Seal Beach, California by reading Seal Beach,
California - Hot Spot of the
by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer. It features a mini, but thorough
tour of the destination, plllllllllus all you'll need to know to plan your
trip including getting there, objective information on places to
stay and eat, and things to do. At the end of the article, we've
provided a summary of the contact information for your easy
California - Hot Spot of the 20’s!
by Sandy Zimmerman,
Travel Writer and WTA Member
The roaring 20’s were really
roaring in Seal Beach, California. Their gambling, booze, and beaches acted as a
magnet attracting tourists to this little ocean-side village. The famous Joy
Zone was set along the pier with the Jewel City Cafe, Derby roller coaster,
beaches, and other diversions. At the end of the pier (where Ruby’s Restaurant
is now), a large synthesizer presented a blazing, flashing light show to set the
mood. Sophie Tucker and other celebrities acted as judges at the Big Band dance
contests. Tourists rented as many as 1,000 bathing suits a day, and 190,000
people visited Seal Beach each week. What was the reason for Seal Beaches’
popularity? It was the only place where liquor could be served. During these
early years, seals or sea lions frequented the people’s yards, beaches, and
ocean. Sometimes they even got in the way of bathers.
Changing throughout the years,
today Seal Beach is a contrast to its past! We feel soft breezes from the ocean,
walk along the quaint, historic old town Main Street, see the beautiful
shoreline from the second longest pier in California, and enjoy a laid back,
small town atmosphere.
Historic- beach scene- Seal Beach in the 20's
We especially enjoyed visiting
the Pacific Electric Red Car Museum. They are open the second and fourth
Saturdays of the month, 1-4 pm, with exhibits, displays, and an exciting
collection of Seal Beach memorabilia. We entered a rare 1925 Tower Car, which
actually traveled along the route to Los Angeles and the Balboa Peninsula.
Admission is free.
Docent Laura Alioto, President of
the Historical Society of Seal Beach, has written a history of Seal Beach
Historic- pier- Seal Beach in the 20's
The charming Seal Beach Inn was
built in the 1920's and renovated by the owner. Marjorie Bettenhausen- Schmaehl
has traveled around the world searching for unique antiques and furnishings.
Marjorie has a feeling for creating a unique atmosphere! She saw twelve-foot
high street lamps and decided they would look great at the Inn’s entrance. The
pool is adorned with an ornate 300 year old fountain from Paris, a London
telephone booth sits in the garden, the hand carved front door was part of
Universal Studio’s sets, the reception desk was a church’s alter, and there is
much more for her guest's enjoyment! Don’t miss anything while you walk through
the library, tearoom, and lobby. When you arrive, one of the staff will take you
on a tour and explain all of the exciting details. Each piece of furniture has a
story! Marjorie wants the guests to be entertained as well as to enjoy their
surroundings. The Inn is like a museum, reflecting Seal Beaches’ colorful past,
and it is an art form, which people can see and touch.
We dined in the ornate Tea Room
for the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet and afternoon tea. The ceiling’s
paneled design, the large fireplace, and antiques are things to behold.
Breakfast is a feast of Belgium waffles, a variety of quiches, cereal, and
muffins. Complimentary coffee, teas, and fruit are available from 7 am-10 pm.
Their cocktail hour is great for meeting other guests while tasting wine and
cheese. Every one is allowed to relax and spend time in the library, tearoom,
front lobby, swimming pool patio, gardens, and other public areas. The 24 guest
rooms and public rooms sparkle with old world charm - chandeliers, oriental
carpets, fireplaces, Jacuzzis, fine art, paneled ceilings, and individual
decorations. There is a cottage, royal villa, deluxe royal villa, king suite,
deluxe king suite, and penthouse. Although the decorations are eclectic, the
rooms have elegance and class. I loved the canopy, which reaches to the ceiling
over the bed's hand carved headboard. Many of the rooms have skylights, which
make them brighter during the day. The inn is winner of America’s Top 12 Country
Inns (Country Inns magazine), One of the Top 2 Bed and Breakfasts in the
U. S. (National Japanese T. V.), A+ rating award (American Bed and Breakfast
Association), and Mayor’s Beautification Award.
Seal Beach Inn- antique front desk
For a great dining experience,
The Spaghettini Italian Grill and Jazz Club is the place to go in Seal Beach!
General Manager Jim Tilley explains, “We provide comfortable surroundings with
great food and music.” Their chef has created several original crusted seafood
recipes adding exciting golden crunchy coatings infused with interesting
ingredients. Choose from differently decorated Garden, Library, Bistro, and
private dining rooms for weddings, parties, and meetings. Spaghettini is the
only place you can enjoy music every night, no cover, no minimum.
Another fun dining experience
awaits you at Walt’s Wharf Seafood Restaurant. Owner Walt Babcock loves the sea!
He worked as a commercial fisherman then traded that for a dental profession. He
has now been pleasing customers for over 30 years. Their motto: “If it’s
fresher, it’s still swimming.” One entire wall in the dining room is decorated
with a beautiful mural depicting a pelican, boats, the ocean, and Seal Beach
pier. Chef Mark Tydell has created exciting recipes and his sauces are a fusion
of different styles. We watched the food being cooked over the oak grill. As the
owner of the Babcock Winery, Walt understands the importance of training his
staff to be knowledgeable about comparing the wines to his customers. They have
3 banquet rooms upstairs for parties, meetings, and weddings. Happy Hour
specials are offered from 4-6 pm.
Red Train Museum
The Beach Cottage Day Spa looks
like a beach cottage but it is one of the quaint businesses on the historic Main
Street. The owner, skin care therapist Dodie Gutierreaz, has created a cozy
atmosphere where her clients can rejuvenate their skin, spirit, and relax during
their treatments. She wants you to “turn off your mind.” Dodie uses the latest
Yonka products from France, Spain, and Morocco. She lovingly calls Seal Beach,
“The Mayberry of beach towns.”
Seal Beach is a 30
minute drive from Newport Beach, 20 minutes from Huntington Beach,
40 minutes from Los Angeles, and 4 hour drive from Las Vegas.
Pacific Coast Highway, Ca-1 and I-5 north, are the main highways.
This is one of the quieter coastal towns with less traffic and
Place To Stay
The Seal Beach B&B
Inn is a romantic hideaway just a few blocks from
historic downtown Main Street, the pier, beach, shopping,
restaurants, and the
Electric Red Car Museum. Their rates range from
$140 to $399. Gift certificates and romantic packages are available.
Seal Beach B&B Inn is located on 212 5th Street.
Places To Eat
Spaghettini Italian Grill and Jazz Club has a variety of items
on their menu. Entrees include potato-crusted halibut, parmesan
crusted sea bass, horseradish crusted halibut, pecan crusted
wild sockeye salmon, Sirloin steaks and Angus New York steaks.
Entrees generally run from $25.95-$29.99. There are 10 pasta
selections including the butternut squash ravioli with almonds,
sage, and brown butter. Lunches from $14.95. Sunday family-style
dinners from $18.95 serve 2-3 people, and there is a jazz Sunday
gourmet champagne brunch. Their extra large bowl-style dishes
are filled with generous portions. Spaghettini Italian Grill and
Jazz Club 3005 Old Ranch Parkway,
Wharf Restaurant is known for its fine seafood selection
including caramelized salmon, “Day Boat” diver jumbo sea
scallops with Maui pineapple vinaigrette, blackened Louisiana
catfish, Hawaiian yellow fin ahi with Wasabi-soy sauce,
Ecuadorian Mahi Mahi with macadamia nut sauce, and macadamia nut
coated Alaskan halibut with mango avocado salsa. Other choices
include free-range double breast chicken, Colorado lamb top
sirloin with port wine and Maytag blue cheese sauce, several
pastas ($11-16), and prime certified Angus Beef top sirloin
steak. Entrees run from $15-$26. Walt’s Wharf Restaurant is
located in the historic old town, just 1 block from the pier,
201 Main Street, 562-598-4433.
Beach Cottage Day Spa
– During the Yonka Eye tension relief treatment ($40-70), naturally
derived acids from birch and citrus is applied to soften the fine
lines. Then a Japanese massage technique is used to remove toxins,
increase circulation and diminish dark circles.
A back facial ($70)
treats your back with the same care as your face: deep pore
cleansing, exfoliation, and stress-relief massage followed by a
detoxifying seaweed masque.
Dodie also offers a
gentleman’s facial ($50-65-95), a spicy pumpkin facial ($90),
chemical peels ($45), spa head to toe reviver (2 hours- $145), and
aroma therapy salt glow ($50).
For information call
562-596-1898, or visit 244 Main Street.
Beach Chamber of Commerce - 311 Main Street, #14A,
Pacific Electric Red Car Museum is near the historic district,
on the corner of Electric Avenue and Main Street, 562-683-1874.
Notice: This information is current as of May 2005. It is recommended that
you contact the numbers, and/or visit the web sites above to determine any
changes to the information.