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Then there was the couple who had honeymooned on the Queen Mary in the 1950s and been deeply impressed by “its tradition and all its glory. We were young, we danced, it was so romantic,” the elderly woman said. “Now that we are about to end our cruising days, we thought it would be appropriate to do so on the QM2 .” Carla Davidson

Historic Destination Shacking Up with Bette Midler

Dreaming of a road trip back in time along California’s Highway 1? Pack your surfboard, roll the top down, and book an overnight stay at Crystal Cove Cottages , a historic beach-cottage colony dating from the 1920s that has been restored and is once again open to the public. Situated between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach in Orange County (that is, between Los Angeles and San Diego), these pleasingly raffish pastel cottages offer prime oceanfront views and pristine coastline at an extremely reasonable cost for the area. That’s because their former inhabitants banded together in 1999, when the bungalows were threatened with demolition (in favor of a fancy resort hotel), and formed the Crystal Cove Alliance. The rescued cottages are now part of the Crystal Cove State Park system and are registered historic landmarks. Part of the colony’s funky appeal is that it was built by hand from scavenged materials found in the area, including timber from a capsized lumber ship that washed ashore in 1927. The colony’s Hollywood connection lends historic savor as well. As early as 1910 the studios began planting palm trees and building thatched-roof huts to serve as sets, first in South Seas–themed silent films and later in classics like Treasure Island . Bette Midler fans might recognize the brown shingled cottage from her 1988 movie Beaches . The best part of a stay at Crystal Cove, though, is that glimpse of a California that’s difficult to find outside the movies—vintage surfboards and miles of unspoiled coastline. For reservations, call 800-444-7275 or visit www.crystalcovebeachcottages.org .— Amy Weaver Dorning