Archive for Sep, 2010

 We continue the tour with the last two cottages.  It’s past time that I get around to saying that the tour is put on each year by the Cannon Beach History Center.  If Moon-Shell Cottage looks familiar to anyone who toured in 2011, that’s because it was on the tour two years in a row.  (How I wish one of the cottages I missed in 2009 had been on.  I especially wish that June Kroft’s cottage and the one with the tower would be on again.)

five:  Moon-Shell Cottage

Along a street that ends right at the beach sits Moon-Shell Cottage, a nightly rental.

Moon-Shell Cottage

Moon-Shell view across a neighbouring lawn

The bedrooms are comfy and small although don’t speak strongly to me of an owner’s personality.  I did especially like, and now have in my own pseudo-cottage, a line of postcards on a string like you can see over one of the beds.

Moon-Shell bedrooms

postcard display

The living room and open kitchen have the most cottagey features, with….

a stone fireplace

a driftwood mirror

a window nook

and intricately beamed ceilings.


Walking to the next cottage, we pass a classical beach yard…

casual beach outdoors

and fence….

beachcombing fence


The very last cottage has an enclosed back porch which must once have been the exterior.

enclosed porch

It’s now a big mudroom/breezeway.  Inside the back door is an old fashioned kitchen.

old brick and wallpaper

like a grandma kitchen

I do like old wallpaper and the bathroom had even more of it with three floral patterns.  No, that is not too much of a good thing.

wallpapers three

The bedrooms are so tidy that I think it must be another rental cottage.  The attic bedroom with tiny floral print would be my choice.


For awhile I considered trying to replicate the look of the interior cedar shake living room walls in our soon-to-be new (old) double wide home.  Eventually we went with white paint but I still think this is a cool look….even though I usually don’t go at all for wooden paneling of any sort.  (That contradicts my total love for the wood-interiored Windshell Cottage that enraptured me earlier on the tour, but it was an exception to my no-wood-paneling rule.)

The shakes seem to bring outdoor Cannon Beach cottage style (where it seems the only allowable exterior is shakes!) indoors.

shake wall in living room

built in charm

wall mirror reflection

last 2010 tour day photo…back porch

If you decide to go on the tour this year, remember:  It’s always in September, and get your tickets early.  Like the museum’s Facebook page to keep apprised of the tour date.  Every year that is at least one cottage that thrills me, not always as much as the personable and quirky Windshell, but enough to make the tour always worthwhile.


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I continue reminiscing about the cottage tour in the Tolovana neighbourhood, for which unless there is a hint in the photos, I won’t be able to remember the names of the cottages.


Now, in keeping with the confusion of blogging about something almost two years later, is this indeed the next cottage or just a cute one we passed on the way?

Quite probably the third stop

I think it is the third stop because of the view out the back into the woods….

woodsy back yard

a massive fireplace decorated with shells

There was a locally famous Cannon Beach fireplace builder whose name I forget but he may have been the one to build this…

cottage windows outside and in


along the walk between cottages, a beautiful garden

four: The Wave Crest Inn

approaching from below

Climbing a sloping side street, we approach the old Wave Crest inn from below.  It fronts onto the main street and has dramatic dormers; note the oddly shaped one in lower left photo.

Wave Crest

by the front door

Downstairs the owner has created an ecletic and comfortable series of sitting and dining and reading areas out of the large spacious rooms.

main floor

I remember admiring the bouquet and then being a little disconcerted by the several crucifixes on one wall (the latter not being conducive to vacation relaxation mood, mine, at least.  Interestingly, one of the cottages from a previous tour had been a nun’s retreat.).

a room with a massive fireplace wall

tie decorating



view from west window

Upstairs were all the bedrooms.  (I liked this place so much that if only there had been a bedroom on the main floor, I would like to stay there.  Oh, a bedroom with en suite bathroom. The upstairs rooms, I think, share baths in the hallway.)  Remember that funny half dormer window on the corner?  Here it is from the inside.

corner dormer

I loved each and every upstairs bedroom and every window and view.

western view

picture, windows

The light was beautiful from every direction and I could imagine lounging in any of these rooms, reading and napping.

so comfy

I probably would pick the one with the westernmost view to catch the sunset.  But the view down to the lower deck was also enticing.

view to deck

overlooking the deck

Back downstairs, I had a look in the enormous kitchen.

kitchen with beadboard ceiling

I admired the dining room again, loath to leave the place.

dining table


living room

The sense of history is strong.  I want to find that book:  Comin’ In Over the Rock: A Storyteller’s History of Cannon Beach.

The Inn’s non-glitzy website gets across some of the idiosyncratic feel of the place:

“The Wave Crest is a friendly inn house, which caters to the adult group, free of pets and smoking. We rent rooms, serve coffee, tea, and pastries, but do not serve full meals. We have a piano but no television. We have books, playng cards and other games should you feel the need to be entertained. We invite you to get away and connect with the natural rhythm of the ocean.  Proprietor and Private Home of Daryl “Hank” Johnson”

The only other hotel website that I’ve seen come near in simplicity is that of the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  Reviewing at these photos inspired me to do some research and I found this excellent article (in which you will learn that two of the Wave Crest’s rooms have private bathrooms after all!!  The article also temptingly reveals that the owner’s hope is to one day be serving meals out of that big kitchen…and that the inn was called by a previous owner “The Quill and Shuttle” and was a retreat for writers and weavers.  The original 1920s name is The Wave Crest.

Next, we conclude our tour with two more cottages.

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11 September, 2010

My heart ached when I realized in October of 2009 that my mom’s move into assisted living had completely driven the beloved annual tour of Cannon Beach cottages from my mind…so I determined to assuredly not miss it in 2010.  Ironically, we got to the Tolovana neighbourhood on tour day to find the last tickets had been sold.  It had never sold out before and I’d never fretted about the availability of tickets.  I almost wept…and went into the restroom to compose myself, then went back out and asked the ticket seller if she could possibly make us an exception, that we had driven all the way from Ilwaco, and she so kindly gave us a sort of extra pass.  She also told me it was because I was nice about it, that a woman who had yelled at her minutes earlier had been sent away with nothing.  Thank goodness we got to go.  I would have walked the neighbourhood till I saw a tour group and tried to hang on their coattails.

My mom had recently died.…And we were under the stress of waiting through a real estate deal ‘s slow progression on a double wide manufactured home on which we’d made an offer that very week.  It had a huge double lot but I was having difficulty procressing the idea of no longer living in a cute cottage, after a lifetime of vintage houses.  My identity was strongly wrapped up in our historic fishing shack and before that my Seattle Craftsman bungalow.

The cottages got to me emotionally more than usual (and I admit I generally tear up a bit at a really darling one).

I wrote nothing about the tour at the time and so cannot recreate much information about each individual cottage, so I hope the photos speak for themselves.  (The tour guide says no pictures, but all the hosts said photo taking was fine, and the tour-goers were all taking pictures left and right!) I can but divide the cottages by number and hope I don’t get mixed up regarding the transition between each.


The first stop had two cottages, one a tiny guest house in the back yard.  The feel of the main house was pleasant, but rather modern and did not especially thrill me.

main house bedrooms

The yard entranced me with its old fashioned circle of chairs…

a classic sit spot

And the shutters on the tiny cottage behind the main house filled me with joy.  (And made me wonder if such shutters could transform a double-wide into less of a rectangular box.  This was before I knew one must never, ever, “puncture the seal” of one’s double wide by drilling through the exterior…)

so beachy

beachy indeed

beachy sit spot reflected

rustic bathroom window, and bead board walls…true cottage even though the bath fixtures were too modernized

and ah, the view of the beachy sit spot…


On the walk between the first and second cottage stop, we saw…

other cottages

a lovely garden

a birdhouse pole

a river rock wall

We then saw a perfect cottage complex for sale.  Of course, being in Cannon Beach, it would cost a fortune.  But what a compound: a cottage for me, a cottage for Allan, one for Stacey, one for Mary….What bliss that would be.

dreamy cottage compound

My eyes caught sight of a tower and I went down a side street and got as close a view as I could of its amazingness.  Oh, the deep deep woe I felt when on the 2011 tour, I learned that this very tower had been on the 2009 tour, the one I missed.

We missed it….argh

Even the lot behind the tower of mystery, while shady and unphotographable, had an air of enchantment, and we could have walked through it…in 2009.

mysterious tower cottage landscape

Even more painfully, I learned that we had missed in 2009 the chance to see the inside of June Kroft’s cottage; she’s a famous Cannon Beach gardener whose garden I once visited and adored.

two: Windshell Cottage

tiny Windshell Cottage

Just the porch of the Windshell Cottage looked so promising.

by the porch window

front door

Windshell Cottage became my favourite the moment I entered and saw the built in bookshelves.

inset bookshelves

A bunkroom provided plenty of room for guests.


The main bedroom had just about enough room for the bed, leading me to reflect on how much I love small, cozy spaces.  I wanted to take a nap there.


The bathroom still had vintage features like the comfy clawfoot tub.


In the kitchen, a built in wall seat and painted glass front cupboards…


and a gorgeous room divider made from a long window….

room divider, kitchen side

living room side

living room and front door

Over the kitchen a skylight made the ceiling high and all sorts of fascinating objects were hung up there.

looking up…

fascinating skylight

up high

wabi-sabi skylight parasol

Everywhere, details….


Lucky friends who got to use this cottage for the weekend!

Just outside the kitchen door we stepped out onto a deck.

the deck

the view

We chatted with the owners on the deck and when I mentioned how the sleeping rooms seemed so conducive to naps, they told us about an old sign still on the side of the cottage…

old sign

In faded letters, it reads Nap Trap.

Fascinating in every detail, Windshell remains one of my cottages of dreams.  Allan pointed out that on this particular tour, all the cottages were occupied only part time by the owners and the rest of the time rented out, so there was not the clutter of year round living that we experienced in our own tiny cottage.  Still, the cuteness and quaintness of this cottage made me wonder if I were utterly mad to think I could cottage-ify our possibly future double wide home.

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I am hoping to write a memoir entry with more about my mother’s garden.  She died unexpectedly almost two weeks ago.  Although what was diagnosed as a relatively  minor heart condition had led her to move into Golden Sands Assisted Living a year ago, her friends and caregivers there…and I…expected her to go on for another ten years enjoying the garden that we have been creating in the facility’s enclosed courtyard.  We will continue to do that garden, while we try to decide what to do with my mother’s house and garden in Long Beach. It has been for sale for a year but remains unsold.  I am pretty firmly fixed on continuing to live at the mouth of the Columbia even though Long Beach is a lovely town.  It is true that gardening is one form of art that dies with the artist, so with our decision to probably not live in her house, I am not sure what will become of the garden there.

The one thing my mother and I bonded on was gardening, and also a love of reading, where our taste did overlap on Dick Francis books.

Mom's Marine Corps photos

at her memorial at Golden Sands, photos of her life in the Marine Corps in WWII

Mom's memorial pictures

At her memorial, photos of her as a baby, young woman, and in her garden..and of her cat, Tabby.

At her memorial, we displayed photos along with a bouquet sent by Allan’s family in Seattle (his mother died earlier this year), and two bouquets from her garden and from my garden.

I am now flummoxed with many decisions and with such a sad feeling that she did not live to see us turn the whole courtyard outside her apartment window into a garden paradise.  It was nice enough this first summer but did not grow as lushly as I had hoped.  The sandy soil needs more improvement and there is a surprisingly severe slug or snail problem in the enclosed courtyard.  She waited all summer for her dahlias to bloom.  Finally one did, and I do hope she got to see it the day before she died.  (“Oh, so NOW you decide to bloom!” I thought at it when we went up to begin to clear out her apartment the day after her death.)

belated dahlia

belated dahlia in the Golden Sands courtyard

A few days before she died, we had agreed to help install a new garden at the local mortuary, Penttila’s Chapel by the Sea.  The plants were mostly chosen by the mortician and his partner.  (It helps a lot to be acquainted and friendly with the mortician when someone dies…eases the making of arrangements.)  As it happened, we were planting up the garden on a day six days past her death….and while her style ran more to gladiolas, dahlias and lilies and roses, I think she would have liked the results.

Penttila's entry garden

Penttila’s entry garden, where once was lawn.

Penttila's entry garden

Penttila’s entry garden, view from chapel entry

Here is the link to her obituary.

She wrote a short autobiography for her women veteran’s group:

Virginia (Cox) Johnston    USMCWR



I was born in Seattle and raised north of the city in Snohomish County.  I graduated from Edmonds High School in 1942 and went to an office job in Seattle.  In 1944, I had the idea to join the Air Corps in honor of my fiancé, who was shot down in a Boeing Flying Fortress in a raid over Germany.  However, the Air Corps wouldn’t even take my name until I was 20 (in April).  I walked down the sidewalk and saw the Marine Corps recruiting office. (“Be a Marine and Free a Marine to Fight.”)  They signed me up, gave me a physical exam, etc., and told me to come back on my birthday to take the oath, which I did.

I had my boot training at Camp Lejeune, NC.  After about two weeks at camp, they were going to discharge me because I was “not up to the physical standards of the USMC.”   When I said I wanted to stay, they sent me to a psychiatrist, who decided if I wanted to be Marine so bad they would let me stay.

After graduating, I drew six weeks mess duty (to serve the next class).  Then I was assigned to Marine Headquarters in Washington, D.C..  I was given a stripe right away because “they didn’t want any Privates walking around the nation’s capitol.”  I reported to the Ordnance Division where I worked for the next three years.

The highlight of my time in Washington was when my boss at work wanted to form a rifle team.  We competed with any team we could find (even high school boys).  Then a group of four or five of us started competing at civilian rifle matches up and down the east coast from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.

A big disappointment was not being able to march in the funeral parade for President Roosevelt.  (I wasn’t tall enough.)  But I did march in the parade for Admiral Nimitz when he came back from the Pacific.

As the war wound down, most of the WRs wanted out.  They needed clerks to handle the return of thousand of Marines coming back, so I shipped over for another ten months.  After I got home, I joined the action reserves.  1950 rolled around with the “police action” in Korea and our unit was called up.  I was newly married and I didn’t want to go.  I finagled a medical discharge.  My husband walked with me when I signed out so I wouldn’t change my mind when they played the USMC hymn.

In 1977, we both left our jobs with the City of Seattle.  (He retired at 63 and I quit at 55.) We moved to our retirement home outside of Yelm.  Then for ten years we snowbirded to Mesa, Arizona, six months out of the year.

After Bruce died in 1995, my daughter wanted me to move to the Long Beach Peninsula to be nearer to her.  (She lives in Ilwaco.)  I moved to Long Beach in 1999 where I lived until 2009, when I moved to Golden Sands Assisted Living Facility.  If I can’t live at my home, this is a wonderful place to be.

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