Mom and I took her mother (my grandmother Jackie) to California to visit her brother, Charles for her 85th birthday. He is her only living sibling and we have quite a bit of family residing on the West coast - people I've never met! Charles and Annette have a lovely home in Laguna Nigel and their garden is to die for. They have orange trees, tomatoes, sage, zucchini, peppers and a lemon tree that produces lemons like the one pictured above - larger than an orange! Unbelievable.
We rented a car and one day mom and I ventured to Laguna Beach from Laguna Nigel. There was an opening at the Ritz Carlton so we splurged for an evening and admired gorgeous sunsets over the Pacific.
Mom researched places for lunch and the next day we went to Big Fish in Laguna Beach for fresh, inventive seafood dishes. It was such a fun spot with an amazing selection of cold beer on tap and in bottles.
There's no doubt that part of the allure of coastal California is the weather. While we were strolling around the Laguna Beach area, it was 74F and sunny. I did not want to leave.
As much as we enjoyed Laguna Beach, our time in Santa Barbara (North of LA) was even more impressive. If you've never been there to see the Spanish Colonial architecture and walk along the wharf, it is worth a trip.