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Just Walkin' The Beach
updated: Jul 21, 2012, 9:30 AM

By The Urban Hikers (Stacey Wright & Peter Hartmann)

A few weeks ago we took a morning hike along the railroad tracks beginning just west of Miramar Beach near Montecito Creek to the point at Summerland, and told you about it. Today, we’ll take you back to Eucalyptus Lane, showing you some of the sights along the beach, out at sea, and elsewhere. We’re also really excited to share with you “rare footage” of one of the true icons of the Miramar, Jacques Renon... with a cameo appearance by the incomparable Grover Cleveland Barnes (more on him in our next story).

We began our journey on the sand, just below the wooden sluice near Summerland Point. Last week we showed you Bobby Korner’s fading mural - today we share “California Light”.

Next we came to an old lifeguard stand with a strange puppet-like thing inhabiting it. Let’s just say it warranted documentation for historical purposes...

These photos show the view as we headed toward Miramar Beach, a couple of the beach houses along Fernald Point, and some early morning beachcombers.

And this is the scene looking back over our shoulders toward Summerland - so beautiful!

Next we came across this inviting little palapa. It made us want to stop and rest for a spell, but alas, we carried on with our not so strenuous beach walk.

And then we came upon a very unique “light house”.

This Fernald Point pad was once home to one of the UH...Oh those were the years...That’s when walkin’ the tracks became a very useful and routine route for getting from point A to point B in the quickest possible time.

Here’s another cool Fernald Point home, as well as the public beach access, which is located at the end of Posilipo Lane.

This is a classic shot of the once magnificent Miramar Hotel…

And out of the UH archives, we retrieve a photo of one of the UH with his younger brother enjoying a little well deserved recreation after a grueling swim and dive lesson from the legendary Gallic “professeur de natation”, Jacques. The other UH also took lessons with her twin sister at about that same age but was too traumatized by the experience to have kept any photos of that chapter in her life...

Right about now it’s time to describe to those who never had the opportunity to meet Jacques, or encounter his very special ways, just what a tyrant he truly was. So legendary was he, that Al Reese sang about him at the Miramar Lounge, and Mark Somebody-Or-Another (aka fstopper) made a really great video – Are You a Guest of the Hotel? – showing Al at the keyboard and footage depicting Jacques doing what he did best – patrolling the Miramar on his bicycle, wearing nothing but his very skimpy Speedo swimsuit. Disclaimer for fstopper: While the guy in the video looks a whole lot like Jacques, but we can tell you with 100% certainty that he’s an actor... but Al Reese IS the real deal. For anyone who remembers this part of the Miramar history, this You Tube video is a must –see. It’s hilarious!

Back at the beach, there were several paddle boarders enjoying a coastal paddle.

A couple of the quintessential Miramar beach houses...

And last but not least, we have an EXCLUSIVE shot of the old Miramar raft, now in dry dock on the overgrown hotel grounds. Oh...it pains us so to see this magnificent remnant of our childhoods rotting in the sun along with the rest of the hotel grounds. We pray for the day that the raft is restored to her former glory, launched back into the Pacific, tethered to the hotel boardwalk and available to every brave soul who ventures out to greet her. But then again we doubt that in this day and age the Miramar’s attorneys will allow such a folly...

In our next installment we promise to tell and show you more about the history of the Miramar Hotel including the story of an amazing gentleman, Grover Cleveland Barnes. Plus we’ll share info and photos of a little general store that used to be located on Eucalyptus Lane and some other local lore that’s sure to fascinate you.

But for now, we encourage you to go out and explore our marvelous town on foot, keep your eyes, ears and minds open to all that you encounter, and above all, expect the unexpected.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 300024 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-21 11:09 AM

Great Video with Al Reese! I swam to that raft many, many times when I was young. Great memories.


 COMMENT 300047 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-21 12:16 PM

I love these posts! As someone who's only lived here a few years, I love learning more about parts of my city I don't know much about. I hear so much about the Miramar, it's interesting to see it up close.


 COMMENT 300062 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-21 01:04 PM

Oh, man. How I miss that raft. My dog and I used to swim out there. We met the nicest people, while sitting offshore, bobbing around in the clear waters and looking for fishies.

Jacques was a real piece of work. I had some older friends, a group of German ladies. He used to fall all over them, dishing out the Euro schmooze. I well remember him "escorting" me (a guest) off the boardwalk, on a 100-degree day, all because my Redbone hound was lounging on the sand, under the floorboards. What a meanie.

The actor shown here doesn't do justice to Jacques' tan and robust buffness. The red speedo. Who can forget that? He was a true oddball, but I respected his work ethic.


 COMMENT 300076 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-21 02:44 PM

I can't tell you UH's how much I LOVE the posts. This is my area of town and it is so much fun to hear about it in the "olden times" as my grandkids would say!! You're the main reason I read edhat, it's the only post that doesn't get nasty!!


 COMMENT 300086 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-21 04:03 PM

My great grandparents settled in Montecito circa 1900. My sons are fifth-generation residents from the Miramar neighborhood so some of us knew the Gawzners and/or Mr. Grover Cleveland Barnes.

There was more to all of this than Jacques. And he was doing what his boss wanted him to do. But one time when I attended some thing at the Convention Center he was at the door and he was a totally different person.

I say at least one prayer a day for being so fortunate to live in this Miramar Beach neighborhood.


 COMMENT 300096 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-21 04:36 PM

Is "Thanks Mary Colorado" and "Gumby" still on the seawall?


 COMMENT 300122 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-21 06:45 PM

Gumby is still there for sure! Not certain if Thanks Mary Colorado is though. Who is Mary Colorado, if you know? Thanks UH for another fantastic armchair adventure! I'm voting for the UH swim lesson photo for photo of the day. It made me smile!


 COMMENT 300205 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-22 09:01 AM

I don't quite understand what you mean by an "EXCLUSIVE" shot of the Miramar raft? I posted one about a year ago.


 COMMENT 300373 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-22 08:43 PM

My first job as a 19 year old was a housekeeper (maid)
at the Miramar. Many stories, old actors, suicides,
affairs.......and of course scary Jacques.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-22 11:05 PM

Grover was dearly loved by the neighborhood children, Jacques dispised. Grover was also loved by the Miramar owners, the Gawzners. Mark Bennett made the movie, premier at Westmont during a downpour rain storm. Mark grew up across the freeway from the Miramar in a beautiful adobe home his parents built; they made every brick (each weighed 45 lbs) and put an adobe wall around the property (took them 17 years). Mom still lives there. It's 11pm Sunday, hope the UHs get a chance to read this.


 COMMENT 300496 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-07-23 01:11 PM

One of the UH here - thank you all for sharing your memories and sentiments about the Miramar...it was obviously a "big" place for many of us and is still very much alive in our hearts and minds. Thanks FLICKA for your valuable information. In our follow-up story we'll be sure to give Mark the credit he deserves for his wonderful video. If anyone knows who any of the actors are, let us know and we'll include that too. It's a very entertaining and clever video. And we know the house, although we don't know Mark. Great house, great story. That was Montecito "back in the day" - so glad to hear Mark's mom is still enjoying the home she put so much of her own blood, sweat and tears into!


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