Starting the Day in Long Beach

Long Beach Travel Blog

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Jake the Alligator Man

We got off to a fairly early start this morning (8:30am) from the beach house.  The wedding was not until 4:30 in the afternoon, so we had a good amount of time to explore the area today.

We stopped at a great little coffee shop in Long Beach called the Cottage Bakery and Delicatessan for coffee and muffin (made with locally grown cranberries).  I think Paul and I were the only tourists in the place and it was full of locals.  When we walked in, one of the ladies behind the counter asked Paul if he had been out digging clams.  We were not sure why she asked him, as he was dressed in fairly nice clothes -- definitely not clam digging attire.  We got a good chuckle out of that.   We sat down to drink our coffee and eat our muffins next to a table of 5 older men doing the crossword puzzle from the morning paper.

Jake's Carnival Poster
  Each had his own copy of the paper, but they were talking and comparing answers as they worked the puzzles.  I love to do crossword puzzles in the morning with my coffee and I was dying to jump in and join them! 

One of the places I had read about in the local travel magazine called "Discovery Coast" was called Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach.  The Museum is famous in this part of the world for having "Jack the Alligator Man."  Jake is evidently the mascot of the Long Beach Peninsula.  With all the noise in the magazine and billboards I had seen in town, I had to go get a picture of Jake!  As we walked into the Museum, one of the proprietors looked at Paul and asked him if he had been clam digging!  I busted a gut laughing as it was the second time that day he had been asked.

I registered "Uncontrollable!"
  Maybe it's a local joke.   I called him "Clamdigger" for the rest of our trip!

Jake is a strange looking thing -- the body of an alligator, the head of a man, and arms that are part alligator, part human looking.  It's very leathery and dry looking -- rather mummified in appearance.  It is almost black now.  They claim that Jake was originally a valet in a New Orleans brothel.  Others claim that he was in a side show carnival in the 20's, appearing with the fat lady, the two headed calf and the amazing swami.  Whatever his origin, he is certainly something of a conversation piece!  Marsh's is full of lots of other things as well -- siamese twin lambs, pirate paraphenalia, Theda Bara's headband, and lots of touristy kitch for sale.

The artist and his whale in process
  Paul and I had fun getting some pictures of Jake and checking out the place.  We did have to try out the chair that meters how sexy you are for 25 cents.  Paul went first.  He sat in the chair, popped in a quarter, and the lights whirred and flashed, a buzzer went off -- and he registered "Cold!"    Next it was my turn.  Much to my satisfaction, the chair reported that I was "Uncontrollable!"  LOL.  Paul told me he was sure it was rigged!

I did have to get a couple of refrigerator magnets with Jake on them, as well as a shot glass with him for my shot glass collection.  Guess the Free Museum isn't really free after all since 99% of the people end up buying something in the store!

We also had to check out a local artist who carved large statues out of logs with a chainsaw.

with Gandolf, the Gray wood carving
  We stopped in and saw him at work on a new piece, an orca that was taking shape nicely.  He had also done some others that were sitting around -- a group of black bears, a soaring eagle, and Gandolf the Gray from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  It was a lot of fun to chat with him and see his work. 

From there, it was off to Ilwaco and more exploring.

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Jake the Alligator Man
Jake the Alligator Man
Jakes Carnival Poster
Jake's Carnival Poster
I registered Uncontrollable!
I registered "Uncontrollable!"
The artist and his whale in process
The artist and his whale in process
with Gandolf, the Gray wood carving
with Gandolf, the Gray wood carving
Newspaper Accounts of Jake
Newspaper Accounts of Jake
Paul in the Love Chair registering…
Paul in the Love Chair registerin…
Paul and the Black Bear wood carvi…
Paul and the Black Bear wood carv…
Completed Eagle
Completed Eagle
Long Beach Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Coffee and Pastries
Cottage Bakery was a wonderful find. I was needing a cup of coffee to start my morning, and this place was perfect. It feels like something from a b… read entire review
Long Beach
photo by: aelder2259