It's love in La Jolla

There's more to this Southern California beach town than just romance

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Torrey Pines State Reserve

With its rare trees and isolated beaches, La Jolla's Torrey Pines State Reserve offers miles of hiking trails and a wild and unspoiled stretch of coastline.

Gina Sabatella

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It's late afternoon, the sweetest part of the La Jolla day.

A couple holding hands stops to watch a wedding along the scalloped shore. They begin to resume their stroll when an older man approaches them. He is distinguished in the way of an emeritus professor and dressed formally, with a scarf wrapped around his neck.

Grinning shyly, eyes glistening and playful as if recalling some great love from long ago, he says, "I can tell just by looking at you: You are so happy to have found each other."

It's not that such a moment, one that transforms an afternoon walk into a lifelong memory, couldn't happen in another town. But in La Jolla, where romance suffuses the air as surely as the Pacific breezes that sweep across the bluffs ― well, maybe it's just a bit more likely.

Tempting as it is to describe La Jolla as Old World, what really survives here is a graceful, vintage vision of Southern California. It's a place where folks converge at a palm-lined waterfront park each evening ― no doubt to see the sunset but also to see who is out and about, taking part in a longtime La Jolla ritual. And November's a great time to take that stroll. Crowds are down, the theater season at the beloved La Jolla Playhouse is in full swing, and there are still plenty of days that carry the last hints of summer's warmth.


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