#2: Explore a New-to-Us Beach Town

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

The kids were with the Swanks for their summer break, so we booked three nights in a secluded cabin in the woods near Oysterville, Washington. We stopped in Longview for a picnic on the way.

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On our way there, we had to stop at quaint Middle Village and walk the placard stations. And climb in the concrete replica war canoes.

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We arrived kind of late, and tried to get the lay of our digs, but… well, even if you scroll all the way through this post, you won’t find a single photo of the outside of the cabin. Why? Because this part of the peninsula is covered with mosquitoes. We could actually see them swarming, a nearly-solid mass ringing our house (they could smell Becky in there). There were dragonflies the size of small mice, and they still couldn’t eat enough of the things. We mostly ran between the house and the car, and then swatted the ones who tailgated in with us.

So we didn’t spend much time in our yard. But Oysterville is on Wilapa Bay, and the sea breeze keeps the bugs away. Plus, the little hamlet is charming and historic, and has its own walking tour. You have to pick up your printed guide at the little church.

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Oh, the blurriness in those photos isn’t a filter, it’s a Lensbaby. I was playing around.

Most of the houses here were built before 1920, and a large percentage are on the historic registry. The guide and the house placards tell a little story about the person who built each one.

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This one had two conflicting stories. Ned Osborne was either a jilted-but-loyal bachelor, or a really bad man.

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I made friends with this stray. Becky stayed pretty far away, though.

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On our way back to the cabin, we stopped in the charming and lovingly-restored Oysterville Store, which you should definitely visit if you ever find yourself here. (The photo below is from a story on the new owner, who brought this place back to life.)

We spent most of our time inside the cabin, eating, drinking, playing Scattergories, and reading.

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We took an afternoon to hike Leadbetter Point State Park. We were warned about the mosquitoes by others in the parking lot, but we scoffed, thinking we’d be spending most of our time on the beach. What naïve fools we were. So young.

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Once the trail entered the woods, we saw the error of our ways. The mosquitoes mobbed us, the only way we kept from getting more bites was to keep our pace pretty much at a run. Despite the 85° heat, Becky zipped her wool hoodie up all the way.

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Relief, as we emerged into the breeding grounds of the Snowy Plover, and a breeze. Then a short walk on the beach.

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And back into the woods. There are no pictures from the 30 minutes following that last photo. Only scars.

We went home, and prepared our dinner – a whole crab and a quarter gallon of garlic butter, both purchased at Oysterville Farms.

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The next day, we wandered up and down Ocean Park, stopping at all the antique shops we could find. They’re waaay overrepresented here; there are at least six, all of them very large.

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Our quest was interrupted when we noticed one of our tires forgot how to tire.

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Our antique quest was at an end. We scrambled to find a service shop that could fix the tire, and after a half hour of spraying water on it, one of the guys at Hill Auto Body and Towing (which doesn’t have a website, but does have a YouTube channel) pulled – I kid you not – a bone out of the tire. And only charged us $12. A+++, would break down here again.

We decided a nice walk on the beach was in order. Welp, it turns out that in Washington, you can drive on the beach. Any beach. We snapped a single photo and got the heck out of there.

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We wended our way back toward the cabin, but had to stop at this little gazebo with information placards. An info-zebo, if you will.

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We learned so much about oystering. Oh, and there was a huge pile of oyster shells nearby.

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We loved this trip. We only have maybe 73 bug bites between us, and the rest of it was so worth it. Oysterville is charming, and if you’re ever in Ocean Park, stop at Jack’s for… just about anything.

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