Fun and heartwarming family bonding at enchanting Hermosa Beach

An advanced Mother’s Day treat, I’d like to think. Can’t say enough about how lovely and enjoyable my vacation was with my family.  Lazing it out on the beach on a fabulous  spring day is unmatched.  Especially when spending the time with family.

My son John, daughter-in-law Natasha, grandson Eliott favored me with a very special treat by taking me to Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles, for a week’s visit with my daughter Joy and son-in-law Matt. Hermosa Beach is a charming home-townish community sandwiched between Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach in Los Angeles. Hermosa Beach somehow has retained the simple, more laid-back, down-to-earth ambience so much more conducive to comfortable relaxation, sans the hassle and glitter of a commercialized tourist resort (like its close neighbor, Manhattan Beach).  Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t complain if someone gave me the gift of a week’s stay at Manhattan Beach. But I was perfectly happy with my grandiose vacation with my family at Joy and  Matt’s Hermosa Beach home just a block and a half from the shore.

Fun, heartwarming, magnificent, perfect just about sum it all.

The perks of our Hermosa Beach vacation [Photos by Joy Jacob Rosenburg (1); Eliott Nathaniel Jacob (2); John Stanley Jacob (3)]

I recall that during the drive, it was mesmerizing to see the ocean and the stretch of wide beach bordered by lines of beautiful homes most of which were characterized by large glass windows that practically walled the structure fronting the ocean view. Not surprising at all, what prices those homes in the upper range is the magnificent scenery.  My 12-year-old grandson Eliott and I engaged in a dream game during the drive – we chose our favorite houses on the strip and tried to beat each other in blurting, “I want to buy that!”, or “No, that’s mine!” —  taking claim ahead of the other.  Of course, just a wish, a spontaneous dream that lasted the few minutes while driving along the shore from Manhattan Beach to Hermosa Beach.

The truth is, we were just as happy to be able to sit on the beach, watch the waves, listen to the foamy laces lashing on the shore, and gaze at the sunset. And most delightedly grateful with vacationing that week at my daughter and her husband’s lovely Hermosa Beach home.

Soon after arrival, after all the warm greetings and hugs, we had no second thoughts when a walk to the pier was suggested.  It was late afternoon before sunset. The weather was mildly cool, just perfect for leisurely trek.  The beach, only a few minutes from my daughter and her husband’s home, was so wide and inviting that everyone decided that we spend at least a whole day sitting out on the shore close to the waves on the warmest day of that week, which was Thursday or Friday. The boardwalk was busy that late afternoon with walkers, some of them holding their pet dogs on the leash.  Along the way, my daughter pointed to the row of small restaurants one of which was her favorite because it had the best burrito in town, she assured us. Several volleyball nets were set up on the sand, widely used especially on weekends and warm weather days. At the pier, we chose benches midway where we just sat, watching up close the waves below and listening to the thunderous peals of water crashing on the shore.  Strangely, the voluminous sound was calming and restful.  When we had our good fill of the fabulous scenery, we walked to nearby charming downtown and ended up having dinner at a (New York) pizza place where I had the biggest and best pizza I had ever eaten.

Beach day was Thursday. Temperature in the low 80’s.  Perfect. Blue sky, foamy waves, children noisily cavorting with the teasing waves. Wide umbrellas to shield from the glaring sun. Refreshing breeze.  And yummy burritos! John brought wetsuits for him and Eliott, and both braved the surfing waves and dove underneath.  We watched a few surfers gliding over tall crests of water folds.  And then of course, we dozed a little bit. A magnificent day not short at all of our expectations.

I think back of the sumptuous dinner our most gracious hosts, Joy and Matt, prepared for us out on their patio.  The table was elegantly arranged for fine dining. A few feet away was the fire pit burning in the middle of several comfortable outdoor lounging chairs. On the patio rim hung a stream of bulbs that gave faint glimmer in the dark soon after the orange-amber sun slithered on the ocean’s horizon. With the fresh sea breeze that enriched the balmy air and the rhythmic thud of waves not a great distance away, the setting couldn’t have been more magical.  And of course, the food was tops: filet mignon, lobsters, pork belly, chicken and escargot cooked to perfection by Matt, the home “barbecue master chef”, with pasta and salads on the side.  A gorgeous treat indeed!

To enjoy some of the perks of vacation by the beach, John, Natasha and Eliott went biking the stretch of the shoreline for four hours and then went paddle boating.  While my son-in-law had to do some work in his office upstairs, my daughter and I spent one afternoon resting in the family room, catching up on a TV series that my daughter introduced me to, on the lives of society’s crème de la crème of an early era. In trying to recall the story line, the plot has blurred for me, but I well remember my fascination and awe at the ladies’ fabulous attires, the fine laces and intricate gowns. A very restful afternoon for Joy and me.

Breakfasts before the days’ activities were most interesting.  Especially on the morning when my son John cooked for us thick burgers on a (professional chef’s) wide grill in Joy’s kitchen. The resulting sandwiches were huge – cheese, tomatoes, onion rings, lettuce generously packed with layers of burgers between perfectly toasted Brioche buns.  Oh heavenly! And oh so filling!

Not to ignore was the skittish drama between two pet dogs, Burt (mix-bred Cairn Terrier and Lhasa Apso) from the Bay Area and Jackson (German Shepherd) of Hermosa Beach. It took two days for those two to accept each other‘s presence – much to the chagrin of their owners/families. Small Burt surprisingly revealed his assertive, aggressive personality that big Jackson learned to tolerate.  The edgy first encounter caused nervous moments for us all, to be honest – but which dissipated the third day of our visit. Both dogs went civil, at least, much to our relief.  We all love them both.

I so enjoyed that vacation week at enchanting Hermosa Beach.  Best of all was the heartwarming family bonding.  A very special blessing that I thank God for.

Linda P. Jacob