A colorful past and a charming present
In 1927, film producer Harry Green commissioned local architect, Thomas Harper, to design four cottages set in a private, walled compound a few blocks from the village of Laguna. His idea was to create a private getaway for entertaining his celebrity friends in this burgeoning bohemian art colony.
Today little is known about the guest lists at these gatherings, although it is rumored that Joan Crawford and her husband Franchot Tone were partial to the Yellow Cottage.
The layout of the property allowed Green to host parties in and around the center courtyard with its romantic wishing well as its centerpiece. In contrast couples and families enjoy individual cottages allowing guests more intimacy amidst the romance and charm of a crackling fire.
Jane Gilman, whose family purchased the cottages from Green in 1931, remembers as a young woman what it was like living across the street from the cottages. "It was a hell of a playground" she chuckled. Jane would continue to share stories with us until her passing in 2011.
Hidden from view behind old wooden gates, and long forgotten, the property came on the market in 1999 for the first time since 1931. As 4th generation Californians with an interest in local history and architecture, the Herzer family was inspired to share this secret hide-away with others. Joining them in this vision was their long time friend, Mary Carole McDonnell. After meticulous renovation and garden restoration, the first guests arrived on Valentines Day 2000. Since then guests from near and far have been delighting in this unique lodging experience.
Green’s vision still works today for guests seeking an individual cottage or use of the entire compound, including our spacious lower garden for family reunions, weddings, celebrations and corporate events.
Whether your journeys take you to or from the humming metropolis of San Diego or the bustling city of Los Angeles, we provide the perfect lodging for your needs in Orange County! Whether you are simply looking for a romantic weekend getaway, vacation accommodations, or a quick escape in Southern California, let us help you have a relaxing and memorable vacation at Manzanita Cottages, nestled in the seaside city of Laguna Beach.