Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Staycation- Check Out Old Town Orange

Over the last couple years, since moving to Southern California, I've had a couple friends recommend I check out Old Town Orange.  I was told there were a lot of quaint antique stores and a laid back atmosphere.  During my parents' recent visit, we discovered on a staycation outing how right they were.

Driving up to what feels like an old town Main Street with a round-a-bout in the center, I was taken by the cute coffee shops, cafes, and people strolling down the streets.  This round-a-bout is known as Plaza Park and it is situated in the center of the downtown historic Plaza District.

What appears to be a Main Street is actually Glassell  Street, named after Andrew Glassell who founded the area along with fellow attorney, Alfred Chapman.  This is where the city of Orange began.

Old Town Orange was staked out by Andrew Glassell's brother Capt. William Glassell and is a perfect square mile divided into four perfect quarter-square sections.  This area is known as the "Antique Capital of California."  If you're into antiques this is the place to be!  Our daughter REALLY wants an old rotary dial phone, but I cannot bring myself to pay $40-$70 for an old phone.  One day we'll find one.

Many buildings in the downtown area are on the National Register of Historic Places.  Orange County's oldest operating bank and soda fountain can be found in Orange.  I found it interesting that when other Orange County towns were demolishing the historic homes in the 1960's to make way for sprawling housing developments, Orange decided to preserve them. 

Orange also happens to be the home of Chapman University.  Coincidentally, my mom attended and received degrees from Chapman through extensions in a couple different states.  How fun to drive by her Alma Mater that she'd never seen.  I can't believe I missed the photo op though.  Sorry Mom.  Next time we'll take photos of you in front of your university.

One shop I loved was Heavenly Hostess.  It was filled with great gifts and fancy aprons to make the homemaker feel like the Heavenly Hostess.  Gone are the days of June Cleaver, but that doesn't mean a gal can't look cute while cooking.

I was window shopping

It's really hard for my cute dad to take a serious photo.

Of course there are the coffee shops and cafes I mentioned.  There are two Starbuck's downtown, but I especially liked the name of this one.

Thank you historic Old Town Orange for a GREAT afternoon!

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