La Verne. Don’t put up with the heat any longer. In just under an hour, you can be sitting seaside at the Schooner or Later restaurant along Alamitos Bay in Long Beach.
Breakfast on weekends is particularly crazy, so get your name in early with the hostess. Even if you have to wait a spell, there’s no harm in gulping the sea breezes and grabbing a coffee while thinking how you left everyone sweltering in the Inland heat.
Breakfast prices range from about $5 to $15. I ordered two eggs over easy, with hash browns, rye toast, and corn beef hash for $9.75. Sure, I could get the same dish back in La Verne for about $6 or $7, but, with my table overlooking the waterfront, the seaside surcharge was well worth it.
The eggs were warm and gooey, not greasy, and the hash browns were light and crispy. The hash could have been a little beefier but I had no complaints. I didn’t need a heart attack, anyway.
After breakfast, jump back in your car (you could walk, though) and drive to the end of the marina, called Alamitos Landing. There’s you’ll find a cluster of restaurants, including McKenna’s, which I’m told is the best, and a sports fishing outlet, which was catching barracuda . This section is also where you can catch the AquaLink, a 68-foot long water taxi which will ferry you around the harbor, including such harbor hotspots as the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Queen Mary, and Belmont Pier for $5 (round-trip is $10, but you can cut that price in half by scooping up a half-off newspaper coupon, found inside McKenna’s).
If you prefer your own wheels, hop back in your and driver over the nearby bridge (it’s tiny) that will connect you to Seal Beach, another quaint town. In fact, this drive is sort of the backdoor way to reach Seal Beach. After you cross the bridge, leaving Los Angeles County and entering Orange County, you’ll drive past a tidy lane of fashionable homes until you reach the Seal Beach pier and Main Street.
If you’re lucky enough to find a parking spot, stretch your legs and walk along Main Street or venture out on the pier. For the drive home, follow the way you came. However, should you feel the urge to stop, to extend your mini-seaside getaway, try the River’s End Café in Seal Beach. I believe the river referred to is the San Gabriel River, which empties into Alamitos Bay. The restaurant is right on the beach.
On summer weekends, expect a longer-than-average wait and another slightly overpriced menu, but again that’s a small price to pay to feel the waves at your feet and the ocean air caressing your face while everyone back home La Verne is boiling over with envy!
Driving directions to Schooner or Later at 241 Marina Dr. in Long Beach:
1 Take the 605 Freeway South
2 Merge onto CA-22 W toward 7TH ST/LONG BEACH
3 Take the STUDEBAKER RD exit.
4 Take the STUDEBAKER RD SOUTH ramp.
5 Turn LEFT onto N STUDEBAKER RD.
6 Turn RIGHT onto WESTMINSTER AVE.
7 WESTMINSTER AVE becomes E 2ND ST.
8 Turn LEFT onto E MARINA DR.
After you pass, Joe’s Crab Shack, park, walk toward the yacht club, where you’ll find Schooner or Later next door.