Monday, August 1, 2011

Surf's up

Growing up in Lake Oswego, the beauty of the Oregon Coast was just a quick drive away. When I was young, our family took summer road trips whenever possible to this remarkable area. We spent endless days in surf and sand and nights in the modest beachside motels (virtually gone now) that flanked Route 101. 

Court Cottages, Seaside, Oregon
As I grew up so did the coastline. Child's play turned into long, romantic walks on the beach followed by weekend stays in charming inns that rival the world's most romantic getaways.  The sea, the ragged coastline, the wind swept trees are a big part of who I am. It is clear to say that the Oregon Coast runs through my veins.
Arch Cape Inn, Arch Cape, Oregon
It's no surprise then that I find myself back there. Not for me, but for my oldest daughter who has found a passion for surfing. As fate would have it, the stretch of coastline from Seaside to Manzanita is ideal for surfing!

Renee at 'The Cove/Avenue U', Seaside, Oregon
Renee watching the surf at 'Short Sands', Oswald West State Park, Oregon
 All this surfing, leaves lots of time to explore the string of quaint beach towns. 
Gearhart, Oregon
Loving the charm of a true cottage, I feel as if I have hit pay dirt. The younger version of me didn't appreciate the sweetness of these homes, rather I spent time dreaming of ice cream and boys. Now as I tool around the towns, up and down narrow lanes I relish in the sweet sights of these shingled beachside cottages.

It is no wonder I love these so, they're not too far off from the cottages I dream about in the UK.

I have always loved the look of the neutral Nantucket interiors. In fact, Pam Robinson, owner of Red Ticking, a store in Madison Valley, became a friend because of the countless hours I spent in her store. On my 'to do if I win the lottery' list is buy a beach house and have Pam appoint the interior with her incredible found objects and keen eye for all things perfect.

I did noticed a lot of 'for sale' signs during these past trips. It seems inventory levels are high right now at the coast. The economy appears to be putting a damper on vacation home ownership. With the high level of inventory in a corrected market, it seems that now might be the time to buy a cottage by the beach.

If you are considering buying a vacation property, here are some points to keep in mind. 

Location: Is it easily accessible or do you need to depend on a costly ferry or minimally maintained service road? Is it close enough to home that you can use it on weekends or is it just for longer stays a few times a year?

Looking ahead: Your family needs will change over time. You may face retirement or changes to your work situation. Teenagers may not want to spend time away from friends or may have work and school schedules that make family vacations harder. Could your children or extended family use the cabin without you there?

Financial factors: Beyond the initial expense of buying a vacation home, consider the ongoing maintenance, insurance, property taxes that you will need. If your plan is to rent the cabin out and offset some expenses, find out if rentals are permitted in that area. Then consider when you may wish to use it yourself. If you're there during peak times you will lose a portion of your rental income.  With a rental you will also have additional insurance and maintenance costs, and possibly property management costs. 

Vacation home ownership isn't for everyone. If it's not for you, consider renting a cottage by the week or month. There are plenty of management companies (big and small) who can ease this process.

And if that's not in the future, then how about pulling up a chair, pouring a Long Island Iced Tea and spending the afternoon lost in this month's Coastal Living magazine?  Just hang out this sign and exhale!

Here are some links that will help you explore the Oregon Coast. Lexie Hallahan is the owner and director of NW Women's Surf Camps and is an amazing teacher. I graduated High School with Lexie and have enjoyed catching up with her while she has been teaching my daughter to surf. Now I just need to get out time! Enjoy the summer, wherever you may be. 

The town of Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach Vacation Rentals

NW Women's Surf Camps and Lessons

Cleanline Surf Shops, Seaside and Cannon Beach, Oregon

Until next time.

la chasse au bonheur

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