Monthly Archives: October 2013

South Laguna Beach Community Garden Needs Help


Several years back, I noticed that a corner lot on the inland side of S. Coast Highway north of Aliso Beach had become a garden.  I had seen people tending to the garden and I always wondered what it was about, so I stopped by to check it out a couple of weeks ago.  The project is the South Laguna Beach Community Garden, and it needs our help!

Garden History

The first community garden was established in 2002 and lasted until 2004 when the owner of the land sold the property.  With that, the garden was removed.  It did not dampen the spirit of those who believed in this community project.  Morrie Grainger and the South Laguna Civic Association would not let this dream go setting up a task force to explore alternative locations for the garden.

The property changed hands a second time and a new opportunity at that location was born.  Long story short, the original site of the community garden was purchased and the right to use the land for the Community Garden for free was granted by the new owner.  In August of 2009, the work to put the garden back together had begun.  Largely the result of donations, volunteer work, and the unwillingness to let this idea go, the community garden was destined to spring back to life.  Here are some of the cool things that were done to help the garden become reality in South Laguna Beach once again.

  • Landscape Architect Ann Christoph donated her time and drew up the plans for the new garden.
  • South Coast Water District donated a water meter.
  • Laguna Nursery donated supplies including gates, plumbing, vines and more.
  • The Beckham Family donated a shed that was brought to Laguna Beach by horse buggy in 1917 and Laguna Beach Towing helped get it to the community garden.

There are so many people to mention and it is important to acknowledge the efforts. This is truly a success story when it comes to a community movement to get something done that positively impacts the community.  The hope is that other communities and land owners can see the value this adds to South Laguna Beach and they make moves to establish community gardens all over Southern California and nationally.  The community re-opened in December of 2009 on the wings of donations and volunteer work.  What a great story!

As it stands today, members of the community rent plots of land to do their gardening.  There is even a children’s garden and a section of garden that is used to produce vegetables that are donated to those in need.  They do gardening classes and demonstrations with garden days that include these activities and music.  Families, children, community members, community leaders and visitors are all united in the belief that the garden has a place in this community and that it is positively impacting the area.

There is a new opportunity that has come to fruition as a result of the owner putting the property up for sale.  The South Laguna Beach Community Garden would like to buy the property from the owner so that they can continue to do the good work they do in the community.  We like the idea of a garden that brings people together, teaches the community about gardening, provides healthy outdoor activities for families with children and keeps an undeveloped plot of land from becoming overgrown and unsightly.  There is no draw back to having a garden there.  They are accepting donations to help them buy the property and I suspect that they will get this done.  The community has  a lot invested in this project and I can’t imagine a situation where this collective dream and community do not make this happen.

For more information on the Community Garden and how to help them purchase this property, Click Here.

Posted in South Laguna Beach News Tagged , , |

Aliso Beach Phone Cases

New Aliso Beach Phone Case, Aliso Beach Phone Case, Aliso Beach IPhone Case,

Aliso Beach IPhone Case



I am pretty sure that we are the first to offer a line of Aliso Beach phone cases for IPhones and Samsung Galaxys.  Scotty Carter, with his love of Aliso Beach, has an incredible portfolio of art based on this South Laguna Beach gem that we are offering on phone cases.






We have cases for the following phone models:

  • IPhone 5
  • IPhone 5s
  • IPhone 5c
  • IPhone 6
  • IPhone 6 Plus
  • IPhone 6s
  • IPhone 6 Plus S
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung Galaxy S5

We have Aliso Beach Art based cases.  The cases are sleek.  They fit over the phone nicely and have just enough ridge to keep you from destroying your phone.  We have not lost a single phone or case with the case line we now offer. We weren’t always able to say that.  With previous manufacturers and printers, we found that cases did a great job of protecting the phone but made of such rigid materials that while they kept the phone safe, they weren’t able to stand up to the types of drops that we all expose our phones to.

What We Think Consumers Look For In A Phone Case

We believe that people want something cool and different.  We also believe that people want something that is reasonably priced and that will hold up.  Phone cases should not need to be replaced due to their breaking.  We want people to replace phone cases because they love the Aliso Beach Art so much that they have to add to their collection.  It is bittersweet to save your phone and lose your case.  We feel lucky to have found a manufacturer and printer that has a solution that allows us to offer cases reasonably priced ( priced lower than big case names in the market place) that display well, protect the phone, and survive the drops themselves.  Phone cases shouldn’t be throw away items and yet many of the commercialized manufacturers out there that offer printing are just that.  We feel like customers should expect a case that has a great design, is durable, and does not cost an arm and a leg.

At the Aliso Beach website, we offer fresh phone case designs with a product that does not break the bank or need to be replaced after you drop your phone. We have your back.  This is a great product.  We add a sealant to the print job so your case design holds up.  Our wholesale partners have tested these phone cases to prove how durable they are. There would be no point in being this excited about this product if they had not proved their weight in gold.

With Aliso Beach Art you can get a stylish new case that will make sure your phone stays protected without sacrificing the case when it drops.  The price is less than your typical well-known and supposed high quality retailer out there. Aliso Beach phone cases make a great birthday or Christmas gift and they go a long way to making sure that you are not replacing a phone!

In addition to getting a cool phone case that protects your phone, 30% of the profit will go to local charities benefiting Aliso Beach.


Posted in Aliso Beach Products Tagged , , , , |

President Lincoln


It turns out that President Abraham Lincoln wasn’t just the Great Emancipator and he did something very specific that helped lead to the early settling of South Laguna Beach, some of which included the Aliso Beach area.  In 1862, President Lincoln with the support of Congress, enacted a law that gave American Citizens, those that intended to become American Citizens, and freed slaves that became citizens with an amendment to the Constitution in 1868, the ability to claim government lands so long as they could show that they had improved it.  The only caveat to this law was that you could have never taken up a gun or arms against the United States.  Until this law, government lands were reserved for those with the bank accounts to pay for the land.  This government policy led to worry that the powerful and elite would monopolize land in the the United States.  This act was called the Homestead Act.  Those that applied for claims were given up to 160 acres with the agreement that the land would be built upon and improved.  Twenty five percent of those that applied were able to keep their land based on planting, building out and developing their claims.

In Laguna Beach, California and in the Aliso Beach area, land plots of 160 acres were given to citizens that required planting 40 acres of their plot.  This movement evolved out west here along the cost with the Timber Culture Act of 1873 where you could get 160 acres of land from the government out west if you planted 10 acres of trees on your claim.  Because this area  was experiencing growth and lumber for building was in demand, Australian eucalyptus trees were planted in Laguna Beach due to their ability to provide shade. The fact that the wood from the trees lacked suitability for building made it the tree of choice.  Without question, the eucalyptus tree is a part of the unique landscape and charm of Laguna Beach!  A Homestead Claim was made by the Thurston Family in Aliso Canyon on land that is now the Ranch At Laguna Beach.  By the way, this property featured the first golf course in Laguna Beach.  Although only nine holes and once a part of a move to have it be an exclusive country club, this short course is said to be challenging, teeming with wild life, natural and serene.  Who knew President Lincoln had such an influence in the development of Laguna, California and the west?

Posted in Aliso Beach History Tagged , , , , |

Drum Circle


Spending time on Facebook, I am seeing more and more Fan Pages related to Laguna Beach.  Laguna has always been special to me as summer vacations found me down in Laguna as a child.  I happened to notice that one of the fan pages that I stumbled into had pictures from an event that took me back to my fraternity days in college.  Some of my Tau Kappa Epsilon Brothers from the Tau Rho Chapter at Cal-State University San Marcos were huge Grateful Dead Fans.  I held out as long as I could and eventually liked their music as well.  Jerry Garcia was amazing.  It took awhile but I eventually understood why the infectious music was so popular.  One of the things my brother Lance liked to do was play the drums.  He was this earthy, rough around the edges, music-oriented, almost hippy-like guy who surfed and was a lot of fun.  He had drums and he would often play them as well as travel south to Ocean Beach for Drum Circles.  He would even try and help me overcome my musical challenges showing me how to play a couple of beats on the drum.  I never got very good at it but I did gain an appreciation for the sound of a bongo style drum.  The only way I can describe the sound is to say that it left you with positive vibes and made you happy even when you weren’t the person banging on those bongos!

When I read about the Aliso Beach Drum Circle online, I was like, “Wow, when is the next one?  I want to be a part of that”!  So, it seems that a local company called La Vida Laguna is leading the Drum Circle Movement at Aliso Beach on the full moon of every month.  I am bummed that I missed the October 2oth event but will gear up for November 17th.  There are families, dancing, bonfires, drums and a chance to get together with part of the Laguna Beach community in a celebration of life!

The group also has a hand in letting people know about all of the great things they can do in Laguna Beach including activities like the rapidly growing sport of  Stand Up Paddle Boarding.  For more information on all of the fun in the sun that you can have in Laguna Beach, I recommend you check them out by clicking on Here!  Mark you calendar for next month and join the festivities on the full moon for a night of drums, bonfires, community, celebration and good vibes!

Posted in Aliso Beach Events Tagged , , , |

The First Encounter


My name is Rob.  I grew up a jock in Pasadena, California.  Baseball was in my blood having grown up watching the Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Ron Cey and Reggie Smith led Dodgers and the Rod Carew, Don Baylor, Bobby Grich and Brian Downing led Angels.  I wanted to be a professional baseball player and then something snapped, and that dream began to fade for all of the right reasons.  As a kid, summer vacations to San Clemente and Main Beach Laguna were a part of my upbringing.  There is no question I loved the ocean, but it did not occur to me that being at the beach was a year long sport and lifestyle.  Maybe I just didn’t know that this was the lifestyle I wanted.  As I continued to make friends that had a passion for surfing and body boarding in the San Gabriel valley, I was spending much more time at the beach and I became torn.  I loved baseball and still do, but after meeting Paul Clare of Cartel Body Boards and eventually meeting Scotty Carter, Henry Long, Marty Bailen, Scott Rasmussen, Scotto and Derek McClain, I found the grip that the sport of baseball had on me loosening quickly.  This set the ball in motion for a change in what I wanted and an eventual end to the dream of playing pro baseball.

body boarding, Aliso Beach

Catching  a wave At Aliso Beach.  Photo Credit: Scotty Carter

I remember the first time I saw Aliso Beach. I had no clue about this beach, and if it wasn’t for a perfectly peeling wave as a friend and I drove by, the time I would have spent at Aliso Beach may have been cut in half.   It was my junior year of high school in 1987, and at that point, I was still living in the San Gabriel Valley almost an hour and a half from South Laguna Beach.  A good friend of mine wanted to get away for the weekend and we hatched this plan to throw the body boards and supplies into his car and camp out at the coast.  We were driving south on Pacific Coast Highway on our way to Salt Creek, and I don’t remember if there was supposed to surf  as big or as good as the wave I saw from the car.  We came down the hill passed Treasure Island (Now The Home Of Montage Laguna, Beach), and I caught a glimpse of a body boarder getting pitted and come out of an A-Frame left on the north side of the pier.  My jaw dropped, and I told my friend to make a u-turn.  We got up the hill and found a protected u-turn signal up the street headed back north.  The only other times I had been to Laguna were Main Beach to the north and Salt Creek to thw south.  I had never scouted between Main Beach and Salt Creek so this was a new adventure to me and the first encounter with Aliso Beach.

We drove into an Aliso Beach parking lot that I had never been in and I jumped out of the car to check this wave out.  It was glassy and warm with a consistent 5-6 foot wave pitching over a sand bar perfectly.  It wasn’t long before I ripped my board out of the trunk, grabbed my fins and paddled out.  The guys in the water were cool and didn’t seem too disturbed at someone they didn’t know showing up.  I was a foreigner at that point to local vibe anyways.  I scored wave after wave after wave and those that were out before me all got really good

Treasure Island, Aliso Beach, Treasure Island Pier, Laguna Beach, South Laguna Beach

Aliso Beach Pier before its removal in 1999.  Photo Credit: Scotty Carter

waves as well.  I will never forget it. The water had this mesmerizing color and the presence of the pier was  awe inspiring.  By comparison to other piers, being that close to the pier was something new.  Huntington Beach and San Clement Piers on the north side were dominated by surfers and the current on the south side of those piers forced you to paddle out a distance from them to keep from being pulled into the pier.  After a day of body boarding and meandering about the Aliso Beach Park area, we set up camp on one of the streets on the north side of Pacific Coast Highway above Aliso.  It had to be around 10th street but I can’t be for sure.  We had the running joke that sleeping in that old American Sedan was Camp Snoopy.  We didn’t care!  It was just nice to be down at the beach.

This experience among others, and the growing numbers of friends that were making the trek to the beach all the time from the San Gabriel Valley had me thinking about how to get down to the beach.  It was something I just could not get enough of.  For several years after that, Aliso Beach was among the first places I checked on the way down to Salt Creek.  Many times it was better than most of the other spots in the area and so I was blessed to have ridden incredible waves at Aliso Pier before it was torn down in 1998 for good.  In my opinion, the loss of the pier was a real tragedy.  It was something the body boarding community, among the many wave riding groups that frequented Aliso Beach, had a real appreciation of.  We always knew the pier had a lot to do with the waves.  Although the waves  still get really good at Aliso Beach, and I hate to be that guy who stares back in to time retrospectively with the claim that the waves were better in my day, that the years prior to the dismantling of the Aliso Beach Pier were all-time and that the waves were better than they are today by far, is not something this guy will budge an inch on.  It just isn’t the same, and it doesn’t need to be.  Time changes everything!  I just feel lucky to have been a part of an era that was so magical and am grateful for the first encounter that made this place so special to me.

Posted in Aliso Beach Stories Tagged , , , , , , , |