We just came back from visiting our daughter in Long Beach, California. Because of this trip I am behind in my posting and commenting on my friends’ blogs. It was nice to be in the cool California weather – low 70 degrees (21-22 centigrade) instead of our hot and humid Georgia weather – which has been in the mid 90s (33-35 degree C.) Our daughter Céline does not live far from the Pacific Ocean, so there is always a cool breeze.
Photo courtesy Bob PoteLong Beach is a vibrant, world class city with a long history. The first residents were a Native American tribe known as the Tongva – which means “the people of the earth.” Then the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo and his crew landed on its shores in 1542. It took another two hundred years for Spain to be interested in this coastal area. In 1784, Manuel Nieto was awarded a 300,000 acre land grant by Spain. His daughter, Manuela Cota inherited his ranch “Rancho Los Cerritos.” We visited it last year and it was the subject of my first post- you can read it here.
Céline has been living in Long Beach for seven years now. We visit her at least once a year and she always finds new places for us to explore. Long Beach is quite large, in fact it is the fifth largest city in California and has almost ½ million inhabitants. It is about 20 miles (32 km) south of downtown Los Angeles. The port of Long Beach is one of the world’s largest shipping ports. It also has a large oil industry – and oil wells can be seen in various places in town. Below is a postcard showing a map of Southern California with Los Angeles, then Long Beach below it.
Rancho Los Cerritos garden (click on picture to enlarge it)Oil was discovered on Signal Hill in 1921 and soon after the hill was covered with over 100 oil derricks. Here is a vintage postcard showing Signal Hill.
Long Beach grew out of the Nieto tracts and was incorporated as a city in 1897. Because of its perfect climate Long Beach was known as the motion picture capital of the world until post World War 1, then Hollywood was developed. Until then the Balboa silent-film studios were very successful. They were located in Long Beach and used Signal Hill for outdoor locations. Many movie stars like W. C. Fields lived along Ocean Avenue. Below is a postcard showing Ocean Avenue which is still a large avenue where many hotels, restaurant and trendy shops are located. It is bordered by tall palm trees.
modern postcard, photo by Tim Sumner
Signal Hill is now a small incorporated town totally surrounded by Long Beach. It is very close to our daughter’s home. On top of the hill is a park called Hilltop Park. In the 1500s Native Americans used the hill to signal to their relations on Santa Catalina Island, 26 miles away. The smoke signals could be seen for miles and the hill became known as “Signal Hill.” We were there on a sunny day and could see panoramic views of Los Angeles.
There are plaques with data to explain the history of the hill.
Spruce Goose, a H-4 Hercules aircraft, took off over the Long Beach Harbor and made its first and only flight. At the time the Spruce Goose was the world’s largest airplane. It is still the largest airplane made of wood. Below are pictures of the H-4 Hercules and of Howard Hughes inside the cockpit, the night before the flight in Long Beach.
Last Sunday my husband, daughter Céline, nephew (who is studying for his PhD at the University of California Los Angeles) and his girlfriend and I went to the Long Beach South East Farmers’ Market, a small certified farmer’s market.
It is located in a lovely harbor area of Alamitos Bay Marina about 2 miles from Céline’s condo. The organic fruits looked juicy and tantalizing – prices a bit high though. (Georgia peaches are 99 cents a pound here in Georgia.)
A stand displayed many varieties of potatoes – some I had never seen. All the vegetable looked super fresh.
There were also breads for sale, jams, olives and beautiful flowers. Even puppies were ready to be adopted.
At the other end of the farmers’ market was another market selling crafts, clothes, creams, jewelry and more. I purchased some locally made cream - gardenia fragrance. The vendor, Alex, kindly posed for a photo.
It was difficult to make a choice as all the creams had sweet scents.
Belly dance anyone?
While our group was walking closer to take a look at the puppies I wandered toward the marina.
I walked down the small dock as I could see a couple of ducks and my camera was ready…
Then I heard footsteps behind me – I had not seen anyone. I turned around. A small child with a painted face was looking at me. I asked his name “Frederick” he said. I took his picture
then I turned back around as the ducks were swimming toward me.
I looked back to tell Frederick to look at the ducks. He was gone. I never heard him leave. I saw my husband, my nephew and his girl friend watching me from afar. Later on I asked them if they had seen the kid. No they said, they never saw a kid. My daughter said it must have been a ghost as there were no kids around. I have his picture though…
Now it was time to drive another mile to take a walk in the Japanese Garden. Such a perfect day – sunny, warm, blue sky, palm trees…. it would be nice to walk in a peaceful garden - but that will be for another post.