I’ve relaxed, dined and walked the boardwalk on Washington’s rugged Long Beach Peninsula. However, I just discovered a real gem… the north end of the peninsula and the lovely Charles Nelson Guest House. Retreat to the oyster-laden shores of Willapa Bay, visit a world-class art gallery and walk a short mile from bay to ocean. All these activities surround the location of this historic B&B.
The Charles Nelson Guest House
While I’ve visited historic Oysterville on the north end of the Long Beach Peninsula, I had yet to discover the “got away from it all” feeling by staying there. It’s just a brief drive from the hustle and bustle of the beach resorts, great restaurants and lighthouses. A stay at the Charles Nelson Guest House will put you in a relaxed frame of mind from the moment you walk down the garden path and are greeted by innkeeper Ginger at the front door.
Originally purchased from a 1920’s era Sears & Roebuck catalog, this beautifully restored Ocean Park bed and breakfast sits across the road from Willapa Bay. Out in the bay, when the morning fog clears, you can see the Wildlife Refuge of Long Island.
The inn consists of expansive plant and antique filled common rooms downstairs and three light-filled guest rooms upstairs. Ginger has done an amazing job ensuring that guests have all the comforts of an upscale hotel room while providing the antique accents and whimsy you expect of a historic B&B. The home is immaculate, filled with light, and the gardens beg you to stay awhile and soak in the beauty of the flowers, lawns and koi pond.
In the lovely dining room, illuminated by one of many antique light fixtures in the house, Ginger kept the dessert plate filled. Cookies, brownies and more appeared magically… always welcome after a hike or tour of nearby Oysterville. Keurig coffee and tea was always available. Water and soft drinks were in the fridge in the kitchen.
Rooms at the Charles Nelson Guest House
I had the pleasure of staying in Elsa’s Room and fell in love with the lavender bathroom. I soaked in the lavender colored tub, enjoyed views of the gardens from the lace-curtained windows and had plenty of room for my things.
A warm bathrobe awaited me at day’s end and I fluffed the many pillows on the comfortable king sized bed to luxuriate and post pictures on Instagram. Across the street I could see Willapa Bay.
My friend, Nancy, had the joy of staying in a room by the same name. It was named after Ginger’s Grandmother, Nancy. It was a warm antique-filled room decorated in soft yellow. Nancy said she spent time discovering all the little details of the room, carefully placed for guests to enjoy. She also had a large private bathroom with shower. The room overlooked the gardens.
One afternoon, after a brisk walk to the ocean, my friend and I sat out on the back deck to enjoy the flowers and read.
We also enjoyed communing with the chickens who laid eggs for our breakfasts. When you visit, you’ll want to spend time at the inn because it’s more than a place to sleep…. it’s a place to savor life and have a cookie or two.
Breakfast at the Charles Nelson Guest House
Breakfast during your stay at the Charles Nelson Guest House may include Ginger’s excellent scones, a personal quiche, French toast, bacon, sausage or—on request—Willapa Bay oysters.
We were asked, the night before, what we would like for breakfast. That’s unusual for a B&B. Ginger takes food sensitivities and preferences seriously.
Ginger creates the perfect breakfast in her lovely, bright kitchen. Seasonal berries were big the time we were there.
Ginger has an engaging, warm personality and is more than happy to advise but she is careful to be respectful of guests’ privacy. She may remain in the kitchen while you have breakfast or join you to chat about the Long Beach Peninsula. It’s up to you. She and her husband live in another home on the property and guests have a key code to the front door making it easy to go out for the evening.
Things to do on the North Long Beach Peninsula
With such a beautiful and satisfying breakfast under your belt, you’ll want to get out and enjoy the natural beauty and history of the area.
Seven miles to the North you will find Leadbetter Point State Park and the Leadbetter Unit of the Willapa Bay Wildlife Refuge. This is home to bear, deer and many varieties of birds. There are trails to explore and bay views to enjoy.
This part of the peninsula is so narrow you can walk a roadside trail from the Charles Nelson Guest House through the little village of Ocean Park to the beach.
We found the walk to take a bit longer than we expected. It’s only a mile but there is art on the way. Our first stop was at the Eric Wiegardt Studio and Gallery. Eric is an award-winning artist who teaches internationally. In fact, he was away in Europe when we visited. We enjoyed the two story historic home filled with his art. The home once belonged to his great grandfather, an oysterman. Look for one of his watercolors in the dining room at the guesthouse.
In the business district of the small village of Ocean Park, you’ll find galleries filled with local art. Artist Carol Thompson was in the Bay Avenue Gallery working on another of her beautiful seascapes.
Oysterville, a popular attraction for people visiting the Long Beach Peninsula, is just a bike ride away from the Charles Nelson Guest House. In fact, Charles Nelson, Sr. had a saltbox-style house in Oysterville.
The entire town of Oysterville is on the National Historic Register. Oysterville, named after the rich oyster beds of adjacent Willapa Bay, is picturesque and very different from the bustling beach towns of the Long Beach Peninsula.
Take a walking tour, attend summer vespers in the little church, or relax with a view of Willapa Bay. The maintenance of the little town is a labor of love by the locals and is a must-see when you visit the Long Beach Peninsula.
Ocean Park, we noticed, has a pizza restaurant. But for finer dining, you’ll probably want to take the 25-minute drive into Long Beach or Seaside. We did that both nights, dining first at The Depot and the next night at The Shelburne Inn.
When You Go to the Charles Nelson Guest House
You can call or make your reservation online at the Charles Nelson Guest House. The inn is at
26205 Sandridge Road, Ocean Park, WA 98640. Call 360.665.3016. Dogs are permitted in some rooms.
For more information on visiting the Long Beach Peninsula of Washington during your stay at Charles Nelson Guest House see the Long Beach Visitors Bureau website.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with meals and accommodations for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.