July 21, 2009
We were recently hosts at China Beach Retreat and the Shelburne Inn to a lovely couple from Spain, named Joaquin and M. Angels Nieto, who had found us on the Internet. They were drawn to our location largely due to our large bird population, as they are avid bird watchers. They were delighted to hook up with a member of our local chapter of the Audubon Society, Mary Atherton, of Discovery Coast Audubon Society. Mary met them early one morning and showed them where to go for some great bird sightings. Interestingly, they own Hotel Mauberme, in Salardu, Lleida, Spain. The area from which they come is also quite a mecca for birders. A visit to their website will reveal this, as well as the Nietos’ passion for bird watching (in other parts of the world, too, such as Africa). While it may be difficult for us to get away from the inn for any extended period during the summertime, we feel as though the world comes to us because of our diverse clientele. The Nietos were kind enough to send us this photo of M. Angels that was taken of her on their hike in Pacific County. If you would like to learn more about birding in our area, please visit our local Visitors Bureau website, funbeach.com, where you’ll find a wealth of information.
June 18, 2009
The July/August, 2009 issue of Victoria Magazine lists the Shelburne Inn among the Inns We Love section. On the cover it reads, “Our Favorite Beach Finds, charming coastal shops, soothing interiors, and enchanting seaside inns.” The Shelburne is one of five featured inns, and the only one on the west coast. The Herbfarm Restaurant, located in Woodinville, Washington, owned and operated by our friends, Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck, received six pages of well-deserved attention in the same issue. On the stands now–pick it up!
June 9, 2009
On a recent trip to visit friends in Yakima and Spokane, David and Laurie took a little detour through the Yakima Valley wine country. Not to be missed is the printed brochure, “Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail,” which has a map and listing of 16 of the region’s best wineries. A handful of these winemakers went into winemaking about the time David and Laurie became Innkeepers. We’re proud to offer wines from Eaton Hill, Masset and Silver Lake Wineries in the Shelburne Restaurant and Pub. According to the Rattlesnake Hills brochure, there were over 150 awards given to wines produced by the 16 wineries along this wine trail. You can attibute that to the rich, volcanic soil, long days and warm climate of this region as well as the ever-expanding expertise of the winemakers. Definitely worth the trip!
May 21, 2009
The Past…it’s just so yesterday, or is it?
A former guest sent us a copy of an old “Hotel Shelburne” brochure that appears to date back to the 1950’s. When we read it we were struck by how things had changed, of course, and also by how they hadn’t. Inside, the brochure read as follows (with the exception of our italicized editorial comments):
Modern Hotel Shelburne is located in Seaview…when you think of the sea, you will think of the Shelburne. Many wintry gales have weathered its features, but the Shelburne still maintains its salty dignity, the glow of its hearth, and the warmth of its charm. Here you will find:
No juke boxes—
No pinball machines—
No chrome or streamlining—
You Will Find—
A relaxing home-like atmosphere; good beds (sleep in if you like—a hearty breakfast served ‘til noon) [now true on Sundays], home-cooked foods (yummy home-made bread); and twenty-eight miles of splendid beach thrown in. The tide is in and out twice every 24 hours.” [duh!]
Today we take pride in the Shelburne’s history, dating to its beginning in 1896 and the fact that it is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the State of Washington. Indeed, the Shelburne has weathered many a storm, but in addition, as a business, it has survived two world wars and a major depression. Admittedly, that gives us a little extra dose of courage as we face current economic challenges. As much as it is historic, it’s also modern in terms of its comfort level and the amenities offered such as a full-service restaurant and pub, wireless Internet service and of course, all private baths. The Inn is getting a new coat of its signature forest green paint and antique white trim, so it’ll be all spruced-up for the spring and summer season. The flowers are blooming and the glorious local foods of our region are on the table. Our friendly staff is eager to point you in the direction of all that the area has to offer. Won’t you join us soon for a much-deserved escape?
May 9, 2009
As the weather warms and is somewhat tamed by the change of season, we hanker for outdoor activities that inspire and challenge us. One of our favorite things to do is to go kayaking on Willapa Bay, specifically to Long Island, in the middle of the bay. Spangled by bright sunlight, the water gleams and glistens as our kayaks slice through it. A small copse of western cedar, hemlock and Sitka spruce are all just a few steps from the shoreline of Long Island. The only sound other than the raspy protest of a Stellar Jay is the low prayer-like gurgle of water rubbing stone. Such simple treasures abound on Long Island, the jewel of Willapa Bay on the east side of the Long Beach Peninsula.
Four kayakers paddle the ten mile round-trip from the Willapa Bay Refuge up the western reach of the Naselle River and then around Pinnacle Rocks to Smoky Hollow, one of five camping destinations in the federal park. Eight miles long and half as wide, the island was saved from the chainsaw by Congressman Don Bonker, lock, stock and barrel in the late 1980’s. Last year the 160-acre grove of virgin cedar—crown jewels—was christened with the ex-congressman’s name, the Don Bonker Grove, and now stands in perpetuity as a natural cathedral to those who follow the call of the wild.
The kayakers leave their boats perched over a fallen log above the high tide-line, then hike south along the beach to a trailhead left unmarked by the park rangers. That trail leads the travelers to the entrance of the grove, just uphill and an easy ¼ mile south along the old Weyerhaeuser logging road. Within minutes they enter the grove, and are greeted by 200 foot giant cedar with candelabra tops. The trail loops for about a mile, not a long jaunt, but each footstep laced in a hundred shades of green. Two owls are practicing their mating calls, and the celadon-blue sky sneaks between the dense flat boughs. Dozens of varieties of fern, moss and lichen dangle green lace and frond along the forest trail.
Later on the beach, we indulge in the picnic lunch we have packed. We’re ravenous from the exertion of getting here. Sunshine bathes pale arms and faces—winter has been long and wet.
Hugging the flood tide, the wayfarers push off, the silky bay waters warm and soothing. A northwest wind blushes blissfully against their backs, and the shoreline rushes by as they pass steadily up the bay.
Willapa Bay is rarely docile, requiring boat, kayak or canoe in the hands of a capable waterman. The easiest crossing is the short paddle from the public launching ramp at the refuge to the old truck landing on the south end of the island, only about a ½ mile. From here, the old logging road ambles about four miles to the cedar grove. The trail is subtly marked all the way to the campsites and the grove.
Be forewarned: paddling around the west side of the island can be dangerous. On the day that the four seasoned kayakers traveled safely up-island, two men in a kayak capsized and an elderly gentleman drowned. Every few years, the bay claims the unwary. Travelers on this shallow oyster bay must show caution. None-the-less, the rewards of such adventure remain rich and satisfying. There are few areas in the contiguous 48 states with such accessible isolation and natural highlights. These opportunities are but a 30 minute drive from Astoria, or 11 miles east on Highway 101 out of Seaview.
Though major portions of the island were logged heavily in the latter years of the 20th century, many of those scars have healed. This wildlife preserve—home of Roosevelt elk, white-tail deer, black bear and numerous forms of wildlife and wildfowl—remains the legacy of a wise Congressman with a keen vision. Before the next century comes to a close, second-growth will blossom into the majestic cedar giants that once covered all corners of the Pacific Northwest. In those latter years, our grandchildren and theirs will thank these caretakers who protected this sanctuary.
May 8, 2009
The historic Shelburne Inn in Long Beach is a romantic Washington Hotel with a gourmet restaurant and pub. Since 1896 visitors to the Long Beach Peninsula and the local population have frequented the inn which is known for its use of fresh, local ingredients. Recently, three new taps were added in the pub, bringing the total to six. The current draft beer offerings are: Alaskan Amber Ale, Blue Moon Belgian-style Wheat Ale, Organic IPA Fishtail Hefeweizen, Mirror Pond Pale Ale from Deschutes Brewery, Black Butte Porter from Deschutes, and Curve Ball Summer Ale from Pyramid. Pictured below is the popular Blue Cheese Bacon Burger and hand-cut fries with a mug of Black Butte Porter. Black Butte Porter is crafted from chocolate and crystal malts, and is Deschutes Brewery’s flagahip brand. It was developed in 1988 and has enjoyed a passionate following since then. The Shelburne Pub remains loyal to its regional micro breweries, since it is a Washington Pub. So, the featured micro-brewed beers on tap are all from Washington and Oregon. With warmer weather on the horizon, the innkeepers have spruced up the outdoor seating on the pub deck, for their guests to enjoy the longer days of spring and summer. Open 7 days a week, the friendly staff extends a warm invitation to all to come in and experience a longstanding Pacific Northwest tradition in dining and hospitality.
May 8, 2009
On most Thursdays if you were to wander into the Lobby of the Shelburne Inn, you would find a group of women sitting at their spinning wheels spinning an array of fibers. As a general rule they meet here every Thursday from about 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. They are all members of the local Clatsop Weavers and Spinners Guild, which started in Oregon in the early 1950′s. Membership in the guild stretches from Gearhart, Oregon to Grays River, Washington. There are currently 24 members and they meet monthly at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco. A variety of fibers are used by the spinners, including sheep’s wool, bamboo, cord, silk, llama, angora, cashmere, alpaca and even poodle. Once spun, the yarns are used either for a knitting or weaving project, some for personal use and some which will be sold. If you are a guest of the inn or restaurant and would like to watch the spinning process and learn about it, these women are a wealth of information and they give it freely! Between the four women who were here this Thursday, they have a combined 60 years of spinning experience. If you’ve never spun and are curious or would like to try it, please come by for a free lesson on Thursday evenings. To encourage you, Rose Power taught her 75 year-old mother to spin in one day. Rita Smith taught herself. Cheri Diehl has been spinning for 20 years. Here are some photos of the spinners and some yarn and knitted items from Rose Power.