Tag Archives: Hwy. 109

In a cottage by the sea …

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