The Famous Newport Coast Sign in California

Kennon-Green & Co. Fiduciary Financial Advisor, Wealth Management, Global Value Investing

We’re visiting Rancho Santa Margarita, Newport Coast, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Rancho Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates, and much more this afternoon on our way up to the Santa Barbara area.  It’s going to be quite a bit of time in the car, but I have my notebook ready and I’ll be taking pictures as Aaron and I study each community.

Waking Up and Leaving Laguna Beach

We woke up, packed the bags, and left the hotel in Laguna Beach …

Walking Down to Beach with Coffee Before Getting In Car at Laguna Beach

We went to the Orange Inn for coffee, like I promised yesterday. It was good. The baked muffins weren’t that great – Aaron’s was burnt and mine was far too sharp in flavor profile – but the ambiance was so enjoyable I can see going there all the time if in Laguna Beach.

Saying Goodbye to Hotel

We said goodbye to the hotel – I took another picture because the flowers looked a different color under the dark skies – and headed to Rancho Santa Margarita as a detour before going up the coast.

Mountains Around Rancho Santa Margarita

The mountains are different around Rancho Santa Margarita. Because it is so cold and overcast here (“cold” is a relative term – it’s in the mid-60’s on the Fahrenheit scale), they look dark, which I loved.

Street in Rancho Santa Margarita

While the streets themselves weren’t great, Rancho Santa Margarita had the best landscaping budget of any city we had visited. I didn’t get many pictures, but nearly every major avenue was lined with some sort of fragrant flower, colorful bush, or green tree. You can tell they prioritize the budget for it (which makes sense given that the surrounding area is one of the richest in California with a median income of 3-4x the national average).  The magnolia trees in the center island are the same ones Aaron loves from Disneyland.

Magnolia Trees in Rancho Santa Margarita

… More magnolia trees in Rancho Santa Margarita …

Laguna Woods California

We cut through Laguna Woods to get back on the road up the coast …

Newport Coast California

Then we were off on today’s journey. This was the famous Newport Coast sign. The neighborhoods here were breathtaking.  This one’s not good enough, let’s get a little closer.

The Famous Newport Coast Sign in California

That’s better. Welcome to Newport Coast, California.

Newport Coast View of Ocean

Climbing the hills into Newport Coast, you can see the view of the ocean …

Gated Communities in Newport Coast California

The gates for the individual communities within Newport Coast are beautiful. This is my kind of place.  I love that level of structure and the proportion of the overall plants to the window size.  Well done.

Another Gated Community in Newport Coast California

Another gate …

The Mansions of Newport Coast

The houses are built around the view of the ocean. Some of these are monstrously large; e.g., look at the real estate listing for this 13,000+ square foot estate with a nearly $30,000,000 price tag. Perhaps it’s the Midwesterner in me, but I don’t quite get that.  To each his own, again, just like the dog dress shop we saw in Laguna Beach.  Whatever floats your boat.  I’m all for people spending their money how they want.  If anything, it’s generating property tax for the government and attracting a lot of high-spending, high-net-worth individuals to the state.

The Resort at Pelican Hill Villas

If you want to vacation in Newport Coast, you can book villas for around $400 a night. It seems like a great place to get away for a weekend if you lived in Los Angeles or somewhere.

More Pelican Hill Villas in Newport Coast

More villas for the resort …

Newport Beach and Huntington Beach Highway

Alright, I’m just going to say it. If this were a game of Civilization, I’d march my armies over your border and take your highway landscaping. I know I’ve mentioned this 6 or 7 times, but it never gets old. I keep bringing it up because this is ridiculous. When I return home, I’m going to take a picture of a highway median or roadside and show you how horrible and ugly they are due to the need to survive winter. You’ll understand my fascination. I promise.

Huntington Beach Roadsides

Now you’re just rubbing it in …

Famous Pier

The famous pier at Huntington Beach. I was tempted to pull over and go to the restaurant shown in my Korean drama “Heirs” where the main star learned her sister was not, in fact, going to university in the United States, but worked as a waitress, lived with her abusive boyfriend (before marriage, even!), and had been lying to her mute mother back in South Korea, who worked hard to send her the money she needed. It’s got to be somewhere along the coast, and I’m sure we’ll pass it. We’re on a schedule, though, so maybe next time …

Main Street Huntington Beach

I see why Huntington Beach is a tourist town, especially for someone who was young, had some disposable money, and wanted to spend a couple of weeks on the beach with friends over a summer. The beach itself is huge, the hotels and resorts are right across the street, there are a ton of restaurants …

Oil Platforms Huntington Beach

Why hello … drill, baby, drill.  I’ve seen more oil derricks and platforms in California than I do when I travel to Texas.

Long Beach California

We drove into Long Beach after going through some … questionable … areas.

Long Beach Bridge

After going through the cruise ships and office buildings, we went to cross the bridge, with countless global cargo ships the size of city blocks loading and unloading their freight.

Freight Loaded Onto Cargo Ships

These ships are staggering in size. When the crates are unloaded, they are put directly onto semi-trucks to be driven to their destination or, in some cases, double-stacked on train tracks that pull right up to the ship. It was fascinating to watch.

Freight Loading in Long Beach California

Rows and rows of loading areas … the pictures don’t give you an idea of the enormity of the operation. A good percentage of the appliances, furniture, clothing, and electronics in your home and office probably came through here before finding their way into your life. This is one of America’s main ports.  We’re going over that other huge bridge …

Driving Towards Rancho Palos Verdes

Apple Maps, for some inexplicable reason, has taken us quite an interesting route, through some very unpleasant neighborhoods. It looks like we’re finally heading toward Rancho Palos Verdes, though, so we’re back on schedule …  We’re on some road with houses overlooking the coast, with water as far as the eye can see to the left of us.

Fond of Windows Rancho Palos Verdes

I think it’s safe to say this person or family was fond of windows …

More Flowers Street Sign California

Damn it, California. Just … stop.  This is a random street sign.  Really?

Rancho Palos Verdes Ocean Road

We’re taking it on faith Apple Maps knows where we are going … this is a very long road and we’ll get there eventually. We hope. Maybe. At one point I saw Compton was nearby and if the app decided to route us through there, it’s safe to say the engineers need to work on the software logic.

Condos Facing the Ocean

A very pleasant line of little condos just appeared on the right side of the road … they are facing that huge ocean view with nothing else around them for the most part.

Road Finally Ending

The road we’ve been on forever appears to be ending …

Yes Road Finally Ended

Yep. It’s the end. There is a gas station to the left, so we’re going to stop, refuel, get a cup of coffee, and check the map app.

Pretty Street Sign

Rage. I feel nothing but rage. Admiration has turned to rage.  Maybe if you devoted as much effort to solving your state budget as you do your breathtaking street signs, California would be solvent >:(  Just kidding.  It’s disappointment in the weather of my home state, not rage.  I think I should start a Tumblr blog when I get home: “Ugly street signs of Missouri”.  You’ll get some cracked concrete, a few weeds, maybe a bit of graffiti.

Rancho Palos Verdes Mansion I Like This One

I like the door to this house a lot … it was just randomly on my side of the car looking out over the water.

Even the little houses are well done

I like that even the little, nice houses are well-done and fit in right alongside the feel of the community. Some of these are only a few blocks from the mega-estates.

Driving In Palos Verdes Estates Towards Pacific Palisades

This is a pleasant little road. We’re making our way through Palos Verdes Estates with the next major stop, which is still quite a ways away, being Pacific Palisades.

Turning the Corner California

We turned the corner and there is something – a lot of something – down there …

Palos Verdes Estates Pleasant Office

Palos Verdes Estates really is quite the pleasant place! This little development of offices was down at the bottom of the turn, and it appears there’s still quite a bit more here.

Square Enix Building North America

We’re passing the Square-Enix building near the LAX airport!

Square Enix Building Top

I managed to get a shot of the main building sign through the rear window …

There’s still a long way to go to Santa Barbara and Montecito but this post is getting long so I’ll split it into two parts.