When I travel, I’ll often walk to a dead end just to see what’s there. But here in O.C., I almost never venture to the end of any of our piers. I suppose I take them for granted. Plus, I’m focused on whatever’s next on my to-do list, or perhaps just lazy. “It’s too crowded,” “We don’t have time,” or “It’s kind of smelly out there” are various excuses I’ve used. Fortunately, others on our team are compelled to walk the length, saying things like “I always go to the end!” when asked about their thoughts on piers. So on a Wednesday in November, I wandered to the end of Balboa Pier … research!
I love our beaches in the offseason. The tourists are gone, but even on a fall weekday there’s still plenty of activity on the boardwalk and shoreline. As I walked along the pier, farther and farther from its base, things changed: The weather was different, and much of the chaos was left behind. There were a handful of fishermen, two or three couples taking strolls, and just one group of tourists snapping photos. Heading back, I paused to look over the railing at the water and marveled at its color and calm that day. It was easy to get lost in thought.
I smiled as I returned to the base of the pier and saw the restrictions listed in big letters on the ground: no dogs, diving, jumping, skating, bicycles, skateboarding, smoking. I saw two people riding bikes, one mangy dog, various smokers, and a guy on a skateboard going right across the list of banned activities. Ah, the relaxed nature of Balboa. No one can get away with breaking the rules on the pier in Huntington Beach.
I hope you’ll discover something intriguing in this month’s photo essay of the O.C. piers (Page 88) and give yourself an excuse to visit one soon.
My Favorite Things In This Issue
➜ My O.C.: Recollections about the Big Newport theater made me nostalgic for the many good times I spent there.
➜ Top Doctors: The health stories in our January issue never fail to bring tears to my eyes and gratitude to my heart.
➜ Snapshot: Kim Kanatani has the perfect resume to lead the Institute and Museum of California Art at UC Irvine.
➜ Person of Interest: Grower’s Ranch customers are sure to miss the warm welcome they get from Marco Gomez when he retires after 44 years.