A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

Greetings and Happy Christmas Eve!

Each December my husband and I spend a weekend with some dear friends that live in a beautiful beach house near where I grew up.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We always have a wonderful time and get treated to lots of fun activities during our annual visit.  It is particularly enjoyable for me because it’s a sentimental journey home.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I was born in Long Beach, California so I get a kick out of visiting my old stomping grounds, that of late bears little resemblance to when I lived nearby. In fact, Seaside Hospital where I came into the world was demolished and made into a city park.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The old beachside amusement park called The Pike where we went as kids has been all spiffied up.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

It used to be a mile long fun zone with roller coasters, ferris wheels and fun houses. It was a kids paradise.

Now it’s mostly a lovely park lined with restaurants and shops and an overhead walkway made to look like the famous old rollercoaster.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The best part of our recent visit to The Pike was shopping at the Restoration Hardware outlet store.  I was hoping to find some treasures for my new/old log cabin.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOMEA SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

Long Beach has experienced a major urban renewal of late and the waterfront area is really lovely.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Our stroll took us past the lighthouse you see in the lower left corner of the aerial photo above.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

And it affords one a beautiful view of the old luxury liner turned hotel, The Queen Mary.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

We watched as a sail boat entered the harbor, enjoying a lovely winter’s day in California.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

On a sunny day in December here in Long Beach it’s easy to forget that there’s snow on the ground back home in Lake Arrowhead, a mere 1 and a half hours away.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOMEA SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

Later that night we enjoyed dinner out followed by a theater performance at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.  The next morning we took another stroll along the beach, this time at nearby Seal Beach.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

Beyond the sea gulls and oil rigs, cargo ships could be seen lined up for miles, awaiting entry into the port of Los Angeles.  The longshoremen have staged a slowdown, causing ships loaded with Christmas cargo to wait days to enter port to unload.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

Seal Beach also has a charming downtown with streets lined with quaint shops and restaurants.  I couldn’t resist popping into this adorable shop called Petals and Pop. It’s a florist/gift shop and could not have been more charming.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOMEA SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

I spied this adorable Princess and the Pea playset and just had to have it for my granddaughter.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The sweet young woman in the shop wrapped it up in such a unique way…

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

using craft paper, felt and twine…

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

and embellishing it with cinnamon sticks on top.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | Petals and Pop | Seal Beach, CA

Shopping was followed by a late breakfast at another Seal Beach institution, Crema Cafe and Artisan Bakery where I had my obligatory Latte.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | Crema Cafe | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The food as you can see, was delicious!

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | Crema Cafe Seal Beach, CA | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME | Crema Cafe Seal Beach, CA | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

After breakfast we bid our friends farewell and continued on to a real sentimental journey home.  My aging father recently sold our family home in Huntington Harbor.  For over 40 years he lived in what was quite a masterpiece of a Mid Century Modern home, located waterfront along the canal in the photo below. Dad bought the home from chocolate magnet Helen Grace of Helen Grace Candies. Rumor had it that the new owners were making improvements and I was curious see, so I asked my husband to drive me back to what had been my childhood home.

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

What we discovered was that the only thing remaining of our home was the stone wall in front…

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

and the boat dock in the back.  One day soon I’m sure it will be a lovely home. But sadly for me and my family it’s no longer our home, proving the old Thomas Wolfe adage to be true that “you can’t go home again”. 

A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

I hope you are enjoying your own sentimental journey home with the ones you love this Christmas Eve.  I wish you the merriest of Christmases and look forward to sharing the New Year with you.

In closing I wanted to share this video concert with you. Starting with a single cellist on the floor of the National Air and Space Museum’s “Milestones of Flight” gallery, and swelling to 120 musicians, The U.S. Air Force Band exhilarated museum visitors with its first-ever flash mob.  Watch it, feel good!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND JOY TO THE WORLD!

So there you have it: A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY HOME

Thanks for dropping in!  Do please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own.   Unless otherwise credited, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.

Comments

  • Carolyn

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful sentimental journey. It’s nice to see many of my childhood haunts as well. Once a year we looked forward to our Dawson County, NE picnic held in a beautiful Long Beach park that had an under ground walkway leading to the beach. There were a few visits to the Pike as well. Loved the trip!

  • Xenia

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post. The term. “you can’t go home again” is very meaningful for me too. I recently visited Brooklyn, NY where I grew up and it barely resembles the Brooklyn that I lived in from age 2 until I was 31. My trip there was a bit sad, but I still enjoyed having Thanksgiving with my family in Brooklyn this year.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Ah, a fellow Long Beach native. Good memories indeed!

  • Thanks for the sentiments Xenia. Good to know I’m not alone in my quest. Hope your Christmas was full of making new memories since the old ones have a way of fading away.