ASILOMAR BEACH, Calif. — Few places on Earth can be more soothing.
We first discovered this mile-long stretch of sandy beach and rocky coves behind the Asilomar State Conference Center more than 20 years ago. It’s changed little since, even as prices in adjacent Pacific Grove skyrocketed and then settled somewhere near the stratosphere after the recession.
Back then in the early ’90s, we waded through tidepools, as the girls, elementary school age, poked at anemones, picked up starfish and, gingerly, dropped tiny crabs in their saltwater-filled buckets. Now we walk and watch: for waves that crash into rocks, their spray pirouetting 4 and 5 feet in the air; for deer, which graze with impunity on neighboring lawns; for great white heron (saw two), and for assorted sea life. Yesterday three grey seals frolicked and fished in one of a half-dozen rocky coves along the beach shore trail as a sea otter lounged on his back in the kelp a few yards away.
When we lived in California I dreamed of retiring here. I guess I still do, though, given prices, it may be through a series of housesits and rentals rather than our own piece of property.
But then, Canadian geese have discovered this place, the first time we’ve seen them here in at least a few dozen visits. Perhaps there’s room for Northeasterners after all. With a little astute shopping, we could yet turn up a dog-eared, two-bedroom cottage with a price tag below a half mil.
Who needs more space? On the California coastline, nature always provides a plentiful back yard.