My previous post gave five things to like about California, but you had to know that wouldn’t be all. Hey, there are books, TV shows, movies, etc., about the state’s virtues, if you care to look past the current dismal headlines. My 22 years of living there and my recent visit prompt me to throw out five more likable things.
— Beaches: For my money, no other state comes close. Those free spirits lifting weights on Venice Beach in LA or playing hoops at Laguna Beach in The OC show how addictive the mild weather and surf can be. My personal favorite is Pacific Beach in San Diego, where I did a lot of running on the boardwalk, especially to train for the ’91 LA Marathon (finish time: 4 hours, 27 minutes).
— History: California joined the US in 1850, but its legacy is not as rich as states that include Civil War battlefields. But the swallows still flock back to the mission (founded in the 1770s) in San Juan Capistrano every year. And Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, which opened in 1927, is the world’s most famous.
— Mexican food: Every region of the US has its culinary flavors. But you haven’t lived until you’ve had the fare at the Old Town Mexican Cafe in San Diego, and one of those big margaritas. You can watch them prepare the goods the old-fashioned way.
— Media: Newspapers are waning in influence these days, but the LA area is one of the few with two major metros. The Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register still command a lot of attention. And there are a slew of radio stations that always keep the seek/scan button interesting. KNX is wonderful for news, and KOST has great music, particularly as you cruise the freeways in the evening, city lights twinking …
— Landscape: You can surf and ski in the same day in SoCal, if weather permits. So with mountains and beaches in such proximity, it’s a treasure trove for anyone wielding a camera. I was fortunate enough to live in houses that allowed views of mountains and golf courses. (See above video.) Those don’t exist just anywhere.