At 25, Ashley Eckenweiler is already where she wants to be—throwing parties, exhibition openings, receptions, auctions and honorary dinners as the special events manager at Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA). "The best part of it is booking bands (Sonic Youth in particular)," she says, "and running the monthly music night, Orange Crush." Here are the other best parts of OC, according to Ashley:
The Rooftop at La Casa del Camino, Laguna Beach.The wooden couches and tables at La Casa are comfortable at any time of day. Outdoor heaters keep it cozy at night, and umbrellas block out the rays during the day. "It's like my private getaway, a sort of secret spot (until now, oops!). I can bring my dog and sit with a good book and be totally satisfied." 289 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-2446; www.casacamino.com.
XO martinis at AIRe.Ashley has handled some of the PR for AIRe, so she may be a little biased. But those martinis are above suspicion. "XO vodka comes in a cognac bottle and is distilled nine times, which makes it even more wonderful." 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 751-7099; www.aireglobal.com.
Grandma's house."My grandma June has lived in the same house on Lido Isle in Newport Beach since I was born. I used to ride on the back seat of her bike while my grandpa rode the waves on his long board."
Remembering the old El Morro trailer park on the water on PCH.Yes, it's gone—but the memories aren't. "It's so sad for me to drive by now. Even though it's barricaded off, I find myself driving by just to grab another look. Kind of reminds me of the old Date Shack."
The Balboa Ferry."Once, my ex and I decided it would be fun to ride with a golf cart. We get on the ferry and notice the lights are blinking like crazy. Shit! I realize it's out of gas! So after we get to the other side, we turn around and get right back on the ferry to go back and get gas. We barely made it to the gas station on PCH. Thank God we didn't get a ticket for being on PCH with a golf cart." Park Ave. and Agate Ave., Newport Beach; balboaislandferry.com. Operates Sun.-Thurs., 6:30 a.m.-midnight; Fri.-Sat., 6:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Pedestrians, 30-60; bicycles and automobiles, 50-$1.50.
Fingerprints Records."They have a great selection of music, including early '90s stuff, and the people who work there are always friendly and know what the hell they're talking about." 4612 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 433-4996.
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The Port Movie Theatre. "I totally want to buy it and turn it into a club. I love the old concession stands there." 2905 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar.
SoBeCa.This one-of-a-kind OC entity is an arts village shopping center that includes the Lab and the Camp. "I love what they've done with the area. It's beautiful. And their director of marketing, Monet, is awesome." 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa; www.sobeca.net.
Dog Beach."I love running with my Lhasa Apso named Stitch." On Pacific Coast Hwy., between 21st St. and Seapoint St., Huntington Beach; www.dogbeach.org.
Santa Ana Art Walk. "The shows are always great—the last one I saw was photographer Edward Colver's retrospective of punk rock photos—and it's so fun to jump from gallery to gallery." 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 567-7233; www.grandcentralartcenter.com.