San Clemente, a short drive south from Newport Beach is a great place to wander the shops in the cute village and dine on the pier. Surfers do their thing just below you as you dine under umberellas on the deck. The seafood was as great and the Margaritas hit the spot as we enjoyed the evening sun. Jennifer spied lovely shell mirrors and artworks, while Julie and Mac checked out a cute old Porsche roadster. We’d noticed an abundance of beautifully restored classic convertible cars on the coast roads.
Laguna Beach is a cool village that spills onto the beach. Quaint houses step up steep little roads and flowering bourganvilleas and jasmines spill out onto the sidewalks. Surfboards prop most garden walls and windows face the ocean views. Famous breakfast desination is Los Brisos on the cliff which offers the best buffet ever. We visited for Mothers Day, had a wonderful view of the coastline while the staff were cooked us mouthwatering breakfast crepes with a mexican twist amongst other delights. A walk along the beach sent Jennifer into transports over the glorious collections of kelp and seaweed washed ashore.
A short trip on the ferry from Newport Beach takes you to Balboa Island and another world of laid back beach living. Great seafood restaurants, stores renting bikes, selling icecream and seashells line the main street. We biked along the ocean for miles then wound our way through the streets lined with cute houses and gardens that perfumed the air. Roses were bursting into bloom everywhere along with jasmine and tropical climbers.
Corona del Mar is a mecca for art galleries and antique shops. There is a lovely little garden at the Sherman library and Garden, a small entrance fee allows you to wander the exotic gardens and have lunch afterwards.
Words and pictures by Julie Wood
Mac, Jennifer and Julie headed west to Newport Beach, California, last week for a corporate shoot and a very special birthday bash. While Mac worked Jennifer and Julie power toured the area. A whirlwind day was spent cooling off poolside at the Viceroy Hotel in Palm Springs. With temps around 100 degrees we sipped Marks frozen mint and cucumber mojitos and snacked on frozen grapes. The south beach decor was luxe and tranquil, with yellow, white and black the predominant color theme. Guests were mainly young couples enjoying a few days of pampering and relaxing in the revived oasis.
Later in the afternoon we drove over to the Parker Palm Hotel, recently refurbished by Jonathan Adler, eclectic potter and designer. The shabby chic seventies decor was amusing, the expansive gardens too die for. Jennifer and I strolled amid towering banks of perfumed shrubs, the air literally liquid with delicious scents. An poolside mojito bar complete with cool misting spray was well patronised as were the pools scattered throughout. Giant chess sets, boule and other games were set in secret gardens. Fire pits and romantic corners all came into their own after dark when the lighting turns the estate into a magical fantasy. The spa was highly recommended but time was fleeting so we took tea in the lobby instead.
Images that stick in my mind are the vast valley of windmills on the drive into town, the snow capped mountains, the brilliance of the desert sky, the laid back glam of the modernist architecture. It’s easy to imagine the Rat Pack cruising the palm lined streets back in the day! We took a ride on the gondola with its revolving floor to the pine scented coolness of the mountain tops above the town. Another world of green awaits, as does a fab view of the valley. We drove back to the coast as the sunset to rescue Mac, then whisked him out for a great Mexican dinner.