Posts Tagged ‘Cape Disappointment State Park’

Gray Whales Cruising by Long Beach, WA

January 23rd, 2014 by Susie Goldsmith

Seeing and hearing whales always causes an inexplicable joy in me. Humans are fascinated with their fellow mammals. Whales breath air, have hair, are warmblooded and give birth to live offspring that suckle milk from their mothers.  Gray whales range in length from 40-50 feet and can have flukes (tales) that can measure ten feet across. Females are usually larger than males .  The Gray whales weigh 50,000 to 80,000 pounds and can live up to 50 years. They can start growing barnacles even as youngsters.  We’ve seen Grays rubbing their barnacles on the North Jetty at Cape Disappointment State Park in Ilwaco, Washington, 10 minutes from our B&B, Boreas Inn.

On occasion you can see a Gray whale fluke off the Long Beach Peninsula!

On occasion you can see a Gray whale fluke off the Long Beach Peninsula!

Two times each year, the Gray whales cruise by the Long Beach, Washington Peninsula.  After spending summers feeding and fattening up in the Arctic waters, the Gray whales head south cruising off the Pacific Coast to the bays in Southern California and Baja, Mexico.  You can witness this migration starting in mid-December and it peaks in early January and can usually be seen into early February.

When Gray whales are cruising by the Long Beach Peninsula, whether heading north or south, the whale’s goal is to get where they are going and generally they do not hang around and feed–except for maybe some shrimp-like creatures and a fish or two.  In fact, they are known to go without food for 3 to 5 months, which is why they must fatten up when in the rich Arctic waters before heading south to play in Baja.  While in Baja, the whales mate and nurse their young. The gestation period for Grays is 11-13 months.  When nursing, Gray whale moms can produce up to 50 gallons of milk daily containing over 50% fat. Calves can gain 60-70 pounds a day and build up their blubber quite quickly.

The Grays begin their return journey back north to the Arctic from Baja starting in mid-March. The immature whales, adult males and females without offspring head north first cruising by our coast in March and April. Then later, females with calves head north at a slower rate, passing the Long Beach, Washington Peninsula in May.  So there is the possibility of seeing whales on and off for about six months of the year. We have seen gray whales in the surf-line from the lookout on Loop 100 in September leading us to believe that some Gray whales must be hanging out on the Washington coast much of the year.  So maybe there are now “home” pods of Gray whales.

The best spots here to watch for whales is from the North Head Lighthouse and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park, a 10 minute drive from Boreas Inn.  The whales can spout up to 15 feet in the air through their two blowholes, so that is often what we see when we watch for whales at the Park.  When we have gray skies, the whales water and skies are fairly close in color so the spouting is sometimes all you can see.  Bring your binoculars or borrow ours–there’s no guarantee you will see Gray whales, but it is fun to look.  With the fabulous weather we’ve been having all fall and winter, this is a great activity on the Long Beach Peninsula! It’s much easier to see gray whales when there is blue sky!

This is more likely what you will see--the spout! Thrilling!

This is more likely what you will see–the spout! Thrilling!

The North Head Lighthouse Celebrates 115 Years This Weekend

June 7th, 2013 by Susie Goldsmith

At Cape Disappointment State Park, a few miles down the road from Boreas Inn, in Ilwaco, Washington, there are two lighthouses, both enchanting, rugged and enduring, The North Head and Cape Disappointment Lighthouses.  Lighthouses are among our favorite buildings–hardy, yet vulnerable to the hurricane force winds we infrequently have along with those driving rains we frequently experience.  The lights project about 20 miles to the Pacific Ocean to guide vessels into the proper channel and hopefully away from the deadly rocks and spits  of the mighty and fearsome Mouth of the Columbia River. 2,000 vessels have sunk and many have died at the “Mouth” and along the Long Beach Peninsula; more disasters than the infamous Cape Horn!

As a child, my father would take our Lake Oswego, OR 16 foot waterski boat over the Mouth of the Columbia during larger than logical seas in an attempt, I believe to drown the family.  (Just kiddin’–sort of…) The waves instilled a life-long fear into this sea-loving woman.  I still have dreams about my father sitting atop the seat of our ski boat crying “Wahoo! Wahoo!” as waves crashed over us.  We bailed and bailed to keep from sinking.  The Coast Guard would shudder, I’m sure, whenever they saw my father, who occasionally needed towing over the Bar.  (I was not there for that–I would have been mortified!) I remember seeing the lighthouse beams during foggy times at sea and they were oddly, a comfort, while I tried to be brave…with my father.

That aside, this weekend, on Saturday, June 8th, there will be a long-awaited title transfer ceremony of the North Head Lighthouse from the US Coast Guard to Washington State Parks.  There will be lighthouse tours, open houses at the innkeeper’s residences and refreshments. The views are stunning, whales may be sighted, and a good time should be had by all.  So come visit the North Head Lighthouse on the SW Washington Coast, near Long Beach, Washington and celebrate 115 years of maritime history at the North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park.  If you’re lucky, you might snag the last room open at Boreas Bed & Breakfast Inn!

The North Head celebrates 115 of guarding the Mouth of the Columbia.

The North Head celebrates 115 of guarding the Mouth of the Columbia.

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day with Guests and Friends of Boreas Inn, Long Beach, Washington

June 2nd, 2012 by Susie Goldsmith

It is the unexpected brilliant sunny days when the forecast is semi-dreary that make living on the Long Beach Washington Peninsula so interesting and wonderful.  We chose today to have a Puppy and Pizza Celebration at Cape Disappointment State Park at Waikiki Beach’s Serious Pizza with our friend and long-time guest Odell Hathaway, who has a new therapy/assistance dog, Phoenix.  Boreas Inn welcomes assistance dogs and we are getting to know Phoenix, the puppy, who will within two years, be a fully trained assistance dog. Odell has a couple of health issues that have the potential to require Phoenix’s help.  In the meanwhile, this puppy, who Odell found through Oregon Assistance Dogs, is a gem of a baby golden retriever. At 15 pounds, she is a bundle of love and she is oh so soft and sweet.  Odell is very lucky to have found her and for a dog, you could do far worse than have Odell as a parent! Phoenix will have all the best of everything, including fine parenting!  We invited Skyler and Allen from Tangly Cottage Gardening and Jessica and Chris Miller to the celebration. They are our dear friends who know Odell from his many trips to Boreas.  We ate world-class pizza at Serious Pizza–many pizza’s as a matter of fact!  Jim and Chi make the best cherry and apple wood-fired pizza on the planet and we sampled four different pizza’s at the park.  So it was a perfect day at the best park in Washington State, eating the best pizza at Serious Pizza with some of the best folks we know!

A Pooped Puppy at our Serious Pizza Party on June 2

Happy New Years’ Weekend–Fireworks, Crab Cakes, Champagne and US!

December 29th, 2011 by Susie Goldsmith

Come Watch the Fireworks from our Hottub!

Personally, New Years’ Eve isn’t my favorite holiday.  I think of doing taxes, of what I haven’t accomplished this year, what I need to accomplish next year… but every year, our guests jolly me into appreciating the holiday more than I would were we not innkeepers. After all, 2012 sounds more well-rounded than 2011.  I like even numbers. THERE WILL BE FIREWORKS at the beach, in view from Boreas, on New Years Eve!! I almost forgot!

The Christmas tree is still fresh and lovely for some reason (Bill takes good care of the tree!) and we haven’t tired of the decorations so prettily placed by our decorating crew the first weekend in December. We had a great time decorating this year. This year was extra special with a sweet blend of family and beloved guests who are now family too. We are hoping that we fill up for New Years’ weekend. We are always filled up after Christmas but not this year! Groupon and Living Social may be the reason—people shopping for bargains.  Frankly, for what Boreas offers, we are a bargain! But we’re offering the Carpe Diem, Walk-in Special rate starting today. $150 for luxury and pampering! Even the cottage is open this weekend.

Our guest list so far is a fun one and Odell will be here to help us dismantle the decorations if we can work around our desire to watch football…at Mark and Helen’s Lost Roo, of course!  Go DUCKS!  Everyone is invited to take DOWN the decorations with us and go to The Roo!

Fresh Dungeness Crabcakes and Champagne on Sunday morning, New Years’ Day, sounds pretty perfect for one of our FOUR courses, and Bill will do beautiful work on the crab cakes as always and I will bake pastries, whip up sauces and make the fruit entrée glow so that consuming all that vitamin C seems very sexy.  Well…it is! But I hope that if it’s going to be cloudy this week end, that it is also stormy so we can feel comforted by the fireplaces.  But I also hope that there is a break in the weather so we can go for a fresh walk to start the New Year. We have been fortunate with fine weather this fall.

Come stay with us this weekend at the prettiest inn on the Long Beach Peninsula—featherbeds, down comforters, fireplaces, fine and fancy breakfast fare, freshly baked brownies, and the incredibly-wonderful-almost-brand-new hot tub for two with a little aromatherapy—mint and eucylptus, to soften your skin. Boreas Bed & Breakfast Inn is posh but hip, fun, but mellow and very food-crazy with a great location on the beach in Long Beach Washington.  Relaxation is the best way to start the next banner year—2012!  Happy New Year!

Cape Disappointment State Park on the Long Beach Peninsula–Our Favorite Place to Visit!

August 13th, 2011 by Susie Goldsmith

Bill and I just returned from our brief weekly disappearing act to eat Serious Pizza at Cape Disappointment State Park in Ilwaco on the Long Beach, Washington Peninsula.  First of  all, this park is NOT a disappointment–it is our favorite Washington State Park.  It was named “Cape Disappointment” because in 1788, Captain John Meares, a fur trader, was disappointed because this was not the opening to the river–and is, in fact, is located just north of the infamous Mouth of the Columbia River!  Cape Disappointment is also home to the National Park housing Maya Lin’s “Confluence Project” honoring the Indian tribes Lewis and Clark encountered at the confluences of the rivers on their journey west.  Captain Clark and 11 of the “Corps of Discovery” hiked all over the land that is now Cape Disappointment State Park and from McKenzie Head, saw their first panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean!  Then they proceeded to hike north up the Peninsula, right across the property that is now Boreas Inn, located on the 1805 high water mark. So you get to sleep right on the Lewis and Clark Trail!


Of course, one of the most scenic parts of the Park are the two lighthouses, The North Head Lighthouse and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.  The North Head is easily explored by parking in the lot and walking down to the lighthouse on a road alongside the rock face overlooking the Pacific Ocean and just north of Benson Beach.  This is a place to linger.  All day.  The waves, huge in the winter but omnipresent, are hypnotic. The color of the water seems to change from blue to green to gray in a storm, but always a stunning contrast with the white tips of the peaks of the waves.  Whale watching from the North Head is often rewarding.  We look for the clumps of kelp offshore and occasionally see the spouts. The pelicans, eagles, many varieties of gulls, terns and a huge array of seabirds make this spot make for some of the best birdwatching in the West. Cape D lighthouse is a hike from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center (in winter and anytime, the best view of the Mouth of the Columbia and the jetties), around Dead Man’s Cove.  Our guests come from around the world to see these two lighthouses, within miles of Boreas!

I mentioned Serious Pizza!  Well–seriously now, take the combination of a wood-fired pizza oven, burning cherry and apple, the “00 fino” flour imported from Italy, imported cheeses, meats from a great Seattle butcher chop and a location at Waikiki Beach at Cape D (as we call it), and you have not only the recipe for the best wood-fired pizza in Southwest Washington, but a spectacular setting near the amphitheater at Cape D State Park.  With eagles flying overhead (perhaps looking hungrily at your pizza-or maybe at your dog) and osprey circling around with crows and gulls harrassing them, you have an experience you will never forget.  Our favorite pizza is, you guessed it, “The Boreas”–the vegetarian pizza with garlic olive oil base, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoni.  How special is it to have a pizza named after Boreas Inn?  State Parks built Jim and Chi, the purveyors of this fine pizza, a permanent structure so that visitors to the park, including campers staying in the 240 campsites, can have pizza!  We call ahead to avoid waiting perhaps an hour for the most memorable pizza. It’s truly Neopolitano–a thin delectable crust and just the right amount of cheese for a non-guilt producing light meal.  They also have wood-fired oysters and mouth-watering wood-fired wings.  Homemade ice cream and brownies….oh my!  Watch for Jim and Chi’s Serious Pizza to come soon to the town of Long Beach!

I have attached a very fine video about Cape Disappointment State Park to this blog!  It stars a few of our favorite State Park employees and some of the best scenery this area has to offer.  The Park is located 10 minutes from Boreas Inn.  We are soooo lucky to have Cape D State Park in our backyard.  So come to Boreas Inn and we will direct you to our favorite park, Cape Disappointment!  Enjoy the YouTube about Cape D.!

 

 

 

Valentine's Weekend and Cape "D" Trivia

February 17th, 2009 by Susie Goldsmith

Well, finally, things seemed back to normal at Boreas Inn–we had a wonderfully busy long weekend with lovely guests. The weather was glorious, the stars were brilliant each night, and the Long Beach Peninsula was looking beautiful.

Over the last two nights, we had a couple staying in The Dunes Suite on their honeymoon.  Around our age, these two amazing people were in so many ways very inspiring to us.  (This is one of the real rewards of this work–we get to meet phenomenal people!) Alan has metastatic prostate cancer, is solid and hopeful and that helped us to be as optimistic as he is!  He is totally in love with his new wife, Susan, who is like an old friend.  After the wedding, she tripped and dislocated her left ring finger (I think), and of course, she’s left-handed.  Her hand was swollen and very painful.  In spite of all the challenges, they were extremely gracious with us and so very loving with each other.  How fortunate that they found each other and graced Boreas.  Alan, as it turns out, is a most talented photographer.  Yesterday, he caught an eagle in a classic pose down in the wetlands area at Beard’s Hollow at Cape Disappointment State Park.  I tried to to copy the eagle image he sent me, but the format couldn’t copy so I will ask him to re-send the photographs as attachments.  He loves taking pictures of flowers–and I may copy some of those onto a blog when I get a chance.  Alan and Susan will be back to celebrate their first anniversary next year.  Hopefully they will be back sooner!

The Chocolate Lover’s Dinner at The Depot Restaurant was phenomenal this past weekend.  Our guests loved it! I forgot to bring home a menu.  The specialty dinners at our local restaurants never cease to amaze me. We had an early Valentine’s dinner there on Friday night to celebrate Bill’s birthday, which was marred by his fracturing his right ankle on the 10th.  It’s as swollen as Susan’s left hand.  He will get more x-rays tomorrow and find out the prognosis.

Now for a bit of trivia about one of the most frequently asked questions at Boreas. For those of you who don’t know why Cape Disappointment and the Columbia River was so named, here’s the explanation courtesy of Washington State Parks.  In 1788, while in search of the Columbia River, English Captain John Meares missed the passage over the river bar and named the nearby headland Cape Disappointment for his failure in finding the river. In 1792, American Captain Robert Gray successfully crossed the river bar and named the river “Columbia” after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva. Only a few years later, in 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived at Cape Disappointment.  So now you have the real story!

Eagle at Beard's Hollow

Eagle at Beard's Hollow

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