I like surprises, lovely ones, that is.
I like novelty, beauty, creativity, and adventure too.
My husband is not only a connoisseur of these things, but also a connoisseur of my particular predilections in each area. And this is fabulous.
My husband's knack for awe and thoughtfulness recently came to manifest as a surprise stay at Sea Ranch Lodge in Sea Ranch, California. I knew we were going somewhere for the weekend for my birthday, but I did not know where. Having grown up in California, and spent all but 7 years of my adult life here, I know it pretty well. However, I did not know Sea Ranch. Nor did I know of its glory, majesty, and beauty.
After about five hours of driving from our home in Redding, California, we entered an alleyway of stunning trees. The alleyway was perpendicular to the Pacific Ocean. So, after perhaps 15 minutes on the final leg of this dimly light-speckled Stewarts Point - Skaggs Springs Road, we burst into brightness! (I captured a video of it, but it didn't turn out well!) It was spectacular! My spirit leapt!
After hours of driving, we were facing the ocean and the view was intensely marvelous! (I did not capture a great straight-on photograph, but it's the OCEAN!!!)
We turned right and headed north on Highway 1 (one of the most stunning highways to drive in the world). About 45 minutes later, this really smart logo greeted us.
We were at Sea Ranch Lodge! I was starstruck. The architecture was raw, but refined, and the property was brilliantly resting next to the ocean. After we checked in, the skipping began. I was so happy! I skipped and twirled and effused. I bounced all the way into our room, whereupon Neel started filming my response, without me knowing (initially).
We stayed in an Ocean King Room, cheerily equipped with a fireplace and absolutely resplendent views!
Tuning in to the swooshing beckoning of the ocean, we went for a walk. Initially, it gave us a better glimpse at the empirically statuesque, but welcoming architecture of the lodge - along with its genteel wildlife.
Then, the walk extended its sea-borne hands and gave us a gift of huge worth: a cloud-dusted, golden-streaked sky over gently grey-blue brooding waters. My eyes and lungs received the gift and put it to good use: relaxing my cells, quieting my soul, and invigorating my heart.
Our feet grazed the painted sky-land all the way to Black Point Beach, where splendor ebbed and nudged the waves to give added rhythm to the dance of the fading sun. It was so deeply enriching. I danced and hopped my joy, as Neel experimented with echoes, by singing against the rocks, toward the ocean, and into the atmosphere. Those moments on that beach were mythic. Not the kind of myths that take you away from truth for sheer escape though. These myths retell what you intrinsically know in a way that reminds you of truth, life, and what really matters.
When we waltzed back to the lodge, we explored its fabulous interior and appreciated its sleek design elements. The city of Sea Ranch has a fascinating history. The architecture speaks of that. It was the vision of Al Boeke in 1963 which prompted the acquisition of the 10-mile stretch of California's Sonoma Coast, which houses the 5,200-acre of land that is now The Sea Ranch.
The original Sea Ranch concept directed that people would join the natural environment with minimal impact. Overgrazed lands were to be rested and natural processes allowed to take their course, with indigenous planting where needed. The Ranch would become a wildlife and game refuge. Improvements would involve a minimum of grading. Utilities would be located underground, and population density kept low. Residential design would allow homes to blend into and become part of the natural landscape. (source)
And the place certainly does an impeccable job of being a kind neighbor, in consideration and in physicality, to the magnificent ocean and its flora and fauna. It is understandable that some people meet The Sea Ranch and move there - and that its personality is ever-evolving. These assets make for a melange of outings in the area too.
It also helps that there is a fantastic restaurant, Black Point Grill, on site. And that is where we dined! The continuity of the ocean views paired marvelously with the delicious, unique, and excellent food.
After dinner, the sky continued to magnetize us. We went for a stroll to the south of the lodge, partly to get a better glimpse at Condominium One (the groundbreaking architectural icon now on the National Register of Historic Places). I observed its forerunning kindness with appreciation. I love it when someone/someones are visionary in design - particularly eco-friendly design - and that inspires others.
(You can slightly see the outline and roofline of Condominium One in the photograph below.)
My husband is the early (read: very) riser among us. 5 am is like a good book to him. Hence, he wanted to read this proverbial book at Sea Ranch Lodge. He rose early and waited for the dawn. When I saw him later, it was evident that heralding the sun so early in such an austere place was illuminating.
In time, we took our last glances of Sea Ranch Lodge and prepared to leave - to go ZIPLINING at Sonoma Canopy Tours! Still, the solitude of Sea Ranch was euphoric. I knew as I was leaving, that I wanted to return.
The sunlight agreed with my desire and gave us a big, fat wink as we packed our things in our room. ;-)
As we do with each accommodation we review, we co-wrote a poem for Sea Ranch Lodge. This one is called, "Earthsky." Enjoy.
So, if you are hungering for a cozy and refined spot to enjoy respite, consider Sea Ranch Lodge. If you are working on your latest creative endeavor: book, screenplay, sketch, album - THIS would be a zip-zappy spot to tap in to your inner innovation and bring forth fresh revelation. There are 19 ocean-view guest rooms at Sea Ranch, as well as private homes for rent. It is 2.5 hours north of San Francisco and supremely nestled along the famous Highway 1. (Road trip ideas here.)
It's wonderful. And if you want to surprise your spouse for his/her birthday, I recommend this rugged coastline and this rare, radiant ranch, and its resplendent Sea Ranch Lodge.