Our new staff spotlight series allows you to get to know the staff of Visit Laguna Beach. We come from all over the country, but we have all landed in Southern California and are lucky to work in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Many days it feels like we’ve won the lottery being able to stroll down the street from our offices right onto the sand of Main Beach or to eat at some of the top restaurants in the county. Laguna Beach is an eclectic town and we in turn are an eclectic staff. It is our pleasure to share the secret and the not so secret treasures of Laguna Beach with you.
3 years with Visit Laguna Beach
I am originally from a small town in Arkansas (Berryville to be exact), which is 10 miles from Eureka Springs. Even though I have lived in California for many years, I still consider that small town to be my ‘home’. I am always amazed at how many people come into our Visitors Center who actually KNOW of Berryville. Yes, they know where Berryville is – shocking! Eureka Springs reminds me of Laguna Beach, without the beach. The setting is similar with rolling hills, a small town with shops lining the streets and a tight knit community that values the arts.
I really love gospel music and have been planning my vacation the last couple of years around the schedule of a group called Gaithers Vocal Band. It’s become a special event with my family in Arkansas. We travel to their concerts and have been to Tulsa and Oklahoma City to see them, so far. I grew up in church and heard those songs my whole life. That’s really where my love of gospel music started.
I spent 19 years working in investment management--visitors on vacation or planning their vacation are so much happier than those who are thinking about their investments. Helping visitors find the perfect lunch spot or the best place to get a souvenir is a much more fulfilling experience. One of the other great aspects of my job, outside of the great people I work with, is having the opportunity to meet all the great people behind the scenes in Laguna Beach – from our new Police Chief to hotel concierges to retail shop owners – it’s a pleasure! The good news is is that I can’t think of one part of this job I don’t like.
My granddaughters are my life. This year it was exciting to see my granddaughter’s art work featured at Festival of Arts. She took a photography class at the Boys and Girls Club and one of her snapshots was chosen to be in the kid’s art exhibit. It was such an honor and fun for the whole family to see her work displayed alongside so many great pieces.
If they were to spend a day with Nana in Laguna Beach we would go and play at Bluebird Park. They love the spaceship and local artist, Michele Taylor's turtle. I would also take them to the Kid’s Art Studio at Laguna Art Museum to get a hands-on experience with art. They also love to shop, so we would stroll around the downtown area into all the shops and maybe even sneak into the Candy Baron for a treat. (Shhh, but don’t tell her parents!) We’d go to Johnny Rockets for burgers and milkshakes. I like that you can see Main Beach from the restaurant and watch everyone walking around enjoying themselves.
When people ask me what I have to see and do in Laguna Beach I always say The Pageant of the Masters. The Pageant is something you cannot see anywhere else and it truly is a chance of a lifetime to see it if you only come to Laguna Beach once. I also always recommend people have lunch or brunch at Oceanview Bar & Grill at Hotel Laguna. It is one of my favorite restaurants in Laguna Beach because you can't beat that view; you are on the sand watching and listening to the waves crash on Main Beach. To grab a quick bite to eat, I typically head to La Sirena Grill. They make all their dishes with the freshest ingredients. The tostada salad is the perfect meal, fresh and filling, without being too heavy.
After a hard’s day work I listen to audio books to unwind. I discovered the app, Audible last year and have been addicted ever since. I listen to books on the app non-stop; on my drive to and from work, on my lunch break, before I go to bed, any time really. Right now I am listening to the Elephant Whisperer.
When I cruise PCH I am always listening to country, usually Garth Brooks. You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl! Yeehaw!