Kelly's Brighton Marina

by Steven Behling


Below is the story of how I got crabs.  Again.  

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Last weekend, my friends Claire, Tamson, and I beat the sweltering heat forecast for Seattle (hey, high 80s is enough to wilt even the sturdiest coastal Pacific Northwesterner) and spent some time along the Oregon coast.  As is our tradition, we stopped at Kelly's Brighton Marina for some fresh seafood and, well...the experience.

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Imagine weaving your way down (or up, as the case may be) foggy, winding roads packed to the brim with verdant, lush forests on either side, occasionally catching a glimpse of waves beating upon a rocky shore, narrowly missing the turn-off for a small pier filled with families, couples, and locals harvesting some of the freshest seafood around.  Except you didn't miss the turn, because you've been here before.

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Kelly's Brighton Marina is an unassuming, friendly stop off Highway 101 where you can toss in your crab pot and wait by the fire, play a game of Jenga, and pet the marina's dogs to your heart's content.  If you don't have a crabbing license, you can pick one up here, along with any supplies you might need.  Want to stick around for a while?  Kelly's offers camping sites and an RV park.  Or, you can do what I do, which is choose from the giant tubs of live crabs, clams, and oysters caught fresh daily by the crew at Kelly's, wait 20 minutes for them to steam and prepare your sea feast, and lose yourself in a glorious, zen-like state of cracking and consuming seafood that is so sweet, so delicious, so flavorful, the mere suggestion of adding seasoning or butter is cause enough to make you walk the plank.  They even pluck the crab's heart from its chest and serve it to you on a claw like some ancient mariner ritual.  And then you eat it, because it's delicious. 

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As we were driving back up to Seattle at the end of a gastronomically-satisfying, relaxing beach-filled weekend (i.e., more blog posts to follow from this particular vacation), Claire remarked that sitting by the fire, hearing the flames rustle as they warmed our feet, cracking crab (which she, self-professed ostraconophobic, even ate a bit of...and liked it!), and breathing in the salty ocean air at Kelly's was the very best part of the weekend.  I couldn't agree more.

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Kelly's Brighton Marina is located at 29200 Highway 101 North in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.