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’).