A dream, really, of mine--and for landlubbers and sea-loving explores alike. Board the Lady Washington while visiting the Northwest and you'll return home with a greater understanding of why Lewis & Clark forged on and somehow endured unending hardship and travail during their trek West. What kept them going? They were told that they would meet up with sailing ships that visited the Pacific Northwest to collect furs and trade with the Native Americans. They thought that they might get a ride back east rather than travel overland.
While Lewis & Clark's Corp of Discovery's ship never came in, your luck will be much better—you’ll have 'Lady Luck' on your side like I did on my recent trip to the Northwest's Pacific Coast of Southwest Washington. Upon your arrival at the notorious mouth of the Columbia River, the Lady Washington will be safely laying in wait in port just for you.
The sailing schedule of the majestic Tall Ship Lady Washington can be found online (that’s where I found it) and once you’ve made reservations, the crew will welcome you whether you've come aboard the brig for a sunset sail, a pirate battle or while attending other area Lewis & Clark Bicentennial events between now and Thanksgiving 2005 along the lower Columbia River near Ilwaco, WA.
Ilwaco, now an eclectic and cozy port that peddles travel books, scrumptious Northwest cuisine and maritime collectibles, is where I caught up with the Lady Washington and its adversary for the evening, the Privateer Lynx for a four-hour sunset pirate battle sailing adventure. Plan your dinner or after dinner drinks around your sailing schedule, or take all the time you need to explore the area-- from Cape Disappointment to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, and from the new Lewis & Clark Discovery Bicycle Trail to Long Beach’s family-friendly treasures (afterall, the beach is called The Longest Beach in the World—you’ll want to check that out—Lewis & Clark did, and there is a sculptural tree where they carved their initials and other dune trail sculptures that recount this event and others to prove it).
What a thrill-to join the crew of a tall sailing ship! The rascally crew of the Lady Washington wore period sailing outfits (translate: pirate getups), and they performed their duties as if the orders were being shouted out to them by the Captain or First Mate a century ago. Kids from 6 to 60+ were recruited to help out with lines and hauls. Aye, you’ll want to dress for variable weather and hope for agreeable seas.
Where to stay? No need to endure the region's hardships and cold rainy nights that exhausted and challenged Lewis & Clark. No. A little pre-planning and reservations will prevent any hardship you can imagine. Check out the area's award-winning Bed & Breakfasts, rustic Yurts or Lighthouse keepers lodgings and you'll forget that somehow...by land or by sea...you'll have to face the fact that you'll have to head home from this memorable adventure.
I couldn't have been more thrilled with my Lady Washington tall ship sailing adventure and Southwest Washington visit. Some even call what I feel, Lady Love. I highly recommend that you seek her out--Lady Washington, that is--and set sail during your next visit to the wild Pacific Coast of Washington state.
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