The velvety backdrop of our landscape glitters with precious jewels. Jade forests, sapphire coastlines, ruby red wine, pearlescent oysters, and golden topaz sunsets make for a jewelry box of experiences. Poke around a little deeper and uncover riches beyond your wildest imagination. Follow us as we reveal some of the unexpected hidden gems of the hidden coast.
Wine Down at WooHoo Winery in Raymond
It may surprise you to know that in the rich farmlands of Raymond, off a short, dusty road, blooms the vineyards of WooHoo Winery. Fertile fields of blossoming sunflowers and heavy grapevines cover the multi-acre property. A boutique family winery, Raymond is the second of two locations. And their winery and tasting room is a delicious hidden gem of the hidden coast.
Their wines are made with various Washington grapes and will take you on a flavor profile journey from spiced to sweet. Their crisp, dry Viognier is a bright, white wine that tap-dances over your tongue in celebration. The Willapa Red embraces Merlot, Cabernet, and Malbec to create a smooth, luxurious swallow of ruby-rich delight. If you have a sweet tooth, sip the Sauvignon infused with strawberries and blackberries.
Sit outside under the white canopied tent while you sip and gaze at the farmland before you. During the summer, you’ll spend company with the flitting butterflies and busy bees in the vines. During the fall, you’ll enjoy golden hour with your buttery Chardonnay. Wine-tasting flights are available for those who want to play the field. A surprise and delight just minutes from downtown Raymond, the family-owned Woo-Hoo Winery is worth the journey.
Wander into the Wandering Goose at the Tokeland Hotel
In the cozy corner of Tokeland, resting like a diamond on a small finger of land extending into Willapa Bay sits one of the most magical hidden gems of the hidden coast. The Tokeland Hotel is the oldest hotel in Washington State. Built in 1885, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and has a history as rich as the sweet land it steeps in. It’s now lovingly owned by celebrated chef Heather Earnhardt, her husband Zac, their five children, and a bustling farm. And the entire property permeates with decedent Southern hospitality and delicious charm.
What makes this space so unique is the many layers that envelope it. Like a beautifully carved nesting doll, each nuance of the property is tucked inside each other and worthy of its own spotlight when revealed.
In the core of the property sits the famous Seattle-native Wandering Goose restaurant. The beloved farm-to-table, Southern-tinged concept now occupies the dining room of the historical inn. The menu features simple but divine offerings prepared with the freshest ingredients and an artisan touch. The spirits on the cocktail list are almost as mischievous as the rumored ghosts that haunt the hotel’s hallways. An appetizer of tinned fish becomes a Michelin-worthy dining adventure when paired with Chef’s rose water pickled onion, Yuzu mayo, and a creamy soft-boiled egg from her on-property farm. Your taste buds will understand their purpose when they finally embrace the flawless crunch of her buttermilk fried chicken laced with pan gravy. And the answer to Chef’s daily dessert specials is always a resounding “yes.”
You’ll be full on the history and flavor from the moment your soles cross the threshold. Be prepared to be bewitched on your very first visit.
Hike to Hidden Deadman’s Cove
Tucked along the path towards the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is one of our favorite hidden gems of the hidden coast. Deadman’s Cove is a secretive dimple on the jawbone of our coastline. Framed by an emerald beard of steep cliffs covered in lush trees, it reveals its beauty with the smile of the low tide.
The bleached bones of driftwood blanket the beach, making organic places to sit and daydream as you watch the waves lapping the sand. Solve your life’s worries by contemplating the iconic sea stack and its symbolic, resilient tree that’s weathered every torrential storm ever thrown at it. It’s the ideal veiled spot to get lost in your thoughts.
Marked by a simple, spray-painted sign, this cove was inaccessible to the public until recently. Even since its opening, it’s a bit of a slippery scramble to reach the beach below. The hike down is recommended only for those comfortable with the terrain. And be sure to check the tide levels before you arrive. If you want to capture an up-close photo of the famed tree, you must go when the tide is low. Once you’ve discovered Deadman’s Cove, you’ll know you’ll return to this treasure every chance you get.
Tour and Taste the Pearls of Oysterville
This pearl of the Pacific Northwest is a storybook hidden gem of the hidden coast. Oysterville was a boom town with a colorful history in 1854. Most of the village is now on the National Register of Historic Places, and you can see why when you take a lazy drive through the neighborhoods.
Fairytale homes from the early 1900s are still standing and lovingly cared for. Lush gardens and blooming flowers spill over white picket fences and tickle the oyster-shell-shard streets with their leaves. You can visit the photogenic, red-and-white Oysterville Church and sit in one of the original creaky pews. Spend an afternoon taking the self-guided historical walking tour of the 41 historic properties in town.
End the afternoon at Oysterville Sea Farms, the last cannery of an era long gone. You can enjoy fresh oysters harvested daily from their dedicated oyster beds. Tip the salty jewels of the sea into your mouth while sitting in the coastal breeze and try to imagine a more perfect moment.
Gems of Imagination in Ilwaco
The tiny town of Ilwaco rests against an 800-slip marina and is the quintessential fishing village of your dreams. Home to a thriving and bustling new tide of commerce, Ilwaco has become a destination for those seeking more than one facet of their afternoon. With its outdoor adventure, robust fishing community, seasonal festivals, incredible museum, and numerous small-town businesses, the area is experiencing a Renaissance. What makes it one of the hidden gems of the hidden coast is the surprising kaleidoscope of artisans and makers that call Ilwaco home. Small but mighty, its streets are teeming with artistic characters.
Vibrant galleries line the dock and showcase the brilliance of the local creative minds. Don Nisbett’s gallery is as colorful as his conversation, while J Brunner’s pieces will make you melancholy in their moodiness. Experience multiple coasts in one of Marie Powell’s magical Monotypes. Slip on a handmade piece of jewelry from Luisa Mack Jewelry & Art. Spin a yarn with the makers at Purly Shell Fiber Arts. And you’ll discover a multitude of creators at one of the numerous seasonal markets the city hosts. Ilwaco Artworks offers community classes and workshops in various artistic disciplines for those who want to tap into their inner artist. A rainbow of visionaries shines brightly in Ilwaco, just waiting to be discovered.
Hidden Charm Trail on the Hidden Coast
And if these delightful coastal secrets weren’t a bounty enough, did you know that you can also collect your own hidden gems on the hidden coast? If you follow the Charm Trail, you can. The Charm Trail is a scavenger hunt produced by the Long Beach Merchant’s Association. What started as an interactive way to promote Long Beach’s centennial celebration has become a jingling collection of up to 65 glittering, precious trinkets.
Buy your bracelet and pick up your game board at the Long Beach Visitors Center. From there, visit the numerous small businesses and vendors that each hold a unique charm. No two sterling silver-plated charms are alike. And if you collect more than 30 charms, you can claim a surprise gift back at the Visitors Center. Create your own beautiful bracelet simply by enjoying the incredible small businesses that brighten our streets.
The trove of hidden gems that await you on the hidden coast is beyond your wildest imagination. Unlock the treasure on your next adventure here.
By: Danelle Dodds
Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.