Grays Harbor Tourism

Contact Grays Harbor Tourism: (800) 621-9625

Haunted Harbor: A Ghost Hunter’s Guide to Haunted Places in Grays Harbor County

October 23rd, 2014 by kelly

Grays Harbor County is known for its overcast skies and frequent rainstorms. Cities and towns are filled with weathered homes and buildings nearly a century old that could easily serve as the backdrop of a spooky paranormal-themed movie.  It’s no wonder several sites in this coastal community could be home to ghosts. As Halloween draws near (or any time of year) visitors can take a tour of the Harbor’s many haunted places.

A patron leaves Billy’s Bar & Grill in Aberdeen. It’s said the ghosts of notorious serial killer Billy Gohl and the spirits of his victims haunt one of this town’s famous establishments.

A patron leaves Billy’s Bar & Grill in Aberdeen. It’s said the ghosts of notorious serial killer Billy Gohl and the spirits of his victims haunt one of this town’s famous establishments. Photo courtesy of Rachel Thomson.

Billy’s Bar & Grill Kurt Cobain may have been Aberdeen’s most famous resident, but many historians may say Billy Gohl was the most sinister. Gohl was an infamous serial killer who lived in Aberdeen in the early 1900s. The legend of his ghost has been documented in many books and a quick Google search turns up dozens of websites detailing his horrific murder spree.

Gohl was a sailor and laborer who came to Grays Harbor around 1903. Gohl became a representative for the Sailor’s Union of the Pacific and had a wharf near the present-day restaurant that bares his name. Sailors from every port of call would stop at his office to collect mail, deposit valuables or connect with friends. After a while, Gohl began stealing from the sailors. After swiping the valuables belonging to his fellow sailors, he would then shoot, poison, strangle or bludgeon his victims and dump the bodies down a trap door that led to the Wishkah River. It’s not known for sure how many deaths Gohl was responsible for, but some estimates have been as low as 40 to well over 100.  Read more here…

Exploring the Ghost Forest of Copalis

October 23rd, 2014 by kelly

The town of Copalis sits quietly along the coast, having seen better days during the logging and fishing industry heydays. Unassuming and small, Copalis doesn’t look like the type of place where amazing scientific discoveries should occur. However, looks can be deceiving.

ghost forest

The Ghost Forest is located less than a mile up river in Copalis. Photo courtesy Brian Atwater.

Less than a mile upriver from the bridge crossing the Copalis River on Highway 109, a forest of dead trees, known by locals as the Ghost Forest, helped not only solve the mystery of the Japanese tsunami of 1700 but also has given us insight about tsunamis right here at home. The Ghost Forest of Copalis isn’t just someplace that scientists study, it is a location that we can all access, and a unique destination for visitors from around the world.

On the evening of January 26, 1700, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake rocked the Washington coast off Grays Harbor, causing the land to instantly drop in elevation by up to 6 feet around the region. The quake occurred on the Cascadia Fault, which stretches from North Vancouver Island all the way to Northern California and saw over 622 miles of land get moved by an average slip of nearly 70 feet. The 1700 earthquake on the Cascadia Fault, located off shore and under the Pacific Ocean, caused a tsunami that not only devastated the local areas but killed over 15,000 people across the ocean in Japan…read more here

Keep Clam and Carry a Shovel or Gun

October 23rd, 2014 by kelly


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife expects more than half a million digs this year.

Razor clam season brings joy to those who enjoy watching tides and standing on the windswept, often wet Washington Coast. The beaches this year are packed with clammers, as all signs are pointing to this being the best clamming season in more than three decades. Early estimates from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are looking extremely promising even compared with last year’s amazing clamming season.

Last season’s clam dig was the largest since 1982. In the 2013 clam season, more than 6.3 million clams were harvested along the coast of Washington State. With the majority of those clams coming from the beaches of Grays Harbor. This season, the officials at WDFW are anticipating an even better year. Nearly half-a-million dig trips were recorded last year, resulting in an average of 13.9 clams per digger. Those numbers, according to the WDFW reflect a spectacular razor clam population.

“When the ocean is really healthy, the razor clams are also healthy,” explained WDFW’s Coastal Shellfish Lead Biologist, Dan Ayres.  Read more here…

Buckaroo Days Festival Coming to Elma

September 18th, 2014 by kelly

Mark your calendar for the 5th Annual Buckaroo Days Festival on Saturday, September 20, in Elma. It’s now bigger and better than ever. The Grand Parade, sponsored by Grays Harbor Mounted Posse and City of Elma, starts at 11 a.m. from the high school and proceeds down Main Street to 2nd & Martin Street. Cash and ribbons will be presented to the best equestrian and kids entries. Participants will also include bands, marching units, parade floats, local royals, vintage vehicles and more.

The competition is fierce for the Buckaroo Days Chili & Salsa Cook-Off. Top cooks can earn cash and bragging rights for the honor of placing in the competition. A top-cash award of $250 will be awarded to the first-place chili entry and $100 to the first-place winner in the salsa category. The Elma Chamber of Commerce will sell five-dollar wristbands for tasting the chili and salsa entries on the day of the event.

Elma will be bursting with entertainment during Buckaroo Days. Elma Feed & Farm Supply and Les Schwab Tire Center are partnering to sponsor several free family and kids activities from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. They include a bouncy house for kids, games, an animal petting farm, Mutton Bustin’ sheep-riding contests, craft activities and prizes. For festival-goers who are young and young-at-heart, take a ride on the inflatable super slide. In a special event, kids can decorate a potato and enter it to win the Mr. Potato Head Contest, sponsored by Elma Variety Store. Washington State Fiddlers will entertain on the grounds of the Elma Feed & Farm Supply. The Buckaroo Stage will also be full of entertainment throughout the day.

Throw a favorite outlaw in the Buckaroo Jail and then watch for the GH Mounted Posse robbery and jailbreak at high noon. New this year is the Bingo Tent for adults 21 and over, from 2-4 p.m. Purchase each bingo card for one dollar and gain four chances to win a 50/50 pot.

Is it talent, looks or costumes that make your dog shine? Enter your pooch in the Paws-itiviely Fun Dog Show. Registration begins at 1 p.m. for the 1:45 p.m. show. All entries will receive ribbons and prizes. Elma Feed & Farm Store sponsors the event.

Pick up your free Discovery Pass to Elma at the Dennis Company or at Elma Variety Store. Then, visit Elma businesses for a stamp. Turn-in the completed passes at Timberland Library beginning at 11 a.m. to receive a prize and to be entered in the grand-prize drawing.

Thanks to our sponsors: City of Elma, Les Schwab Tire Center of Elma, Elma Feed & Farm Supply Store, Grays Harbor Posse, House Brothers Construction and Grays Harbor Tourism.

For more information, contact the Elma Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 798, Elma, WA, view on Facebook or telephone 360-482-3055, email: Debbie Adolphsen or Paula Jones –

Nirvana-Themed Street Mural to Debut in Aberdeen

September 11th, 2014 by kelly

Newest in a series of Downtown historic art installations

The dedication of a new Nirvana-themed outdoor mural and celebration of the internationally famous rock group’s place in Aberdeen’s history, as well as their stature as icons of the music industry, is set for Saturday, September 20 at 4 p.m. Bassist and co-founder of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic plus others, are scheduled to speak at the event.

In 2013, Our Aberdeen, a nonprofit arts organization, approached noted Northwest artist Erik Sandgren about creating a pictorial mural for downtown Aberdeen commemorating Nirvana’s genesis in Aberdeen.  Sandgren, with the assistance of four allied artists – Anthony James Cotham, Dominic Senibali, Jason Sobottka and David Wall –  designed and painted the 68-foot-wide mural this year incorporating the grunge band connection.

Vividly painted on board, the mural was installed in downtown Aberdeen on the Moore’s Flooring building at 201 S Broadway St.

Our Aberdeen, with financial support from the Grays Harbor County Department of Tourism, City of Aberdeen, Greater Grays Harbor, Inc., Grays Harbor Community Foundation, Coastline Signs, and individual donations, commissioned this project as part of its Art Group Promotion to create civic pride, memorialize Aberdeen’s history, assist in the revitalization of the city, promote the vibrant and talented art community, and offer another reason for visiting Aberdeen.

For more information, contact Sylvia Dickerson at about the mural and Our Aberdeen’s other projects. Visit the website,, to learn about the organization.



Find the Catch of the Day at Grays Harbor Seafood Markets

September 11th, 2014 by kelly

Are you looking for some fresh salmon to buy? Maybe a pound of fresh cracked crab leg meat to savor dipped in hot garlic butter? Do you ever search websites like the Foodnetwork, Allrecipes, or Pinterest and want to try a new way to cook fresh seafood? You are in luck because in Grays Harbor we have a variety of local seafood markets stocked up and ready to share. Bring fish home to the table from these six local seafood markets.

Brady’s Oysters

Bradys (photo by Mara ODonnell)

The iconic Brady’s Oysters’ welcomes all to the “South Beach.” Photo courtesy of Mara O’Donnell.

If oysters are on the menu then Brady’s Oysters is the place to be. Nestled along the pristine shores of Grays Harbor’s South Bay, Brady Engvall developed the suspended culture method of growing oysters. Brady started the business in 1970. Today, his children Korry Engvall and Kristi Engvall Ballo continue the tradition. The retail seafood market sells oysters, clams, crab, fish and more. The business is also home to the world famous Brady’s Oyster Feed: The annual fundraiser dedicated to clean water and jobs. The Brady’s Oyster sign proudly stands tall to advertise the location of the market. It’s also a monument that welcomes all to the “South Beach.”

3714 Oyster Place E. Aberdeen, WA 98520 800-572-3252

Store Hours Open daily 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Seafood Connection

Fishing buddies and friends since childhood, Larry Cowles and Kevin Marks  team together to bring you the Seafood Connection


A Yarn about Alpacas and Local Artistry at Olympic Yarn and Fiber

September 11th, 2014 by kelly

Lynn Lipski is a wife, mom, alpaca-raiser, and knitting enthusiast. Her passion for natural fibers and yarns have led her into designing and selling knitting patterns and keeps her busy making gifts for friends and family.

alpaca yarn

Each Alpaca has a unique personality and character to their wool.

A craft-savvy gal, the most surprising part about her hobby is not so much that she can create her own patterns, it’s that her projects don’t start with a pattern. They start with the alpaca itself.

Connecting her home and the alpaca barn is a brightly lit workroom full of bizarre looking machinery, freshly sheared, washed and fluffed alpaca wool, and newly bound skeins of the softest alpaca yarn you’ve ever felt. It’s not uncommon for people to own sheep or alpacas, but Lipski gave me genuine surprise when I heard that she spins her own yarn. And not only her own wool either, Lipski spins yarn for a variety of small-scale businesses that sell specialty yarns and fibers on a local level…read more at

“30 Miles of Junque”

September 11th, 2014 by kelly

Westport’s 17th Annual Weekend Treasure Hunt September 20 & 21

Westport, WA – Bargain hunters, treasure seekers, flea market fans and “American Pickers”  be on alert for Westport’s 17th annual “30 Miles of Junque”.  All along SR 105 from Tokeland to South Aberdeen, and Westport and Grayland in between. Over 70 yard and garage sales are expected to participate.

 A map showing the Junque route and all participating sales will be posted on the Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce website beginning Sept. 17 at  Maps are also available at each sale, the Westport VIC and many businesses. Also on the map you can find ads for various eating establishments to help you keep up your strength to get to that next sale!

 The event is also a great opportunity to check out other South Beach area treasures that you may not have visited before – the historic lighthouse, Maritime Museum and charter fishing marina in Westport, and miles of beaches and breathtaking coastal views all along SR 105.

For event and accommodation information, call the Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce and VisitorInformationCenter toll free at 1-800-345-6223, or visit their website.



David and Colby Trusty Reflect on Family and the 4H Community

August 4th, 2014 by kelly

Sitting down with David Trusty and his granddaughter, Colby Trusty, I couldn’t help thinking that David reminded me of Sam Elliot in one of his renowned western films. Calm and steady, David knows farming and especially his cattle.

grays harbor fair

This will be Colby Trusty’s final year showing animals through 4H.

In 1954, David became a longstanding member of his 4H club. With interests ranging from cows, horses, sheep, and wood-working, David feels 4H was a part of what gave him a good, solid upbringing. “I was exposed to healthy competition. We were told to win without bragging and lose without squealing,” David smiled. This saying stuck with David through his childhood years in Iowa, to farming in Missouri, before finally landing in Grays Harbor County around 23 years ago.

Just one year after moving, David became involved with the Grays Harbor County Fair and has long been on the Fair Board. He now uses his influence to help ensure positive fair interactions with young 4H participants. Some of which, have been his grandkids.

With a family well rooted in 4H, it only makes sense that David’s granddaughter, Colby, carries on the tradition. “I was kind of put into it by my parents when I was in third grade,” Colby said sheepishly. “But I grew to really love it.” Now a high school graduate, this is Colby’s last year of showing cattle at the Grays Harbor County Fair as a 4H student.

grays harbor fair

David Trusty has instilled a family role of giving back. He has served as a volunteer with the Grays Harbor County Fair since moving to town.

President of her club for over five years and counselor at the 4H summer camp, Colby insists 4H has been one of the most positive influences in her life. Her favorite aspect has been showing her animals at the Fair and attending the yearly 4H camp. “Outside of arts and crafts and outdoor activities, there are lots of leadership and game activities. Nobody judges anyone there, you are free to be whoever you want to be,” explained Colby in reference to 4H camp.  ”One of my friends that I’ve gained from camp, I see walking down the halls at school and he’s quiet and reserved. But at camp he knows he can just be himself and he opens up and he’s this amazing, great person. It’s great to know that you’re able to be trusted there and be yourself and not be judged.”

David insists 4H has done so much more for his children than teach them about animals and crafting. “Every one of my children and grandchildren who was in 4H came away with a positive respect for the program and learned to be a better citizen,” he said.  ”It teaches you to be involved in the community because if you allow yourself to be a part, you learn to share your talents, your concerns, to help make this a better town or county.”

“Personally, I want to give back because I’ve gained a lot from living here,” David said, who chooses to give back by helping cultivate positive experiences between 4H groups and the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds. He doesn’t show his own animals very often, as his main focus is to help others. With his family there to show animals and his wife being the superintendent of the arts department, the yearly event is truly a family effort.

grays harbor fair

Cows are just one piece of the Grays Harbor County Fair slated for August 6 – 10.

Today, Colby does so much more than show her own steer.  She also raises and breeds her own beef cows. Her Charolais Cows in her grandpa’s field are stocky animals with solid meat on their bones. There in the herd stands the first cow she ever bought at age eleven. Now nine years old, the cow is  the oldest she owns. She has shown her Charolais cows at the Grays Harbor County Fair, Puyallup Fair, and at other county fairs across the state.

Though a strong interest, cows probably won’t be her way of life. Instead, Colby is headed to South Puget Sound Community College to pursue a teaching degree. She has the same perspective as her grandpa after a childhood in 4H: she wants to give back to her community. By teaching in an elementary school, Colby will have a lifestyle of contributing to her town.

The Grays Harbor County Fair begins on August 6 and continues through August 10. Colby will be there with her steer and David will be back and forth between animal barns, checking in on 4H members and making sure everyone has a good time. Colby will also be showing her horse for the first time during the open-show event – a special way to end her final 4H year.

Though it will be her last year showing in 4H, I doubt this year will be the last we see Colby participating in the community event. The Trusty habit of being at the fair each summer will continue on – we’ll see what they come up with next!

Grayland Open Brings the Best Jet Ski Riders to Grays Harbor

August 3rd, 2014 by kelly

On August 8 through 10, just seven short miles from the City of Westport, the waves off of Grayland Beach will have more action than normal.  The Grayland Open will take place along this popular section of coast in Washington State. Above the crashing breakers and foamy surf, the best amateur Jet Ski free riders will be competing in round one of the US Nationals. The event isn’t just limited to US riders, as six of the top riders in the world will be competing right here in Grays Harbor.

grayland open jetskiThe Grayland Open was nothing more than a thought in the head of organizer Dan Lindgren ten years ago. A decade ago, Dan would invite people to experience Westport and enjoy the surf of the Washington Coast. As his personal event got increasingly popular, he talked to people at other events and decided to make an event happen locally. What started as a local contest, has grown every year since with the possibility of having 50 to 60 of the world’s best riders participating in this year’s event.

On the waves near Grayland State Park, the region is now home to one of the premiere Jet Ski competitions in the US, with daring riders performing aerial tricks on the turbulent waves of the Pacific Ocean.  The Grayland Open is one of four competitions at this level and one of the top surf and air competitions in the US. The other major events happen around in the United States in places like Daytona, Florida, Virginia Beach, Virginia and the Oregon Coast.  READ MORE HERE


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