NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic.
As I wrote in my last post, this past Monday was my fiftieth birthday. Many people have parties to mark this momentous occasion, and I was lucky enough to enjoy such a celebration with some dear friends during my recent trip to Texas. I will also celebrate with family in a few weeks when I travel to Lake Tahoe. But when it came down to the actual day, I opted to spend it in a low-key way with my wonderful husband.
We actually extended our celebration to two days in that we ate lunch at my favorite restaurant on the last day of my 40’s and saw the new Star Trek movie (fast fact – the TV series premiered in 1966 , the year I was born!).
In contrast to previous years when shopping was on the agenda, I wanted to spend this birthday by the water and taking photographs, so that’s what we did. We drove up the coast to Orange County and visited the seaside communities of Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach. In today’s post, I’ll share some of my favorite photos from those two locations, as well as a few factoids for those who are interested.
Laguna Beach is located approximately 72 miles north of San Diego and 35 miles south of Los Angeles. With normal traffic, it takes around 1.5 hours for us to drive there from our home. Luckily, the traffic wasn’t too bad on Monday and it helped that we left in the middle of the day instead of during morning rush hour. Although the weather was overcast, it was still a warm day and it’s always nice to be near the water. I did find it interesting, though, that the day I turned 50 was the first cloudy day we’d had in weeks – and I joked that the weather was a reflection of my ominous milestone birthday. The sun never did come out that day and sure enough it was bright and sunny the following day, so maybe there was something to my theory! Of course, I don’t really believe that’s true, but it was amusing to consider…
There are over seven miles of coastline in Laguna Beach and over twenty unique coves and many sandy beaches to explore. The town includes the most beachfront lodging in all of Southern California and is a popular destination for tourists, weddings, water sports, and yes, shopping. I have spent my fair share of money in Laguna Beach shops in the past, but this year all I bought there was lunch.
Laguna Beach has a relatively small population (around 23,000 at the last census) but attracts an estimated 3 million tourists each year. Annual large events include the Pageant of the Masters, Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Art Festival, Art-A-Fair, and Kelpfest. I have attended all but the last of these events more than once and enjoyed them tremendously. However, I’m not as into art festivals as I used to be, as I’ve been working on shopping less and more responsibly.
Here are some of the photos taken by me and of me in Laguna Beach:
In the evening, we ventured another 34 miles up the coast to Huntington Beach, stopping for a café latte at Starbucks along the way (I was off caffeine for over two years, but have been struggling with it again lately). Huntington Beach is a much larger city and is actually the most populous beach town in Orange County, with approximately 200,000 residents. It features a 9.5 mile stretch of sandy beach and is known for its excellent surfing (the U.S. Open of Surfing is held there each summer). In fact, the Surfing Walk of Fame and the Surfers’ Hall of Fame are both located in Huntington Beach.
One of the key features of this beachside community is the Huntington Beach Pier, which is one of the largest piers on the West Coast at 1,850 feet (560 m). The pier was built back in 1903, even before Huntington Beach was an official town, and was extended in 1930 to include a café at the end (now the site of Ruby’s Diner). The pier is frequented by sport fisherman and surfing spectators and is open until midnight each night.
Here are some of the photos I took in Huntington Beach, mostly of the pier and from the pier:
The photo above and the two photos below were taken at the Huntington Beach Pier Plaza, an outdoor amphitheater which is located at the entrance to the pier. Its mural-tiled wall reflects the history and local color of the community and includes my favorite bird, the Great Blue Heron (see my heron photos in this post).
I hope you liked my Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach photos. All in all, I had a happy birthday and enjoyed the coastal drive, beach air, and photography opportunities. By the time I actually turned 50, I had plenty of time to stress out about it, so I was relatively calm that day and accepting of having moved into a new decade. I have done some journaling about some changes I would like to make in my life in my 50’s and will share my thoughts on this topic in a future post.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more of my photos, check out my other “photography interlude” posts or the photos I’ve posted on Instagram (I don’t post much there, but have achived quite a few past images for you to look at). Have a wonderful weekend!