Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Growing Room

1990: During the second expansion: no wall between my room and the living room!
Our little home was once a trailer. I remember cleaning out garbage bags full of beer cans and bottles from it before we brought it to the island to live on. I believe I was about 5. I chose the nice sunny room at the front. It was tiny, but it was bright. It had a lovely white and gold linoleum floor, a sliding metal window, and was very close to the oil furnace that I don't believe we ever used. My parents installed a woodstove behind my wall, and my Pappa enlarged my room by replacing the long closet with a very small one.

During my late teens I painted my walls...
I remember many nights staring up at the pressboard ceiling above my bed, imagining swooshes of grass and wind and being both comforted and annoyed by the repetition of the pattern.

As the years passed, my Pappa enlarged my room twice more, expanding into the living room, until my room was more than twice its original size. I got another window, and even, eventually, a carpet. I grew up in that room, until I was 17 and we moved away - my family to the interior and I to my supposed adult life.

I left behind the room I was so attached to, the room that had my fears and comforts, joys and sorrows, memories and forgotten experiences embedded in its walls.

But seven years later I came back with my husband, of course. And there was no better room for a baby room than my own dear room. So we peeled off the Winnie-the-Pooh paper installed by previous tenants, and created a space worthy of our most precious treasures: our children.

The walls were cream coloured and blue with a chair-rail, and eventually I painted trees for the children, too. 


The room held their dreams and hopes and fears from cradle to crib to bunk bed, and it also held their father and me on those many sleepless nights as we grew into parenthood.





Thirteen years of growing up!

 To document the treasured history of the room, I painted it:

An old, wise, fairy-inhabited maple tree for my thoughtful son, and a fresh young cherry tree, just brimming with magical activity for my brave and adventurous daughter.


With great thanks to Rien Portvliet, whose paintings I replicated, I commemorated my childhood with my brother, my parents becoming grandparents, and the working and growth of the land. And of course I commemorated the enormous growth we were making at that time, becoming parents.
 

It's been a long time. My hair is beginning to turn grey and my chin to sag. My children are reaching for the threshold of adulthood. There are two generations of childhood in this room, not to mention the history of the families who lived here before we did, and between, while we were living away. We'll never know all that these walls hold. We won't even know each other's memories, although we do share them. And now the room is gone.
This week we are pulling it all apart. Both children now have rooms at the back of the house, and this lovely south-facing room will become our kitchen. It's going to be a wonderful kitchen, but we all felt we needed an opportunity to say goodbye to the room. So we cleared all the toys and furniture, and had a nachos picnic on the floor, while talking about our memories. The kids shared memories of games they played in the bunk bed, the various things they've drawn and written on the walls, the dreams and nightmares they've had in the nights, here. I shared memories of my childhood and teens; I showed them how very small the room was when I first moved into it, and the marks from where their Opa made it bigger for me. We talked about the times we slept in the room all together when the kids were frightened, and remembered all the evenings standing in a family hug, singing their favourite songs.  Last night we played train tracks until late in the night, when we climbed up into the top bunk to read the stories we treasured when they were very young.



Finally we took the planets down, and today even the bed is gone. The walls are coming down, and the room is no more.

But we all have history in this room. We all have memories to guide our journeys, and to treasure for their significance. There will be other memories, and hopefully a few more lifetimes of nourishing foods made in the new kitchen.

Goodbye, old room. Thank you for keeping us all.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Happy May!

Yes! It's that time of year again!

This year we had a two-tiered May Pole.

It was a little complicated, but that just made it even more fun!

And guess who got the marked May Cake!!

Adrian, the new May King!

And following our tradition, he had to jump the fire to bring us a good growing year!

We had a nice Beltane fire, lots of hot dogs and marshmallows, and various delicious foods, as well.

The summer is definitely coming in - here are some blossoming wild gooseberries...

...new leaves of the ginkgo...

...a flutter-by...

...and one of our local frogs.

We are hoping them to avoid Lughnasa, who has become a bit of a brute around the yard.

And that is how the wheel of life pans out. It's been a bit of a rough year, after the loss of a grandpa and my brother's separation from his wife. But the ribbons of life are forever interwoven.

So let the new year begin!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

10 Ways to Encourage Explorative Learning

It's raining as I come home. I walk in the door to encounter muddy boots and wet raincoats, bits of leaf-litter strewn about the tiles. The house looks like a tornado passed through. There are drifts of paper-clippings littering the livingroom floor, somebody's messy chemical concoction on the table, a heap of magazines barely covered by a giant blanket-fort between the couches, upon the walls of which my children and various guests are playing shadow games. I want to snap at them to clean up the mess, and I confess it's really only the presence of their friends that helps me twitter, instead, in a sing-songy voice, "Hi lovelies! Would you like a snack?" I know intrinsically that this is evidence of a few hours very-well spent, but sometimes it's just hard. Sometimes I secretly wish they went to school. I have to remind myself, during moments like these, that this is the paradise we aimed for, and I need to appreciate it!

Some days aren't as idyllic as this one. Some days my impatience and frustration gets the better of me, and some days I forget my commitment to explorative learning. Sometimes I'm afraid, and sometimes I resort to workbooks, coercion, and distraction. I have to remind myself of the good days, and of the fact that eventually the house does (sort of) return to normal, and we do (sort of) have some order in our lives. That's when we seek out the chaos again. Alix Spiegel tells us that Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills, but sometimes I need to make a list to remind myself that what I'm aiming for is good and possible. Here's that list.

10 Ways to Encourage Explorative Learning
(complete with lots of excellent links you really should check out!)

Explore. OK, so it seems ridiculous to say this, but as adults we often forget to explore. So it's good to be purposeful about it. We are some of our children's greatest role models, so if they don't see us exploring, why would they explore, themselves? When my son was very young, he told me that he would grow up to work on a computer. "Why?" I asked him. "Do you like computers?" At that point, he rarely was in contact with a computer. "Because I will be a Pappa, and work on the computer like Pappa does!" He didn't see any other direction for himself, and it's hard to stray from our own expectations. This was a good reminder to us of the necessity not just to explore, ourselves, but to be seen exploring. And of course, we benefit, too, since being curious not only improves our social lives and neural function, but also makes us happy.

Get creative. Dance, sing, paint, build forts, play drums on hollow logs, and tell stories. The key here is not to learn a craft, but to explore avenues of self-expression. These activities not only help us achieve psychological and physical health, but also help us reflect and develop deeper understanding of all other activities. Creativity serves to connect and integrate our cognitive, emotional, and physical selves, so that whatever we learn through exploration can be assimilated wholly. It's important, too, not to just give our children opportunities for creativity, but to be creative, ourselves. My husband makes time to play his accordion every day, and sometimes the kids join him. None of them have had lessons; they're just exploring, and in their own unique ways, they're all growing remarkably in the process.

Be approachable. Whether your kids want to know about sex, drugs, divorce, or the details of your bodily functions, try to find it within you to share. Obviously we all have our boundaries, but exploration includes a lot of mental processing of the taboo topics that come up in life, and if there's nobody trustworthy to ask about these things, where will our kids turn? I try very hard to be open with my kids, even to their embarrassment, I confess. But in return, they seem to trust me enough to ask the big questions.

Play. Have some supplies for open-ended exploration, but be willing not to use them, too. Sometimes even the greatest microscope can take away from the experience of just watching the insects live in their natural environment, and perhaps expanding on that experience with place-based creativity and play. And yes, of course older kids can play! There seems to be a misconception that play is essential for young children, but as we grow older we need it less and less. Play is slowly replaced by didactic instruction, goal-based curriculum requirements, and eventually a conformist adult life from which many of us struggle to free ourselves with workshops and activities that seek to help us rediscover our ability to play. Our children's lives don't have to be arranged according to curriculum; there are alternatives, and alternative ways to look at it all. Some schools are dispensing with subject-areas altogether.

Be willing to go the extra mile; be extravagant. Be your own, weird self. While things like healthy meals and good sleep are indeed essential, so is a bit of crazy wild freedom. Sometimes my son reads until after midnight on school nights, and I've found that it's better to let him be than to nag him. Sometimes we suddenly pack up and go for an adventure. Sometimes it's just a good idea to do something unusual. Sometimes we make mistakes and have accidents. Sometimes we get hurt, but limits are there to be tested; rules to be broken. That's how we learn to know ourselves and to self-regulate. In a world where children's freedom has declined, we need to provide every opportunity for our children to regain that freedom, along with our trust, and their own natural abilities to explore, learn, and self-direct.

Oops! This fall left Uncle Adrian muddy for the next few hours!
Get out in the wilderness. The recent popularity of Nature Schools is no fluke -- as our entanglement with technology increases we're becoming more and more aware of our psychological and cognitive need to explore the wilderness, as Richard Louv elaborates on, frequently. The wilderness does present some of the most basic threats and fears we face as humans. It is the place of woodcutters and witches, and more realistically, predators and precipices and ...epically deep mud. But these are just the most extreme of the many small challenges the wilderness presents to us, and each one of them is an opportunity for growth and discovery. Further, as we explore and learn to understand our wilderness, we develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of the ecosystem we're a part of, of our own bodies, and of our own intellect. We develop instinct, skills, confidence, and roots.


Develop roots. Carol Black says that "Every ecosystem in the world at one time had a people who knew it with the knowledge that only comes with thousands of years of living in place." And that knowledge takes time. It takes boredom. It takes getting out in the same old bit of forest that you got out in last week and the week before, and taking time just to climb a new tree; look at a new branch; hear a new character in the voice of the wind. This is how we develop deep connection and understanding. Obviously, frequent moving during childhood can not only cause significant health problems, but would also disrupt the process of developing a deep connection with a particular place.

Make time. A study out of the Universities of Boulder and Denver, Colorado has concluded that less-structured time in children's daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning. I know many people who speak delightedly of their annual summer cottage adventures; the little fish that swam off the dock just outside the camp they attended every year. Summer seems to be the time we allow our children to explore, and for many it is the time of greatest connection; greatest memory-building. As kids, we were given time to explore, during the summer, and often taken to wilderness locations to do so, unlimited, and unguided. This was the time of building forts and escaping wild animals. This was the time of falling in love, deepening friendships, and writing in journals. During most of the rest of the year, school and extra-curriculars are so taxing on our free time, that summer becomes a beacon of hope for explorative learning. How can we expand on that, then? Wouldn't it be wonderful to explore all year? For my family, this means unschooling, and also limiting the activities we enroll the kids in, to ensure that at least a couple of days every week are free for completely free-range exploration time. It also means letting go of our own parental fears of missing out.

Give freedom. Let go of fear, and fear-based control! It's so important. Not much can be accomplished as long as we're harnessed by the fear of not-measuring-up, or of ((gulp!)) failing as parents. Most of us have ingrained in us a litany of must-haves and musn't-do's, not to mention the ever-present threat of losing our children to any number of academic, social or physical disasters. But if life wasn't full of danger, we'd have little need to learn. I would rather my children climb trees and fall a few times, than that they never learned to climb or to fall safely. We all fall. Let's do it well!

Accept. And learn to appreciate. Our kids are not going to embody the perfection we might have hoped they would. We won't create little geniuses by showing them Baby Einstein or even by following suggestions like those in this article; we won't have stress-free relationships with our teens no matter how hard we try, and we can't even protect them enough to save their lives, when it really comes down to it. Of course we should try - because we want them to know that we will always be there for them. That's the kind of security they need in order to flexibly explore their environments. But then, when they back off of the interests we thought we were nurturing; when they go to school and come back with seemingly new personalities attached... we have to accept them. After all, that is part of the security they need, too. Every day when my teenage son comes home from school I snuggle him. I find a time during the afternoon or evening to cuddle up close and listen to his stories. Sometimes he creates those times, himself. And he tells me things I didn't want to know. Sometimes I think he's testing me, so I'm careful to pass the acceptance test. Sometimes I think he just genuinely needs a sounding board, and I'm exceedingly grateful to still be that person, after all these years. That gratitude gives me the security I need to accept his developing personality, and for him to accept mine.

Stephen Harper's Birthday

This coming April 30th will be Beltane (Yes! Party time!) And incredibly, we have just discovered that it will also be Stephen Harper's birthday... huh.

Rhiannon just asked "How old is Stephen Harper?"

"I don't know", I said. "Maybe fifty-something?"

"Great!!" She exclaimed, with abundant joy. "Then we'll have a new Prime Minister within my lifetime!!!"

"What?"

"Because he'll retire!"

I was kind of a flabbergasted. Does she seriously understand so little about politics? "But Annie! We have elections! Hopefully he'll be replaced by somebody better this year, already!"

"But everyone always elects him. But if he gets too old he'll have to retire."

"We don't always elect him! I sure don't! Hopefully we'll have someone different, this time."

"But he's always been the Prime Minister."

"No, we've had lots..." And then I realized: Stephen Harper has been our Prime Minister since Rhiannon was 2. Poor Rhiannon, she's lived most of her life in a climate of political bullying and idiocy. She doesn't even know it can be different. Please let's make it different, this time! I am hoping for a Green-NDP coalition. Wouldn't that be something?

Happy Birthday, Mr. Harper. I hope it's so miraculously fabulous that you feel inclined to retire.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Eggs!

It started with blowing and painting eggs. And enough of the fancy dye jobs - this year the kids went for straight up acrylics!

Lucky me, this year Rhiannon made an egg hunt for the adults, too! She melted down chocolate chips with orange and peppermint essential oils, and molded the concoction into my steel measuring spoons to cool. Then she wrapped the little half-eggs each in a layer of tinfoil and an outer layer of paper that she had coloured with wax crayons (so the colours wouldn't run while they were hidden in the dewey garden). They are delicious!!

The usual foiled eggs appeared in the yard, too, of course.

...and a couple of not-so-usual cardboard eggs.

Then we had our friend Cheryl's completely delicious homegrown green and brown eggs for breakfast. Soft-boiled, of course, to get the most opportunity to appreciate the eggs' lovely flavour. We only eat eggs a couple of times a year, so this is always a great treat.

Since Tali is allergic to eggs, I made him his own filled bacon eggs for breakfast. (Yes: Egg-free eggs!)
Tali approved.


To make the filled bacon eggs, I chopped and boiled potatoes, then fried those pieces with some sausage, and mixed that with some freshly-chopped apple pieces (about equal parts of each). Then I packed the mixture into egg-shapes by hand, and set them aside. I wove 6 very narrow slices of raw bacon into a small mat, lay the potato-sausage-apple shape on top of it, and continued weaving the bacon around until the whole thing was wrapped. I used butcher's string to wrap and tie up each egg, and baked them on a rack in a pan at 450F. I had to turn them a couple of times in the process, to make sure they browned evenly. Then of course I cut off the string, put lovely ribbons on them, and set them on my mother's lovely silver napkin rings to serve. :-)
Flowers are a little like eggs, right? Well I think so. And anyway they were beautiful at the table.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Consent: Teaching Innate Self-Worth

I've been thrilled to see the media attention to consent, lately, especially this petition. But I haven't seen a lot about how we, as parents, foster a culture of consent in the home. And yet I'm quite sure it's the biggest piece of the puzzle. It's extremely important to be given, as children and adolescents, the tools and language to ask for and give consent, but how do we ignite the fire of self-worth in our children, so that they are prepared and comfortable using those tools and language?

There is a lot in the media - especially in the pop culture our kids are consuming - that detracts from the idea of consent, so I doubt there's much we can do to effectively counteract that, other than to build our children up from the inside, so that their first instinct is to seek consent and protect their own interests.

So how does our parenting teach or devalue consent? How about this: "Give Auntie a kiss." That's not an invitation - it's a command. Or "...if you don't kiss me, I'm going to tickle you!" Upon which the child initiates a game of kiss-denying and tickling. Some kids like to be tickled, and as consent-seeking parents we're probably careful only to play games like this with those kids who want it... after all, they're actively kiss-denying in order to get tickled. But for me this begins a stretchy grey area where consent is a game. That's frightening, when scaled up to adolescence.

My kids and their uncle playing a favourite game: Present Feet!  Every time somebody says "Prese-e-e-ent feet!", everybody lifts their feet and laughs. There can be more bonding in such a simple game of copycat than in a kiss and hug. Five minutes spent attending and responding to cues from each other builds lifetime bonds. And just as the choice to lift feet at the cue is up to each child, so are the hugs and kisses that sometimes result.
Even with infants, we carefully learn to read cues: newborns will turn their faces away or close their eyes when overstimulated or uninterested, and generally it's seen as unacceptable to continue feeding, tickling, massaging, etc. when they're expressing a lack of consent. I read a great article about this non-verbal consent-seeking among children, recently: Teaching Consent to Small Children.

I like to think I've been pretty careful with requesting consent from my children with regard to physical and emotional issues. I try to be aware of their physical needs and wishes; now that they're older I ask before posting photos or details of their lives online, and I try to make the consent-seeking between their father and myself obvious, so that they can learn by example. But I fail, too - and frequently. The places my consent-seeking falls apart are when I'm rushed (for example, coerced un-gentle hair-brushing before we run out the door), and when I'm stressed, like when I nag them to go give hugs to relatives, or to do homework or clean their rooms. I threaten them: "We're not watching a movie until your homework is done"; "if you don't clean your room, then I'm phoning your friends' parents and cancelling their visit". At the moments I say these things, they all seem so reasonable, but at the core of these threats is a disrespect for my children's autonomy and self-determination. It's hard to change, but that isn't a reason not to.

Why do we subvert consent? Why do these things matter to us so much that we're willing to threaten or hurt our own children? I think it has to do with fear. Fear of failure, maybe, on my part, but also fear of rejection. If you're a sixteen-year-old boy just venturing into the dating scene, maybe you're actually quite afraid of being rejected. Maybe putting your arm around the girl you feel attracted to doesn't feel nearly as frightening as asking her first. But maybe we can help our children feel a deep sense of self-worth, so that they understand that a rejection of touch does not demean the value of either individual, or even of the relationship.


Consent is not only essential regarding physical or sexual touch; it's important always. It's important when our boss asks us to work late. She can ask, but she can't force or coerce. It's important when we give responsibility to others: if I intend to relinquish dinner duty for the evening, I need to ask my husband or kids ahead of time instead of just dumping the job onto them, without warning (guilty).

Obviously we can't always avoid the ways we affect others' lives without consent, but the many small ways that we seek and give consent do influence the more serious situations, and the many small ways we give our children the respect and autonomy we want them to demand as adults does influence their ability to do so.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Unschooling at School

My son attends school now, but when people ask if we're still unschooling, I say yes.

I was struggling with this question for a few months - struggling especially with seeing my formerly inspired kid come home with homework he didn't want to do, and complain bitterly about the constraints put on his learning and direction by his school. That was a hard pill to swallow for both of us after six years of him choosing his own direction(s). But because of the social engagement he was getting (and loving!), we encouraged him to keep going, and take the less desireable aspects as part of the package.

At one point I was very upset at seeing him lose interest in science. He used to spend every day exploring sciences, but once in school, the directed parameters are so narrow, and yet the workload big enough that he felt he had no time to explore the things he cared about, and wasn't even happy with his teacher's admiration. He was very angry about science, and at some point told me that he just spent most of the work time in class helping other people to understand the subject matter, so he never got to do the things he wanted. I complained about this to my mother who, in her wisdom, reminded me that he's not there to learn science, but to learn to work in community, and to value the group. I knew she was right, but still struggled to accept his anger and believe he'd come through it.

Despite my fears, small rays of light started to emerge during the last couple of months. One day he came home, dropped his bag, headed for the computer and said "I have to start my novel". Huh? He claims to hate writing! What was this about? He explained that he'd been thinking of this novel for four months, and now he needed to get going on it so he wouldn't forget some parts. He also turned 13, and decided to throw his own parent-free birthday party, in the woods. I can't tell you anymore about that, because I wasn't there, but he came home glowing. I began to feel more attached to these experiences than to how he was feeling about his classes at school, and I personally began to care less about the metrics of his supposed academic progress.

His second term report arrived on the last day before Spring Break, but we didn't remember to check for it until he was in bed. "Do you want to come see?" I called to him in his bed. "No. I'll just see it tomorrow." He was absolutely uninterested! I was baffled, but read through it and realized that I, too, had become uninterested in the grades. I enjoyed reading what his teachers had to say about him, but the grades meant nothing to me. It was like a big slow wave of freedom washing over me.

Then Spring Break was upon us. And with no homework!! Most weekends since school began, he has been uninspired to say the least, but spring break was different. Within twenty-four hours he had committed to do "science class" with his sister (wherein she picks a topic she wants to learn about, and they go learn about it, together), had gone back to some of his favourite activities (reading, making marionettes, animation, and science research), and he was happy. For two weeks we never talked about homework. We just lived. It was like old times, but with a happier boy, who now has a social network to participate in regularly, and who also has the freedom of living without an attachment to academic evaluation. I feel like I have my son back again.

Taliesin and Rhiannon have been talking a lot about different types of periodic tables, data presentation, codes and languages, lately. Near the end of Spring Break they decided to draw their own periodic table, drawing from different sources to create something unique to their own vision. I took this photo because the moment I found them doing this was the moment I knew I had to write this article. This kind of self-directed, interest-led activity is the best. And by the way, the fact that this particular activity involved books and traditional school-y materials is just fine with me. There is certainly a place for those things, especially when they're wanted.
Unschooling isn't specifically 'lack-of-school', but rather a way of living. I did struggle for a few months with my son attending school. I felt like a bit of a fraud, I guess, and mostly I was just terrified of what the academic grading system would do to him. It turns out it's hard to drop into a rigid evaluative system and completely ignore the evaluation. But it is possible, and I know now that this process had as much to do with him detaching from the evaluation as it had to do with me detaching from it. We're still unschooling - just one of us goes to school right now. And he's chosen to go back next year, as well.

Unschooling is about letting go of rigid developmental and societal expectations, learning to follow our hearts, and blossom in our own unique ways. Yes, it's about recognizing that adhesion to strict learning guidelines can be harmful to individuals, and yes, it's about acknowledging that comparative evaluation can be harmful to individual progress and engagement. But it also provides us with an inherent freedom of mind, so that we can navigate those rigid systems with our innate sense of curiosity and confidence still intact. It's about valuing ourselves.


Monday, March 23, 2015

The Wild Shores Guest House in Ucluelet

Basically, here's how it works: You park at the sign, drop your belongings in the house, and hurry to the beach!

That's Mary's log and stone house in the background. Suburbia disguised by wilderness.
Head down the trail and within about 30 seconds you'll find yourself in the Wild Pacific Cove. If it's high tide, walk around the shore; cross over to the little island if you can, and EXPLORE! If it's low tide, as it was when we arrived, EXPLORE!! Did I say explore?? Why yes I believe I did!! You might find you have a hard time getting back to unpack your stuff. You might find that other plans get pushed aside. you might even find, as we did, an excited Uncle waking everybody up with the sunrise on the first morning to go back out and EXPLORE!!!
I cannot tell you how diverse and beautiful the discoveries are in this little cove. From the whistle buoy and bell buoy to the sea lions barking and waves crashing, the auditory experience alone is something impressive. The sun's colourful displays over the course of the day are a wonderful backdrop for exploration, and what delights we discovered!! If tidepools are interesting to you, you will not be disappointed; if seaside plants and stunted trees delight you, you'll be thrilled, and if a good solid climb through brush and branches is what you need, you can find it on the island. This place really has everything.

Of course, at some point you are going to get cold, tired, and maybe wet, and you'll eventually go check out the house. The rooms are clean and spacious, the bath and electric fireplace are warm, the shelves are stocked with hot drink options, and everything is decorated with beach finds. The views from the rooms aren't amazing, but in my opinion are entirely made up for by the delights outside the door. The house we've been calling Mary's House, AKA the Wild Shores Guest House, is a perfect retreat for adventurers who want a clean, cosy space to curl up in after a day of exploring. And it appears to be one of the most affordable waterfront options, too.

Since we were obviously so taken by the natural discoveries we made, and since a photo is worth a thousand blog ramblings, I'm going to fill the rest of this review with photos. Enjoy!




The view from the south side of the island.

Wild Pacific Cove and the north side of the island at low tide.


 
...and again at high tide!

Uncle Adrian has a slightly severe bonsai habit.

I didn't take many good creature photos at this beach, but the crevices are full of chitons, snails (and what a variety!!) sea stars, urchins, anemones, hermit crabs and other delights.

And gooseneck barnacles!!

And tube worms!!

But why stop at plants and life that clings to rocks?? You could bring your boots and discover fish and crabs, too.

You might even find things you are completely unable to identify (suggestions welcome...).
Or just gorgeousness to wake up your senses in the morning.



In case you missed it, here is a link to the Wild Shores Guest House: http://www.wild-shores.com/

Disclaimer: I did receive a discount in exchange for this review, however I am scrupulously honest, and do not review establishments that disappoint me. Here are the simple ups and downs of the Wild Shores Guest House:

Downsides:
  • internet access spotty at best (this seems to be common in the area)
  • no ocean view (we didn't mind, though)
  • limited phone access (limited to dial only 911, 411, or the housekeeper's number)

Upsides:
  • THE BEACH!!! (I forgot to mention the opportunity for beach campfires!)
  • clean, warm, and well-appointed rooms
  • very spacious rooms
  • comfortable beds
  • lovely baths and bathrooms
  • reasonable cost, especially compared to other waterfronts
  • very private (it's self-check-in, too!)
  • the area is quiet and dark at night