Top 5 Places to Visit in Cape Disappointment

Picture of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Photo by Julie Manthey

Cape Disappointment is only a 2-hour drive from Portland, Oregon or 3-hours from Seattle. It’s an easy day trip from either, yet it feels worlds away! I highly recommend stopping at these ‘must see’ places for an excellent trip that won’t disapoint! Don’t forget to pack your copy of the novel, The Magic of Cape Disappointmentas well!

  1. Engage with History at the Cape Disappointment Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center

    • This updated, beautifully designed museum overlooks ocean waves on a dramatic cliff in Cape Disappointment State Park and marks – quite literally — the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Learn about Lewis and Clark and the local Native American tribes. There are several interactive exhibits and increadible views which make it an ideal location to watch the waves and the many birds, especially if the weather is a little rainy or foggy for a hike. History buffs should also add a visit to the nearby Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum as well!
  2. Hike near the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

    • In addition to two lighthouses, Cape Disappointment State Park also has several miles of hiking trails! See the oldest lighthouse still in use on the West Coast. Completed in 1856, today the lighthouse is managed by the Coast Guard and its’ light still protects sailors. The Columbia bar is one of the most dangerous bar crossings in the world, known widely as the ‘Graveyard of the Pacific.’ The well-maintained trail from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center takes you closer to the lighthouse, or simply view it from the center. Although the lighthouse has been closed to the public since July 2020, you can still hike around the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center for closer views and experience the lush landscape overlooking the ocean and river. Once you see the inspiring and breathtaking views around this lighthouse, you’ll understand why it plays a starring role in the novel, ‘The Magic of Cape Disappointment!’
  3. Tour the North Head Lighthouse (or spend the night!)

    • Only two miles away from the Cape Disappointment lighthouse, you’ll find the North Head lighthouse complete in 1898 for added safety around the treacherous Columbia bar. North Head is also one of only five lighthouses in Washington State where you can stay overnight in the Lighthouse Keepers house, to get a real sense of a keeper’s life! It was meticulously restored in 2016. It’s also a prime location for whale watching in winter and spring.
  4. Stroll Along the Charming Ilwaco Harbor Boardwalk

    • Ilwaco’s small town harbor has a delightful boardwalk with a alluring independent coffee shops, bookstore, art galleries, and pub restaurants. Eat outdoors and enjoy the quiet harbor view of the vast Columbia River. The boardwalk is a wonderful place to spend a relaxed afternoon along the water! Don’t miss the lively Saturday market with almost 70 different vendors or the weekly Friday Ilwaco Art Walks in the summer. From the harbor, you can also charter a fishing adventure or moor your own boat.
  5. Enjoy Art (and even catch a concert) at Cape Disappointment’s Waikiki Beach

    • While everyone knows about Maya Lin’s famous Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., she also completed several art installments in Cape Disappointment State Park’s Waikiki Beach. The art commemorates both Chinook stories and the Lewis & Clark journals. Also in the summer, bring a picnice basket to enjoy an outdoor weekend concert at the (slightly less tropical) Waikiki Beach ampitheater with stunning views of the ocean.

When to Go:

The best time to visit is probably June through August, when the weather is the nicest and the Saturday market, concerts, and art walks are keeping things lively. However, storm watchers and photographers might want to plan their visit for December and January to catch the dramatic King Tides. Both January and March are the peak time for whale watching. Birdwatchers can always find much to see any time of year, since the area is a prime spot.

Where to Stay:

While Cape Disappointment is a wonderful day trip from Seattle or Portland, there’s so much to do in the local area that you will probably want to extend your stay. There are several lodging options in the immediate Cape Disappointment area to choose from. This list represents a few highlights:

Getting There:

  • From Portland: Approximately 2-hour drive via US-26W to US-101N or take I-5N to US-30W.
  • From Seattle: Approximately 3-hour drive via I-5S to US-101S.

You won’t forget (or be disappointed by) The Magic of Cape Disappointment! Happy travels!

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One of the best things about traveling or moving to a new neighborhood is figuring out what your new favorite places are. Yet even if you’ve lived in the same place for a while or have taken a travel break, you can still find that joy of adventure and discovery closer to home.

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During this autumn, I wish for you, and the world, a calm and cozy peace to enjoy crisp air while warmed by a soft sweater and hot cup of cider. Take the time to enjoy the beauty of the falling leaves (or, if you are really lucky, the start of ski season).

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Stopping to Smell the Pastries

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I haven’t blogged in a while because…well 2020, right? Like everyone else, I’ve been home and only venturing out for exercise or groceries. Channeling the baker protagonist in my most recent novel, Christmas at Maplemont Manor, I’ve also been baking up a storm.

The fresh-baked smell of cardamom rolls, cinnamon rolls, banana walnut bread, pumpkin spice cupcakes, lemon blueberry bread, and honey wheat sandwich bread wafted frequently in my house every few days. Fortunately, I’ve also learned to freeze such beautiful creations to be able to balance out the exercise to carb ratio. (FYI – you can freeze most bread for up to a month – wrap it up in aluminium foil to freeze and then pop it in the oven at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes to reheat – You’re welcome.).

Mostly the recipes have turned out pretty good, however, my attempt at a simple pound cake with my substitutions resulted in disaster and required me to clean the oven. I also attempted some shortbread cookies that turned out like concrete, making me worry I would chip a tooth.

What I’ve learned is that I can pretty much bake any type of bread, but once any recipe gets too close to “cake” or “cookie” territory, then it’s a disaster. It’s an odd superpower to discover somewhat late in life, the bread-making ability, but life often surprises us.

I’ve also started learning Swedish which has been pretty entertaining and providing me with some sense of structure and progress. Perhaps the most fun phrase I can say in Swedish now is: “It’s raining men.” Ha ha!

What I haven’t been doing is…writing. And, that’s OK. I’ve written myself my own permission slip for that. It’s in the form of a cinnamon roll. 🙂

However you are getting through this time as an artist and human is awesome. If you’re able to turn this time into something more creative than carbohydrates, then I’m absolutely cheering you on. If you’re just happy to have checked the mail, I’m also absolutely cheering you on as well!

As for me, I’ve managed a blog article today which is very exciting. However this reaches you, please know that I’m sending you light and comfort – that feeling we all get when consuming the most perfect of cardamom rolls or blueberry lemon bread.

Please take care of yourselves and others. There’s no “right” way to get through this. In case you need to hear it – you’re doing a great job. Hang in there. And remember, you can freeze the bread, cupcakes, and rolls – they’ll all keep. 🙂

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While it hardly feels like 2019 ‘is so last year’ yet, we have indeed embarked on a new decade and a new year. Usually the new year brings along ideas of resolutions or simply goals for what things should fall into the ‘out with the old,’ and what we should add ‘in with the new.’ Maybe it’s more gym time or finally taking that trip, or learning a new language. Whatever you’ve settled on, I wish you godspeed in 2020.

Last year, my resolution was to publish a new novel – and, I’m happy to report that I did so and it was great fun to share Christmas at Maplemont Manor with the world! For those who have read it, I do hope that you enjoyed the holiday splendor and joy of the season that I had aimed to share. Writing it (especially the pun-filled chapter titles) brought me such joy – it really was terrific fun. As a self-published author, I write for the simple joy of it!

This year, my focus is 100% on spending more time on things that bring me joy. For me, that list includes downhill skiing, cooking awesome food, spending time with friends, reading interesting books, and traveling someplace new.

Since it’s still (happily) winter, my favorite of the seasons, I’ve started with the goal of downhill skiing every week while the snow lasts! I basically grew up on skis, in a little mountain town where we lived minutes from a ski hill. I started skiing about the same time that I learned to walk. That said, I’m not an Olympian skier, however, there’s something about skiing that brings me joy.

It’s that same spark of joy that I experience from opening the oven to smell fresh cardamom rolls that I’ve made from scratch, which is now something I do most weeks. I think our jobs as humans is to find these experiences that bring us joy and then incorporate them into our lives as much as possible.

Sometimes we tend to go overboard with the idea of ‘joy’ – like it should be something big that others notice, that it must be pursued in some dramatic fashion, or that it’s fleeting. I think that joy is around all the time, but we do need to take a breath to notice it and enjoy the moments. Today, for example, one of my moments of joy was making the perfect cup of coffee in my new french press.

My hope for all of us in 2020 is that we find and celebrate those moments and we embrace the things and people that bring us joy. Life short – find your joy! It’s most likely right in front of you!

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