The patina on a well worn bench, the yellow-tinged pages of a book, the fray of a couch cushion. Someone else sat there, touched this, lived here. It may have very well been an ordinary someone on a very ordinary day or across a series of ordinary years but the wear that remains is the permanence of time, the permanence of life. Each mark of wear holds a story, each story leaving with those that carry them. Many have come and many more will; these objects will catalog this history. These objects will bring that history to our today.


Crystal Cove was named in 1927 by Elizabeth Wood “because the name seemed right for such a beautiful place.” The 12.3 acre historic district is a well-preserved example of Southern California vernacular beach architecture and terrain. The site was always a favorite spot of the owners James Irvine II and James Irvine III and in the 1920’s they generously allowed employees and friends to build small shelters and cottages along the beach and against the bluffs, specifying that no dimensional changes could be made to the cottages. This served to preserve Crystal Cove in its original form. To this day the District retains the scale and ambiance of a 1920’s beach resort. In the 1970’s Crystal Cove was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Cottage #15: The Whistle Stop building is an historic cottage that dates back to 1931. Now known as The Beachcomber Cafe, visitors can enjoy a casual meal on the beach.


Or the Big Bad Bloody Mary.

IMG_2444Crystal Cove extends beyond the historic district including 3.2 miles of beach and 2,400 acres of undeveloped woodland. The offshore waters are designated as an underwater park.

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In three hours, I fell in love. I ate beignets and chilaquiles, I heard the crush of the waves and smelled it on the air, my daughter gathered a formidable seaweed collection, begging to take it all home, my son wrote “LOL” in the sand, my youngest was hesitant to get sand in his shoes while I welcomed the water on my leather sandals, I looked at the buildings, the sea, the rocks, next to my friends, surrounded by my family and it was all so much.

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There is an allure in seeing something as it was years ago, knowing you are seeing it the same way it has been seen by many ordinary someones and perhaps a few spectacular someones before you. And knowing many more will come after you. IMG_2681

Sources used: The Beachcomber and the Crystal Cove Alliance