Last weekend was my parents 40th anniversary, so Kelly, Parker and I spent the weekend at their house in Ocean Shores. I realized that I’ve never written about Ocean Shores in this blog, and it was about time I did. I guess we travel there so much, it’s lost some of its initial charm.
Ocean Shores is a little less than two hours west of Olympia. To get there, you have to travel through Satsop (where the abandoned nuclear cooling towers are), Montesano (the Grays Harbor County seat), Aberdeen (where the jobs used to be and where Kurt Cobain grew up), and Hoquium (almost as pretty as Shelton!).
Ocean Shores once marketed itself as a vacation getaway destination and actually hired Erik Estrada to do infomercials touting its benefits. Yes, this Erik Estrada.
While Ocean Shores may be a great place to spend a beautiful Washington Coast Weekend (tourism seems to be thriving quite a bit), it’s pretty much grey, rainy, foggy, windy, and more or less miserable for the other eight months of the year. Fortunately, we have my parents wonderful house to stay in, which always offers us something to do when the weather cooperates.
On Sunday the 10th, it was my parents big day, so we headed out to Lake Quinault Lodge to have dinner (and they stayed the night). Apparently, the lodge is a historic destination but I’ll go into that more a few paragraphs from now.
The drive north from Ocean Shores took us through Ocean City, Copalis Beach, Roosevelt Beach, Sunset Beach and Moclips (sidenote: one of may favorite jokes…what do you do when you run out of clips? You get Moclips!). Just past Moclips, we took the Moclips Highway – also known as Cook Creek Road – northeast toward Lake Quinault.
The drive itself is pretty stunning, as the road winds through some of the more beautiful parts of the Olympic National Forest. Lots of tall trees framing the two-lane road as it cuts through the rainforest.
Just south of Neilton, the highway connects with the 101 and we headed north to the town of Quinault, home of the Lake Quinault Resort. In looking for Google images of the resort, I came across several travel review websites who had the same opinions of the lodge that I did. Big, old (they call it “historic”) and a bit smelly…but a great restaurant. And to be fair, they are undergoing a multi-year renovation to help change their image. Perhaps they’ve been reading the blogs too.
The area of the country gets somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 feet of rain a year, so it’s not surprising that the shingles are covered in thick moss and the smell of mildew hangs everywhere in the resort. And apparently, one of the former President Roosevelt’s stayed at the historic lodge but I never did find out if it was Teddy or Franklin. However the large common area between the lodge and the beachfront was quite impressive, and the lake itself was very picturesque.
In fact, while we were eating at the restaurant a wedding was taking place in the courtyard and we got to watch the entire ceremony from behind tinted glass. Several of our fellow diners told us afterward that they enjoyed our MST3K-style play-by-play commentary on the wedding.
After dinner, we said our goodbyes to my parents and took my brother in the car with us back to Lacey. We headed south on the 101 through Humptulips (what do you do when you want more tulips? No, just kidding!), through New London and into Hoquium, where we merged with the 12 and headed home. I tried to get Kelly to drive us an extra hour of the way so I could get pictures of the post offices in Nisson, Wishkah and Aberdeen Gardens for this blog, but she didn’t go for it.
So I just wanted to share this because I rarely get to enjoy the Olympic area of Washington State. It’s an unfortunate thing because the forest is quite impressive and unique. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go watch one of the Twilight movies. Apparently the scenery of northwest Washington is featured quite prominently.