Lollygagging in Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

It's a tradition

It is now a tradition to assemble a band of friends for a summer trip to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. This year our numbers swelled beyond the usual hard-core suspects — Jim, Angela, Bob, Carolyn, and myself — to include Chuck and Kathy, who also joined us two years ago, and newcomers Cindy and Don.

We stayed again at Eilers Inn, a charming, restful B&B where hosts Chaz and Linda now greet us, after three years, like family. With our supersized group this year, we occupied almost half their rooms! We always have such a good time there and inevitably run into interesting people. This year it was a group of teachers having a just-girls outing, who happened to come from the same town as the prison-guard group last year!

Angela, Cindy, Chuck, Bob, Carolyn, Jim, and Don
Hanging out at Eiler's Inn. (clockwise from lower left) Angela, Cindy, Chuck, Bob, Carolyn, Jim, and Don (center)
Kathy, since she was missing from the other photo

For eating — and we did a lot of it — we went back to many of our old favorites: Las Brisas, Aegean Cafe, Hennessey's. We also tried a new (to us) place, Rick's Partners Bistro, and it is now our new favorite restaurant. Everything was excellent -- the food, the service, the ambiance! Rick himself visited our table to check that we were satisifed. We were. Alas, we did not have time to try everything on the menu that caught our eye, which was almost everything.

A Passion for Art

The Pageant of the Masters was terrific this year. The theme was A Passion For Art, certainly ambiguous enough to encompass almost any tableau one wanted to include. There were some incredible statues and a fun series of posters. Unfortunately, one of us should have had coffee after dinner. Damn, I really hate it when I fall asleep during something I really want to see!

As usual, we spent a lot of time strolling through town, popping into any shops that looked interesting. Fortunately, I had left all my credit cards at home, at the suggestion of Jim and the insistence of Trader Paul. Chuck and Kathy, on the other hand, bought three small pieces at the Festival of Arts, and Carolyn went back a second time to check out a painting at Laguna Fine Art. That's as far as it went — the price turned out to be an insurmountable obstacle. Even Trader Paul on a good year would have had to decline.

Check out the slideshow of pictures (sidebar).