The Story of Tangly Cottage

When I was 19, my best friend Mary, her delightfully creative mother, Laura Woodring, and I came to the Long Beach Peninsula so that Laura could take photos of beach scenes and Columbia River ghost towns for her line of photo cards. Mary and I got lost in the dunes and ended up on what was probably private property by an amazing old house, which I photographed and put the photo on my wall as I reminder that some day I wanted to move to the Long Beach Peninsula.

This is the old house I admired on my first trip to the Peninsula.

It was then known as the North Beach Peninsula. It took almost twenty years before I fulfilled that dream. In fact, I forgot about it for years, and did not visit the Peninsula again until a camping trip in 1991. Immediately it all came back to me, and that summer I even found an old diary that said: "I want to move to the North Beach Peninsula." By December 1992, I was at the beach, and in July 1994 I sold my house in Seattle, with a huge emotional wrench at the parting from Gram's garden, so that I could buy Tangly Cottage.

Tangly Cottage frogs

Tangly Cottage was small, only about 400 square feet, but I didn't think much about how that would work. What sold me was its natural spring and pond and a large frog sitting on a rock in the pond. In fact, when I saw the frog, I said to the realtor, regarding the cottage: "I'll take it." I even forgot to haggle over the price.

To come full circle, I have gotten to know the owner of that old house, now freshly painted and revitalized, and created a new garden there.

The reassuring squirt of the clam sculpture in Long Beach brightens winter days on the Peninsula.

The Long Beach Peninsula is a mystical place ... its colours are many shades of pearlescent grey. In winter, it is so quiet you used to be able to watch from the windows of Pastimes, dear departed café in Long Beach, hoping that the clam sculpture in the park opposite would squirt on the hour as promised, and seeing only a few cars and pedestrians pass. In summer, the same streets are thronged with happy tourists.

I love the contrast of the seasons, and the fact that most of my work is for resort or town gardens that are connected to the tourist trade.


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