Laguna is one of those places that are hard to define in only one blog post. So I'll try and make it even worse by trying to put in just a couple of words, I would have to say that it is an "Artist Community" at the beach. But that really doesn't give justice to the place.
First of all (and perhaps MOST importantly)... it is the place I asked Mrs. LZ to be my wife (several decades ago now). So as this love story goes... we had a romantic dinner in a posh little underground cafe (La Cave)
some hours before that and then we drove down to Laguna. While there, I suggested a little walk along the top of the cliffs over looking the moonlit Pacific Ocean. We went out on this little path (one of the most romantic places I could think of) for me to pop the question. I took her off to a gazebo above the cliffs in the area right above the tide pools (which are shown in the photo I have posted here). With such a romantic gesture as this, what else could she say but "YES"? Other than the proposal by me to Mrs. LZ, Laguna Beach is also known for its yearly "Festival of the Masters.”
For those of you who have never seen the Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts "Pageant of the Masters,” let me try and explain that it is ninety minutes of "living pictures" - incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. It is presented in an outdoor amphitheater, with a professional orchestra, original scores, live narration, intricate sets, sophisticated lighting, expert staff, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers have won recognition for the Pageant as the best presentation of its kind. The first time I saw it, I was really impressed with how ell the whole thing was done. As a boy I remember that all of our relatives from other parts of the country came to visit us in Southern California, they loved to go see the festival. It really is hard to believe that they could literally make those artist renderings actually come to life.
The actual city of Laguna Beach itself is not a very large city, but it sure does get crowded in the summertime. Other things that can be done there for very little money are things like; the Laguna Beach Heritage Tour. Which is actually a Self Guided tour where you can ride the bus and tour historic neighborhoods in North and South Laguna utilizing the free "Heritage Walking Companion to Self-Guided Tour Laguna Beach by Bus" brochure available on City buses, City Hall, and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce.
In order that you can learn more about the uniqueness of this quaint Artist community, you can also take the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park Tour which includes the following areas: Willow Canyon, Dilley Preserve, Little Sycamore Canyon, and Laguna Heights. Rangers staff the park daily. They are Open daily, including holidays, from 7 AM until sunset. The locations are: Willow Canyon: Laguna Canyon Road, just South of the El Toro interchange. Open to hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers on specified trails. Dilley Preserve: Laguna Canyon Road, (just North of the 73 Freeway); Little Sycamore Canyon: Laguna Canyon Road, (just south of the I-405 interchange), Location of the James and Rosemary Nix Nature Center; Laguna Heights on Alta Laguna Blvd at Top of the World, is the trailhead for West Ridge Trail and routes into Aliso and Woods Canyons Wilderness.
Just as an aside to the “Love Story” that happened in the aforementioned gazebo on the cliffs of Laguna, we even tried to re-live "OUR" moment on our visit there this summer too. We decided to have brunch in the legendary "Las Brisas" Restaurant. Las Brisas overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful Laguna Beach coastline and it has been a Southern California landmark since its inception in 1938 as the Victor Hugo Inn. The marriage proposal gazebo is just to the north of the Las Brisas grounds.
My grandparents (when they first moved to Orange County in 1944) used to stay here every year. It was however converted to Las Brisas in 1979; it has become a magnet for visitors from all over the world. But alas, even though we had a very romantic and extraordinary brunch there, when we went out to see the old Gazebo, we noticed that it was in fact still there right where we left it, but access to it was blocked by what looked like “CSI” crime tape (which actually turned out to be caution tape) from a paint job that had just been completed on it. But in spite of that fact, we had a picture taken there just to show us... the gazebo... and the crime tape! Just proves that "you can't re-create memories, but you can make new ones!
By the way, if you go to the link here
, you'll actually be able to see "OUR Gazebo" on the far right of the second shot of the grounds of Las Brisas (as it scrolls by). You can't see the tape and there is no Historic Monument marking and celebrating Mr. & Mrs. LZ's engagement there, but at least you can see it! It is also smaller on the left hand side of the third shot (the night-time shot)."The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart."
~ Helen Keller