Southern California -- this just in

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Where to dump the relatives and learn about California

November 28, 2008 |  9:57 am

So are all those out-of-town guest beginning to leave a dent your couch? Donna Wares, author of the new book "Great Escapes: Southern California," was asked by LAist to pick one place to display the California experience. She didn't hesitate with an answer:

That’s easy: head to Crystal Cove. It remains a timeless, quintessential slice of old California, one of my favorite escapes. Located just north of Laguna Beach, the Crystal Cove beach and historic district is now a state park. A nonprofit group has been painstakingly restoring the beach colony’s vintage cottages, which are hidden from view along busy Pacific Coast Highway. Walk under the highway and emerge from the tunnel leading to the beach and you’ll feel like the Wayback Machine has brought you into a 1930s postcard of the California coast, a tranquil universe of tide pools, beach shacks and rolling dunes. Cottage reservations for overnight stays must be booked in advance, but you can spend the day on the beach here any time.

Wares, a former L.A. Times editor, operates a local blog in her hometown of Seal Beach. In a recent post, the blog finds the back story of a bird spotted near the Seal Beach Pier.

--Shelby Grad

Photo: Los Angeles Times