Life at Land’s End

March 2010


Published March 2010

Few places on the planet need an interpreter more than Orange County. We’re reluctant to drive in the rain, but we’ll spend $1,400 for three hours at an aerial combat school. We’re prepared to forgive serial adulterer Tiger Woods, but we feel threatened by gay marriage. We go “green” in $75,000 Cadillac Escalade Hybrids. How to make sense of such things?

That’s why Orange Coast is introducing a familiar voice, one we think might enable us to better understand the endlessly fascinating place we call home. This month, Shawn Hubler launches her Land’s End column on Page 192.

Hubler has been a distinctive voice on the local media landscape—at both The Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times—for nearly 30 years.

“Before that,” she says, “I had seen Orange County only once, as a wide-eyed college student from Back East, visiting a boyfriend who had transferred to UC Irvine. The boyfriend and I graduated to other sweethearts, but I never quite got over Laguna Beach.”

She has lived in a number of local communities, including Corona del Mar, Balboa Island, and Laguna Beach. “I met my husband in Orange County. I acquired several of our best cats here. Two of our three children attended middle and high school here. I once almost learned to surf here. I’ve been a reporter, a mother, a renter, a homeowner, and a corporate spouse here. On the downside, I also once was trapped for 20 minutes in the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyland.”

Even if you don’t know Hubler’s name, you’ve probably enjoyed her stories for decades, including the unforgettable “Murder, Love & Redemption” in our February issue. (Missed that story about San Juan Capistrano lawyer James Whitehouse and the Manson girl he married? You can still read it at She says, “I’ll be writing each month about what it’s like to live in a place that—like all of Southern California and many of its inhabitants—is in constant transition.”

Her column will end each issue, which suggested the title: Land’s End. But the name also speaks to something essential about this sometimes precarious place of breathtaking beauty, tireless energy, and relentless change—and we can’t think of a writer better prepared to make sense of it all.

Martin J. Smith


Coming Up …
Did your favorites make our annual list of Orange County’s best restaurants? What six things do you need to know to raise chickens in your yard? How did Exene Cervenka, L.A.’s godmother of punk, end up living a quiet life in Orange? You’ll find those answers and more in our April issue.

Illustration by John Ueland

Facebook Comments