Writing in Strange Places Returns!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I spent last weekend traveling to Bellingham and Ruby Beach, and I must say that it was quite refreshing. I got to see places that I hadn't ever been to and sample food and experiences that were interesting and new (Ladyfest, Bellingham farmer's market, a beach in the late afternoon...). So, I decided to write in these places and keep up my Writing in Strange Places review - it was currently on hiatus for the summer and had been replaced solely by movie reviews. I hope you enjoy!

Ruby Beach
This is a non-traditional review, as it breaks the mold of sitting in restaurants and cafes and rating them, but I feel like this can also be applicable. Ruby Beach was a gorgeous location, if a little cold when we were there, on the Washington coast. If you have the chance to drive out to the Olympic National Park and you have an adventuring spirit, you definitely want to make the pilgrimage. I did not actually write while at the beach - I was too busy taking pictures of the crashing ocean, the beautiful myriad of rocks, and the treeline that surrounded us - but I was inspired to write a poem about it when we returned from the trip. I really think that you could sit on the fallen trees near the river and write for hours until the light went out of the sky or rain started to come down. The place was rugged and romantic and seemed farther away from civilization than it really was (the location was actually 20 miles away from Forks, of Twilight fame). The location provokes me to write poetry, which I rarely do these days, and I think that it was a legitimately wild experience to see all of those beautiful landscapes come together on this beach.

Pepper Sisters
This place was an excellent example of southwestern cooking. It did not claim to be a tex-mex place and thus the quality was much better than the run of the mill pseudo-Mexican food place. The food was spicy and the staff was kind, if a little inattentive, which made for a combination of enjoyment and clambering for water. Everything was fresh and, since they only open for dinner hours, we came right when the food was hot. The ambiance of the place was also nice; it was colorful and had a charming feel. I think that I would like to come back and spend more time just lounging and drinking drinks there.
For writers, I think that this place would be a great place to go if you had a little bit of extra cash and were either in Bellingham for a reason or live there already. I felt very relaxed as I was writing there and was not deterred in the least by any of the staff or my dining partners. I also felt that, due to the fact that it was not exceedingly full, no one would push me out the door too fast if I wanted to stay a little later.

Shrimp Shack
This place had a funky and fun appearance that, unfortunately, gave me false expectations of how the food would turn out. In the end, the food was average and sparing - unlike Ivars, they served a paltry amount of clam strips with an overwhelming amount of fries (and at a high price to boot!). I at least enjoyed the tables and their funny ketchup bottle holders - as pictured above - but I felt like the place was inattentive and just there to provide a bit of sustenance before pushing you out the door. I was writing away and that felt fine, but I don't think I would hang around there on a busy day (we were there on a Saturday evening and there were few people there). You pay at the counter and are generally treated with little interest, so I guess if you are ok with sitting in that kind of restaurant, then you would feel ok writing in this place.

The last place that I would have reviewed would the Anker cafe, but unfortunately we went for the open mic on it's last day in existance! It was a really great cafe and there was a lot of great art on the walls, but I guess since it is no longer around, that information is moot...

Read more of my writing in strange places reviews.
And check out some more posts featuring my photography.