GEARHART — There’s a lot about Gearhart Ellie Ludy has grown to love. The scenery is breathtaking and the people are kind, she said.
Having an elk herd wander through town is another bonus she didn’t expect when she moved to the coast about a year ago.
“It just is unbelievable,” Ludy laughed. “I knew there would be elk, but I didn’t know they would come into your yard!”
She contemplated moving to Portland after her children and grandchildren moved to Hillsboro, but decided to semi-retire and transition into a “tranquil” life by the beach. She chose Gearhart for its quaint aesthetic and quiet vibe, she said.
“I grew up on the beach on a little island off southern California and I just loved this area,” she said. “I originally looked in the Portland area and I started to wonder why I was changing from one highly dense community for another.”
The ability to meet new friends is one aspect of North Coast living she has found to be more difficult. A sales executive at Ticor Title in Seaside, Ludy meets numerous clients in the real estate industry, but meeting people outside of work is proving to more of a challenge.
“That’s why I want to start the North Coast Newcomers group,” Ludy said. “I think like any small community, it’s very hard to break into relationships and groups of people who have been friends for maybe 20 or 30 years. You have these cemented groups. And when someone new moves in they are very nice, but you don’t get invited to anything. And I understand that, but I also want to change it.”
Ludy got the idea after living and working in Napa Valley, California for the past five years. When she first moved to Sonoma, there was a variety of activity clubs newcomers could join to meet others. The North Coast Newcomers group would focus on connecting mainly retirees, she said, who she envisions would participate in monthly lunches or group activities outdoors.
She hopes to get the word out starting in January through “newcomer packets” she hands out at Ticor Title for new homeowners.
“I love to bike ride and to cook and to golf, but I want to find other women who like to do that, too,” she said. “I’ve heard the same problem from other new people. If I put this out there, I think they will come.”
Overall, Ludy still celebrates her decision to commit to beach life. The rain can be tiresome, she said, but also “is also what makes this place so beautiful.” Every so often she yearns for the restaurants and wineries that make the Napa Valley famous in the culinary world.
But with ocean views a few blocks away and the elk outside her white picket fence, she’s reminded of the tranquility that drew her here.
“It’s a perfect fit for me,” Ludy said.