I think a common misconception people have about California is that the beaches are warm and the water swim-able. While this might hold true for Southern California: Malibu, San Diego, and the like, Northern California’s coast is often shrouded in fog and cold wind, even and especially in the summer months. The cypress and pine trees found coastal-side are often permanently bent eastward, blown back by the Pacific gusts.
Yet the cold and damp hold the beauty of colorful sunsets, powerful waves, tumultuous clouds, open landscapes, unadulterated sandy beaches and fields and cliffs. Visiting Sea Ranch last November, we were treated to an approaching rainstorm, gusting gales and weathered wooden homes. The Sea Ranch, both a resort and a community, was established in the 1960’s, mostly as an association of vacation homes, with all structures unitary in design concept – timber homes blending into nature and the surrounding space. Ahead of the sustainable design movement, structures must and still do adhere to Sea Ranch’s design rules. A bit of hippy granola now mixed with established California wealth.
Grab a few books and get comfy in the window seats, or stick it to your smartphone and do a puzzle. Take long walks outside, rain be damned (Sea Ranch has umbrellas on hand). If it’s foggy and cold, put on your Swedish winter coat that you never get to wear anyway, living here in CA, and leisurely stroll the grounds, filled with waves and wind and golden grasses. Instead of dinner at Sea Ranch, and as Sea Ranch is a pretty remote outpost, pack some yummies for an impromptu picnic, beach or room side. Cuddle up with a glass of wine or hot tea, and look for the mist of whales’ breath hanging low over the Pacific.