Mermaid Museum
Mermaid Museum (Photo by Marguerite Garth)

After more than a year of being closed-in and cloistered, the warmer summer weather and opportunity for outdoor entertainment and activities leaves us with optimism that our world is slowly getting back to normal in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

As you can imagine, publishing a magazine celebrating art, music, theater and food in Grays Harbor has certainly been a challenge this last year when quarantine rules necessitated the shutdown of plays, concerts, art shows, museums and many restaurants, as well as the cancellation of much-anticipated festivals and celebrations.

Still, reporting on creative people gave us a leg up. Not even a world-wide pandemic can stop artists from producing art, musicians from making music, writers from writing and actors from honing their art. And it certainly can’t stop art lovers from appreciating creativity!

For some artists, their creativity genius turned to exploring new ways and mediums through which the audiences could experience the creations – virtual concerts, drive-in celebrations, outdoor performances, online Q and A’s about the creative process and more.  For other creatives, the year served as a sort of sabbatical to nurture their own creative process, take a break, delve into new genres, or just create, create, create and simply wait to share their passion with others once it was easier to do so!

And while many restaurants, galleries, museums, theaters and concert halls took a financial hit during this time, we predict a great resurgence in their popularity after people realize, after a near starvation diet,  how much the arts inspire and feed their souls.

(So, before we go forward, we want to look back and thank all of our advertisers for allowing us to continue to bring this magazine free to you! Please honor and help them by patronizing them. Put your money where your mouth is and show them how valuable they are to our community! And while you are at it, do us a favor and let them know that you saw their ad in the magazine! It helps them and us.)

Tony Robinson, Chainsaw Artist
Tony Robinson, Chainsaw Carver (Photo by Marguerite Garth)
(Photo by Rick Moyer)

The good news is that things really are opening back up again!

At press time for this summer issue, however, some uncertainty still exists about whether society will close down tighter again for a season. Thankfully, we’ve selected stories about people and places that should be accessible regardless of quarantine concerns.

Let’s start with our cover story on the Westport Winery Garden Resort. If you travel on Highway 105, you can’t miss the oasis that Kim and Blain Roberts have built halfway between Westport and Aberdeen.  There’s even a lighthouse to show you the way! Either before or after a meal, a bakery treat or a glass of wine, take time to stroll the well-designed gardens filled with both whimsical and reflective sculptures. Or, play one of the many outdoor games available for adults and children. You may want to also explore the recently opened mermaid museum!

This issue of Coastal Currents also features the personalities and lore of area chainsaw artists. Read about Tony Robinson and the close-knit community of area chainsaw carvers.

Rex Valentine is a well-known name on the Harbor, especially in East County. Learn more about this musician and internationally acclaimed poet.  His books are available via his website or can be checked out through the Timberland Library.

Music and faith are the lifeblood of pianist Bill Brown, who not only follows a centuries-old tradition of using his talent within the church, but also enjoys playing for local theater as well as training up the next generation of musicians.

Bill Brown (Photo by Rick Moyer)

This issue of Coastal Currents also introduces you to the area’s craft breweries.  A cool glass on a warm day is appreciated by many – and we were aware that many of these breweries offered outside seating, both pleasant in the summer and helpful during pandemics!

We’ve also carefully gathered the information for upcoming events into our Coastal Currents events calendar, which begins on page 43. However nowadays especially, it goes without saying – but we will anyway.

Bill Brown playing piano
Bill Brown (Photo by Rick Moyer)