Monday, November 30, 2009

Discovering the delights of Laguna Beach...

Our travels these past twenty months or so have mainly taken us north up California's West Coast, so it was great at the weekend to start exploring what delights taking a southerly direction offered.
Laguna Beach shoreline
We've enjoyed exploring the likes of Santa Barbara, Cambria, Carmel-by-the-Sea (even managing a bit of wine tasting in Carmel Valley) and returned to visit San Francisco as in years past.
Laguna Beach shore
After our morning with Cooper at Huntington Dog Beach in Orange County, on a whim we decided to carry on further down the coast through Newport Beach, past all the marinas with their yachts, to Laguna Beach.
Laguna Beach bird sanctuary sign
What we discovered is Laguna Beach is very picturesque with lovely beaches and a fantastically scenic coastline.
Pacific Ocean Laguna Beach
It also seems like quite a dog-friendly place, with dogs being allowed on-leash on the beaches in the off season.
Laguna Beach view
We enjoyed a stroll along the seaside resort's streets past the abundance of eateries, shops and art galleries.
Coastal view Laguna Beach
Many of the retail outlets even had dog bowls filled with water outside to quench the thirst of our tired pup, which was a friendly gesture I thought.
Laguna Beach poem sculpture
We meandered into Brown's Park a lovely 'secret garden' type winding alley with spectacular views of Main Beach at the end of the pathway. The secluded park also sported a variety of public art, including these stained-glass wrought-iron balcony fencing adorned with verse.
Cooper in Laguna Beach
In this fleeting moment
What extravagant respite
As Promethean sunsets
Blossom, blaze and secede
From splendor to mystery.

In this fleeting moment
What extravagant respite
As booming surf speaks its
Mystical passage across
The undreamed depths.
Laguna Beach park poem
I'm not sure what the origins of this poem are, maybe it's by a local poet or famous literary figure. Does anyone know?
Chairs and table park sculpture Laguna Beach
Also on display in the small park is this charming table and chairs sculpture near the entrance.
Stars and stripes in Laguna Beach
It it was a lovely place to be under the blue November skies and busy on the streets and beaches, so I'd imagine in the height of summer the resort is teeming with visitors.
Laguna Beach art gallery sculpture
The place seems like quite an arty community with all its galleries and art shops and even the local signs and seating has a more designed and manicured feel to it than in your ordinary town.
Hanging Gate Laguna Beach
The views of the coast from the landscaped parks are amazing and I'm sure we'll be returning to Laguna Beach in the future to explore some more, especially as it seems Cooper will be more than welcome there too.
Laguna Beach coastal view
One thing we'll not do again soon is try to drive back up the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) rather than taking the freeway home.
Laguna Beach flora
Hoping to see a bit more of scenic Southern California, instead we ended up driving through lots of industrial areas, like Long Beach seaport and experiencing countless traffic lights. Sadly, the Santa Monica to Malibu coastal drive it's not!
Live the good life garland
Anyway, I'll leave you now with a festive garland to get you in the Christmas spirit considering tomorrow is December (how exactly did that happen?).

Let the Happy Holiday season begin...

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