luxury lifestyle magazine
The Best Places to Live.
Recognizing the truth to the
adage that home is where the heart is ... based on months of research, dozens of
interviews, and our staff’s own firsthand knowledge ... we designate
La Jolla, California, as
simply the best place in America to live.
Many residents of La Jolla,
a town located in the greater San Diego area, like to believe that it derives
its name from la joya, the Spanish word for jewel. This story; however, may be
no more than an etymological urban legend; a competing theory claims that the
name comes from a word meaning hidden cave or hollow in the language of the
Kumeyaay, the Native American tribe of the region.
Word—nerd quibbles aside, La
Jolla is indeed a jewel, as precious to La Jollan’s as any that can be found at
the local Cartier boutique on Girard Avenue. Like those jewels, it is
comfortably sized (20 square miles, a population of about 35,000), multifaceted,
and placed in a beautiful setting.
La Jolla’s gloriously mild
Southern California weather and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean are essential
components of its identity and appeal. Its seaside location also sets La Jolla
apart from a nearby noteworthy affluent community, Rancho Santa Fe, which lies
about five miles inland.
Although the average
temperature is 74 degrees, and the sun shines more than 300 days a year in La
Jolla, few homeowners install swimming pools. With such a diverse selection of
beaches at their disposal, there is no need to. La Jolla Cove, for example, is
an underwater nature preserve forested with kelp and teeming with sea life.
Secluded Black’s Beach is a favorite with the clothes-optional crowd, and
suffers still flock to Windansea Beach almost 35 years after Tom Wolfe portrayed
its surf scene in his book The Pump House Gang. La Jolla has more than a splash
of literary cachet. Raymond Chandler spent the last 13 years of his life here,
and Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, was also a resident.
La Jolla’s many facets
enhance its luster. Shoppers, diners, and art and antiques collectors will all
come away satisfied. Golfers have several options, including the Torrey Pines
Golf Course, one of the top municipal courses in the country It hosts the Buick
Invitational, a PGA event, on its South Course every February, and the sixth
hole of its North Course offers a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and La
Live theater is served by
the La Jolla Playhouse, founded by native Gregory Peck and now run by two-time
Tony Award—winner Des McAnuff. The playhouse is located on the campus of the
University of California at San Diego, which has impressive credits of its own:
US. News & World Report ranks its biomedical and biomedical engineering programs
second in the nation, ahead of those of MIT, Northwestern, Duke, and Stanford.
The university’s presence has helped make La Jolla a leading center for
biomedical research. Dr. Jonas Salk, creator of the polio vaccine, spent his
later years here researching a cure for AIDS, and his local namesake institute
continues his important work.
Mind you, this gem is not
absolutely flawless. There are the occasional traffic problems in the busier
areas, and it is afflicted by the Southern California phenomenon known as June
Gloom, when cold marine air collides with hot inland air to create a fog that
usually clears by midmorning. Still, no matter how you tilt it, La Jolla shines
—SHEILA J. GIBSON
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