Julie's engagement shower garden.
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. An outdoor
garden with a spectacular ocean view, where Julie threw her engagement
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. The Yacht
Club, in Newport Beach.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode
25 (of season one), "The Shower". The scene opens with a
sweeping shot of a gorgeous ocean view, then pans left to reveal an outdoor
garden (complete with gazebo) perched atop a cliff, where Julie is celebrating
her new upcoming marriage to Caleb. It is where Julie's estranged sister
(Cindy) humiliates her by loudly announcing Julie's old preferences in
food and men.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. Since the producers didn't start using the Yacht Club's current location until season three, they chose an unusual location for this party scene.
Back in the 1960's and 1970's, there was an aquatic theme park (similar to Sea World) named Marineland of the Pacific. It was located on a cliff (Long Point) in Palos Verdes, overlooking the ocean. It was a popular fun spot for decades (I went there myself several times), but by the 1980's Marineland had gone out of fashion, and it closed its doors for good in 1987.
The very expensive land sat idle for almost two decades, while the city argued about how best to use the site. During that time, the land was used to film a number of movies, taking advantage of its ocean view, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Charlie's Angels.
But the owners also had a different idea. In 1995, knowing that brides-to-be are always looking for a beautiful place to get married, and knowing that the land was going unused, they created a 3½ acres outdoor wedding garden (complete with gazebo) perched right on the edge of that cliff, surrounded by those grand ocean views below. They called it "The Catalina Room" (since, on a clear day, one can see Catalina Island from that lofty location).
Unfortunately, in March of 2006, that came to an end. Lowe Enterprises won permission from the city to build a 102-acre, $320 million resort (called Terranea Resort) on the site, and so the Catalina Room had to pack up its bags.
You can still drive past the Marineland site, but for the near future, chances are the land will be busy with construction work. But be patient. In 2008, the new resort will open, and I wouldn't be surprised if they included a wedding area with a similar ocean view.
Their press release describes the new resort like this:
"The resort will embrace a Spanish-Mediterranean ambiance. Terranea Resort will feature 400 ocean-view rooms, including 40 free-standing bungalows, three swimming pools, a 25,000 square foot oceanfront spa and fitness facility overlooking the Pacific, two tennis courts, executive golf academy, children's center, shoreline parks, trails and overlooks, fine and casual beachfront and fine dining options and 6,000 square feet of retail space... [as well as 72 private homes which will be sold to the public.] ...60,000 square feet of banquet & meeting space, an 18,000 square foot ballroom, a 6,500 square foot junior ballroom, a business center and expansive outdoor function space..."
And in the meanwhile,
there are several overlooks nearby (along Palos Verdes Drive) where you
can park and take in similar ocean views.
is a hybrid shot at two different locations. While the opening garden
party scenes with the Palos Verdes ocean view were shot at The Catalina Room
(described above), the producers cheated a bit, and shot other scenes
a few miles away, at the location used for the
Country Club. Thus, the scene where Ryan walks past the big fountain
out to his car, and the scene where Seth walks down some stone steps and
joins Summer at a table on the lawn (see the photos below) were both filmed
at the Trump National Golf Club.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. The address of The Catalina Room was 6610 Palos Verdes Drive South, in Rancho Palos Verdes. You'll find the site on the winding Palos Verdes Drive, about a mile southeast of Hawthorne Blvd.
Here is an aerial photo map link. (Zoom out for a full view of the area.)
(By the way, this particular cliff overlooking the ocean (Long Point) has been used as a colorful location for a number of Hollywood films, including "Charlie's Angels", "Pearl Harbor" and all three of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.)
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. This was difficult at first. From the TV scene, I could tell that it was perched atop a cliff in Palos Verdes, overlooking two other cliffs in the distance. But it took me a while to figure out which cliff (there are a lot of them in Palos Verdes, all with beautiful views). And I didn't know if they had simply set up a temporary wedding garden on an otherwise empty cliff, or if it was something permanent.
When I finally determined which cliffs we were looking at, and how they lined up, it was a simple matter of using Google's aerial photos to draw a straight sight-line that pointed right back to the site of the Catalina Room. Zooming in to take a closer look, I could make out not only the wedding gazebo and the matching arrangement of the hedges, but even an unusual curving sidewalk that ended abruptly at a slant (as it did in the "Shower" scene). Once I knew it was real, and that it was located on the old Marineland property, it was a simple matter of doing Google searches for a wedding garden located on the Marineland site. The 2004 article I found, from The Daily Breeze, detailed the history and upcoming demise of The Catalina Room.
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