We took a boat tour of Newport Harbor last week to see Christmas lights on the bayfront homes and yachts . . .
Current and former owners of these fabulous abodes include Nicolas Cage, Michelle Pfeiffer, Richie Sambora, Peter Falk, Mark McGwire, the William Wrigley family, the Snyder family (founders of In-N-Out Burger), the FaBrizio family (founders of Simple Green), Shirley Temple, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, John Wayne, Charles Bronson, Charles Schulz, George Argyros, and local luminaries like Fletcher Jones Jr (owner of Fletcher Jones Motorcars) and the Segerstrom family (owners of South Coast Plaza).
In the early 20th century, lots in Newport Harbor were selling for $75. Amenities such as electricity, paved streets, sewers, streetlights and water were lacking and roads to the area were largely undeveloped. Basically, you were buying the right to live on a mud flat at a three-hour drive from civilization, so even at $75, sales were slow.
The sellers then placed a coupon offer in Sunset magazine: buy a two-year subscription to Sunset and get $25 off the price of a lot. So — $50 instead of $75.
I wish someone in my family tree had had the foresight to buy one because you couldn’t get a bayfront lot today for less than about $10 million. Not a house — that’s just for the lot.
Aliso Viejo man dies after falling while hanging Christmas lights
This cautionary tale includes a helpful tip from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
Falls from ladders or rooftops are comical in the movies, but in reality, they can be a very dangerous thing.
Actually, falls from ladders and rooftops can be funny in real life too, but only when they happen to someone else.