Landscapes speak to me. Some louder than others. Two of the most resonant are near oceans or have agricultural roots. So I’ve always been intrigued by Sea Ranch, a community designed in the 1960s by noted landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the Frederick Law Olmsted of our time. He used innovative design principles* to create a residential community on the site of a former sheep ranch and in the process created a space that has deeply touched all those who’ve lived and visited here.
I was working in the area and had been traveling non-stop for work for about ten days so decided to take a couple days off and explore. I didn’t have a plan – just my car, some clothes and camping gear. However, when one of the largest storms in years decided to descend on that section of the California coast I decided against sleeping in the elements and rented a little cottage in Sea Ranch. Later it seemed meant to be. There is no better way to experience a place than being a part of it, even if it is for a brief time.
The storm prevented me from exploring every last nook and cranny, but each time the clouds parted or at least stopped dumping rain and blowing gale force winds I ventured out for hikes through the bluffs, meadows and wind rows. I felt like I had the place to myself which allowed a great deal of reflection. It also gave me privacy when the klutzy self of my youth reemerged and I tripped, fell and sprained my ankle. I laughed out loud at myself, drank in the expansive view of the Pacific Ocean and was, at that moment, reminded how very lucky I am to live the life I’m living.
Now on to the next adventure…
*Sea Ranch Design Principles
Nature predominates… not buildings
Rural setting… not suburban
Home size modest… not enormous
Exteriors simple… not showy
Design guidelines… not “anything goes”
Sense of community… not “statement” houses
Aesthetics valued… not disregarded