(Continued from Of Costa Mesa and Far Too Much Coffee, Part Two)
The Husband (who we shall now call Alan, because “The Husband” is getting a little old. The term, I mean, not the man. Although he DID just have a birthday…) turned the car west and we drove, obeying the siren call of the beach. Eventually we found the coast road and headed north toward Huntington Beach.
Huntington is a place we generally drive past in a hurry, since Huntington Pier on a weekend or mid-summer attracts just the size of crowd I will do anything to avoid, but this was November, and it was Monday, so we decided to park and walk around the pier.
While there are historic buildings scattered around, the main drag leading to the pier and surrounding streets are very trendy, boasting just about any retail establishment or restaurant you might expect to find. It was somewhat of a cross between San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and San Diego.
Still full from our breakfast at Rooster Cafe, we walked past the numerous restaurants, bars and treat shops and simply admired the architecture.
I had a teacher in college who gave this piece of advice for exploring a new town: “Don’t forget to look up, and whenever you have a chance, nip up the snickelways.”
Admittedly, this class was in England, and the professor was talking about the city of York, but I took his advice to heart and have followed it ever since. This has resulted in more than one bruised shin, but has also led to many a hidden discovery.
Sure enough, the “snickelways” (alleys) of Huntington Beach proved worth “nipping up” (quickly exploring). Local artists had painted murals and around each corner was something new.
And there’s just something about a back entrance that intrigues me.
It pains me to have to admit that indeed, Huntington has the better pier.
For one thing, it’s longer, boasting 1,850 feet to our own Manhattan Beach Pier’s 928.
Manhattan Pier prides itself on its landmark roundhouse, which contains a snack bar and the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab and Aquarium, the site of many an impromptu homeschooling field trip or lazy Sunday afternoon walk for our family.
Huntington also has a Roundhouse. Theirs is bigger, of course. And theirs contains an entire stinking ocean-view restaurant. We had no choice but to abandon our deep-rooted South Bay loyalties and bow to the superiority of Huntington. Ruby’s Diner indeed.
They even had more surfers in Huntington. We consoled ourselves with the thought that the water around OUR pier has become a hangout for young sharks, proving that we’re just that much more hardcore up in L.A. County, because we all still surf and paddleboard and swim (and by “we,” I mean my really cool friends).
And I’m pretty sure I saw Kevin Costner on our pier once.
At any rate, despite the superiority of their pier, it was time to turn toward home. (Read: I didn’t take any more photos worth blogging about).
Well, except this one of Alan with a pelican.