Sunday, June 24, 2007

Arrgh Matey, Rusty Scupper Pirate Daze

Westport's Rusty Scuppers Pirate Daze took place this weekend with a "thar she blows" and an "aargh matey". This event, which is coordinated by local merchants and the Rusty Scupper Pirates (apparently community based pirate clubs abound in the Puget Sound area and they're not too unlike the Kiwanis or Lions Club, they just like to dress, um, differently).

We had dreams of decorating baby's stroller to look like a pirate ship, but like all really great home made craft projects, it died in committee. No problem, though, we figured we could still enjoy the festival, so, we packed up and headed again to festival central - the Westport Marina - sans costumes or decorations, but looking forward to the elephant ears.

The festival itself did not disappoint. You can't really go wrong with hundreds of people dressed in their fantasy costumes of pirates, wenches, and gypsies. It was a plethora of inappropriately costumed women (think lots of women with borderline S&M leather bustiers) and men. This is the renaissance faire type crowd who does not spare any detail, including the leather cup holder for the daschund. No kidding.

In addition to the people watching, there were costume contests (one for professional pirates - huh? - and one for regular joes), pirate bands, and lots and lots of pirate themed gift booths. Don't laugh - it took all of my personal restraint not to buy myself an inappropriate outfit to squeeze into for next year's pirate daze.

Baby loved the dogs dressed up as pirates and even wobbled along to some of the pirate music. In all, it was great to see the Marina so heavily populated and definitely one of those festivals worth traveling to at least once.

Note: Mark your calendars, the 2008 Event will take place June 20 - 22.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Best Breakfasts in Town

One of the best things about taking a weekend trip is that it gives you an excuse to eat out. Because, after all, you didn't just drive 3 hours from Edmunds to eat cheerios, right? And Westport doesn't disappoint. Whether you're looking for greasy spoon hash or bloody mary and crab cakes, here are some of the best places to start your day:

Best Coffee Stand: Hands down, Captain Jack's Espresso, conveniently located near the Red Apple (or at our only stoplight). Friendly service, sugar free flavors, expect to wait for at least a few cars ahead of you. It's the only place in town to drive through for your morning brew.

Best Bloody Marys: Islander aka Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill. I would also argue that its the most "sophisticated" breakfast menu in town, with crab benedict and fruit cups on the menu. If there's a big eater in your crowd, order the chicken fried steak, which is portion big enough to feed a family of four for a week. Yummy breakfast sandwich on ciabatta bread is great. Drawbacks - only open Saturday and Sunday. Definitely try "washington's best bloody mary" here and drink your breakfast.

Best family breakfast: Inn at the Westwind. It's low key, and there's nothing your kids can do here that hasn't already been done. Best hot chocolates with mountains of whipped cream, and kids will love the smiley face pancake, complete with cherry nose.

Best view: Hands down, the Fogcutter. This little diner (whose owners used to run "THE DINER" down the street which closed early last year), has a full breakfast menu with such standards as omelettes, eggs benedict, and pancakes as big as your head, but the real star here is the Grays Harbor Lighthouse immediately across the street. You can eat your breakfast and then walk over and climb to the top and work off, if not all, at least a little of breakfast.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Westport dining... we're moving on up...

I saw this press release today, which was very exciting... I knew these places were special, now I have corroboration!

Don’t Overlook Washington’s Best Kept Dining Secrets

Anthony’s Restaurant in Westport, Washington, gets 3-1/2 stars from “Best Places Northwest” guidebook, Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill receives 3 stars.

Westport, WA, June 12, 2007: Two of Westport’s restaurants were recently reviewed in the 16th edition of the popular “Best Places Northwest” guidebook and received among the guidebooks highest honors.

Anthony’s Restaurant, a 40-seat restaurant located on the Westport Marina in the Islander Resort, at 421 E. Neddie Rose Drive, received 3-1/2 stars (out of a maximum 4 stars). The reviewer recommends that guests try the grilled pear, blue cheese and prosciutto salad, apricot-glazed chicken and cranberry polenta for its melt in your mouth goodness. Anthony’s also received a note as being a romantic dining experience. It was recently touted locally as having the “Best Bloody Mary” in Washington.

The Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill, located adjacent Anthony’s Restaurant in the Islander Resort, was touted as “a superb dining spot by the sea” and received 3 stars (out of a maximum 4 stars) from the reviewer. They go on to note that “fresh fish is their forte:, and that “a combination of cozy booths and tables, warm earth tones, and Moroccan-style lanterns create a comfortable atmosphere.” Diners are encouraged to try the Jetty Surf Melt, “that will have you savoring every bite.”

The ratings show that Westport’s small eateries can compete with some of Seattle’s landmark dining spots such as El Gaucho (3 stars), Ray’s Boathouse (2-1/2 stars), Palace Kitchen (2 stars) and Wild Ginger (2-1/2 stars).

Josh Wood, Food and Beverage Manager for both venues found the reviews to be a pleasant surprise, “when we created the Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill and later Anthony’s restaurant in 2004 and 2006, we knew we were on to something special. It’s exciting to be recognized, and to know that although we’re in a remote location, we can compete with the finest establishments in the Seattle areas. I hope that people will make the short 2-1/2 hour drive from Seattle to enjoy the Anthony’s and Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill experience.”

Anthony’s Restaurant and Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill are both operated by Westport Investments, LLC, a local operating company that also operates the Vacations by the Sea Oceanfront Condo Rentals (which received 2-1/2 stars from “Best Places Northwest”), and several other motel, RV, and Charter properties in the South Beach area from Westport to Tokeland, Washington.

Westport, Washington, the often overlooked beach town across from Grays Harbor from Ocean Shores, is a 2-1/2 hour drive from downtown Seattle. Once known as the Salmon Fishing Capital of the World, it is being repositioned as the ideal destination resort for beach and ocean lovers in the Pacific Northwest.

“Best Places Northwest”, 16th Edition, is published by Sasquatch Books and is well known in the Northwest, being called “the bible for discriminating travelers,” and “the region’s undisputed heavyweight champ of guidebooks.”


Sunday, June 10, 2007

To Protect and to Surf

The Surfrider Foundation and the surf community descended onto Westport this weekend to celebrate the 6th Annual Cleanwater Classic, which is basically a small surf contest and big party.

I have always been fascinated with surfers and surfing. Growing up 20 minutes from the big wave surf of the North Shore of Oahu, I have a very solid respect for the ocean. I was caught in way too many close calls in the shorebreak to really ever feel comfortable in the surf, although I consider myself a strong swimmer. I was also quite a dork growing up, so I never had the opportunity to try surfing. So now as an adult, and with all of my adult wisdom, I am highly interested in learning. I do have an aversion to (1) squeezing my large body into a wetsuit and (2) immersing my island grown ass into 65 degree seas. However, its still on my list of "things to do", and maybe on day you'll read all about it here.

In the meantime, watching the surfing is an adventure in and of itself. The contest headquarters were located at the Islander Motel, and each morning, they would post where the surfing would occur (whether at Half Moon Bay or at the Jetty or the Groins).

Unfortunately, I won't be able to report what it was truly like at this particular time, because, well it was foggy and chilly and I can honestly say that I didn't actually make it to see any heats. I only peeked in at the post-surf party (and I mostly did that for the hawaiian plate lunch).

But, all around town, surfers were everywhere to be found, and do they ever know how to throw a party. The nice thing is that it increases awareness for the Surfrider Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation of the oceans. Maybe next year, I'll be in the water.