To some Paradise Cove will not be a surprise but, like the area here in Cornwall, up until a few years back it was a well kept secret; not so much these days. In a recent visit to California we took our rental car and headed up the Pacific Coast Highway making the decision that after an hour we would stop for breakfast. I had read about Paradise Cove, with a trailer park that was the anthesis of what we think American trailer parks are, one that had attracted people whose life/work balance was a healthy alternative to those who got up, commuted, worked, commuted, and slept. People who were drawn to the sea, to a place where, in the 50s and 60s there had been a film star image of somewhere that was used for iconic TV series and films. I fancied checking it out.
We had set off early and around fifty minutes on the road we saw the Paradise Cove sign and came off to have a nosy. The road led us directly to a parking lot, rather than the one for residents only, with a hefty $35 parking charge that almost deterred us until the small print said the charge was far less if we got our ticket validated by the Paradise Cove restaurant. We headed in… to a retro diner filled ceiling to floor with black and white photos of the cove depicting a time when fishing, whaling, filming and finally surfing were its main attractions. Also like this part of Cornwall, the cabins were originally used by fisherman as an overnight place to stay whilst waiting for the catch and, over time, the place got used by lifeguards and surfers. This was visually filed away on the walls of the dining rooms, rooms which spilled out onto the beach under large marquees.
It was Shrove Tuesday and in the UK we would celebrate with pancakes so we opted for a Paddlers Breakfast supposedly for surfers coming back with a hefty appetite but we just had the appetite. It came with 3 eggs how you like them, bacon, sausage, breakfast potatoes plus two buttermilk pancakes on the side with butter and maple syrup. A pot of freshly brewed coffee was left on the table which made him indoors very happy.
After wading through the huge portions we had to walk the beach to help digestion but also to check out some of the mega million dollar beach homes along the way. These are what people expect when you mention Malibu, eye watering prices for homes that are insanely huge and, well, insanely distasteful. Like this …
Last time this cruise liner home was on the market it was a mere $27million, and look at it, its built on sand for gods sake. Some of the mansions up on the road above have walkways down to the beach, some even have beach cabins – much more my style. [I think there’s a hot tub on the right hand side and a roof terrace on the middle cabin].
Some are smaller and have a quainter style to them and ingenious ways of storing the boards.
but when it comes down to it I would rather have a smaller cabin in the trailer park that’s built on, oh I don’t know…land!!
here’s the beach cafe seen from the small pier and you can see on the cliffs above a couple of cabins which are much more my kind of thing.
What I don’t know because we always go out of season, is the buzz at the height of the summer, some say it’s lost its hidden magic, some still think it’s the best but friends tell me you have to get there early for a parking spot and it’s difficult to get a table in the cafe at certain times. A read of trip advisor gives differing views. All I can say is at 8am on a February morning we had the beach to ourselves, there was a smattering of diners in the restaurant and it felt like we had chanced on something out of the way. Looking at the photographs it made you a little envious of those people in the 1960s who were lucky to be part of the film crews in the cove, or the first lot of trailer owners who kept the cove a secret so they could keep the place to themselves.