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By Hoiyin Ip

The flipside of Paris and many of our favorite destinations experiencing over 100-degree temperatures is that staycation became cool. This is the center of the universe if you look at Dana Point’s trolley map. San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach trolleys are all connected with Dana Point trolleys. Pretend you are a tourist for a weekend and explore with the trolleys. Here’re a few stops you might like.

San Clemente

Buy eco fashion at Outlets at San Clemente.

  • H&M. Take a bag of your end-of-life clothing to get 15% off your purchase. H&M recycles! The Conscious collection (green tag) uses recycled fibers from your “goodies,” and other materials such as citrus peel, pineapple leaves and algae biomass. It recently won praise by Forbes: “It’s inspiring to see a massive company like H&M make tremendous strides toward a more sustainable business structure. This past year, they’ve shifted from a linear business model to a circular business model. A circular business model is one where materials are reused for as long as possible, which in turn significantly reduces waste.”
  • Nike. “Back in 1994, [Nike] began its Grind program, which turns used sneakers and surplus materials into running tracks, among other uses. And since 2010, Nike has diverted 6.4 billion plastic bottles from landfills, thanks in part to products such as the Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit shoe, which is made with more than 75 percent recycled materials,” ELLEmagazine wrote.

But I’d also point out recycling doesn’t offset the other problems of the fashion industry. To lure us to buy more than we need, the companies compete on irresistibly low prices, which are squeezed from exploited labor and environmental shortcuts. We should prioritize thusly: buy less, buy used, buy fair-trade.

San Juan Capistrano

I thought I loved SJC. Until I took a walking tour in downtown and got a glimpse of its 200-year history, I realized I hadn’t known enough to “love” SJC. Every building is a story, whether it’s an adobe, a cottage, a Craftsman or a Moderne, whether it’s in business or vacant. Now I no longer just walk through the town physically; my mood is lifted by my favorite stories of our local history.

Two tours start from the train station every Saturday:

Do make a donation to these nonprofits.

Laguna Beach

In a quieter part of downtown, a cottage with sidewalk dining on Mermaid Street is called La Sirena Grill, a spot for the community. I first met the owner, Scott Cortellessa, 10 years ago, when he biked to our meeting to advocate for food waste recycling for restaurants. I was impressed by his seriousness, even though I had known that La Sirena used eco-friendly food service ware and supported environmental nonprofits. This is a business with principles: “We believe it is important to support sustainable farms and ranches that use traditional methods to preserve the integrity of our land and water.” La Sirena has two other locations. The trolley can also take you to the one in South Laguna, in the shopping center across Pacific Coast Highway from Montage.

Dana Point 

Bear Coast Coffee outside the farmers market caught my attention by “real” coffee cups. The place feels both young and old-fashioned. All coffee is from responsible farms. All sauces and flavorings are homemade. (You can also take the San Clemente trolley to their shop across from the San Clemente Pier.)

Have you seen the library‘s summer programs? Concerts, movies, workshops for children, teen and adults—all free! Download the Dana Point Trolley app on your smartphone for schedules and routes.

OK, it’s time to hop on a trolley. The to-do list is ignored. The phone is muted. The mind is free.

Hoiyin Ip is often recognized on the street as the plastic lady for her cleanup work. But she likes to think of herself as a guardian of the ocean. She is often reminded of a quote by former California Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas: “The coast is never saved. It’s always being saved.”

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About The Author Dana Point Times

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