Westport, WA: Our little hideaway beneath the waves

We had scheduled a little get away to the coast months ago with friends and the weekend finally happened! Our little family usually heads to the Oregon coast for ocean time. Manzanita is a favorite as well as Astoria – but we haven’t spent time on the Washington coast in years and little has never even been. Planning started and next thing you new, in the dark winter we booked a beachside yurt at Twin Harbors State Park and waited months for our adventure weekend to arrive.

yurt.jpgI’ll be honest – the times we have spent on the WA coast camping (Ocean Shores, Long Beach) it’s been a little rowdy. Perhaps it was the weather (record rain this year) or maybe the fact that half the campground was closed (flooded over the winter) or maybe that the mosquitos were beyond aggressive, the park was mostly empty and mellow. And the beach is just a little path from the yurts! Some other benefits of the park include flushing toilets, running water, and HOT showers. The yurt was a great treat, with a futon and queen/twin bunk bed, electricity and a heater.

The first thing we did when we arrived at the park was grab our kite and head out tokites catch the fabulous wind and sunshine. It’s about a three hour drive from Seattle, barring traffic. We settled into the yurt by unpacking and making sure all devices were charging (I know, I know) and then stayed up extra late scooting around the campground, eating all things grilled and playing games.

Saturday we decided to check out the nearby (5 minutes) town of Westport to grab a few last minute items from the little grocery store. Westport is small (~2000 residents) and has a nice harbor where fishing charters head out and you can watch them return with salmon ice creamand lingcod. The weigh station on the harbor can be endless fun, checking out the big fish that come in and guessing their weight. You can buy crab there, fresh. There are also at least four ice cream shops and three taffy and toy stores and a few places to eat that looked good. At the end of the harbor is a large observation tower you can climb up to; we saw many pelagic birds and some seals resting on a buoy.

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After Westport, we headed to the beach where we enjoyed some 4x4ing with our friend A. and her mum; we drove out for a while and stumbled onto a dead seal (head gone and big bite taken out!) with vultures sitting on it – and next a female grey whale that had washed ashore about a month earlier. It was gross, but what a fabulous way to talk about biology. We looked for all of the scavengers that were utilizing the whale for energy as well as the various states of decomposition.

Little also completed a Junior Ranger program. Ask a ranger if the park you are at has one; it’s a great activity for kids and focuses on the hyper-local environment they are at.

Unfortunately, a whooper of a storm rolled in Saturday night and all outdoor activities were suspended. Did I tell you again how excited we were to stay in a yurt? We were warm and dry but made sure to scoot home as soon as we woke up Sunday morning. We have more camping adventures already scheduled for the rest of the summer and we can’t wait!

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Seattle: The Warrior!

As many of you dear readers know (since you are mostly our far away family), hubby works for the local Pacific Science Center. It’s an amazing, wonderful resource for families. Little thinks his dad might have the very best job in the universe and sometimes we agree! He’s been working long hours and been stressed out this spring bringing yet another amazing exhibit to the center and as usual, we can’t wait to check it out.

The latest is the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit! Artifacts more than 2,000 years old traveled from China to Seattle and Little’s Dad was in charge of offloading them and setting up the exhibit. It’s amazing and if you are in the Seattle area you have to check it out!

TC2There are over a hundred artifacts in the exhibit and about a dozen actual warriors from the site in China. The real figures are amazing. Some things to notice about the warriors exhibit include the numbers in the info boxes – you can see how many horses, generals, archers, etc. were found. Also, a docent pointed out the differences between the restoration work from the70s and the more recent restoration work.

Don’t forget to catch the iMax movie before the exhibit – Mysteries of China. Both the documentary and the exhibit are appropriate for kids (not too young.) It was a beautiful day at the Seattle Center!

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