California. Land of health nuts, nuts in general, fresh food markets, expansive beaches, and some of the friendliest folks I’ve met. WHAT? Yes, you heard it here first. Californians, generally, are quite friendly. And this coming from a guy who lived in the southern United States for the better part of 7 years. The landscapes are breathtaking. The scenery is hard to capture. The weather is to die for. (You know, except for the miserable first 24 hours of downpours we experienced.) This is 48 Hours in California!
DISCLAIMER : Hannah forgot to pack her camera for this trip, so we apologize for the iPhone shots.
THINGS TO SEE/DO:
1. Crystal Cove State Park
Our first Southern Californian adventure featured heavy cloud cover, rare for this region, but it only slightly limited the splendor of what we saw. This state park is located in the posh and unfathomable city of Newport Beach. Newport, the basis for the old Fox TV show “The O.C.” is surreal. One of the gems: 4 miles of paved trails with plenty of walk offs that lead right to the majestic Pacific Ocean.
2. Hollywood Hill
Hiking the Hollywood Hill was quite an adventure for these newlyweds. The populated hike is more spectacular than either of us thought it would be. Offering glorious views of downtown LA, laden with robust foliage, the natural beauty might catch you off guard. The hike leads to the Griffith Observatory, a free observatory that offers views of the Hollywood Signs, LA, and snow capped mountains. Hard to beat this one.
3. The Rose Bowl Stadium / Pasadena
For the football fan in your group, the world famous Rose Bowl is a must see. I won’t lie, this was one of my trip highlights. Seeing the venue that Florida State (my alma mater) won the national title in, alongside other remarkable match ups over many years, was a “spiritual” experience. Match that with the food offerings in downtown Pasadena, which make Hannah’s taste buds jump simply at their mentioning (see below: True Food Cafe), this is a worthwhile detour, only about 30 min from LA.
4. San Clemente Beach
Though our time in San Clemente was quite limited, it quickly captured our hearts. San Clemente is the kind of beach town that everyone dreams of living in. Quaint, accessible, clean, relaxed-- and with food and coffee and shops readily available in all corridors of the town-- who wouldn’t want to give San Clemente a visit? The pier offers one of the more engrossing views we found in SoCal. This is a wonderful place to take a walk and grab a coffee. Cheers to you, San Clemente!
WHERE TO EAT:
1. Bear Flag Fish Co. (Newport Beach, CA)
Bear Flag Fish Co. is a local restaurant that was recommended to us as we walked through Lido, a trendy harbor shopping district. Think undeniably fresh, delicious seafood, in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Hannah got the poke salad, her new addiction of choice, and I got sushi. The sushi is fresh rolled at the restaurant. One can choose from a number of fresh seafood, fish, sushi and some mexican tapas. Not to mention, the restaurant is extremely budget friendly for its location.
2.Ruby’s (Laguna Beach, CA)
Ruby’s is an old time diner that is a well-known Laguna Beach haunt. Located directly across from the beach, Ruby’s is an American style diner that serves an enormous variety of burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Hannah is not one for diners, but she was delighted to find that these classic diner dishes were available in healthy, Hannah-esque varieties (ie. turkey, black bean, or salmon patties, lettuce wraps, etc.). The garlic parmesan and sweet potato fries stand out as the most delectable of menu items.
3. True Food Cafe (Pasadena, CA)
We do our best to stay away from chains when we travel, but the menu at this joint drew us in. Hannah’s personal heaven, True Food, is a growing chain that offers healthy, locally sourced ingredients. We ate at the Pasadena location, which sat on the corner of downtown, only a mere few miles from the Rose Bowl (to my liking). The menu lacked options offering meat, but the meat available was incredibly fresh, as was the bevy of vegetable selections. You can observe the chefs in the kitchen, as it is an enormous, airy, open concept. Really cool vibe and feel. Hannah drooled over her buddha bowl filled with sweet potato, avacado, and some other earthy stuff I did not recognize.
California has it all. The ocean, palm trees, mountains, cityscapes… you name it, they have it. It's 100% likely that Hannah and I will move there someday. It's that wonderful. You should absolutely go there. And go there soon.
More travel guides to come soon. Love traveling with y’all!