Enjoy the Best of Westport’s Seafood Bounty

WESTPORT, WA: Bring the family to Westport and celebrate their 68th annual Seafood Festival on Saturday, August 30th. Westport seafood pro’s will be cooking up salmon, whitefish and oysters, plus shrimp cocktails, corn on the cob, salads and garlic bread – $15 per person, $12 for seniors. Want just a bite? Enjoy a hot dog or clam chowder. Beer or wine also available.

Westport’s historic MaritimeMuseum is the setting for the annual feast, with live music by “Catch of the Day.” The BBQ starts at noon and goes to 5 PM – after your meal, shop local arts and crafts booths on the Museum grounds, check out the Museum itself, or stroll the marina esplanade. Call the Westport Chamber of Commerce for more information – 1-800-345-6223, or go to www.experiencewestport.com. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Acclaimed Ocean Crest Restaurant Reopens

 Four generations of Curtright family rebuilds after devastating fire

ELMA, WA – Three years after a fire swept the Ocean Crest Resort’s main building, the top-rated destination restaurant reopened Friday July 11 to a patiently waiting audience. Located on a scenic bluff above Sunset Beach on SR 109 in Moclips, the Ocean Crest Resort received rave reviews and national accolades over the years for the restaurant’s hospitality, fine dining and exceptional wine selection.

The Ocean Crest restaurant originally debuted in 1963 — a decade after the Curtright family opened several resort cabins in Moclips for tourists. Family members have operated the resort since. Matriarch Barbara Curtright Topete, began her family’s culinary legacy as she simmered large pots of her award-winning clam chowder for weekend guests and local fans more than sixty years ago.

“It was thrilling to see Mrs. Curtright Topete handle the first shovel of dirt at last year’s groundbreaking. Now, we are anticipating the return of one of the most celebrated restaurants on the Washington coast,” said Mike Bruner, director of Grays Harbor Tourism. “All of us in the tourism industry wish the Curtrights the very best in the reopening of the restaurant that features Pacific Northwest cuisine.

It’s a star in Grays Harbor county.”

“We are delighted to finally re-build one of the best restaurants in the Pacific Northwest,” said third-generation family member Jess Owen who is returning to the restaurant as assistant general manager. “My grandmother, aunt, uncles and mother have all worked at the resort over the years. I joined the staff as a youngster and my wife and two boys have helped behind the scenes as well. They make up another generation of Curtrights at the Ocean Crest. Lately, we’ve been working 18-hour days to get the facility ready for our next generation of guests.”

Chef Coty McDonald presides over the Ocean Crest kitchen staff with a dedication for locally sourced and foraged ingredients that result in an eclectic, yet delightful menu. Fresh selections range from elk to wild salmon. He formerly worked at the Shilo Inn in Ocean Shores but his background includes a range of chef duties at famous restaurants in New Orleans, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon such as Aquariva. McDonald, 30, is married and lives in nearby Ocean Shores.

The multi-million dollar restaurant project was designed by Al Gozart of Harbor Architects in Aberdeen who has assisted with previous expansions at Ocean Crest. The 4,800 sq. ft. restaurant features a dramatic one-level design seating 48 guests in the dining room plus 24 on the patio and accommodating an additional 22 patrons in the scenic-view lounge. A bright and airy gift and art gallery returns to the lobby entrance.                                                                   

The interiors showcase the restaurant’s spectacular ocean views framed by refined Pacific Northwest décor. Much of the wood surfaces that cover the walls and ceiling was harvested on-site. In addition to efficient LED lighting, geothermic HVAC system and heat-capturing kitchen equipment will keep energy costs low.

General contractor is Nor-Cat Inc. of Cosmopolis and Anchor Bank provides financing. The restaurant employs a staff of 16. 

About Ocean Crest

The Ocean Crest Resort has offered year-round lodging to visitors of the North Coast of Washington for more than a half century. Located on 100 acres of forested property overlooking the Pacific Ocean on SR 109, 18 miles north of Ocean Shores, the AAA-rated Ocean Crest has 45 units, an indoor pool, and an onsite spa. Call 800-684-8439 or visit their web site at www.oceancrestresort.com for reservations. Address: P.O. Box 7, Moclips, WA 98562.






Take Your Dog on 5 Hikes in Grays Harbor

Those of us who are dog owners know there are numerous areas around Grays Harbor that allow dogs on trails. We also know that finding the right trail or beach for both you and your dog can be a challenge. What may be an enjoyable day of hiking for you could be extremely uninteresting to your dog and vice versa.  If you are like me, you have your favorite area for your four-legged friend that you return to ad nauseam. Why are we settling for repetition when we have some of the best hiking in the country right in our own backyard?

Looking over the trails in Grays Harbor, it is actually difficult to find many that do not allow dogs. Most of the amazing hikes in Grays Harbor are on National Forest Service land, which are always dog-friendly. While the National Forest Service does have a strict leash law, their trails more than make up to your dog by offering them incredible smells and soft trails.

Read more here:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2014/06/15/dog-hike-grays-harbor/

50 Things To Do in Grays Harbor

Call it a bucket list.  Here is a list of 50 things to do around Grays Harbor, keeping us busy and exploring year round.

  1. Visit the Satsop Bulb Farm and get a bouquet of daffodils
  2. Hike Lake Sylvia
  3. Sample wine at the Westport Winery
  4. Dig clams at Washington Beaches
  5. Hunt mushrooms in the forest
  6. See a performance at the Bishop Center and cheer on local talent
  7. Explore the Interpretive Center in Ocean Shores
  8. Visit the Lake Quinault Lodge and forest
  9. Find antique or thrift shop treasures in Aberdeen
  10. Run the Dirty Dash 5k
  11. Explore a historic railroad bed at Preachers Slough Trail
  12. Visit the Grays Harbor Farmer’s Market in Hoquiam
  13. Tour the “Lady Washington
  14. See a concert at the D&R Theatre
  15. Attend the Grays Harbor County Fair
  16. Enjoy a picnic out at Wynoochee Falls
  17. Day camp on the beach in Moclips
  18. Spot some eagles on the beach
  19. Visit Westport Marina – climb the viewing tower and walk the boardwalk
  20. Take a tour of the Running Anvil Carriage House in Montesano
  21. Attend the Parade of Lights in Montesano
  22. Float down a river of your choice
  23. Have a day outing at every State Park in Grays Harbor
  24. Attend a high-school drama performance
  25. Run a 5k + polar bear plunge at Lake Sylvia
  26. Spend 4th of July at the Splash Festival in Aberdeen
  27. Go for a drive out the East Satsop on a Summer evening
  28. Attend the Loggers Playday in Hoquiam
  29. Tour the County Courthouse in Montesano
  30. Eat salt-water-taffy in Ocean Shores
  31. Enjoy camping at the Wynoochee Dam
  32. Canoe around Lake Aberdeen
  33. Eat ice cream at Scoops in Aberdeen
  34. Visit all the public playgrounds in Grays Harbor County
  35. Visit the boardwalk near the airport in Hoquiam
  36. Take ballroom dance lessons at the YMCA
  37. Have coffee and listen to local musicians at the Tinderbox in Westport
  38. Walk the waterfront in Aberdeen
  39. Check out the Chehalis Valley Historical Museum in Montesano
  40. Visit Shaffner Farms and get a pumpkin
  41. Collect shells and browse the shops in Seabrook
  42. Watch your local high school team win a football game
  43. Enjoy horseback riding on the beach in Ocean Shores
  44. Hang around at All Wrapped Up in Montesano for coffee and conversation
  45. Hunt for a tree on a Christmas Tree Farm
  46. Attend a Driftwood Theatre performance
  47. Get lost in a corn-maze at Chapman Farms
  48. Play community league volleyball
  49. Skate around the Harborena in Hoquiam
  50. Stay up late and watch a meteor shower from your backyard or campsite

Day Trip to the Beach – Decide between Ocean Shores or Westport

Visitors to Washington’s capital, Olympia, are fortunate to be able to day-trip to the Pacific Ocean and the beaches of Grays Harbor County. Along the way, there are many sights and attractions to enjoy in pursuit of those fresh ocean breezes.

Read more here…http://www.thurstontalk.com/2014/07/16/day-trip-beach-decide-ocean-shores-westport/

Step Inside the Lake Quinault Lodge

Surrounded by giant Sitka spruce trees, Douglas fir and Western Red Cedar trees, situated next to one of the more pristine lakes and rivers in North America, the Lake Quinault Lodge sits quietly on the shores of Lake Quinault.

lake quinault lodge

The Lake Quinault Lodge was originally built in 1926, following a similar style to Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park.

Guests enjoy the breathtaking views of one of the wettest areas in the contiguous United States. In 1926, this classic rustic lodge was built in the same style as the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park and the Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, making it perfectly suited for the heavily forested locale. Set in one of three temperate rainforests in the world, the Lake Quinault Lodge has been the destination of tourists and presidents alike.

Read more at….http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2014/07/14/lake-quinault-lodge/

The Antique Farm-Engine and Tractor Association: History with a Roar

Imagine a day when nothing was as easy as flipping a switch. Engines were bigger, louder, heavier, and so much more difficult to transport.  A 35 horse-power Foos, weighing in at 10,000 pounds would have been used for pumping oil and water or to generate electricity. This enormous stationary engine is one of Tim Stangeland’s favorite pieces of antique equipment to show off. As loud as it is large, the mechanically inclined of any age are sure to be drawn to the noise this giant makes as soon as they hear it.

Tim Stangeland, once a teacher, poses in front of a machine he and his former students built.

The Antique Farm-Engine and Tractor Association (AFETA) boasts many members. A few of the local ones are Tim Stangeland, Jim Borden, and Colin Mcafee. Each one has an affinity for the mechanical and a passion for history.

Read more at:  http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2014/07/07/grays-harbor-antique-engine-show/

Five Ideal Camping Locations in Grays Harbor

Numerous camping experiences exist in Grays Harbor, but it can be overwhelming to find the perfect site for your camping adventure. Grays Harbor is full of some of the more beautiful locations in the state and the campsites around the region highlight that beauty.


Read more at http://www.graysharbortalk.com/2014/07/05/grays-harbor-camping/

3 Lake Sylvia Hikes You Might Not Know About

Most Grays Harbor locals are familiar with Lake Sylvia and the almost two-mile loop surrounding the creek and lake. Most are not familiar with the network of paths that add anywhere from 1.5 – 9 miles to your usual trek. Many of the trails are created and maintained by mountain bike enthusiasts, creating a web of routes intersecting with various logging roads.

lake sylvia

Cougar Rocks is a part of the Upper Sylvia Creek Loop just prior to reaching the Satsop Crest.

Lake Sylvia is an incredible resource for amateur or advanced hikers, exporting you from relative safety to remote areas lacking cell service. Used by runners to train for races and marathons, there are many challenging routes available for those seeking to push themselves harder.

Montesano local, Tiffany Schweppe, who ran the 2014 Boston Marathon suggests hikers to get a map. “The trails are kind of confusing. The mountain bikers build trails and you have to explore to know how they all connect,” adds Schweppe.  “I really like the West Fork trail because you’re less likely to get lost. Study the map ahead of time and decide where you’re going.”

For newbies wanting to explore the following trails, here are a few ways to avoid getting injured, lost, or stranded:

  • There have been cougar sightings over the last few years. Though it is not likely that the cougar will want anything to do with you, be aware of your surroundings and never hike alone. If you are travelling with a dog or small children, keep them close by.
  • In case of an emergency, knowing your location becomes critically important. Keep a map handy and pay attention to the names of any logging roads you cross.
  • Let someone back at home know your itinerary as you branch out onto the trails that are less frequented.
  • Drinking out of creeks and streams can bring disease – bring plenty of your own water.
  • Cell service is sketchy at best so pack wisely. Bring a first aid kit and flashlight.

The trails behind Lake Sylvia are a wealth of history, nature, and wildlife. Be kind to the paths, explore, be safe, and have fun!

The Brownie Trail

lake sylvia trails

Tiffany Schweppe poses with local runners on one of Lake Sylvia’s many trails. ?

This trail is one mile long, connecting to the Ridge Trail and looping around to the Lake Trail for a total of more than two miles. It is named after the Brownie Girl Scout Group that planted some of the fir trees surrounding the trail. There are signs made in the 1970s and other indications of history you will walk past. This trek is especially beautiful because of the carpet of clover running on either side of the path. This is a favorite for some of the mountain bikers and Schweppe says is particularly fun to run.

Upper Sylvia Creek Loop

This trail connects many smaller trails for a total of between ten and eleven miles. Not for the faint of heart or those just starting out, this trail is an excellent goal to work up to and is sometimes used to train half-marathoners. It will take you up to the Brady/West Satsop area and will give you some fantastic views – especially at the point of the Satsop Crest. Franzine Potts, local marathoner and Human Resources Director at the YMCA of Grays Harbor, relates, “When you get to the top of the Satsop Trail, it feels like you can reach out and touch the Satsop Power Plants. It’s quite a climb but well worth it for the beautiful view.”

Nevills Hill Trail

lake sylvia

Lake Sylvia is home to many activities including the local New Years Run and Polar Bear Plunge. Local runners Franzine Potts and Jennifer Hartley are brave enough to take the dive!

Branching off of the commonly hiked Forestry Trail, this path will take you up to a clear cut near a cell tower and give you a fantastic view of Montesano. With lots of hills, it’s bound to also give you a good workout. The trail winds past old railroad beds as you leave the Forestry Trail and is cool and refreshing as you walk along the creek. My dog loves this loop and the variation we took gave us about a four-mile trek.

Lake Sylvia boasts a variety of activities – from a boat launch, to swimming zones, playground, and campsites, there is enough to keep you busy and exhausted for days. You can find maps to print off of the upper and lower Lake Sylvia Trails here:

  1. Lower Lake Sylvia Trails
  2. Upper Lake Sylvia Trails

Happy hiking!