Skip to content

In a cottage by the sea …

August 29, 2013

Sometimes you just gotta get away. After busting our butts getting the cabinet bases and sink in place, then working like demons to clean the house for its 100th birthday party, we were beat. Time to pack the car and take Duke on a road trip to the beach! No work, no remodeling, no schedules, and no pressure!

I love the drive out to the Washington coast and the transition from hectic city life to quiet small towns, from strip malls and traffic jams to forests and lumber mills. Along Highway 109 north of Ocean Shores, there’s even a stretch of enchanted forest—the kind where trees turn into creatures if you wander in far enough to lose sight of the road. I’m sure of it! What is it about this forest that I find so compelling, even though we live in a state where forests are as plentiful as lakes in Minnesota? Maybe it’s because when I look through these trees, I know the light I see is the sky over the Pacific. [Photo: NatGeo]

coast forest and mist

On the edge of this enchanted forest lies the fairy-tale village of Seabrook, a planned community of Nantucket-style houses transplanted to a left-coast hillside. This year, Sunset Magazine has chosen Seabrook for its annual Idea Town showcase. (We passed on the $17 tickets to tour the model homes.)

Seabrook main intersection

Seabrook houses

I love exploring this neighborhood of beautifully detailed homes that we can’t afford. A couple of Christmases ago we drove through on a soggy afternoon and peered into yellow windows to watch families gather around their holiday feasts. I felt like I was pressing my nose against a Norman Rockwell painting. Am I envious? You betcha … but even if we could afford it, would we live here? I don’t think so. Too perfect. Nothing needs renovating!

This is not where Marian the librarian works … it’s just a single family home.

large house looks like old library

Although the upscale vacation houses are tempting, we don’t stay in Seabrook. We continue another mile up the road to much humbler Pacific Beach.

view of Pacific Beach, WA

Several times we’ve rented this little Bohemian cottage, the Periwinkle. It’s beginning to feel like our own. (I wish!)

Periwinkle cottage

Periwinkle living room

Look—you can see a slice of ocean from our deck!

ocean view for Periwinkle deck

I like the artwork throughout this colorful little house. Paintings are by Barbara O’Keefe.

Sculpture and two paintings

The Washington coast isn’t like California, where the girls all get so tan, or the Jersey shore with its Situation, or South Beach with its pastel Art Deco hotels.  It’s a wilder scene, often windy or shrouded in fog, and seldom warm enough for sunbathing. The surfers here wear wetsuits.

The trees tell a tale of punishing storms.

beach staircase and trees in fog

I like the sense of mystery the fog provides. It doesn’t stop anyone from having fun. It doesn’t matter that you can’t see your kite. You know it’s there.

flying kite in fog

Like most dogs, Duke loves the beach. As soon as he hits the hard wet sand, he stops, drops, and rolls until he grinds the sand deep into his coat. His goal is to come home smelling like the ocean.

Duke rolling in sand

Naturally, the sun came out on the day we left for home. I am so ready to go back … but that probably won’t happen until next summer. Now it’s time to pick up our tools and brushes and get back to work on the kitchen. If I want to remember Pacific Beach, I’ll just take a little whiff of Duke.

flowering plant in sand

19132013new

Advertisements

From → About Us

10 Comments
  1. Looks lovely, I grew up by the coast (not the best bit of it, it has to be said!) and I genuinely miss it. And the pic of Duke has totally lifted my mood!!

  2. Oh Duke, you lucky dog! D’Arcy, you are fortunate yourself. What a beautiful area of the country. I really do need to get out there next summer. Also, it helps me to remember that not owning a summer house means that I don’t have to worry about upkeep; I can just enjoy myself when renting. 😉

    • If you come out here, be sure to let us know! We need to meet!! I did used to have a vacation cottage (lost in a divorce) and I miss it so much. The Periwinkle helps fill that hole.

  3. D’Arcy,
    I love Washington state. As a red head who should stay out of the sun, it’s the weather and overcast sky that appeals. And as an avid gardener, it’s the lush green of all areas we’ve seen up there that draws me in. I confess the first little town was something out of a movie or book, I really like it. But the little cottage your rent is a place you can relax and not worry about soiling the sofa! Duke said it all in that image.
    Karen

    • Yeah, in my dreams I live in swankier digs, but we are pretty casual people at heart … and that simple little cottage is so perfect for us. I am a fan of overcast, myself (more so the older I get!) 🙂

  4. Our family (cousins, aunts, uncles, grandkids, etc.) rented a couple of the Navy rentals on the bluff a few years in a row on Thanksgiving. We need to do that again!

    • Hi Nancy! Holidays are fun out there! I’m thinking maybe we should go back for a few days over Christmas break.

  5. I LOVE the picture of your forest with the ocean light coming through! I think that one needs a frame. I can’t believe they think they can now CHARGE at Seabrook to see the model homes! I’ve gone through some for free (maybe 2 years ago). That’s crazy (must be because of the Sunset attention). I do have to ask…..were you both REALLY “peering” in to the windows of families having their Christmas dinners?! LOL! I miss Sea Perch and wish we would have gone. Let’s do it right next summer! And Dukie is so adorable in the last picture. I really enjoyed this blog!

  6. Thanks! The models that cost money at Seabrook were the Sunset “Idea Homes,” not the normal Seabrook model homes. (Sunset Idea Homes are kind of a big deal.) Yes, we really did peep in windows, but from the relative anonymity of our car! Those houses are so close the street, we could practically smell the food!

Don't be shy! Leave a comment--I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: