Clear Skies County: Seabrook — an adventure in easier living

The brown house is where Jim and Karen Russell and family stayed at Seabrook. (Jim Russell photo)

The brown house is where Jim and Karen Russell and family stayed at Seabrook. (Jim Russell photo)

 

By Jim Russell

In November 2013, Karen and I drove through the Pacific beach community of Seabrook, located west of Olympia. We decided to rent a home for this year’s Thanksgiving. We loved it.

Why?

Karen said, “It was easy. Everything we wanted to do was easy, walking to the beach, cooking dinner, shopping at the market, going swimming, watching the tree lighting. It was right there.”

Seabrook’s founder Casey Roloff led a tour Nov. 29 to explain the community’s growth. He said the number of rentals has grown over 30 percent annually since it began 10 years ago. About half of Seabrook’s property owners use the community’s rental service to subsidize their expenses with rental income.

Roloff designed Seabrook to locate amenities within a five-minute walk. He shrank lot sizes to increase density and public green spaces. He built houses with natural light and
bright interiors for the Pacific Northwest’s gray weather. He designed streets that slowed traffic and located paths for safe walking. He created colorful homes with signature impressions and preserved natural views for scenic walks.

Karen and I parked our car on Wednesday and didn’t drive again until Sunday.

Our walk down the main street from our rental quickly gave us a view of white waves crashing on gray waters behind towering pine trees stripped of lower limbs. Roloff said that land was landscaped to create a memorable impact with a vision of the ocean through the trees instead of lots developed with four houses. We walked on a bluff with million dollar homes named Sunset Magazine’s 2013 Idea Houses. Steps led down to a wide beach at low tide where our dogs played and we walked for an hour-and-a-half.

We walked half-a-block to the pool in a park and, on one day, eight of us played bocce ball in the park.

We walked on a seashell path between a forested conservation area and cottages with cedar shake siding and porches and up a greenway park of small cottages. My youngest daughter wanted to return on the seashell path but our oldest daughter convinced us to explore a new street with a rural view.

Within five minutes, we’d walked from urban density to Seabrook’s suburbs to a preview of future agricultural farmland reserved in the development to ultimately supply produce and natural foods for the grocery store planned for next year.

Our rental house made for easy living. Karen and I shared a cozy apartment above the two-car garage. The four cousins slept and played in a third story and the adults had separate bedrooms on the second floor. The kitchen allowed five adults to prepare Thanksgiving dinner. The great room permitted our family to cheer on our football teams.

 

The beach access trail, via a seashell path, in front of Seabrook homes named Sunset Magazine’s 2013 Idea Houses. (Jim Russell photo)

The beach access trail, via a seashell path, in front of Seabrook homes named Sunset Magazine’s 2013 Idea Houses. (Jim Russell photo)