Sunday, March 4, 2012

Tiny Vacation

A week ago today I was staying in a nice little hotel room at Laguna Beach, California. This was a true vacation for me, something I don't do that often. I do go away from home reasonably often, but seldom do I vacation. I define "vacation" as going somewhere I want to go to just for its own sake. That usually means staying in a hotel and eating in restaurants and spending my days doing "touristy" things. That's what my 2 days at Laguna Beach were like.

I stayed at the sweet Pacific Edge Hotel, right on the beach. It's an old fashioned hotel that has been nicely refurbished. It's clean, safe, comfortable, affordable and convenient. I would gladly stay there again and have suggested it to my friend who is from So. Cal.

I had no agenda. I had ideas about things to do, but I made decisions at the last minute each day. I walked the main street a lot. The first day I found what I really wanted to find, a local yarn shop, in this case, Strands and Stitches.

I bought some yarn to make my usual souvenir socks and well as some great Noro yarn I had never seen before to make a souvenir shawl. On Monday, I was back in the shop to buy a bit more yarn when it started to rain. The owner suggested I just stay awhile so I did, and I actually began to knit the shawl right in the shop. Now it's nearly finished because I have enjoyed working on it. It's going to be a perfect souvenir of a beach town.

It matches the scene from the hotel restaurant courtyard, I think.

So once the rain had stopped for a little bit, I decided to go to see a movie. I went, finally, to see "The Artist" which had won all those Oscars the night before. Like everyone else, I enjoyed it thoroughly (especially that wonderful little dog!) In the theatre I had a very nice conversation with two women who were retired nurses. One lived in So. Cal and one used to, but had moved back to her hometown, a tiny place on the Kansas border in Nebraska that I had never heard of before. She was back visiting her friends who were still in CA.

Actually I met nice people all over town with whom I had quite pleasant conversation. So. Cal folks are   a delightful bunch.

When the movie was over, the rain storm had really picked up. It was pelting rain. I had not brought my heavy duty LL Bean rain parka, but was ok for the walk back to the hotel with a combination of a down vest, a lightweight parka in my pocket and an umbrella. My idea for  that night had been to go out a Japanese restaurant that was highly recommended to me by a lady, hometown St. Louis, in the restaurant the previous night. But once I was back in the hotel and had had time to warm up and dry off, going out in the storm for a 4 block walk to eat Japanese did not sound like such a good idea anymore. So I just went to the hotel restaurant.

I had a good meal that featured beef. There was just another couple as fellow diners. I found out that the restaurant had been the home of a 1930's movie actor, well known at the time, but someone I did not know. It had been a restaurant for many years. The young woman, the other diner, said it was her dad's favorite restaurant since its opening. Tonight she was there to celebrate her birthday, and she picked that place because of her dad. The storm raged the whole time. It was kind of like being on a boat because the rain came pounding in right off the ocean, and the wind howled and raged as it funneled between the buildings. The awnings were all rolled up, but they flapped none the less. The building creaked. We ate by candlelight. It was a cozy haven in the storm.

I enjoyed looking at the art galleries and shops in town, but they were pretty much out of my league as far as both price and style. I ate at two different European bakeries and a very fine gelato shop. The first night I watched part of the Academy awards at an excellent restaurant Watermarc (which is where I had conversation with the lady from St. Louis.) My timing was great because I got to see Jim Rash, whose mom is a friend of mine, win the award for his screenplay for "The Descendants. " This kind of thing does not happen very often to me....having a personal connection to people who really win Major Awards, I mean.

I found some lovely places in town. For example, the public restrooms with this wonderful mosaic outside.

This chess table is in the city beach park.

Of course I walked the beach each day.
But my most delightful find was the local water department building. It's an historic Spanish style building with a beautiful courtyard that has a water-wise, local plant demonstration garden. I was so pleased to find this little jewel,  I stopped two police officers on foot patrol to tell them that I thought  they were so fortunate to live in a town which had charming public buildings like this one.

And the garden had been yarn bombed!

Meanwhile I found I missed Smokey Rose a lot. I missed her much more than I have ever missed any of my other kitties. But I was happy to find out, once I got home, that she did well with Ms Colleen.

But once I was home, Smokey Rose spent the whole night with me in bed, something she doesn't usually do, and she kind of followed me everywhere I went in the apartment. I think she missed me too.

So, overall, I had a wonderful vacation. I am not sure how long it will be before I decide to take another  total time off trip again. I can't (and don't want to) leave Rosie alone that often, and these kind of things do need to be budgeted for. But I'm sure glad I did get the chance to spend even a few days just relaxing in beautiful Southern California. As the commercial says, the memories ARE priceless.


  1. great photos, and a great story to go with it. I'm glad you had a good time. That rainstorm reminds me of the one when we were at the restaurant in Spearfish. remember that? it forced us to eat desert and stay a little while longer. i love it when that happens!

  2. Nice blog of your trip Linda...great "select" photos...particularly the yarn shop...your beautiful shawl...the bathroom mural...and the fun So Cal postcard!!! It's great when you "connect" with others in your travels, huh? That's what makes the experience memorable...happy trails!!

  3. Hi Linda and Smokey Rose,

    What a great travel-blog! How funny to make souvenir socks of every trip! Are they finished yet? That shawl sure looks nice!
    I thought Ms. Colleen would be a nice neighbour, but she's a professional, wow!

    Much love from Jessica and a nose bump from Woody!

  4. I haven't started my So Cal socks yet. No time. I did finish the shawl which is lovely. Right now I'm working on my Portland Oregon souvenir socks. You can see everything on Ravelry if you are a real knitting geek.

    Yes, I feel I need to hire professional cat sitting help. Smokey Rose needs medication twice a day and some close watching over too. I don't want to burden (or depend upon the good graces of ) one of my many nice neighbors.