08 May, 2013

USA Adventure: Part 5 - Long Beach!

We left San Diego and headed up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, but I'm such a local now I call it the PCH :P) taking in the beautiful beachy views and the charming little coastal towns along the way. It was a glorious day and this was pretty much the only time I regretted not getting a convertible. We got the first half out of the way with our foot to the floor, eager to reach not only our destination but the famous towns along the way like Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.
We passed through Laguna but by the time we reached Newport we decided we needed to stretch our legs. A stop for coffee at Starbucks turned into a bit more of an adventure when we stumbled on this cool place just down the road - Joe's Crab Shack! It looked cool from the outside and was even cooler on the inside! Lots of fun beach-themed decor as well as some huge sharks coming out of the roof. It was set right on the water and had huge windows to enjoy the view. Unfortunately we didn't eat here but I did try my first Coronita Rita - a margarita with a mini Corona upturned into it! Sounds weird I know and I was a little hesitant at first but these things are DELICIOUS! They also give you a rather lovely buzz and considering I wasn't driving I thought, what the heck?
Heading into Huntington Beach a famous icon crept up on us and from the middle lane I yelled STOOOOP!! And we did a sneaky pull over into none other than Don The Beachcombers!! It was early afternoon and we were pretty keen to check in to our accommodation in Long Beach but we couldn't pass up this amazing opportunity. We'll just call in for a quick drink we said. YEAH RIGHT! While checking out the bar we met a lovely couple from Buena Park (right near Knott's Berry Farm) who we got on with like a house on fire. 'A quick drink' turned into a long lunch and plenty of cocktails with these lovely people. We didn't want to leave but we had to keep moving, so we exchanged details and planned to meet up again when we got to LA.
After a couple of confusing turns we finally found our way to our accommodation for the night, the amazing Queen Mary. The Queen Mary is an historic ship that was built in the 30s and was once a luxury ocean liner that became a troopship in WWII and was once again returned to a passenger ship by 1947. After 20 more years of service she was finally retired and has now been transformed into a stunning floating hotel in Long Beach, with much of her original timber, etched glass and furnishings still intact. She is also reported to be extremely haunted. I know one thing for certain though, she is breathtakingly beautiful!
We were lucky enough to stay aboard for two nights and one the first night decided (ok so I had to talk The Man into it) to take a late night tour of the haunted ship. We were guided by a paranormal specialist (who apparently has his own TV show in the US) and got to use special paranormal equipment to detect any potential activity. We also got to explore some amazing parts of the ship that the general public don't have access to such as the engine room, an old stage and green room, the abandoned first and third class pool, inside the furtherest point of the bow and the famous 'door 13' where two men have been crushed to death in two seperate incidences. Nothing particularly frightening happened but it was really interesting to see these parts of the ship (The Man thought he may as well have just thrown his $75 off the front of the ship :P)
The next day we headed into to town to do some shopping and exploring. We found our way to 4th Street, notorious for it's long stretch of vintage shops and boy were we in heaven! We bought lots of stuff and spent a lot of time pining over vintage treasures that we could't take back with us. I spent a while gazing upon some beautiful kitchen chairs trying to figure out a way to fit the set of 4 into my suitcase. Ha. We also stopped in for a 'snack' at one of the best Mexican restaurants I have ever been to - Lola's! It's a quaint little place and quite unassuming from the outside but the margaritas are delicious and the queso fundido was AMAZING!! So. Much. Cheese!
We enjoyed a light dinner and some fabulous drinks in the art deco bar aboard the Queen Mary before turning in for the night, ready to head to Palm Springs in the morning, but not before stopping in at Hawleywoods for The Man to get a cut...and that's all I'll say about that.
You can catch up on the beginning of my USA adventure in Vegas including my Vegas tattoo, the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender, the wild west and tiki bars of Arizona, our San Diego experience, making it back alive from Tijuana, Long Beach and the Queen Mary, amazing Palm Springs and all the adventures of Hollywood!

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