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An Idyllic Community on the Washington Coast

The smoke, over the past summers, has become a lot to confront for Pacific Northwest residents. Many of us are looking to cooler weather, and fresher skies, on our coasts. Oregonians go mad about heading the small towns that dot the state’s coast, so much so that RVs tend to form a line, zig zagging along the Pacific Ocean.

It is less of a tradition, and perhaps more of a surprise, when people head to the Washington Coast. It seems to be, for the short time I lived in the state, more of an occasional tourist jaunt than a regular summer pilgrimage. Which is why the constant evolution of Seabrook is so interesting.

What is Fun About the Community

This cluster of 550 homes, split between owned and rented, should be a two-plus hour drive from Seattle. Sadly because of traffic, around the capital of Olympia, it can turn into much more than that.

However, when you arrive the fog-encrusted community is warm, friendly and fun. It’s home to a number of restaurants from Mexican to solid pizza at Frontager’s. It also has food trucks serving up some pretty solid fried chicken at Cookie’s and a nice little wine bar (which also sells wine to go: more about that later).

What is more you don’t need a car to move around at Seabrook, as everything is walkable. However, if you lived there full time, it would be a long-haul to Costco as the community is pretty isolated. However, it is set up with a general store and plenty of communal outdoor fireplaces if you want to meet you neighbors. You probably won’t be able to resist as so many of them have adorable golden retrievers.

Seabrook also has an ongoing lecture series and a pool. A Japanese Izakaya, which roughly translates into inventive and simple pub food, is in the works as is a pickleball court. The sport has been described as ping pong on a tennis court and has been taking the West Coast by storm for several years.

The Concept Behind the Place

According to Seabrook’s founder Casey Roloff, the planned community of Seaside Florida gave him “the playbook,” for Seabrook. He adds that many people were “thirsty for walkability.” He adds that, not surprisingly, 80 percent of the complex’s buyers are from Washington State. He adds that about 15 percent of homeowners live full-time at the property. Rates run from $250 or so a night to $1,500, depending on the size of the house and its proximity to the ocean.

The Washington Coast didn’t have a quintessential beach town to serve the Seattle area and its suburbs, “and the broader state. … At the time we found it, the land had been clear cut for the third time and left unmanaged. Our vision was to build a new and sustainable beach town there that was anchored by a pedestrian walkable scale land plan rooted in the same urban, land-planning principles that shaped the most beautiful towns and villages around the world. This was the antithesis to large master planned gated ‘golf course’ resorts that are designed on an automobile scale,” notes Roloff.

The community’s first home was built in 2004 and now there are more than 500 houses, according to Roloff. “The town-center is the soul of the community with restaurants, bars, and merchants perched on a bluff looking over the Pacific Ocean. The town also boasts 18 parks, hiking and mountain bike trails, sports courts, a spa, a gym and indoor pool… A new 11,000-square-foot grocery, a 1980s-style arcade and an outdoor, heated pool will be completed next year,” he adds. As the weather turns cooler, mushroom foraging and razor clamming trips will be part of the action.

The New Wine Bar

The Stowaway Wine Bar is the newest drinking and dining establishment at Seabrook. It offers an expansive list of wines by the bottle and the glass, including some nice French selections, although it skews pretty Pacific Northwest with its focus. Some of the more interesting selections include Volio, a sparkling rosé from Emilia Romagna made from Sangiovese and Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Va Piano Vineyard from Walla Walla.

Great snacks include charcuterie and cheese, including delicious runny Burrata. There is often sometimes local smoked salmon on offer that is a treat. The bottle list offers some large formats, like a Magnum of Leonetti and a number of Champagnes, such as Christian Bourmault Champagne Clos Bourmau.

According to owners Gary and Heather Montag, what makes the bar stand out is location and it is “the only wine bar on the Washington Coast with an ocean view.” The couple adds that they also strive to support non-profits and community events. These include free salsa dance nights in the summer. “We want The Stowaway to be a fun and comfortable place where people want to gather and enjoy their time together.”

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