I’ve spent my entire life land-locked – first on the Great Plains, and later in the mountains of Northern Arizona. While I’ve loved them both, I have a secret confession: I’m an ocean girl at heart.
In my opinion, there is nothing more refreshing and rejuvenating than a visit to the coast. I get giddy just thinking about the foamy surf, the salty breeze, and the screeching gulls.
So when I planned a recent trip from my Arizona home to Irvine, California for a conference, there was no way I was going to pass up a visit to the Southern California coast.
A look at the map of Orange County reassured me: Newport Beach was just a short drive from Irvine. I promptly programmed my phone – with the beach as my final destination.
It was going to be a quick trip, with two full days of seminars, so I knew the beach time would be limited.
In order to make the Friday beach day happen, a friend and I left from Prescott, Arizona, after work Thursday night, and decided to drive as far as possible into California before stopping. Yarnell, Quartzsite, Indio, Palm Springs – they all flew by, before we finally stopped in the small town of Banning, California for some needed rest.
That left us with just an hour and a half to Newport Beach the next morning. Little did we know that Riverside, California would be major obstacle, with its tangled freeways and nonstop road construction.
Finally, we landed in Newport Beach and made our way to the Balboa Peninsula. Our random choice could not have been better.
After parking along the main street, we walked only a block or so, and then, spread before us was the Pacific Ocean! That morning, the flat, sprawling beach was populated mostly by seagulls. Lovely!
We slowly strolled through the surf for about a half-mile toward the Newport Pier, an imposing wharf that extends more than 1,000 feet out into the ocean. On the other side of the pier is a pretty collection of beachside shops, restaurants, and bars. We decided to stop for lunch before heading to the hotel.
The cool Fly-N-Fish Oyster Bar and Grill – just off the Newport Boardwalk – was inviting, with its windows open to the sea breeze. When I saw my favorite beachside meal – shrimp ceviche – on the menu, I knew I had to give it a try. It was delicious, featuring whole shrimp and chunks of avocado – all tossed in a tangy, lime-y sauce. The perfect accompaniment to our little beach excursion.
After lunch, we walked slowly back down the beach, taking care to get in as much sand time as possible before heading back to the street. A short visit, sure, but Newport Beach still delivered!
How about you? Does a visit to the ocean “shore you up” like it does me?