back those sideswept bangs: It's windy there. Otherwise you'll have a constant mouthful of hair, and *that* doesn't look stellar in pics ;)
_Sandals or sneaks you don't mind getting dirty. This is not the sugary sand Floridians know and love, nor the soft golden sands of California, nor anything like what you'll find in Hawaii.
_A windbreaker and many layers: Like Puget Sound, you never really know what weather (sun, rain, fog, mist, snow, you name it) you're gonna get 'til you're there.
_A copy of "Twilight," some Raymond Carver stories, "The Good Rain" and other writings inspired by the area's rare combination of rustic beach/rain forest/towering mountains/windswept vistas.
_Your patience. Summer means road construction, ferry delays and tourist traffic. Thankfully, the scenery outside your car is pleasant.

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