My wife and I had never heard of Dungeness Spit, although we had heard of Dungeness Crabs. We probably would not have seen the Spit except for a chance encounter with someone at our church in Minnesota. We had been in the process of planning a major trip to the Pacific Northwest when we happened to meet the sister (let’s call her “Jane” [Not her real name]) of one of our church members. A group of us were at church for a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party for some friends. While we were waiting for the couple to arrive, my wife began talking to “Jane” and found out that she lived on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. My wife and I were planning to visit the peninsula and we told “Jane” that. She immediately invited us to spend the night at her home near Port Angeles. We agreed to do so.
On the trip, before we actually got to “Jane’s” house, we stopped at Sequim (pronounced “squim”) to learn about the annual Lavender Festival and to see a lavender farm. The one we visited was named, appropriately, Purple Haze. We were impressed at the beauty of the farm, even though much of the lavender had already been harvested. We took some pictures, but decided to skip the lavender ice cream! Sequim is known as the lavender capital of the North America. A festival website contains detailed information about the 2009 festival as well as information on farm tours and other activities. We were too late to attend the festival in 2008, but the website promises a good time for visitors. Festival posters and support buttons from previous years are available through the Lavender Store (see the website). The 2009 Lavender Festival will be held July 17, 18, and 19.
After we arrived at “Jane’s” and got settled in, she took us for a tour of the area, ending up at Dungeness Spit. A spit, in geological terms, is a “narrow point of land projecting into the sea.” That description from the dictionary on my computer does not begin to do justice to Dungeness Spit. If you are like I am, that definition conjures up an image of a small piece of land poking out into the water.
Dungeness Spit is anything but small. One website calls it the largest natural sand spit in the United States. Another website calls it the longest natural sand spit in the world!] Whatever its ranking in the world, at 5.5 miles long, Dungeness Spit is enormous and impressive. If you plan to walk the length of the Spit, be prepared for cool weather. My wife and I were there late in August. She wore a coat and I had on a short-sleeved polo shirt. She was the smart one!
Like any piece of land jutting into the ocean, Dungeness Spit has become a collection point for an incredible amount of driftwood, seaweed, and something my wife later described as “ugly 12′ long, green snake-like looking stuff! Yuk!” We did not walk the entire spit, but were suitably impressed by what we did walk and by what we saw. In order to get down to the beach, there is some walking involved, but the Spit is worth the walk.
For crab-lovers, you may be interested to know that Dungeness Crabs are named after Dungeness, Washington, a town located about five miles north of Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula. An annual Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival is held each October in Port Angeles.
If you are going to be visiting in the Seattle area, take the time to drive (or take a ferry) to the Olympic Peninsula. Not only can you visit Sequim, but as you make your way down the west coast of the peninsula, you can see some amazing rain forests and some awesome beaches.