Last week I wrote about how much I love walking by the ocean, but I also enjoy strolling through beach towns, checking out the range of homes and peeking into gardens. Truth be told, I enjoy that kind of sightseeing wherever I find myself. Being an avid gardener, I always want to check out other peoples’ landscapes and see how their gardens grow. I also appreciate all kinds of architectural styles and entertain myself with imagined stories of the lives inside the houses I pass by.
I indulged in a little of that benign voyeurism and daydreaming on our last visit to the beach town of Seaside, Oregon, which boasts a one-and-a-half-mile paved promenade fronting the beach. Known affectionately as “the Prom” to locals and visitors alike, it has welcomed promenaders and perambulators since the 1920s. Lined mostly with private homes and beach rentals of two or three stories, it also borders a few larger hotel and condominium structures near its midpoint, where the town’s main east-west commercial street, Broadway, terminates at the Prom at the Turnaround, where the roadway circles a large statue of Lewis and Clark, commemorating their 1804–06 Corps of Discovery expedition.
While popular and sometimes fairly crowded in the more commercially focused center, the Prom mostly affords a pleasant, quiet walk, with views out past grassy dunes to the ocean beyond. Heading out early in the day almost assures you share the space with just a few others, who offer a friendly greeting. Charming lampposts allow for late-night strolls as well, and sturdy benches with commemorative plaques offer spots to pause and contemplate the sunset or take a breather along the way.
As I said, I also enjoy checking out the houses lining the town side of the Prom. Almost all of the older ones are clad in weathered cedar shingles, and nearly every one features at least one wide porch or deck facing the ocean. Even the newer homes borrow from the tried-and-true materials and features of those that have seen decades of weather. I admire each and every one and imagine myself and my friends and family gathered on the lawn of this one or rocking in a chair on the porch of that one. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of living at the beach full-time, or at least having my own vacation home there that I could visit whenever the mood struck.
The gardens along the way range from all natural to bare minimalist to manicured and lush. One of my favorites (and which was on the market the day I walked by) boasts a charming, whimsical fence and gate with plenty of flowers and a cool, green lawn.
Maybe some day I’ll hit the lottery and fulfill my dreams of owning a beachside home, but for now I’ll content myself with occasional visits and my daydreams.
— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor
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