Get away from it all and still find plenty to do at this home on California’s rugged coast.
Galleons Point reaches into the sea, like a beckoning finger hinting at something irresistible. On this 11⁄2-acre private peninsula high above the Pacific Ocean, wildflowers color the grassy bluffs, and rock walls plunge into the sea. Only crashing waves break the silence. Visitors to this sliver of land, nestled between redwood forests and the coast, will discover the sea, the sky, and the perfect place to take it all in.
A simple, aged-redwood house nestles comfortably into this northern California setting. The home is an architectural gem, winning the American Institute of Architects’ Honor Award soon after its construction. Design details include 28-foot vaulted ceilings, full-length windows in the living room, hickory floors, and a series of hidden doors and closets. Two wood-burning stoves offer a pleasant way to warm up on cool mornings. “We knew the architecture of the house should take center stage, and we wanted to use pieces that would last and didn’t feel fussy,” says Dale Schenk, who owns the house with his wife, Liz.
Despite the sense of seclusion, guests easily ward off cabin fever. This rental is part of the 10-mile-long Sea Ranch development, so all the amenities of a resort―including two solar-heated swimming pools and a golf course overlooking the ocean―are minutes away. Founded on the principles of open-space preservation, architectural modesty, and respect for natural and cultural history, The Sea Ranch strikes a balance between isolation and civilization. “In most communities, you drive from house to house and feel cornered, but at The Sea Ranch you feel separate from everyone and totally connected to nature,” Dale says.
Visitors can walk to black-sand beaches, perfect for shell collecting. To the north, the nearby marine reserve teems with tidal pools and seals. Other possibilities include kayaking the Gualala River, hiking the redwood forests, or wandering the town of Gualala, an artists colony just a short drive north. There, coffee shops, restaurants, galleries, and boutiques await exploration.
No matter how you spend your day, be sure to wind down at Galleons Point. Fire up the wood-burning stoves, grab a book from the home’s library, and recline in the massage chair. Or venture out to the bluffs with the telescope to take in a sea of stars. Whatever you choose to do―or not do―at Galleons Point, total peace and privacy are yours, so take as much as you want. “So many times people spend vacations driving to be where everyone else is, but not here,” Dale says. “This is a true getaway.”
Accommodations: Three bedrooms, two and a half baths, sleeps six Rate: $959 for two nights (two-night minimum stay), $2,653 for one week
Availability: Year-round Location: Oceanfront on a private 1½-acre peninsula Nearest airports: San Francisco International (SFO) and Charles M. Schultz Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa
Amenities: Fully equipped kitchen, cable TV, DVD player, stereo with CD player, Internet access, charcoal grill
Need-to-know info: Adults and children older than 11 welcome. Housekeeping and linens included. No pets allowed. Renters receive access to Sea Ranch amenities, including pools and tennis courts.
Don’t miss: Dinner at Sea Ranch Lodge, a 15-minute walk away, for fabulous ocean views and seasonal local ingredients; 707/785-2371.
Contact info: Call 888/732-7262 or visit searanchescape.com/galleons_point.html.
(Published November 2008)