Sunday, October 11, 2009

Razor Clam Season Set for 2009!

Razor clam season tentatively set
to open in mid-October

Digging at all beaches will be restricted to the hours between noon and midnight.

Tentative opening dates and evening low tides in October are (the best time for digging is 1 - 2 hours before low tide):

  • Friday, Oct. 16 ( 5:50 p.m. -0.5 ft.)
  • Saturday, Oct. 17 (6:38 p.m. -0.8 ft.)
  • Sunday, Oct. 18 (7:23 p.m. -1.1ft.)
  • Monday, Oct. 19 (8:06 p.m. -1.1 ft.)

In addition, WDFW has tentatively scheduled four other digs through Jan. 3.

Digs scheduled in November include:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 4 (7:33 p.m. -1.3 ft.)
  • Thursday, Nov. 5 (8:18 p.m. -1.2 ft.)
  • Friday, Nov. 6 (9:07 p.m. -0.9 ft.)
  • Saturday, Nov. 7 (9:59 p.m. -0.5 ft.)

  • Saturday, Nov. 14 (4:34 p.m. -0.3 ft.)
  • Sunday, Nov. 15 (5:21 p.m. -0.7 ft.)
  • Monday, Nov. 16 (6:05 p.m. -0.9 ft.)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 17 (6:47 p.m. -0.8 ft.)

Digs scheduled December 2 through Jan. 3 include:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 2 (6:32 p.m. -1.2 ft.)
  • Thursday, Dec. 3 (7:18 p.m. -1.4 ft.)
  • Friday, Dec. 4 (8:04 p.m. -1.3 ft.)
  • Saturday, Dec. 5 (8:51 p.m. -0.9 ft.)

  • Thursday, Dec. 31 (6:16 p.m. -1.1 ft.)
  • Friday, Jan. 1 (7:01 p.m. -1.8 ft.)
  • Saturday, Jan. 2 (7:45 p.m. -1.6 ft.)
  • Sunday, Jan. 3 (8:29 p.m. -1.2 ft.)
The WDFW website lists "Twin Harbors" as the location for a 4 day clam dig. That is actually code for the 18 miles of beach that stretches from Willapa Bay to Grays Harbor, ie. Westport/Grayland/Tokeland.

I have made a little primitive map which shows where the best places to find Razor Clams are. If you want to go to Westhaven, I recommend following the map to Westport, then turning toward Westhaven State Park on Jetty Access Road. Park at the state park and walk down to the beach.

To try Grayland, you can access the beach either on Bonge Road or Grayland Beach Road. The area in between these two roads are prime razor clam habitat.

Good luck & happy Clamming!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cranberry Festival Week! Grayland/Cranberry Coast

I love autumn at the beach! The crowds are gone, the air is crisp, and most often, the sun is still out. We have been having the most wonderful late-summer-early-fall weather this year, and the weatherman is forecasting sunny skies through this weekend - Cranberry Fest weekend!

I love Cranberry Festival weekend, for the kitschy community festival, for the cranberry harvest tours, for the bog jog, but mostly, because I am one of those people who will do anything for a blue ribbon, I love Cranberry Fest weekend for the cranberry cookoff. Unfortunately, I will be headed south for a wedding, which leaves the cookie category up for grabs this year :) Haha.

If cooking is not your thing, there are other reasons to head to Grayland this weekend. There are harvest tours (by bus), there is a cranberry eating contest (have you ever tried to eat uncooked, unsweetened cranberries?), a "biggest berry" contest among the farmers, and some farm fresh cranberries to be purchased. There are also food vendors, cranberry crafts, and live entertainment. After you stuff yourself with fair food and kettle corn on Saturday, head to the bogs for a friendly 5k "Bog Jog" to work it off on Sunday morning. There may be nothing nicer than the quiet cranberry bog lined roads of Grayland for a fall workout.

Check out the Cranberry Coast Chamber for specifics!

Secrets From The Sea Beachcombing Great Lecture at Westport Winery

Beachcombing is one of the best things about living on the coast. If you have ever wanted to know more about everything from sand dollars to agates, you are invited to attend the next free Great Lecture at Westport Winery. Secrets From The Sea will be presented by Gene Woodwick of the Ocean Shore InterpretiveCenter on Sunday, October 18 from 3-5pm. This class is open to all ages and is free to attend. Pre-registration is required as space is limited.

Gene became an Olympic Peninsula ethno-centric after she and her husband moved to Forks to teach in 1960. She cooked at the Sappho logging camp of Rayonier, Inc. when he was head teacher at the Beaver Elementary School. She later worked for the Port Angeles Evening News and the Associated Press as a hard news reporter covering the area from Lake Cresent south to Lake Quinault and from the ridge of the Olympic Mountains to 200 miles out into the Pacific Ocean. During this time she covered the development of Ocean Shores. She worked for over 32 years at King County newspapers as reporter, editor, and columnist for four newspapers specializing in land use, inter-governmental issues, logging and tourism.

Gene moved back to the coast in 1984 and worked for newspapers in OceanShores and as a freelance writer. She also worked at the Grays Harbor Economic Development Council, Grays Harbor Tourism and the Chehalis Fisheries Enhancement Task Force. In 1987 she was hired to develop the Interpretive where she now serves as the curator under the directorship of Neil Eldridge. Gene continues to write for the Puget Sound Historical Maritime Museum journal The Sea Chest and the Washington State Museum's journal The Columbian.

For more information call Westport Winery at 648-2224.Westport Winery is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road (halfway betweenAberdeen and the Westport ‘Y’). The winery is open daily, year around from 11amto 6pm.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cranberry Festival Week! Grayland/Cranberry Coast

Just in time for the 14th Annual Cranberry Festival the Westport Winery is offering its latest culinary learning opportunity with a class called Cranberry Crazy. On Sunday, October 11, Chef Erin Worth will create, sample, and share five recipes utilizing locally grown cranberries. The five-course menu includes: Cranberry Mulled Wine, Bibb and Butternut Salad with Pumpkin Seeds and Cranberry Vinaigrette; Chorizo, Kale and Cranberry Bean Soup, Cranberry-Orange Quick Bread, Ruby Chicken, and Pear-Apple Cranberry Crisp. The price to attend this class is $25 per person or $20 for wine club members. And don’t forget to stop by the winery to taste one of three wines made with cranberries on your way to the Cranberry Festival in Grayland on Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11.

Reservations are required to attend this latest culinary adventure. For more information call Westport Winery at 648-2224.Westport Winery is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road (halfway between Aberdeen and the Westport ‘Y’). The winery is open daily, year around from 11am to 6pm.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Crush me, Squeeze me, Make me wine (at the beach)

Are you looking for a grape-stomping good time? Just head to Westport Winery on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, October 2, 3, and 4 to participate in their annual Crush Me, Squeeze Me, Make Me Wine At The Beach Festival from 11am to 6pm. The winery will provide bins of grapes for you to stomp your way into purple-footed bliss. The featured “stomp grape” this year is Merlot with plenty of fresh wine grape sampling to boot.

On Saturday, October 3 at 5pm the winery will hold their Lucy and Ethyl Look-Alike Contest featuring guest judges...last year’s Lucy and Ethyl. This contest is open to men, women, children, and dogs with one pair of winners selected from each category. All ages are welcome to attend this fun-filled event featuring live music from classical guitarist Scott Lindenmuth along with Italian wedding soup as the hearty repast to get you in the mood of this Tuscan tradition.

This event is free and all ages are welcome at the winery. Wine is available to purchase by the taste, glass, or bottle. Reservations are not necessary to participate in this event just stop by Westport Winery located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road (halfway between Aberdeen and the Westport ‘Y’). For more information call Westport Winery at 648-2224.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

One Eyed Crab in the NY Times

Who doesn't love to see their name in lights? We recently saw our local crab eatery written up in the NY Times. Check it out here, then head to the beach for some deep fried crab legs. Totally worth the drive!
The One Eyed Crab, 2309 Westhaven Drive, Westport, Wash.; (360) 268-0891.

Friday, July 17, 2009

This just in... Half Moon Bay Bar & Grill takes home another Blue Ribbon - 1st place at Bite of Seattle

We couldn't be prouder! The Half Moon Bay Bar & Grill bested out 61 other restaurants in a competition judged by 4 independent food critics to take home the #1 entree at Bite of Seattle. Not bad for a little seafood shack on the marina!

Congratulations to brother Donovan & his crew!

If you're in the City this weekend, head over to Seattle Center and give a shout out to Team Half Moon Bay Bar & Grill!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Eastside Street Rod Association Westport, WA Show & Shine

I am lucky enough to be married to a carhound, so anytime we are within sniffing distance of a classic, unique, or otherwise noteworth auto, I get dragged along. As my Dad likes to joke "it's better than a pretty girl to him".

This weekend, July 17 - 19, is a special treat in Westport, because it's the Eastside Street Rod Association's Westport Rod Run.

The Eastside Street Rodders will be hitting Westport in style, parading up and down Westhaven drive and creating a beautiful spectacle of pre-1949 classic automobiles. We will be the lucky ones, watching and peering into windows, and establishing an early love for classics in our 3 year old and 7 month old sons. I'm not sure if there is a specific schedule or times that they drive around, but you can usually catch them mid day on the Marina.

If you're headed to the beach be sure to take a cruise down to the Marina and check out these beauties. If you miss them, they'll be staying at Mc Bee's on the main drag into town, and that's a fun sight as well.

See you at the beach!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Windriders Kite Festival at the Beach in Grayland - July 10-12

It's that time of year, Kite Festival time! I've written before about why I love the Windriders Kite Festival, but there is of course, more to the story than what I noticed in my experience. Evening Magazine profiled Jerry Cannon and the World Champion Sport Kite team, who will be competing at this weekend's Windriders Festival.

The past 2 years I spent most taking photos of the kites, but this year, I will definitely pay more attention to the actual skilled kite flying taking place.

For some details:

The Festival takes place at Grayland Beach Park. For directions, google map "Grayland Beach Road" in Grayland, WA. It's about 5 minutes south from Westport.
It's pretty casual, if you're just there to watch you can drive onto the beach, or park at access road, and just walk around. There is an information booth that opens from noon - 3ish on Friday, 9am -4pm on Saturday and 9am -3pm on Sunday. Those times are approximate and probably vary depending on the volunteers that are working it :) Check out their flyer at the Windriders Club site for a little more information.

See you at the Beach!

Old Fashioned Fourth of July at the Maritime Museum

I am totally late on this one... the whole point of this blog is to get information out to all of you in ADVANCE of things happening, but between the babies and a technical conference I was attending in Seattle last week, I didn't get a chance to post about all the things happening in town on the Fourth of July. But I can't skip it because this is one of those holidays that this town does right. And by this town, I mean the Westport-South Beach Historical Society.

The Old Fashioned Fourth of July at the Maritime Museum is the cutest
small town festival you could ever lay your eyes on. First of all, there is probably no prettier place than the front lawn of the Maritime Museum on a sunny day, secondly, many of the volunteers have been doing this for years, and are the friendliest bunch of seniors you ever met, and finally, the Maritime Museum flies its GIANT American Flag, which just makes it feel like 4th of July.

I love this event for all of those things, but mostly for its unpretentiousness. There are silly little homemade carnival games for the kids. Yes, the prize is a tootsie roll, but yes, my 3 year old still loves it. This is where you take your family to appreciate the simple things. Strawberry
Shortcake, hot dogs, root beer floats, and nothing costs more than a few dollars. The cake walk is a hoot, a real live piano player and people who are geniuinely happy to win a simple home baked cake. The silent auction? Well, okay, this part I actually don't understand, because a lot of the items looks like regifted Christmas presents, more like a garage sale than a silent auction, but hey, nobody's perfect :)

It's great to bring a picnic blanket and just hang out and watch all the people wandering in from the Marina, listen to music, and play a few games. Like everything in Westport, its also very pet
friendly, and there are lots of well behaved four legged friends hanging around watching the action.

This year they added a blues festival to the end of the event, and unfortunately, 2 children under 3 and concerts don't mix, so I have nothing to report. But I highly do recommend this Old Fashioned Fourth of July to all families looking for a slower change of pace on your next Independence Day at the beach!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Half Moon Bay Bar & Grill takes 1st at Taste of Tacoma

This just in... the Half Moon Bay Bar & Grill won 1st place for best entree at the Taste of Tacoma for their crab cakes. If you're in Tacoma today, go check them out!

Better yet, come see us at the beach :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Stand up paddle ... flat water in Westport

So, the experiment has proved my hypothesis true - stand up paddling in Elk River is FUN and EASY (sort of). We went out last Sunday and it was a little choppy due to the incoming tide, but it was a blast. We paddled from the duck club boat launch almost to the bridge and back. It was a short excursion, not more than half an hour, because the sun was getting ready to go down and my babysitter was turning into a pumpkin, but we had a lot of fun.

Some notes:
(1) You can paddle without a wetsuit. Even though it was not super sunny, I wore shorts & a sweater. We also used our PFD's since it was our first time and we weren't sure if we'd fall in or get swept out to sea :) (Us mom's have to think like that).

(2) As a Hawaii girl, I'm still way more comfortable in the ocean. Muddy river bottoms take some getting used to.

(3) There is a ton of wildlife out there in the Elk River Estuary. We saw a lot of birds I couldn't name, a sea otter (or maybe he was seal) and little fish jumping right around our boards. I'm sure if I wasn't concentrating so hard on standing up, I'd have seen more.

We'll try a couple of other places and keep you posted, especially as the weather gets warmer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pirate Daze are here... 2009 Edition

It's Pirate Daze time, and I'm pretty excited because for the first time, I planned ahead and got my boys Pirate costumes ahead of time (and well, this is the first Pirate Daze for the baby). They look darned cute in their pirate hats, and I've got my fingers crossed that they will actually wear them & smile for my camera. If they do, I'll be sure to innundate you with photos.

Since the Rusty Scupper Pirate website is a little hard to follow, I thought I'd post the schedule of some of the highlighted events here (Note that most activities happen along Westhaven Drive in the Westport Marina District, and you can pick up a "South Beach Bulletin" the free weekly paper and there is an insert with all the details on the Pirate Days Festival):

Friday, June 26, 2009:

12:00 noon, festival opens, Games open in Scallywag Alley
3:00 pm Mini Brig Battle in the marina
4:00 pm B.O.O.M Pirates Show (Black Powder)
4:30 pm Treasure Chest Drawings
5:00 pm Espresso Drama "Shiver me Timbers"
Lady Washington & Hawaiian Cheiftain Tall Ship Tours
6:00 pm Captain Jack Sparrow Look Alike Contest

Saturday, June 27, 2009

10:00 am Festival opens
10am - 1pm Tall ships tours
11:30 am Costume contest for amatuer pirates, wenches & Scallywags
1:00 pm B.O.O.M Pirate Performace
2 - 5 pm Tall Ships Battle Cruise (Boards at 1:30)
6 - 9 pm Tall Ships Battle Cruise (Baords at 5:30)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

10:00 am Festival opens
11:30 Professional Pirate Costume Contest
12:30 noon B.O.O.M. show

So go shiver thy timbers (whatever that means), and have a piratey great time! If you see two adorable little baby boys in pirate costumes with their mama, say hi, it's probably me :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Congratulations to our Westport Winery!

Grays Harbor’s own Westport Winery garnered amazing recognition in the summer issue of Wine Press Northwest, the region’s preeminent publication on the wine industry. The magazine evaluates wines from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Canada and publishes reviews of those they find worthy of an “Outstanding”, “Excellent”, or “Recommended” rating. Seventeen of Westport Winery’s initial offering earned high acclaim.

Wines rated “outstanding” are considered to “have superior characteristics and should be highly sought after.” Those rated “excellent” are known as “top-notch wines with particularly high qualities.” And wines which are “recommended” are “delicious, well-made wines with true varietal characteristics.” The editors of this prestigious journal headquartered in the tri-cities—the heart of Washington’s wine country—state “recent releases are evaluated under strict conditions to ensure objectivity.” The panelists know neither the producer nor the variety. At least three of four of the professional evaluators have to vote the wines into contention for these awards.

Among their red wines, their 2007 Charterboat Chick’s Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Boom Runner Reserve Merlot were rated “excellent”. The 2007 Surfer’s Last Syrah garnered an “outstanding” while the Swimmer’s Last Syrah was “recommended”. The winery’s Jetty Cat Red was rated “excellent” with the note that “This is an up-and-coming winery…”

In an article titled “Proud to be Pink” Westport’s non-vintage Bog Berry Blush was “recommended” as “an enjoyable sipper with unmistakable aromas and flavors of cranberries and raspberries.”

In the white wine category the 2007 Shorebird Chardonnay received an “excellent” which may be one reason this vintage sold out before the end of 2007. The Roberts family is particularly proud of their Elk River Riesling and Captain Grays Gewurztraminer and that was proven correct with the wines garnering an “outstanding” and an “excellent” respectively. As the basic components of Bordello Blonde and Lighthouse White it is therefore no surprise that these two wines were rated "outstanding” and “recommended.”

Westport as especially pleased to earn an “outstanding” rating in the sparkling wine category for their carbonated cranberry wine, Rapture of the Deep, made exclusively from Ocean Spray fruit. Also on the fruit wine front both their Little Wild Blackberry Riesling and Message In A Bottle—their all blackberry wine—were “recommended.” And it was no surprise to find their top two most popular wines, Duckleberry Grunt and Red Sky At Night with “excellent” rank, proving that the Grays Harbor community knows how to evaluate wine as well as anyone in the industry.

Shiver Me Timbers, their 2007 vintage Ice Wine earned an “excellent” review. This wine is another that sold out earlier this year. The 2008 Shiver Me Timbers will be released over Pirate Daze weekend and is a Late Harvest Riesling.

The acknowledgements wrapped up with a “recommended” given to their port-style wine called Shelter From The Storm. Of it the editors said, “A blend of Northwest cranberries, blackberries and blueberries is created in a tasty style that’s akin to a SweeTart.”

For this new business, these accolades from industry critics confirm what their guests have been saying for over a year when they wrote, “A tribute to the Grays Harbor estuary on theWashington coast…”

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stand Up Paddling for Beginners & Elk River, here I come!

During a recent trip to Hawaii, I was able to try out Stand up paddling for the first time. If you're not familiar with the sport, its an ancient-sport-come-new-fad that has become the hot new thing in watersports. I've been watching the sport get more and more popular, and finally had a chance to try it.

The first day, I went with friends at Camp Mokuleia beach. It was a beautiful day, but the water was far from flat. I never managed to get beyond my knees. My 9-year old nephew did great though, he was up and paddling in no time. It was one of those really hot, no-trade-winds days, so great for just bobbing in the water anyway. We did spy a few sea turtles which made it all worthwhile.

I decided to take a lesson a few days later at Haleiwa. I called Rainbow Watersports and booked a morning lesson with Heidi. We met near the memorial at Haleiwa and did about 5 minutes of paperwork. Then she gave me a 15 minute primer on the sand, explaining basic paddle strokes and walking me through how we were going to launch the board and stand up.

The hardest part of the whole lesson - schlepping an 11' board down to waters edge and back. I am super uncoordinated, and I was able to stand up almost immediately. It was so cool. The best way to describe it is like kayaking standing up - it requires a lot more balance and concentration than kayaking, and you don't get to rest (unless you want to get down and lay on your board). We paddled across Haleiwa beach to the river, under the Anahulu Bridge and down to the end of that little stream. I grew up about 20 minutes from there and had never been back that way. I was amazed at how pretty it was. Along the way, Heidi gave instruction in different turns and manuevers.

The weather, of course, was to die for. At 8:00 in the morning, it was already about 80 degrees out. So when I got a scare from a sea turtle under my board and fell into the water, it was a welcome break from the heat. I fell one other time, when Heidi was showing me different stances on the board. Other than that, it was a really natural and intuitive thing.

Now that I'm back in Westport, I am itching to go paddling again. I have seen a couple of guys paddle surfing in front of the condos, but I think I will stick with the flat water. I'm looking to get a big board and take it out on Elk River (the river that passes by Brady's Oysters). If anyone is interested in trying a flat water paddle out here, send me an email at I'll be checking it out and writing more about it.

In the meantime, if you find yourself in Hawaii, I highly recommend Heidi at Rainbow Watersports. She does a great job and the lesson price includes the board and paddle. It was a totally awesome experience.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Westport Winery’s 2009 Bottling and Production Tour & BBQ

Westport Winery’s second free bottling and production tour for 2009 is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 6 and 7. Bottling will begin at 8am both days and will run until 6pm. The winery already has plenty of volunteers who will be working on the bottling line, so this is simply a chance to come and observe the process while enjoying the scenic vineyards and farm. There is no charge to watch the action and all ages are welcome. Bill Hamlin, of Custom Mobile Bottling in Benton City will again keep the line rolling. You are encouraged come to meet or reacquaint yourself with Bill and see his incredible bottling truck.

The winery will be bottling their 2008 reds including the much anticipated Pinot Noirvana. (This wine will not be released for purchase until September 25 during the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee’s Lounge Acts weekend.) The winery is also bottling several new fruit blends this weekend for release throughout the summer including Pineapple Express and Dawn Patrol.

As part of the weekend’s open house, guests are invited to enjoy a barbecue picnic from 11am to 3pm. Catered by Sherrie Rust and Jaymie Towle of Westport Event and Wedding Planning, visitors may purchase of lunch of beef bratwurst or hot dogs on hoagie rolls, homemade pasta rotini with fresh vegetables, potato salad, Heath and chocolate chunk cookies, chips, and a beverage. The price for this lunch is $10. Reservations are not required for this fun outdoor picnic.

Vehicle access to the production barn is limited so guests should wear appropriate footwear as the trail to the barn is not paved. Those with mobility issues should check in at the tasting room and someone from the team will escort them to the production area.

The winery is open daily, year around from 11am to 6pm, and after hours by reservation. For more information call Westport Winery at 648-2224. Westport Winery is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road (halfway between Aberdeen and the Westport ‘Y’).

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yappy Hour at the Westport Winery

Love tasting wine? Love your pet? Love Sunday afternoons relaxing in the sun? You can have it all every Sunday, 1pm to 3pm from June through August at Westport Winery.

Join the lovely folks at the Westport Winery for Yappy Hour on the Winery patio with your canine companion. (No adult beverages for the pets, water bowls are provided.) It’s the perfect time to hone those socialization skills (yours and your pets). All ages—dogs and people – are welcome at the winery. Wine tasting and purchasing wine by the glass or bottle is available to those over 21.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of various wines benefits local animal-friendly charities: including the Coastal Animal Rescue and Adoption (CARA), Harbor Association of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA), and Grays Harbor PAWS.

Westport Winery is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road (halfway between Aberdeen and Westport). For more information call Westport Winery at 648-2224. The winery is open daily from 11am to 6pm year around, and additionally until 9pm on Friday and Saturday evenings from June through August.
After the Yappy Hour, come and bring your pup to the beach for a well deserved vacation! Dogs love the beach!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fleur de Lis Festival for Flag Day at Westport Winery!

Join the Westport Winery in celebrating Flag Day with their Sweet Flag Irises or Fleur de Lis Festival on Saturday and Sunday, June 13 and 14 from noon to 5pm. This free event will highlight all things Francophile in a tribute to the long history of French wine, cheese and chocolate making.

In the new culinary herb garden the Roberts family has built a Petanque Court. The game is similar to Bocce with the goal to throw aluminum balls as close to the “jack” as possible. This is a sport often played in French villages. Throughout the weekend the winery will host a Petanque challenge with prizes for the winners.

This new garden space will increase the area available for the winery’s sculpture garden. Sculpture garden artists will be selling some of their work in the garden in the style of a French market. Classical guitarist Scott Lindenmuth will be playing in the winery’s Gathering Room on both days.

And Chef Erin Worth will offer Fleur de Lis French Onion Soup for those who wish to purchase food while listening to music and tasting wine. A series of French cheeses and chocolates will also be available for tasting and purchase.

All these festivities will be set against the backdrop of the winery’s 10,000 irises (which may or may not be in bloom on this date, but everyone is keeping their fingers crossed.) There is no charge to attend this inaugural Fleur de Lis Festival.

Westport Winery is open daily between 11am and 6pm to guests of all ages and is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road (halfway between Aberdeen and the Westport ‘Y’).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Whale Watching off the Westport Coast

This past weekend, as we were recovering from an amazing Cleanwater Classic, and enjoying the fabulous weather on the beach in front of Westport by the Sea, we noticed something that we've heard a lot about but never witnessed first hand - a pod of grey whales. It's a little hard to describe, and if I didn't see it with my own eyes, I probably would not have believed how close they were to shore - maybe 200 feet. Close enough to see the barnacles on their skin!

Since Sunday, we have heard from many neighbors that the Whales have been spotted offshore along the beach from the Jetty south all week long. It's an amazing sight, and one well worth the drive. I was not able to catch a picture, since you're never quite sure where they will surface, and I'm simply not that patient.

Here is a link the Washington Department of Ecology page on whale migrations off the Washington Coast, as well as the American Cetacean Society Gray Whale Page. Hope you can see these special creatures yourself!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Springtime means Crab Races

This weekend bring Westport's Annual "World Famous" Crab Races, Crab Feed, and Crab Derby. It also brings a forecast for SUNSHINE! So come on down to the beach and check out the crazy event known as crab races. As I've written in past years, its a wacky event, kids love it, but probably not a favorite of animal rights lovers. It consists of a big tent, a sloped table, and a lot of screaming and pounding, you can't imagine - you just have to come check it out.

Here's the details:

Crab Derby:
8:00 AM Saturday - Noon Sunday
$5 per ticket
You can bring your own crab pot or rent one from one of the many marina-front businesses that rent them. The local crab fishermen will "seed" the marina with crab, so there should be lots of them to catch. I'm not sure how they mark the crabs, but prizes for certain crabs caught will be distributed on Sunday. (The derby goes from ).

Crab Races:
Registration: 11:00 AM Saturday
Races: 1:00 - 5:00 PM Saturday
Entry fees: $2 to Race your own crab, $3 and they will provide a crab for you.
This is in the big parking lot down on the marina district. Drive down to Westhaven, near the Islander and the big Blue Viewing Tower, and look for the white tent ("The Crab Pavilion"). You can't miss it. I believe it actually costs $2 to enter the Crab Pavilion as well.

Crab Feed:
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM Saturday
$15 Whole Crab Dinner (includes salad, baked beans, garlic bread & beverage)
$10 Half Crab Dinner (includes salad, baked beans, garlic bread & beverage)
$4 Hot Dog & Pop
$4 Wine or Beer
$4 Shrimp Cocktail

If the idea of mass shellfish dinners doesn't appeal to you (and some people are weird about festival food, I get it), check out the races, and then walk across the street to the Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill (kitty corner to the Blue Tower, in the Islander Hotel), and have a Surf Melt and Clam Chowder to satisfy your seafood craving. Or go crazy and just have a Bloody Mary for lunch, it's Washington's best, after all!

See you at the Beach!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 19: Westport Winery Great Lecture Series: Birds & the Bees

Do you know about the birds and the bees? If not, maybe you should attend Westport Winery’s next Great Lecture called “Learning About The Birds And The Bees”. Although it may not include what you first think, you will garner valuable information. This seminar will feature Dianna Moor and Erin Potter, both longtime gardeners who will teach you about the best habitat to create in your own garden to promote healthy pollinators. This free class will be held at the winery on Sunday, April 19 from 3-5pm.

Dianna Moor has been a Master Gardener since 2006, an avid birder for a decade, and serves on the board of the Grays Harbor Audubon Society. In her portion of the class Moor will talk about gardening with native plants in order to provide food, shelter, and nesting opportunities for birds. “I hope those who attend my talks will go home and look at their gardens through new eyes.” She wants you to ask yourself if your garden is full of plants that look lovely for a few short months, but don't provide anything for the birds, butterflies, or bees.

Moor said the second step in the analysis of your garden is listening. “Do you hear any birds in your yard besides crows, starlings and house sparrows? If that is all you are hearing, you probably have too much lawn.” Moor will teach you what to plant to attract birds, and how to keep them in your yard. You will also learn how you can help rid your space of bugs, mosquitoes, and yes, crane flies! It's all about the plants. She said it’s also critical to use products in your home garden that promote a healthy environment for animals, plants, and people.

Erin Potter, a member of the Organic Beekeeping Society said her instruction will offer a similar view in terms of bees. She will begin with an overview of the conventional hive structure. She will then educate everyone on the cycles and functions of worker bees, drones and queen bees. And she will finish her conversation with details on the natural cycle of a honeybee colony in a temperate (four-season) climate.

Potter has been gardening for eight years and bases many of her organic beekeeping practices on the organic gardening practices she has learned. Potter is a mother and instructor at Grays Harbor Community College. She is also a Lieutenant Commander in the Coast Guard Reserves where she writes emergency plans and practice emergency exercises.

In coordination with the Roberts family, Erin is placing a hive on the winery property on April 26. This is just one strategy implemented by Westport Winery and Vineyards By-the-Sea in the Salmon Safe program’s habitat enhancement section.

Westport Winery is open daily between 11am and 6pm. For more information or reservations on this class call the winery at 360-648-2224. Westport Winery is located on the corner of Highway 105 and South Arbor Road (halfway between Aberdeen and the Westport ‘Y’). For early notification on all of Westport Winery’s Great Lectures, Culinary Classes, Concerts, and Festivals email: to have your email address added to their early notification list.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Schizophrenic Coastal Weather

We are having that kind of late Winter Coastal Schizophrenia, not in the clinical term, but in the "she isn't sure if she's Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde" terminology. Yesterday, it we had 10 minute bouts of snow, wind, bright sunshine, and light rain, all day long. Just as it was getting sunny enough to get the kids dressed to walk down to the playground, it would start to rain. Just as we were starting to resign ourselves to playing in the rain, the sun would come out.

And just as I had given up, we had the most beautiful sunset.

There's an old saying out here - if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes... it rang particularly true today!