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The Beachhouse

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For as many summers as I can remember, we always take at least one trip to the beach. It's just a few miles south of Newport, not even a three hour drive from Portland. We come and stay at my Grandma's house literally on the beach. You walk out the back door, and there it is. Our own secluded beach. It's one of the best getaways imaginable because it's so close to home.

One thing I really love about going to the beach is actually the drive. After the long stretch of freeway, we drive through Corvalis, then Philomath, and then all of a sudden, we're on a long windy road that twists deep in the coast range mountains. The road is so steep and narrow it looks like the car could go over the edge at any minute. And then, after driving exactly fourty miles through nothing but farmland and broken down houses, the temperature drops and you can tell the ocean is nearby.

The town she lives in is tiny. It's what one would call a quiet oceanfront retirement community, and there's never anything going on. The old people don't see the need to pay for police to patrol after dark, so when I bring friends we get kinda crazy over there - we can get away with basically anything we want.

But I don't come to this beach house to get away with things I normally couldn't, at least it's not the only reason. There's a certain vibe you feel when you first open the front door and step in to my Grandma's beachhouse. It's warm and cozy, like grandparents' houses should be. She has more pictures of family on the wall than anyone I know, and that's saying alot. The house is always so spotless. I think she spends all her spare time cleaning and preparing for guests. She must, the way her house always looks. And there's so many people who come and stay, so many people to clean up after.

I usually stay downstairs, which is surprisingly empty. All there is downstairs is one big room with a TV and a minibar and a couch. Stairs lead up from the front door to the rest of the house. The first thing you see when you get to the top of the stairs is the beach and the dunes through the far wall, which is mostly windows. There's a kitchen with enough food to last through the apocalypse, and quite the extensive liquor collection, too. In the bedrooms there's all sorts of bookshelves filled with old, foreign and classic books. She keeps a list of every book she's ever read, starting in the early 1970's. There's over 1000 books on it. She always tries to get me to read one of her books. Everytime I come over, she's trying to get me to read the same boring romance novel that she's convinced I'll love. But that's part of the experience of visiting the grandparents, listening to the same story over and over and having to repeat yourself twice everytime you speak. I don't mind it.

Her neighbors rent and are very rarely there when we are. In fact, it kind of seems we're the only ones there most of the time. It's like our own little private stretch of oceanfront property. It's nice and quiet, and we can always be as loud as we want late into the night without thinking about waking the neighbors.

One thing we do everytime we visit during summer, if weather allows, is make a huge fire on the beach. There's always plenty of wood around, in fact a lot of people make little huts on the beach out of the giant driftwood. We burn huge bonfires late into the night with huge chunks of mossy wood. The fire is smoky and constantly cackling, but that's just part of having a fire at the beach. It gets cold and wet late at night but we don't care. My grandma rarely stays out with us but the back door is always unlocked and there's always hot food and drink for us when we get back.

Over the years, I wasn't too excited to go away for a weekend. I wanted to stay at home, thinking I'd miss out on so much with my friends if I went away for a single weekend. I'd reluctantly pack my bags the morning we left and would have a sour attitude the entire ride over. But during the course of the weekend, my attitude always changes. I don't know if it's the food, the view, or the overall atmosphere, but when I leave I'm always happier than when I came and I never want to go back to reality. Even if the weather on the beach is less than ordeal (which it is most days at the Oregon coast), we can still be content just sitting inside the warm and cozy house, being as comfortable and carefree as could be. It's really just a great place to go and relax and have fun. It's always been one of my favorite places to go, and I couldn't imagine not going there every year.





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