Saturday, July 4, 2009

RIP Edwards Hill

Something I really miss at this time of year is a spot that used to be known as Edwards Hill, in Huntington Beach, California, where I grew up. I don't think it was ever formally known as Edwards Hill, but that's what locals called it. It was a very high, very steep slope at the end of Edwards street, the peak of which ended at Ellis Ave.

The peak of Edwards Hill was (is) one of the highest spots in Orange County. When I was a kid, the entire area was undeveloped; just open fields dotted with the occasional oil pump. The elevation and undeveloped terrain provided a perfect, panoramic vista of north Orange County. It was a great spot for hanging out with a date, or just hanging out. But where Edwards Hill really came into its own was the 4th of July.

You had to get there early, or you'd be parking in the boonies and walking to the top. However you got there, come nightfall, it was worth it. For about two-three hours, you could see a brilliant fireworks display in almost any direction you looked. Local high schools, central park, Disneyland, the Queen Mary, Balboa Harbor... you name it.

Sadly, that great OC sweet spot has long since disappeared. Oh, the hill is still there, but that area started developing in the early-mid 90's, so the unobstructed views are pretty much gone. Now it's just another posh Newport Beach-wannabe neighborhood, filled with cookie-cutter mini-mansions and a Starbuck's on every corner.

I my mind, though, Edwards Hill will always be as I remember it. Friends, fast food, and fireworks. It doesn't get much better than that when you're 14.

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