I have traveled a fair amount for someone my age, and have fallen in love with many different landscapes. The craggy mountain terrain of Scotland stirred my heart. Mt. Fuji was enthralling. I have fond memories of long road trips through the United States and Canada and each new scene was exciting. I love my new semi-arid desert landscape here in Kamloops, but there is something about the West Coast that I don't seem to be able to get past.
It doesn't seem to matter whether it is in Canada or in the USA. North or south makes no difference. The west coast of North America is just so special. Whenever I get a chance to go back - even if it isn't to a shore where I actually lived - it feels like coming home.
The cities and places I love to visit are diverse, but there seems to be a certain west coast attitude that makes them all feel familiar and comfortable be it Vancouver, Seattle, or Portland. I have to say I have not been more south than Portland for a very long time, so my memories of those areas are rather dim, but very fond.
Most recently a coastal place I have fallen in love with is a little place called Long Beach in Washington state. It is just north of the more well known Astoria, Oregon. The contrast between the quaint town and the vast expansive landscape makes an interesting juxtaposition. The sandy windswept beaches are perfect for kite flying, horseback riding, and roasting marshmallows over a fire. Since it is part of the highway system, you can actually take your car out on the beach which is a really interesting experience for someone more used to the rocky coastal areas near Vancouver. Running parallel to the beach is the 'Discovery Trail' forged by Lewis and Clark on their quest to find the pacific opening of the Columbia river. Walking or riding a bike along it is a great way to spend an afternoon. If you look closely you can find beach peas, and wild strawberries all along the trail! I have never been there when they are in season, sadly, but they are so plentiful.
Just a little further along the trail (or you can use the highway) there are unique places like 'Waikiki Beach' - a small cove only similar to Honolulu in that there are surfable waves - and Cape Disappointment where there are many hiking trails and the Lewis and Clarke Discovery Center. In the area there are something like 2000 shipwrecks, and some of these are actually visible from the beach. At the right time of year you can see whales migrating past the cape.
I actually like visiting here in the winter or very early spring because the misty rain, wind, and fog seem really appropriate as the waves incessantly crash against the sand. Apparently the waves bring sand along with them which keeps making the Long Beach peninsula longer.
I hope to go back one day soon and enjoy my favourite landscape with a cup of warm, freshly roasted coffee from the local Long Beach Coffee Roasters.