"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them - with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself." -Eudora Welty
"Night is falling swiftly. The forest reverberate with the undulating buzz of countless crickets and the eerie rising wail of tropical cicadas. A few stars poke dimly through the treetops. Amid the gathering darkness there is a pool of warm light, thrown from a pair of kerosene lanterns, illuminating the open area below a hut raised up on stilts. Beneath it, in the glow, a couple of dozen people are gathered around a small, solidly built monk who is seated cross-legged on a wicker bench. The air is filled with a vibrant peace".
"When you find yourself irresistibly drawn towards a travel poster of moon-drenched Doric columns or yodelers in gray leather britches, of heather-covered moors or whirling street dancers, take care! You're skating on the thin ice of wanderlust."-Fodor's Woman's Guide to Europe 1953
For the past five years since my friend retired and I stopped teaching full time we rendezvous for breakfast on the first day of school each September. This year we picked a restaurant in Laguna Beach called "Las Brisas".*
Rather than take the freeway I decided to drive south from my home in Long Beach on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). PCH follows the coast line through all the beach towns and is a great drive.
There is a quiet, kind of joy driving along the ocean on an overcast day.
I left my house at 8 a.m.
The day was overcast. The words from Pablo Neruda's poem echoed in my mind..."The morning is full of storm" ...but there was no rain.
Drove past Main Street Seal Beach,Sunset beach and then thru Huntington. Each seaside town has its own special atmosphere. I love them all.
There were surfers at Huntington and Dog Beach.
Leaving Huntington and entering Newport Beach
Wish I could stop to take some photos of all the boats in the bay but must go onward to get to Laguna by 9:00.
Just beyond the Balboa Peninsula you will drive past Newport Beach's Fashion Island Mall. Can't stop to shop right now.
Heading past one of my old childhood favorite beaches, Corona Del Mar. This is such a nice little town, lots of little shops and restaurants.
Okay now leaving Newport Beach and nearing Crystal Cove. Have you been there? Crystal Cove is like a step back into a movie scene, with old beach shacks and a great little long ago artist colony setting. (One of these days I'll tell you about that place.)
I have arrived in Laguna and just parked up a long hill off Pacific Coast Highway. Here are some of the cute houses I passed.
There's so many things that catch my eye.
Pretty garden settings...
What's this guy doing in the front yard?
Las Brisas restaurant has a perfect location on Cliff drive
Arrived right on time to find my friend waiting for me. It's our once a year reunion and we have lots to catch up on. Time for a great buffet breakfast and we're hungry!
There's a beautiful patio setting
This is a perfect spot for drinks at sunset or lunch on a sunny summer day
Since it's cloudy outside there's no patio dining for us
Instead we are seated by the window with a view of the ocean
A pretty room with a view
Las Brisas has a great view of the ocean and the town of Laguna below
After a long and leisure breakfast it's time for a walk
There are tidepools to explore
Normally September days are still like summer here but the weather has been unpredictable this year. If today were a sunny day this beach would be full of sun bathers. Today we have it to ourselves.
Such a peaceful morning to walk on the beach.
And now it's time to head home.
What a great rendezvous we had. So my friend and I hug and wish each other well, promising to meet up again, same time next year!
"Laguna Beach is a seaside resort and artist community located in southern Orange County, California, United States... Its population was 23,727 at the 2000 census. It is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in southern California. The city is also known for its hotels, unique shops, restaurants, world famous art galleries, and art festivals."
Note: If you have never been to Laguna Beach you should put this on your list of places to visit. It's a really lovely place that I'm sure you will enjoy. For me it's a little piece of paradise close to home.
I believe in love and kindness, family first, deep meaningful friendships, counting one's blessings and giving to others what you yourself need. I strive to see life as a glass half full. I am very grateful for the life I have and all the wonderful people that make this grand adventure so worthwhile.