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Southern California trip - Montecito and Laguna Beach?

Southern California trip - Montecito and Laguna Beach?

Old May 4th, 2009, 02:56 AM
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Southern California trip - Montecito and Laguna Beach?

My husband and I will be spending a week in California in June, to possibly interview in my company's offices in Costa Mesa and Palo Alto. For the first three nights, we would like to stay in southern Orange County and get a feel for the lifestyle there. I cannot decide between staying in Newport (at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort) or in Laguna (at the Inn at Laguna Beach or Pacific Edge Hotel). Can anyone recommend which city/hotel and why? We will have a car, but would like to be well-enough located to walk to dinners/drinks at night. Are there any areas that potential future residents should visit, or any local favorites to try for food/entertainment?

Secondly, while driving up the coast we would like to stop one night in Santa Barbara-area, and another in Carmel/Monterey. I found two great VRBO properties that are available for the single night in Montecito near the beach - but is there much to do there within a walk? Or is parking in Santa Barbara not an issue if we want to drive for dinner? I understand that downtown Santa Barbara is about 3 miles away, and not sure if we should stay there instead (albeit for more money)
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Old May 4th, 2009, 02:58 AM
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Sorry meant to add thanks for any help!- Rachel
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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PCH is really busy around the Balboa Bay Club. While there are several restaraunts within walking distance, only the area around the docks will be pleasant. Laguna is much better for those evening strolls back to the hotel after dinner. Overall, restarants in Newport will be better, but they are spread out. If you do stay in Newport and want an inexpensive night out, there is a good Cajun place between Margaritaville and Chilis that you can walk to from the Club.
IMO- if you want to use this trip to decide if you want to move to OC, stay in Costa Mesa near the office and use the time to explore parts of OC you would live in.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 06:13 AM
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Hi Frank-

Thanks for the tips. Laguna sounds like it will be better for us given the traffic info. I totally agree on staying near the office - but the other point of the trip is to introduce my Aussie husband to California in general (first time), so thought maybe we could drive around the neighborhoods, or go out to dinner with colleagues nearer to the office to get an idea, but still treat it sort of as a vacation.

Do you have an idea how far away from Costa Mesa could we realistically live given traffic? I dont know if all of OC is commutable, or if its better to stay only in neighboring towns.

Thanks for tip on Cajun place - another great thing to introduce my Aussie to!
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:40 AM
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Hi Rachel
From Costa Mesa you can live in most of OC and have a 'reasonable' commute, but if you are staying in Laguna, it would be a grind w/traffic to see a house in say Tustin or Anaheim Hills. Costa Mesa has nice expensive parts and parts people call 'Coastal Misery.' So choosing the best town for your future is importatnt. IMO-Laguna is great if you have the money, Irvine if you are mid range, or Mission Viejo if you are starting out.

If you stay in Costa Mesa, go to Scotts for Seafood w/a show at the Perf Arts Center, and do a takeout at Nikkis Indian.
Good Luck Rachel
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:51 AM
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Regarding your trip here in June - I agree that staying in Laguna Beach will be a lot more fun. Lots of places to walk to and the beach is great.

What is a "reasonable commute" for you? I work in Costa Mesa and live in San Clemente. My commute is about 30 minutes each way if I use the 73 toll road. If I use the freeway in the morning it takes about 35 minutes. I pretty much never take the freeway home - too much traffic.

I can also tell you that living anywhere that requires you to drive north on the 55 freeway to get home from work will be a killer drive. The traffic northbound on the 55 is usually really, really bad once it's after 3pm in the afternoon.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:33 PM
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Surf and Sand resort in Laguna Beach is lovely..right on the beach..
Montecito..we love staying at the San Ysidro Ranch Inn..stunning property but expensive.
Hampton Inn in Goleta/SB is new and really nice if you want to keep it under $200..flat screen tvs, good beds and linens.
Carmel..we have stayed at the Hyatt Highlands Inn but hear that the Tickled Pink is a great place to stay too.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for everyone's advice. Currently we are spoiled in terms of travel time to work - we live in Geneva, Switzerland where "commute" is sort of non-existent since the city is quite small and surrounding areas are mostly farm/vineyards. That said, I would definitely consider anything 30 minutes or less desirable, and of course the shorter the better.

I will have a look at all the places mentioned - Surf and Sand looks just beautiful, and will check the Montecito property as well. Thanks!
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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You may also want to check out the Montage Resort in Laguna, we loved our stay there to celebrate an anniversary. We have also stayed at the Casa Laguna Inn and the Laguna Reef, across from the Montage. Try to go to Las Brisas for a meal while in Laguna, we also love the restaurants at The Montage.

The Highland's Inn is a very nice property in Carmel Highland's, we have stayed several times here and twice at the Tickle Pink Inn, so let me know if you have any questions about either of these places. La Playa is another nice choice, a historic property walking distance to the shops and restaurants in Carmel. Anton & Michel is a very nice choice for a meal in Carmel, we also love Bouchee, Grasing's, PortaBella & Casanova in Carmel. Have fun! ***kim***
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