Monday, August 15, 2011

Crystal Cove State Park

Labor Day Weekend is often considered the unofficial end of summer, and time to pack away one's beach gear until the next season. However, there is a very special beach I was able to visit recently, that is popular year-round, and has a steady stream of activities, regardless of the season. I am speaking of the beach at Crystal Cove State Park, that is located between Laguna Beach on the south, and Newport Beach on the north, in beautiful Southern California. The top photo of this collage shows the logos of the two non-profit organizations that have made this possible. The bottom left photo shows a wheel chair with balloon tires, designed especially for use on the sandy beach, and is a reminder for me to mention that Crystal Cove State Park has several wheel-chair accessible activities, including a handicap-equipped, overnight rental cottage. The photo on the right is a reminder for me to mention, that there is a bus that takes visitors from the parking lot, across Pacific Coast Highway, and down into the ocean side, beach part of the state park.

The cottages at Crystal Cove started being built in the late 1920's and 1930's, and continued for the next couple of decades. The land was originally owned by the Irvine Company, which owned most of the area's coastal ranch lands. It was sold to the state of California in 1979, for preservation as a state park. Those who lived in the cottages (called "Covites" by the locals) could do so until 2001. At that time, the state awarded a private developer the rights, and a sixty year lease, to turn the cottages into a luxury resort. However, a certain third-generation "Covite" resisted the plan, and proposed an alternate plan, which "won out" in 2003. As a result, 22 of the cottages have been restored and are available for rental. This photo shows one of the cottages, with the top photo showing the plaque proudly displayed on its porch, and the bottom showing a view of the front of the cottages, that faces out onto the Pacific Ocean.

Even if you are not able to get an overnight rental cottage at Crystal Cove, be sure to at least try the Beachcomber Cafe located there. As the top photo indicates, they serve ice cream, burgers, sandwiches, and cold drinks. The view they have of the ocean is stunning!

In 1979, the Crystal Cove district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and that is also the year the land was sold to the state of California, to be used as a park. The placard shown in this photo is an illustration of placards located through the large park, to help visitors understand the rich history of the area. Part of that history includes the making of the 1988 movie, Beaches, with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. If you are like me, you may not remember the movie, but I bet you will remember its theme song---You Are the Wind Beneath My Wings--- which won a Grammy Award.

This photo shows the difference between a state park beach and the beach of a luxury resort. If you will recall the photos you have seen of beachfront resorts, they most likely had matching lounge chairs, lined up in perfectly straight rows, with matching beach umbrellas, matching towels, and matching tropical drinks. That is definitely NOT what you will find at Crystal Cove State Park! If you would like to learn more about renting a cottage here, check out for instructions, along with links to other interesting attractions in the area.

The group I was with for the visit to Crystal Cove State Park is shown in this photograph. Everyone was studying their map of the park, to dream about which cottage THEY would like to rent, and, exactly which cottage was the one where the movie Beaches was filmed. As we visited the park, we felt the wind against our faces, saw the surfers riding the roaring waves, and listened to the sounds, as the waves crashed against the beach. It brings to mind Psalm 93:4 that says "The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea." That reminds me to be certain that I am relying on the LORD as the "wind beneath MY wings"!! Miles of smiles! Tricia

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