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The Newport Beach area of Southern California isn’t for everyone. Curmudgeons and sourpusses will find paltry little to enjoy. But aside from devotees of those two marginal groups, most people agree that Newport Beach is about as close to paradise as it gets—regardless of how you choose to define “paradise.”
If it’s surf, sand, and sunbathing you’re after, the area is pure bliss. With ten miles of perhaps the cleanest beaches in the United States, it boasts the Pacific Ocean’s best breaks, especially between Newport Pier and the Santa Ana River. With mountain-size waves, the Wedge, at the extreme eastern end of Balboa Peninsula, offers some of the most breathtakingly unpredictable and insane bodysurfing and bodyboarding to be found anywhere in the world.
If it’s perfect weather you crave, the Mediterranean climate warms the soul as it mocks the rest of the country’s winter doldrums and cold-weather blues.
Hiking and bird-watching—indeed. Crystal Cove offers a must-walk wooded wilderness, while the estuary on Back Bay beckons birders from all over to observe ospreys, endangered brown pelicans, grebes, and egrets.
With their stunning views, eighteen-hole championship golf courses lure even the most golf-averse putters.
As if all that weren’t enough. Newport Beach has museums, farmers’ markets, trendy shops and restaurants, and lively nightlife. It’s a postcard-perfect playground by the sea.
And if you happen to be lucky enough to own a piece of this paradise, Balboa Coves is the place to be. An affluent community of charming bay-front homes, its sixty or so residences radiate luxury. Although they vary in layout, not one is size challenged and some boast over forty-five hundred square feet. A typical Balboa Coves property might include four bedrooms, 3.5 baths, one hundred–plus feet of azure-water frontage, a luxurious patio overlooking the bay, a private dock, and an oversized three-car garage. These houses are more than homes; each one is someone’s dream come true.
Like many upscale Newport Beach communities, Balboa Coves is gated. No one walks or drives into the neighborhood without a gate key or security card. This gives the residents a feeling of extra privacy and safety. But in an area where the crime rate is so low, one might wonder if such a precaution was really necessary.
And it wasn’t. Tranquility and uninterrupted peace reigned each and every day in this secluded enclave—well, at least it did until December 15, 1994.
Copyright © 2012 by Stella Sands