Finding some (extra) bliss in Laguna Niguel
Things weren’t going so badly. My extended family had decided to have a reunion over the holidays and the east coasters readily agreed to come west for the sunny weather. (Remember sunny weather? As I write this, it’s been raining nonstop for the last five days. But normally we DO have sun here in L.A.) My sister, the master negotiater, had managed to get us a group rate discount on club floor rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, and we were, as the saying goes, sitting pretty: the Club Room offered us five food “presentations” a day–not meals, presentations–although they hadn’t realized who they were dealing with and we certainly showed THEM, managing to make three to four full meals a day out of itsy-bitsy sandwiches and teeny-weeny canapes.
After a few days of sitting and eating our way through the morning, afternoon and evening, we needed a break. It was time to leave the hotel and tear ourselves away from the chairs in the Club Room which were beginning to take on the curves of our butts. Someone in our group suggested we walk to town, do a little shopping, work off a little of breakfast (Food Presentation #1) before we committed ourselves to moving on to lunch (Food Presentation #2 although it did occasionally bleed into Food Presentation #3.). So off we set to go to “town”, like the intrepid explorers we were.
Only problem was: we had no idea where town was or how far. Or even what it was called: were we going to Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, or Dana Point? Were they all towns? And which direction were we supposed to go, anyway? After wandering around aimlessly for a few minutes, we spotted a local library branch and I said, “Oh, I wanted to see if I could check out some books for a day or two.” So we crossed the street and as we neared the library we saw a sign that said “Book Sale.”
Now, I love library book sales. Our local Palisades branch does one every couple of months or so and I’ve both donated to it and bought from it (which illustrates the property of either equilibrium or status quo, I’m not sure which). So my pace quickened with the thrill of the hunt.
As we came toward the entrance of the library, I faltered, a little disappointed: there seemed to be nothing special about this book sale: a few shelving units spread near the entrance of the library with the usual assortment of junky vacation novels for 25 cents a pop, all turning a faded color from being out in the sun.
And then my sister said, “Hey, look. There’s a real bookstore here.”
And sure enough, there was. It even had its own entrance, off to the left. I’d almost missed it. We went inside and there we found a really really good used bookstore, well stocked and well-priced, run by the Friends of the Dana Point Library, with the proceeds going to the library. Read the rest of this entry »