Crystal Cove: Seaside inspiration Part II

Fast forward from 1930 to 2010 and here we are:  lets take a tour....
To get into the park you need to park on the North side of Pacific Coast Highway and walk through a tunnel under the Highway and down to the beach.  It's a short walk but there are shuttles if you need them.
The entire project underway today, is a joint effort by many non-profit entities. The goal is to ensure public access to this important and historically significant place along the California coast.  
  When the project is finally completed it will encompass the restoration of 46 cottages as well as provide much needed  educational and marine research facilities.
As you get closer to the beach some of the old palms and tropical plants that were planted in the 20s and 30s for the movie sets are very noticeable.  A few of the more famous movies shot at this location were Treasure Island, The Sea Wolf and Stromsweapt.  The idea was to recreated the tropics in Southern California.  There were no power lines or streetlights so it worked perfectly as a movie set.
The first few cottages you see are now the  park offices and visitors center

Everywhere you look there are examples of intact classic beach colony architecture.  This really is the last survivor of its type as most commutnies like this gave way to development with the increase in population.
The little store sells artwork and fun little quirky collectibles
The first cottage you can enter on the beach is what was once the store and soda fountain in the 50s.  It is actually the newest of all of the cottages.  It is used now
 as a teaching and outreach facility for school children and daily visitors.
How cute is that little stove?
They found dozens of prohibition liquor bottles from the rum running days as the renovations got under way. 

Is that the most wonderful sign!!!
Below is cottage 27, built in 1931 and available for overnight lodging.  It also sports a great deck.

As you walk farther down the beach you can really see how much will  be necessary to bring this project full circle.  While there is still money coming in, some of the funds earmarked for Crystal Cove have been use elsewhere.
I'm sure there is a concern that if many of the cottages are not delt with soon, especially those right on the sand, time and mother nature will slowly eat away at what is left 

This is cottage 11, built in the late 1920s, it is one of the few that has more elaborate wood work and trim.  The interior boasts tongue and groove knotty pine trim and a circular fireplace  This cottage will eventually become overnight lodging but wow, how much work will this one be.

Above is the Carter cottage #7.  When the schooner Esther Buhne wrecked on Balboa Point in 1927 several cottage were said to have been built from the teak wood that washed ashore and this was probably one of them.
The coveites got their mail right down on the beach!!  

Part of the old wooden board walk below.

At the farthest south end of the cove sits the Beaches cottage, made famous in 1988 in the movie starring Bette Middler. Off by itself, nestled into the cliff side, it has wonderful views of the tide pools.  This iconic house will eventually become the marine research facility for scientics and graduate students.
This is my favorite and I cant wait to see it all fixed up.  Something about the brown shingle and the turquoise trim is so inciting.  The house has a lot of trees and old succulents around the property, which just add to the charm

I love how the ceiling rafters on the porch were painted that great turquoise
Can you imagine how many wonderful summers of BBQs, swimming and great conversation happened in this little home?   
This cottage is often painted and photographed because of the location and the classic beach vernacular architecture.

Above are the tide pools just steps away from the porch of the Beaches cottage
One of the things you notice troughtout the park is the vegetation.  It is so lush and colorful 
I loved these nasturtiums growing in old lobster traps
Another little cottage, dressed up in green and white with old glory peeking out of the window

Each of the cottages has a story to tell and I suppose that is what makes this such an interesting place to stay, especially with children. Hi-de-Ho neighbor!

So quintessential "beachy"  

It really is hard to believe at times that this is a state park and we can stay in these for around $100 per night
Even if you come for the day to enjoy the beach, there is so much to do.  You can go up this little trail to the famous Shake Shack on PCH for a sandwich.  They have picnic tables and the view is amazing
The cove also has a nice little restaurant called the Beachcomber, with a great bar and lots of outdoor seating

Each of the 46 cottages will eventually be overhauled and upgraded.  They are literally being taken apart, piece by piece, and put back together again.
What an amazing legacy this will be for the future.  There is a wonderful sense of the carefree spirit of the past, something very hard to find in 2010.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of Crystal Cove.  I spent a great afternoon just walking around and looking at the buildings.  It really is fascinating. 
For more information go to 

Have a great week

  1. Thanks for sharing. I had never heard of Crystal Cove so I'm happy to learn about it. And there's something so charming about all that funkiness.

  2. We love Crystal Cove...especially The Beachcomber restaurant when you can get a table!

  3. Hi Kelley,

    I have to say I have really enjoyed Part 1 and 2 of Crystal Cove. It would be such a lot of work to restore one of those cottages, but imagine experiencing life like it was in the 50's and 60's....I think most of us can only dream of this, the sense of community, fires on the beach, parties and good food..I wish there was more of this in today's society, something so basic, relaxed and a sense of family within that community. I hope that they restore the cottages that are crying out to be restored, I'm sure they will as it would be such a shame to lose them. I would love to come and have a look and indulge in a meal at the local restaurant on the beach, how cool would that be! Did you indulge after taking all of these photo's to share with us????!!! Well I hope so!! Before I go, I just wanted to say how much I love to call into your blog and catch up. I also love your blog because you take the time to respond to the comments that we leave and when you leave one for me, well it makes my day. Your one in a million Kelley and I love what you have to say and what you share with us, so thanks.
    Take care
    Tasmania, Australia

  4. Weird coincidence--I'm sitting her on Tybee Island telling my friend about Crystal Cove--and she hands me the coffee table book about it. She's actually been there. PS--Tybee has wonderful charming cottages too!

  5. I have never heard of Crystal Cove. Now, I'm going to have to go with my husband on his next trip west. Your photos are truly inspiring...I can see paintings... or framed photos...all through my house.

    Porch ceilings are often painted turquoise (or most any blue) to repel bugs. (You probably knew this already.) Here in FL, I have painted the lanai ceiling and one wall in blues...and there is nary a bug or spiderweb on them. The other walls and skylight areas have wasp nests, spiders, etc. Next project is to add more blue paint!

    Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful place.
    Jane (artfully graced)

  6. I'm your newest follower! Love your blog!

    I really enjoyed the guest post at My Sweet Savannah!

  7. Hi Kelley,

    Thanks for this interesting post. Having grown up in the Redondo/Hermosa beach area I find this just charming. It brings back so many beach memories for me. Have you ever stayed in one of these cottages?


  8. Hi Alicia, the food must be pretty good because it was packed!

    Hi again Janine, what season is it in Tasmania? Just curious because the summer is just around the corner here. I really enjoyed your comment because I think you got a sense of what the cove must have been like in the 50s. It really is like stepping back in time. thanks so much for stopping by....kelley

    Hi Mary Kay, Yes I have loved Tybee Island from afar! The book is really great, I agree!

    Hi Jane, I hope you come out and we can meet up for a blogging lunch, how fun.

    Caroline, so glad you found me! Melaine is sooo sweet and I love her blog too! xx kelley

  9. Hi there.
    I just stopped by from MSS and I have so thoroughly enjoyed this post, and your whole blog. I will be following along with you.


  10. Oh, btw I am having an Inspiration link party at my blog on Saturday and this post(s) would be so wonderful to add to the mix. I think that my readers would really appreciate them.
    I'll leave you the link for the info. if you are interested.

  11. Hi Kelley,

    We are heading into Autumn here (Fall in your neck of the woods!). The mornings are getting chilly, but today has been stunning. The weather is beautiful. I am trying to make the most of it, as winter here in Tassie, can get very cold. We live near the sea, so we don't get frosts here as much as half an hour inland. It is a total pain to get washing dry. Can and usually does hang around for days. I have just been over to My Sweet Savannah and really enjoyed your interview. You know I LOVE your style. Will call in again soon (who am I kidding, tomorrow).
    Take care
    Tasmania, Australia

  12. Hi Kelley,
    I just saw your interview with Melaine over at MSS. I am so happy to find you, your blog is just wonderful!! I LOVE MSS too!! She has such a great sense of style and it would make sense that she found you and would want to highlight you and your blog!! I am a follower now, for sure:)
    I love how you use all those vintage signs in your home decor. They are so unique and fun!! I actually will be doing a post about them in the near future. I may have to talk about you in it now!!
    Thanks for sharing your story about Crystal Cove. I will have to check it out if I ever can get to the West Coast. I looks like a wonderful place to visit... what great photos and story!
    Well, I'll be back again for sure. If you get a chance, stop by and check out my blog.

  13. What a fun post and amazing images.

  14. Looks like a good place to put up your feet!

  15. Morning T: Thanks again for stopping by

    : 0 ) kelley

  16. My family and I had the great fortune, (long hours of stalking the website :) To stay in The Painter's Cottage...AKA HI-DE-HO. All of us LOVED our time at the cove.To hear the waves crashing all night and be steps from the beach was a treat for us inlanders! Because we live so close, We even go back there just for beach days. There is a shuttle bus that you can take from the parking lot with your gear. It is secluded and just another world! I read the history of the cove when I was there and it to me was so romantic. It is such a juxtaposition to see the new condos up on the bluff and the cottages down below. Im so glad they are being repaired. There is something magical about that place...I love to read your blog! Its a treat for the eyes and your writing is witty and very informative!

  17. Dear Anon.....Come back, come back!!! I sound like Kate Winslet from the movie Titanic. Please share how you got a reservation. I have had more emails regarding this. When I went to the site it is booked out until October and they release rooms every 6 months. Would love to hear your tricks!

    Thank you for the wonderful comment and I so agree about the cove, something very magical.


  18. Love the tour and the seaglass blue-green almost turquoise colors of some of the houses. I wish I could adopt one and give a little TLC. Wasn't that a great mailbox all shrouded in vine?! Happy surfing, -susan

  19. It's so nice to see that these beauties are being saved...what a gorgeous place...thanks so much for the spectacular tour.

  20. Merci for the tour during this beautiful day. it seems I was with you

  21. Hello Kelley - this post is amazing! Love all the great photos. I grew up in OC and never knew Crystal Cove existed. I'm now in Oceanside, San Diego. I would love to take my hubby there for a walk around!


  22. Oh my goodness...your wonderful post was so nostalgic for me. I grew up in California, spent so much time up and down the coast - Seal Beach, Malibu, Zuma etc. and the simple feeling of the sun, sand and the sea were brought back to me when I read this. The beaches were really my *home* when I lived there and if it weren't for them...LA wouldn't have been bearable.

    I'd never heard of Crystal Cove before but I will make a very strong effort to visit when next in Cal.

    Thank you so much! Love your blog!

  23. Oh my gosh, I haven't been down there since I was a teenager (or possibly a very young 20-something). The things you take for granted when they're right here in your backyard! Thanks for the tour! Really enjoyed both of these posts.

  24. I LOVED this post (1 & 2) and had never heard of Crystal Cove. I am really going to try to plan a trip out to the west coast and include this.
    I long for simpler times everyday!
    (ps I had no idea about the blue ceilings - I rented a farmhouse in Maine for a while and it had a beautiful blue ceiling on the porch - who knew!)

  25. Did you know you can create short urls with LinkShrink and receive $$$ for every click on your short urls.


  26. شركة نقل عفش
    اهم شركات مكافحة حشرات بالخبر كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذلك شركة رش حشرات بالدمام ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث


  27. شركة نقل عفش بالرياض وجدة والدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
    شركة نقل عفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

  28. I love the way you write and share your niche! Very interesting and different! Keep it coming! for more info

  29. Thanks for providing recent updates regarding the concern, I look forward to read more. for more info


~*~love to hear from you~*~

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.