Doggone Getaway: Sunny Seabrook
Snuggled along the coast of Washington's Gray's County, you will find Seabrook, a comfortably contemporary and decidedly dog-friendly oasis in a land of weathered and rustic seaside towns.
Written + photographed by J. Nichole Smith
If you thought you had to go all the way to Cannon Beach to find an up-scale seaside getaway in the Northwest, think again. Filling a niche for finely appointed, pet friendly, seaside lodging less than a three hour drive from Seattle or Portland, Seabrook is quickly making a name for the long forgotten Pacific Beach.
Based on the success of Seaside, Florida, Seabrook is an emerging community-centered, pedestrian friendly beach town that works to protect the delicate coastal ecosystem it inhabits while still allowing visitors and residents to fully experience the natural beauty of its surroundings. However what you’ll notice first when you arrive at Seabrook’s sloping drive is not the complicated philosophy behind the construction, but instead, the delightful “beach town” aesthetics and abundance of canine inhabitants.
When you reach your cottage, take note of the complimentary s’more makings, fully-stocked kitchen and myriad personal touches designed by the home’s owner. We stayed in the “Weldin House” and were delighted by umbrellas and a Chuck-It by the door, a wood-burning fireplace, and an eclectic collection of artwork, board games and reading materials.
The design and décor of the house is rich, with luxurious details including crown molding, five panel doors, granite counter tops, large soaker tubs, wood floors and thick throw rugs, intricate quilts and leather furnitureall of which lead to one important (and not so delightful) detail: There is a strict “no dogs on the bedor any furniture for that matterpolicy. This rule is not in any of the registration paperwork or on the website, so beware that in these homes, dogs are strictly bound to the floor, dog bed or crate. Luckily, there is a huge cushy dog bed and collapsible kennel hiding in the closet and there is so much to see and do, that you probably won’t be spending much time in bed anyway!
As you stroll through Seabrook, you’ll be hard-pressed to find two houses that look the same. Varied in exterior colors, roof slopes, window treatments and basic layouts, each home is unique, but still united by a fanciful Cape Cod feeling. Weathered cedar shingles, contrasting shudders, white columns and picket fences all convey the delightful whimsy of an ideal beach town. The architectural details are enhanced by lifestyle accessories: Adirondack chairs in jelly bean hues, paths lined with crushed pearly oyster shells, red wagons as porch planters and clusters of beach cruiser bicycles resting against contrasting walls. All the main roads run East and West, allowing sunset to blanket the entire community, and of course, all roads lead to the beach.
After your walking tour, you’ll likely be ready for some eats. The only dining option currently available in Seabrook is Café Tashtego, so it’s a good thing it’s fabulous. Like the rest of Seabrook, the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting, much like dining in the fine home of a good friend. The Café is especially lovely as the sun pours in from the West near dusk.
For dinner choose the sockeye salmon or the steak frites. For starters, the cheese flight is diverse and filling, and you would be amiss to pass up the opportunity to try the handmade French onion soup or razor clam chowder. Ask your server to suggest the perfect Pinot or Chardonnay blend to pair with your meal. The wine list is extensive and you are guaranteed to find a vintage you adore.
If you have a dog in tow, you are in luck, the patio seats are the best in the house. And while you lap up the phenomenal view provided by the ocean, your dog will lap up the water provided by the Café (as well as plenty of hellos and pets provided by the other patrons).
If you get a chance, have a chat with Miles Batchelder, the Café’s welcoming and humorous proprietor and sommelier. If you have a canine companion, it’s likely that he’ll find you first. Miles and his partner are avid dog rescuers, “We only have five (dogs) right now, but we’ve had as many as nine. We just keep taking in strays,” he says with a smile.
If you’re not 100% stuffed from dinner, take advantage of your s’more fixin’s of Hershey’s chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows, with the outdoor fire-pit back at your cottage, or for a more bubbly proposition, enjoy a nightcap in the hot tub. Bonus: The cottage is fully-fenced, so as long as he’s well-behaved, you can let Rover roam while you indulge.
In the morning, if you care to venture outside of Seabrook’s enchanting spell, you can drive an easy 20 minutes South to Ocean Shores. Although much less magical than it appears in my childhood memories, Ocean Shores remains a decent location for beaching, eating and kite flying. Be sure to stop in for a standard diner breakfast at Caffe Amici. Here you can sit outside if you like and no matter what, your dogs will be greeted with Milk Bones. For mid-afternoon sweets, both Murphy’s and the Peppermint Parlor are popular. For a cup of Joe, try Go Dog Go Espresso near the Holiday Inn, or for a frosty brew or two, hit the Porthole Pub.
For the real Ocean Shores experience, head straight through town to the North Jetty. Although leashes are required here, you and your four-legged beach comber can explore tall grasses, tide pools, fly your kite, wade in the chilly surf, and watch an assortment of shore birds winging, diving and chatting it up near the tip of the jetty. Be sure to avoid the stagnant water along the base of the rocks. If you wander into it, you and your pooch might reek of foul ocean goo all day. Also, keep an eye out for barnacles and broken shellsboth can make short work of fleshy human and canine paws.
If you time it right, you can try your hand at the fine craft of sand sculpting and enter in one of Ocean Shores’ famous sand castle building contests.
Back at Seabrook, if the weather is fair and your pooch is spry, consider a bike ride a few short miles North to Pacific Beach. From railroad destination to Navy base to “sleepyville” and back again, this little one-road town is starting to bud with some modern comforts. On the main street you’ll find the standard gas station, post office, burger joint combination, plus the recent addition of Surf House Espresso, featuring free wifi, and 59 Main, featuring stylish home furnishings and gifts. And of course, more beach can be found at the Ocean City and Pacific Beach State Parks.
If the weather is foul, pack up the car and head South on Hwy 109. A few miles down the road, take a right onto Roosevelt, which will lead you right onto the sand. If your rig is up for it, you can drive right onto the beach. Fly a kite, play some fetch in the wind and rain or take a chilly jog. Afterwards there is nothing better then packing the messy, cold and tired-out gang back into the car and returning to your Seabrook cottage where warm showers, hot cocoa and a crackling fire await!
After a hard day of hard play, your dogs will appreciate a nap and you can appreciate some more fine diningthis time at the Ocean Crest Resort. Only a few minutes North of Seabrook, this pet friendly Moclips retreat offers wooded beach views from the dining room and a wine list to die for. You will want to get a wine flight or four to enjoy before or during your meal; your server will have great recommendations. The fresh fish is always at the top of the favorites list at Ocean Crest and for dessert, there is a very tasty crème brulee (that is actually brulee’d right at the table) and a seasonal fruit pie order both and share.
You will want to time your dinner for sunset if you can, and when you make reservations, be sure to ask for a window table.
When packing for your weekend Seabrook adventure, be sure to include wet dog towels, plenty of tennis balls and any additional bedding your pooch may require while exiled from your bed. If you want to take advantage of the full kitchen, bring a cooler and stock up on groceries in Hoquiam on your way to the shore.
On the way home, stop in Hoquiam again at the self car wash and rinse away all the sand and saltwater evidence of your perfect seaside retreat!
Ocean Crest Resortoceancrestresort.com