Sitting atop of the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, Corona Del Mar (CdM) lives up to its Spanish name “Crown of the Sea”. In 1904, George Hart purchased 700 acres of land from the Irvine Ranch. Though Corona Del Mar was originally a tourist attraction, many who came to vacation by the sea decided they wanted to stay. After Pacific Coast Highway opened in 1926, CdM became a great city to visit with shopping, fine dining, beaches, and beautiful sunsets.
Corona del Mar is perhaps best known for its scenic beach and great surf spots. But as the jetty rocks extended in the late 1930s, the “Killer Break” ended, creating a new dangerous break known as the “Wedge,” a popular surfing area. The Wedge is also an amazing photo op for landlocked tourists
One of the best family beaches is Big Corona. It has baby waves for the smallest of swimmers and some magnificent rugged coves for snorkeling and scuba diving. Big Corona offers views as far as Catalina, about 26 miles away.
A couple of miles down from Big Corona, Crystal Cove State Park is just north of Laguna Beach. Visitors can always find something to do. In the hills, trails and hikes offer opportunities for hikers of every ability. Horseback riding and biking are other popular pastimes. Crystal Cove is also home to many unique species of animals including birds, lizards, frogs, and snakes.
The oldest building in CdM is The Five Crowns Restaurant. Built in 1935, it was inspired by a British inn at Harley-on-the Thames in England. On this side of the Atlantic, Five Crowns is a popular restaurant known to serve one of the best prime rib meals in Southern California.
On the corner of PCH and Dahlia, the Sherman Library and Gardens has a colorful history. Benefactor Arnold Haskell originally purchased the property in 1955 and transformed it into a botanical oasis of gingers, orchids and other seasonal blooms. A renovation, which included the addition of a library and conservatory, was finally completed in 1974. Shying away from publicity, Haskell named The Sherman Library and Gardens after his mentor M.H. Sherman. Today, there are two scholarships in Haskell’s name to students actively pursuing a degree in Agriculture and Environmental Plant Studies.
“Arnold Haskell saw potential in the area while others didn’t. Everyone at that time thought it was worth nothing, while he thought it was worth everything,” said a worker at the Sherman Library and Gardens.
Even though it is not technically in Corona del Mar, our school is still is a part of the area’s history, even taking its name. Since 1962, CdM has been a top school in the country in both academics, and athletic (with 21 CIF state championships and 81 CIF pennants).
In 1992, a $1.75 million aquatic center opened. In its inaugural year, many of the center’s home sports won division championships. The school has always been combined of middle and high schoolers; however, in 2014, the Riptides got their own state-of-the art enclave. With three levels, students often have run down several flights of stairs just to get to their next class.
“I think the Enclave is a great way of bringing in more technology, the Enclave also has great teaching. The school is now modernized by the Enclave,” said Cole Dearmin, a seventh grader at CdM.
Next door to the Enclave is the performing arts center. The $16 million theater seats 360 people and contains practice rooms for drama and the singing groups on campus.
One of the most well-known neighborhoods in the Corona Del Mar and Newport Beach area is the Flower Streets. Most of the houses in the neighborhood are original and were built around the 1960s, but some of the houses have since been remodeled with contemporary designs.
Corona del Mar has grown from a quiet vacation spot to one of the most affluent areas in the country. Its beautiful beaches, tide pools, cliffside views, quaint beach cottages of yesteryear make it one of the most tranquil areas outside of the hustle and bustle of Southern California life. It is a luxury to know that living here is just as relaxing as vacationing here.