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JIM BOEHM, Dana Point
Long ago, PCH was filled with highlights. This was before the I-5 and the I-405. The only path from my hometown of Santa Monica to visit our many relatives in San Diego was Pacific Coast Highway, and the drive was filled with beautiful and exciting things.
Every time that this highway dipped near the ocean was amazing, like Morro just north of Laguna Beach or Main Beach in Laguna Beach itself. North of Huntington Beach, there were hundreds of oil derricks across the highway from a beautiful long beach.
As kids, we went nuts seeing signs for Emerald Bay and Treasure Island, with its great colored sign of pirate treasure. Then it was a trailer park. The beautiful Montage Hotel sits there now.
Next came Aliso Creek Beach, where you were so close to the sand that you almost felt that you were at the beach! And then we came to one of the real highlights of this PCH journey to San Diego: the Dana Point Lanterns.
They were large lanterns with beautiful colored glass in each lantern, and they sat on the corner of each street where the color of the glass matched the name of the street. As kids, we would each try to choose our favorite color lantern. Red ruby lantern? Blue lantern? Golden lantern? Silver lantern? Violet or green?
This was truly a big highlight of the trip to and from San Diego, and we loved it when we happened to go through Dana Point at night, when the lanterns were so magically beautiful.
I love that two of the original lanterns have been restored and returned to Lantern Village Community Park, and that a large lantern mural will now appear in the Lantern District.
But how about bringing back those original colored lanterns, which were not white lanterns with little colored things on top, but the entire glass lantern was the color of the street name? It would be simple to replace the white frosted glass in the current lanterns with ruby and golden and glue glass.
They would be something for residents to enjoy and certainly would be memorable for all of the tourists visiting Dana Point.