The beach...once you have heard the song of the ocean, it will always call to you. It is the only place I know of where the stress of everyday life seeps away and your soul is filled with the sound of the waves, the call of the birds and the sand under your feet. And even though I moved to Washington to be closer to the beach, it's so rare that I get to go. So when my friend Linda, who I had not seen in several years called to say she had a day away from family and work, I jumped at the opportunity to take a road trip to the beach. We decided to take the scenic route down highway 30 from Portland to Astoria, meandering through the small towns along the way. We stopped in Rainier, Oregon and explored their little farmer's market and tasted the local foods offered for sale at the market. We ventured on to Astoria and visited a local bead show and watched ships enter the Columbia River. The river is so beautiful and peaceful as it flows by and it is hard to believe that just a short ways away is the Graveyard of the Pacific where numerous boats have been sunk by the meeting of the river and the sea. Linda and agreed that a trip across the four-mile bridge crossing the Columbia was in order so we drove over to the Washington side where we visited a lavender farm in Ilwaco, Washington. One of the owner's graciously agreed to give us a tour of the grounds. It was an artist's dream - bright colors, lavender and edible herbs everywhere you looked. We tasted Day Lily petals and various mints, as well as other herbs right off the plant. Everything was organic. And everywhere you looked, you discovered another treasure - a small, secluded sleeping room, complete with mesquito netting, plump pillows, antiques and art and a small store filled with herbs, crystal and linens. Exquisite!! I will definately take him up on his offer to take a day and make art on the farm.
Linda and I continued on to Long Beach and explored their outdoor craft market and adjacent galleries. We were served a blue martini at one gallery and treated to a variety of nautical art. After a lunch of fish and chips, we decided to walk off our lunch on the beach. Long Beach is as flat as a pancake and is the only beach I have ever been to that allows you to drive on the beach. There are also stables where you can rent a horse and ride in the surf. But today, we walked, and talked, and caught up on each others lives....a perfect day. We walked all the way to Cape Disappointment without realizing how far we had gone. It wasn't until we turned back, and into the wind, that we realized we had walked more than three miles and would now have to walk it again! Needless to say, we were happy when we reached the car again and headed home.
But we could not resist one last detour as we went home on Highway 4 in Washington. We took a short loop off the road to drive over the covered bridge just off the highway. The bridge was quaint and beautiful in the setting sun. The visitor log signed by people from all over the states and a few foreign countries. A beautiful way to end a perfect day. I can still hear the ocean in my mind.