We’ve finished our first work week with NOMADS and our reward was pizza night at Chicos in Sea View with our hosts and fellow volunteers. The pizza was just great. And it was nice to visit with everyone socially, to be warm and to be in out of the rain.
Our first day at Ocean Park Retreat and Methodist Camp was sunny. The next morning started with rain and we’ve had rain each day Tues – Fri. Today started out sunny and stayed so almost all day, warming us greatly and reminding us how nice dry can be.
Did you know you can go to the Post Office on Saturdays, even when the window isn’t open, and buzz the buzzer button and they will, if they’re working (and they usually are on Saturday) answer? The Post Office in Lynden, WA, advised us to do this for General Delivery pickup.
This morning we drove, first thing, to the Ocean Park Post Office. Folks were coming and going outside the building so, we thought, it must be open. Wrong, this Post Office has window hours only on Monday through Friday. But wait! Remember what happened at Lynden?
So we pushed the buzzer button and the guy came to the door. We asked if we could pick up a General Delivery package and BINGO! He very pleasantly asked our names, wrote them down in the official “don’t answer the door for these people any more at any Post Offices” list. No, no, he walked back and grabbed our forwarded mail and invited us to have a great Saturday.
How cool is this? This, my friends, is your customer service-oriented United States Post Office. We aren’t saying this will work everywhere. If one of you will try it in, say, Detroit or Chicago or Atlanta, and let us know how it works out we’d really be interested. But it has worked in two teensy towns in Washington state and we really like it.
The sky was still beautiful, we lucked out and caught a full morning of sunshine. So we toured up the peninsula, north of Ocean Park, to Surfside and Oysterville. The peninsula is long and skinny, apparently approx one mile across and over 23 miles long. We’re staying in the upper third, so weren’t far from Surfside.
We were reminded of North Carolina’s beach towns, like Topsail, in the 1970s before high rises happened. Nowadays on the formerly quiet and beautiful Atlantic beaches even the houses seem like high rises and condo buildings are jutting skyward in way too many places. Surfside is still quiet and beautiful (I probably shouldn’t be telling you all this — you might want to build hi-rises here, too).
The drive around Surfside took us along beach houses perched atop, or just on the leeward side of, the dunes. The houses, mostly, are practical, pretty, and proportional to their lots, unlike so many of the starter castle beach houses springing up somewhere else.
Onward along the road now to Oysterville, we now are crossing the peninsula and heading east toward Willapa Bay. Oysterville is a town where progress halted in the late 1880s. Oysters covered the shallow reefs all around and were easily and profitably marketed to cities like San Francisco. The town had grown very rapidly and was by 1855 the Pacific County seat and a boomtown.
Prosperity and progress can be fickle. The long-anticipated railroad was finally built up into the peninsula in the 1880s. But it didn’t reach Oysterville. The rail only went as far as Nahcotta, four long and devastating miles south of Oysterville. People left, population declined, progress halted for Oysterville.
Today we visited the Oysterville Historic Church, built 1892. We visited the old Cannery site, now home to the Oysterville Sea Farms and a really nice fresh seafood store. And we stopped to read the historic plaques outside a half-dozen historic homes or sites in Oysterville.
The sun was still shining brightly, the skies a brilliant blue, as we turned back to Ocean Park Retreat and Methodist Camp. The campus is serving several groups this weekend, providing lodging in cabins and meals prepared either by the groups or by Retreat staff. We’re eating a few staff-prepared meals and they are delicious. And we enjoy the opportunity to get to know some of the other folks staying here.
This evening we walked up to the dining room and were glad to see this view over the Pacific Ocean. We took our time dining and drinking coffee afterward, so didn’t have time for the walk we should have taken. But the skies were threatening and we just didn’t feel like striking out for a walk when we could stay inside, warm and dry.
This visit isn’t going to be long enough, unless it continues raining every day. On our way home from supper, walking down the hill, the rain started up again. It’s a fine mist, softly blown in the winds, then it’s a heavy coating of rain. The rain doesn’t so much move in with a strong wind or big gray clouds. The air just starts being very wet and we realize we can see the rain blowing down all around.
Rain or shine, we’ll get out and find our way around. We have trails and 2,000 feet of beach front to explore on this campus, and 23 miles of unobstructed beach we can walk or bicycle when we want. Ocean Park is a gorgeous place and we’re looking forward to finding a lot to like about it.
See you down the road!