Forty-one years at the Cove!

By John Adamson

Little did I know while sailing on a Windjammer cruise in the Caribbean in the summer of 1979, I would end up two years later living in Cottage number 7 at Crystal Cove. As fate would have it, I met a young lady on board, Diane Carter, whose family owned a cottage there since 1939. Having never visited California, and with Diane’s urging, plus pictures of her and her golden retriever, Nalau, surfing the waves, and with pictures of her family’s cottage, I could not resist the invitation. So started my lifelong love of Crystal Cove.

Having realized how lucky I was on all counts, Diane and I decided to get married, and on Memorial Day weekend in 1982, we had the ceremony at the cottage. It was a typical, ”May Gray” day, but the sun did come out on cue with the “I do’s”, said on the beach, and with that I married Diane (still going strong after 38 years!) and into her wonderful family.



For the next seven years the cottage was our home, enduring all the challenges which comes to owning a home at the Cove. The lack of heat in the winter, which was remedied by opening the oven door and crawling back to bed until the cottage had warmed up. There was also the not so waterproof roof, which when it rained entailed an obstacle course of pots and pans throughout the cottage. Henry’s roofing tar was bought in bulk, and every two years a new layer of roofing felt was added through the process of longer nails. Too keep warm, Diane had what she thought was the perfect solution-an electric blanket. Which was great, until the rain rained on the outlet to the blanket, and we realized that we were soon to be electrocuted-so much for that idea!

In 1987 we welcomed our son Tristen into the family, and he started his discovery of the beach, tidepools and the ocean, quickly discovering his passion for surfing which lives on with him, thirty-three years later. We thought that perhaps the wellbeing of an infant was not conducive to living at the Cove, as Diane was worried about the mice, as she had concerns about them being unsanitary. We briefly moved to Irvine, thinking that it would be a great place to bring up a child, however, with the homes so close, we could not see the sunset as we had at the Cove, and we looked at each other and said, we must get back to the beach!

We found a home in Laguna Beach with a wonderful ocean view, and so we count ourselves as incredibly lucky. Every weekend, holiday, and summer was spent at our cottage at Crystal Cove. The years went swiftly by in this idyllic setting, but there was always the specter of this being our final summer, although we were granted extensions to our leases, they finally ran out in 2001, and with one final July 4th party we all sadly left on July 6th. Left with only the happy memories, for me, from 1979, for Diane, from 1953, for some, like my father-in-law, Bud Carter, stretching back to 1939.

After I retired from working on the Queen Mary in Special Events, I wanted to keep active and so, in 2013, I became involved with the State Park volunteer program and trained as a Tidepool Docent at Crystal Cove. This in turn, put me in contact with the Beach Cottages when I became a Parking Monitor. This started my second life at Crystal Cove, helping the guests and importantly pointing out the history of the Cove. When the construction started on the final seventeen cottages, I relocated up to cottage 35, and monitored construction traffic so to keep our guests safe and again impart my knowledge of the Cove to help educate and inform the guests of the overall goals of what we are trying to achieve for the future of Crystal Cove. So, after forty-one years here, I have come full circle and I truly consider the Cove my first home!

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