We had a laid-back day on the Long Beach peninsula today, venturing into downtown Long Beach to take advantage of the kiddie entertainment. We picked up 18 holes of miniature golf at Boo Boo's Putt-Putt Golf, rode the carousel and had a great time on the old-school bumper cars next door to the carousel. The girls asked to stay home this afternoon to play in the playroom. They know we'll be out and about tomorrow visiting more Lewis & Clark sites and the Melodrama (now there's a combination).
The peninsula is an interesting spot about which plenty of Washingtonians seem completely unaware. It's located in the furthest southwest corner of Washington. When we're traveling to and from here on the train, we have plenty of people ask us to explain where we're going. They've either never heard of it, or heard very little about it. But it's a great place for anyone who's easily entertained, or enjoys truly LONG walks on the beach.
The peninsula offers 21 miles of Pacific shore on the west, and similar mileage of more rugged shoreline along Willapa Bay. The further north you go, the quieter it gets once you pass the city of Long Beach. Oysterville near the northern tip is a very quiet, scenic, historic town of tiny old homes, many of which have been well maintained or restored over the years. Long Beach is the peninsula's tourist hub with shopping, studios, horseback riding and other attractions. Further south is Seaview, a quiet community and home of one of the largest grocery stores on the peninsula.
There's a load of dining opportunities on the peninsula. The Depot is the tastiest spot we've visited, with nightly specials and gourmet foods cooked by a chef whose more than comfortable moving well beyond traditional restaurant fare. Last weekend we enjoyed their Clam Bake (fish, clams, potatoes, shrimp and sea beans in a light bullion. Grandmom went with the rib eye steak with Parmesan mashed potatoes "and a lovely bleu cheese butter," by her account. The decor is warm and inviting, as is the service.
For a hearty, hot breakfast, head to Laurie's Homestead Breakfast House in Seaview. It's a busy place year round, so don't expect a peaceful dining experience, but the service is relatively fast and the food is always served hot and tasty.
For pizza, head to Chico's next door. Not the best pizza I've ever had, but it does the trick, has plenty of space for larger gatherings and is very family friendly.
Grandma says the best coffee on the peninsula is Chinook Coffee Company owned by Kathy Colvin. The drive-through coffeehouse is great for true coffee drinkers. Since I'm not a true coffee drinker (I tend more toward hot chocolate with a shot of decaf for flavor), I find Chinook's coffee too strong. I've tried tailoring my order, but I've yet to explain it in a way that she can understand - give me the Coffee Nip flavor without overwhelming me with coffee. I know...I'm weird.
Colonial Bakery offers traditional deli and bakery items. The girls particularly enjoy the princess cupcakes, complete with half dolls sunken in 3 inches of frosting atop a typical cupcake. The coffee here is strong, but otherwise not great.
Bailey's, a bakery in Nahcotta, offers all fresh goods baked by owner Jane Bailey. Head in Sunday mornings for Thunderbuns, cinnamon buns with a different take. I was a bit skeptical of the scones. I've had more than my share of dry scones, but Grandmom talked me into taking a taste. MMMM! Spectacular. By far the best scones I've ever had: slightly sweet, moist and flavorful.
Grandmom reports Castaways in downtown Long Beach has "wonderful fish and chips, good chowder, coconut shrimp that's excellent plus it has a full bar." Imperial Schooner in Ilwaco and Ole/Bob across from the marina. The pub at the Shelburne Inn also has excellent (if pricey) food. She would also revisit the Pilot House on the beach approach (good fish and chips and pizza "that was not bad").
There are plenty of other restaurants to try here. Give us time...