I was so excited to take my girls to the happiest place on earth. No, not Disneyland...the Burgin Family Beach House! Well, that's what it feels like to those of us who have enjoyed it for the past 40+ years (or 31 in my case!). My grandparents had the house built back in the 70's and it's been a place for memory-making ever since.
The trip there is about a three-hour drive from Portland. The girls thought it was pretty neat that we started in Oregon, crossed the Columbia into Vancouver, Washington, crossed the river again from Longview, WA, back to the Oregon side, and then crossed again over the Astoria Bridge into Washington. The Astoria Bridge is over four miles and is the longest bridge west of the Mississippi. Anna Kate was impressed!
When we first arrived at the beach house, we had to take a quick walk down to the beach. It was drizzling a little. And then it started raining. And the wind started blowing! The girls got a good taste of a hurricane-force Pacific coast storm that night.
We didn't stay out too long before coming in and building a fire!
And eating s'mores!
The next morning was still cold, but no rain, so we headed out to search for some clams.
After that we headed over to the bay side of the Peninsula. We poked around Oysterville for a while and got some pretty views of the Willapa Bay.
We visited the Oysterville Church and sang some hymns.
That afternoon turned out to be absolutely gorgeous! The weather forecast didn't show much sun at all, but God gave us some anyway!
Anna Kate felt like she was on top of the world!
We played baseball in the yard.
And then went down on the beach.
Caroline loved the sandpipers.
Anna Kate loved running from the waves!
My girls and the beach house! Ours is the one with the pointed roofline, just to the right of the American flag.
We stayed on the beach long enough to see an (almost) full sunset before it was covered again by clouds.
On our last morning the girls had fun playing marbles with Daddy.
And playing up in the loft!
(Don't worry, Eleanor was not up there unsupervised. I was actually just out of the picture, but within arms' reach. I don't think those railings would pass a 2016 safety inspection...)
Finally, I saw some people down on the beach who seemed to be having some success, so I went down and got a couple! Grandma's theory was that they were all driven down too deep in the sand because of the strength of the storm. So...not enough to clean and cook, but enough for a little science dissection and observation!
Then it was time to say goodbye to the beach house...always hard to leave.
Luke humored me and moved the patio furniture all over the place so we could have a couple pictures taken on a timer!
We even saw a few deer in the yard as we were loading up! They were in our yard, but then headed across the street before I grabbed the camera.
On the way back to Portland we made a few stops. The first was the North Head lighthouse and Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Ilwaco. This was the point in Lewis and Clark's journey where they saw the Pacific Ocean for the very first time. It was here at the mouth of the Pacific that Clark wrote in his journal, "Ocean in view! O! the joy!"
We had a great time doing a little homeschooling on vacation!
As we headed back through Astoria, we stopped to go down to the docks. We had been told that sea lions were overtaking the docks and were quite a sight to behold. That was an understatement. These pictures really don't do it justice, but we saw hundreds and hundreds of sea lions. Sea lions on the rocks, sea lions on the salmon boat docks, sea lions everywhere. And so loud! Anna Kate had just recently studied pinnipeds in her Swimming Creatures co-op class, so this was perfect!
Eleanor wasn't sure what to think.
It's a bit cloudy, but you can see the Astoria Bridge in the background of this one.
The girls thought this was pretty interesting. It's a cage-like contraption that they've constructed to catch a few dozen sea lions at a time and take them out to sea. Maybe down to California? The problem is the same ones keep coming back (they know because they've been branding them like cattle). The fisherman just want to get rid of the problem altogether, but the environmentalists (who comprise no small number in Oregon) are fighting to make sure it's done humanely.
In any case, we enjoyed getting to watch them. Here are the girls sticking up their noses in the air and barking like sea lions!
After that, we headed back to Grandma and Grandpa's. Oh, but we did see a bald Eagle in a nest while crossing the bridge in Longview. Unfortunately I couldn't grab my camera fast enough. Oh well!