Sometimes, even when you have the best intentions to discover and appreciate more about where you live, sun and blue skies and fluffy white clouds beckon.
Sometimes, even though you’ve been waiting for rain all summer and your raspberry plants have dried up from drought and neglect, you have to flee the cold and the wet.
Which is how, a few days ago, our family found ourselves at one of the nicest beaches in southern California.
Seal Beach (reputed to be named after Navy Seals not sea creatures) is an easy drive from Los Angeles.
“We’re a family-oriented community,” the real estate agent, who was sucking on an organic Trader Joe’s lollipop, told me through an open window.
In the nearly full tip jar of the roasted-locally coffee joint, Javatinis, was a $5 bill. I asked the barista if it was planted or if someone had really tipped that much.
“There’s a lot of money in Seal Beach,” he replied, confirming that the tip was from a generous patron. “A lot of retirees from L.A. live here.”
And no wonder.
The second longest wooden pier in California, clean sandy beaches, an adorable downtown, friendly inhabitants, a Red Car Museum. Who wouldn’t want to live in Seal Beach?
Elaborate sand castles were made.
Waves were jumped.
Swimming was done.
The toddler-sized park at the edge of the beach was climbed on.
Sunlight was converted into vitamin D. And some previously down spirits were lifted.
Food–at an utterly delicious Vietnamese restaurant called Basil Leaf–was consumed. The seafood pho special ($8.95) was fantastic. As was the jack fruit shrimp salad ($9.95). And the vegetarian imperial rolls ($5.95). And the vegetarian rice noodles tossed with crispy tofu cubes ($7.95), though the kids wished the broth had been more flavorful.
A charming boutique toy store (Knock Knock, 219 1/2 Main Street) was visited. Activities for the car (MadLibs, story cubes and make-your-own rubber band balls) were purchased.
And then we reluctantly climbed in our rented gas guzzling 7-seater and drove north, heading back to Ashland, where it’s 50°F and overcast, with every intention of visiting this beach town again.
Full Disclosure #1: We actually drove all the way to southern California to take the kids to DisneyLand for the first time in their lives, as a birthday present to my son (he just turned 9).
Full Disclosure #2: The photograph above, taken by me and previously published in the Oregonian’s travel section, is of a beach in Kauai. But the weather was as gorgeous, the sand as clean, and the palm trees as looming at Seal Beach.
The gorgeous picture above by Collin Pollock, taken from the pier, is used courtesy of the photographer.