Nighttime ‘Oyster Picnics’ Offer A DIY Taste Of Puget Sound

oystersOyster aficionados and hunter-gatherer types will want to hoof it to Seattle this winter for a moonlight adventure of the briny kind. Fifth-generation, family-owned Taylor Shellfish Farms is hosting its annual “Walrus & Carpenter Picnics” on January 8, and February 7, to support the Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

Taylor is famed for its sustainably-farmed Manila and geoduck clams (click here to read about my ‘duck dig at Taylor’s farm on the Olympic Peninsula), Mediterranean mussels, and four species of oysters. The company has other farms around Puget Sound, as well as a much-lauded restaurant, Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House, at their Shelton location.

The oyster picnics are held at low tide, and inspired by the 1872 Lewis Carroll poem, “The Walrus & The Carpenter (“O Oysters come and walk with us … A pleasant walk, a lovely talk, along the briny beach!”).” Participants depart Seattle on a chartered bus at 6:30 p.m., returning at midnight.

The evening includes DIY gathering and shucking (experienced shuckers are available for those who prefer to keep their extremities intact) of Taylor’s celebrated Olympias, Kumamotos, Pacifics, and Virginicas, which are paired with chilled wines. Chilled participants get to enjoy steaming bowls of Taylor chef Xinh Dwelley’s famous oyster stew prior to departure.

Tickets are $125; reservations required. For more information click here.

[Photo credit: Flickr user zone41]

Photo of the Day – Aquarium visitors

Aquariums rock. Anytime you put humans in front of a giant tank of water filled with marine life, the effect is typically the same: profound amazement. Children (and even adults) will stop and stare, jaws will drop and heartbeats will calm. The best aquarium photos, like this one by Flickr user halvora at the Bangkok Aquarium, are able to capture those little moments of epiphany and calm that occur as we gaze into these alien worlds of color and movement.

Taken any great travel photos you’d like to share with the world? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Photo of the Day – colorful jellyfish

Jellyfish may very well be one of the most bizarre looking creatures on earth. But watching them swim is mesmerizing. The pulsating shapes, bright colors and graceful movements all suggest a organism from a distant planet. One of these strangely fascinating marine creatures was captured in motion by Flickr user matt coats at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The soft orange body and intricate tentacles contrast nicely with the vibrant blue background of the water.

Have any great photos from your recent travels? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Santander: a beautiful port in northern Spain

Yesterday we talked about some of the things to do while visiting Cantabria, Spain’s often-overlooked northern province. The best place to use as a base while touring Cantabria is the provincial capital Santander.

Santander is a port and owes its life to the sea. It has a northern bay and a southern bay divided by a thin peninsula. The southern bay is home to downtown, the port, and the popular ferry coming from Plymouth, England. The northern bay is more touristy along the shore, and more residential inland. Beaches stretch both to the north and south of town and if you don’t want to share the sand with bikini-clad Spanish women (or speedo-wearing Spanish guys) you can always walk for a bit and find an isolated cove to claim as your own. Be careful of the riptides, though. Inexperienced swimmers should stick to the main beaches in the two bays.

The water is pretty chilly but there’s steady surf that attracts surfers from all over Spain. It’s also quite clean considering that it’s so near a major port. If you’re not up to braving the water (which would be no challenge to the Alaska Polar Bear Club) you can sit in one of the many seaside cafes and sip some wine while watching the boats go by.

When asked what to do around town, every local told us to walk to the lighthouse at Cabo Mayor. It’s less than an hour’s easy stroll to the north of the northern bay. The rocky coastline is picturesque with strange geological formations, little beaches nestled between towering rocks, and windswept promontories with wide views of the sea and shoreline. The lighthouse is home to an art gallery dedicated to, you guessed it, lighthouses in art, plus a massive and somewhat obsessive collection of lighthouses on lighters, ashtrays, matchboxes, book covers, etc. Someone spent way too much time rummaging through junk shops for lighthouse ephemera!

%Gallery-96013%If you get a rainy day (and you will get a rainy day) your first stop should probably be the Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico, a fun and informative museum about the ocean. There are hundreds of ship models and a big display of fish, including a pickled squid, a sardine with two heads, and some weird deep sea beastie with glowing teeth that looks like it’s from an H.P. Lovecraft story. In the basement is a large aquarium teeming with sharks, manta rays, and other aquatic life. The terrace cafe offers a fine view of the port where you can watch the freighters go in and out.

Of course, the town offers the usual Spanish sights such as a medieval cathedral, a nice art museum, an archaeological museum, and a variety of bars and cafes. You won’t get the nightlife here that you would in Madrid or Barcelona, but you’ll get it a lot cheaper. A night out with five pinchos (appetizers), two rum and cokes, and a glass of wine came out to €19.50 ($24). The pinchos were delicious and large enough that they served as our dinner.

Local hotels are used to hooking visitors up with tour groups that can take you around the sights of Cantabria. You might want to get in touch with one of the many hiking groups too. Spanish trails aren’t always well marked, and with the unpredictable weather and high altitudes of some of the mountains, it’s best to go with a group.

Gadling TV’s Travel Talk 003: Black Boxes, Body Scanners, Vegas, Wedding Bells, & Sushi done right!


Gadling TV’s Travel Talk, episode 3 – Click above to watch video after the jump

We’re back! And this time we’ve brought you a show straight from the Vegas strip.

In this week’s episode – we discuss a new ban on Indian rail rooftop travel, monitoring pilot’s conversations in the cockpit, where the first body scanners will appear in the United States, and a little history behind America’s favorite playground.

Bruce has packing tips for one of the most remote destinations in the West; Aaron will show you the right way to prepare sushi, and only one of us ends up getting married in Vegas; stay tuned to find out who…

If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.

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Links:
Vegas Adventure Weddings (Vegas Chapel)
Elvis In A Flash (Chapel Priest)

Chaiyya Chaiyya (Bollywood Train Music Video)
Dubai Aquarium Leak

Hosts: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea
Special guest: Bruce!, Onja, & Elvis Presley.

Produced, Edited, and Directed by: Stephen Greenwood, Aaron Murphy-Crews, Drew Mylrea
Special thanks: Vegas Adventure Weddings, Brad Collin (as Elvis Presley), Virgin America & the Fly Girls.

Music by:
Electric Touch
“Sounds from the Underground”
courtesy of musicalley

Arlin Godwin
“Boy Seventeen”
courtesy of musicalley

Poll of the Week!

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