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SUNDAY STORY:Our 14 wonders

Newport-Mesa is known for them -- whether famously or infamously -- and many are can't-miss sights.

April 29, 2007|By Amanda Pennington and Alicia Robinson

Grundy remembers seeing Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and other big band icons play there.

But in 1935, a fire badly damaged the Rendezvous. But later that year it was rebuilt and later became a hub for surf music.

Original Surfaris guitar player Bob Berryhill, who helped the band rise to fame when he and his mates recorded "Wipe Out," played the hall when he was only 16. He said he remembered a sea of heads, with just about everyone dancing to the beat of their surf jams. Legendary surf music pioneer Dick Dale was a frequent player at the club.

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"So many great acts would come through the Rendezvous," Newport Beach historian Chris Trela said. "A lot of careers were launched there."

BALBOA FUN ZONE

Along the bay, between Palm and Main streets

For years a staple of summer beach crowds, the fun zone has changed a little in the last year, but it's still an icon of old Newport Beach. Visitors can buy a souvenir in the shops, enjoy a Balboa bar, play Skee-Ball in the arcade or look at the homes along the water from the top of the Ferris wheel.

The latest addition to the fun zone is the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum, which started moving into a new space at the fun zone in September. Also that month, three rides — the Scary Dark Ride, Drummer Boy and the bumper cars — closed to make way for future expansions of the museum. Some of the new exhibits have opened, including a touch tank of sea animals that came in March.

DIEGO SEPULVEDA ADOBE

Estancia Park, Costa Mesa

In the early 1820s a small adobe structure was built as a station between the missions along the California coast. The Diego Sepulveda Adobe, as that humble building is now called, served later as a ranch house and an American Legion Post before the land was bought by the Segerstrom family.

The adobe is now a museum, open twice a month, and run by the Costa Mesa Historical Society. In 1963 the Segerstroms donated the property with the charge that it would be restored. Three years later the restorations were complete and a piece of the city's history was revived.

"It tells some of the history of Costa Mesa, back about the time when the area was used for cattle raising…. It's important for people to understand that. We're so urbanized now that it's hard sometimes for people to realize it hasn't been like that forever," Costa Mesa Historical Society director Mary Ellen Goddard said.

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