Yesterday, I had the most relaxing day in California! I started it out by taking a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica to just past Malibu. Living in Florida I see ocean regularly, but with the highway being so close to the ocean on one side and the canyons on the other it was unlike anything I had seen before. I took my time (probably not to the delight of the cars behind me) and just tried to take in everything around me.
What I ended up loving most of all even more than the natural scenery was the architecture and style of all the houses lining the road next to the water. There was no space between them. Just one right next to another. And, they were all completely different...one modern, the next more traditional, bright colored, clapboard siding, concrete and glass, you get the picture. Mile after mile, I was more and more amazed by each passing home. I snapped a few pictures while I was driving, but I honestly wish I could stop and photograph every one along the route.
Not spending a whole lot of time in California, maybe interesting houses like this are the norm. But, I just couldn't get enough of them. I did a quick search on flickr and on google images to see if I could find any more photos from this area, but didn't have a lot of luck. I am going to continue my search when I get back home because I would love to pore over an entire book, or group, or website, or whatever of these homes.
After driving for quite some time on the highway, I decided to venture off on one of the roads leading up into the canyons. I chose one called Canyon Corral Drive. It wound up and up into the canyons at a very steep incline. I was surprised at how many houses populated this area because of how steep it was, but I suppose it had something to do with the view.
Who is going up this road!??
I went for quite a few miles until I could tell my little rental car had had enough then headed back down. On this road, there was a national recreational site called Solstice Canyon that I would like to visit next time, but I didn't have the proper attire with me to do any of the activities this time around.
I wasn't ready to head back to Santa Monica so I headed further north on the Pacific Coast Highway. When my stomach started rumbling, I started looking for possible restaurants on the water to stop at. There were quite a few along the way, but most required parking right along the highway which I really didn't want to do. A sign grabbed me for the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe as it toted plenty of parking. With a minimum $20 purchase at the cafe, you could park for just $3 and enjoy the beach for up to 4 hours.
They had three rows of beach chairs as well as a grouping of beds to lounge on while either waiting for your table or just for general enjoyment. I read a magazine for 45 minutes and enjoyed the beautiful weather and sound of rolling waves while I waited for my table.
While I didn't think the food was spectacular, the outside dining was right in the sand and the weather was nice so it was a relaxing meal. After I ate, I walked out onto the pier for a bit.
A man fishing caught a stingray (I think that's what it was).
Ah! I think I could get used to California! It was starting to get late so I headed back into Santa Monica. I dropped some things off at the hotel then headed back out to take a walk to the Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade shopping area. I'll write about those tomorrow...