on wednesday, the hub and i both played hooky from work, packed up the girls and one of the teen's friends, and went here:
annenberg community beach house is on the grounds of what used to be one of the homes belonging to william randolph hearst and marion davies. it was transformed into a hotel and private beach club before it was acquired by the state of california. they kept the private beach club for a while, and then it suffered from major damage during the '94 northridge earthquake. at some point, the annenberg foundation pumped in a big ass chunk of cash to renovate it and add to the property, and it opened a few months ago as a free, no-membership-required facility for the public.
the original guest house and pool are all that's left of the hearst/davies property, and you can take a self-guided tour or wait for a couple of scheduled docent-led tours, also free.
i always love how everyone here (and at hearst castle) tries to sugarcoat and downplay the fact that crusty old hearst was a big fat adulterer, and davies, his showgirl mistress whore. i mean, come on - let's just call a spade a spade, people.
truth be told, there really wasn't much to see. the house was mostly empty, aside from some couches and tables downstairs and tables and chairs in a few rooms upstairs. there were some old folks playing cards in one of them, but i didn't take a picture of them. you're bummed, i know.
in true hearst style, the [non-functional] bathrooms were colorful and ornate.
pretty nice view from the balconies, though.
on the way out, i signed the electronic guest book.
the pool was also part of the original grounds, although it's obviously been cleaned up and redone. it's not free, though - you have to pay for an access pass, which also gets you use of the poolside chairs and showers and changing rooms in the pool house. but as the hub said, why hit up a pool that's next to the freaking ocean?
the guest house is also available for private events and weddings and things. additionally, there are banquet rooms in the other building.
there's a small photo exhibit room, which also features this case of memorabilia from years past.
we'd brought stuff to have pb&j sandwiches, but all of a sudden, they didn't sound so good anymore. so we lugged our stuff to a table in the cafe.
the girls had salads, while the hub went with a burger and i opted for a tuna sandwich.
finally, it was time to hit the beach. the bean led the way:
she thought it was great fun to "help" put the tent up.
as overcast as it was when we got there, it turned into quite a gorgeous day.
the bean got over her squickiness with the sand that she'd displayed in san diego, and finally made good use of her shovel and pail.
we had a ton of fun, with lots of time to hang out with the bean at the playground (the annex provides beach toys for the kids to play with, which was cool). this gave the hub and the girls a chance to take beachside naps. it was a wonderful, relaxing day, and a great way to enjoy the teen's last days of summer vacation.
on the way home, the bean (who had only napped for about ten minutes in my arms at the cafe) was out like a light within moments. we took surface streets for a while and then decided to seek out milk for some eats. after following the garmin to what ended up being a clothing shop also called "milk," we managed to find it, only a mile-ish away:
inside, there were hordes of unruly kids and bored-looking parents who were doing their best to ignore their horrid behavior. ugh. we placed our order and stood on the sidelines, watching.
the teen's friend and i both ordered the mint chip crunch shake. so yum. the teen ordered an ice blended caramel milk, and although both girls opted not to get any food, i ordered a prosciutto and provolone pressed sandwich to share with the hub and a ham & cheese for the bean to eat when she woke up.
for dessert, i picked up a couple of these:
luckily, since it was after 7:00, we didn't hit too much traffic once we finally got onto the freeway.
just another beautiful day in sunny, gorgeous southern california!