Alix Hobbs, president and CEO of Crystal Cove Alliance, shares her discoveries after a recent move to Newport Beach.
By Briana Verdugo
It’s easy to understand why Alix Hobbs was chosen as the new president and CEO of Crystal Cove Alliance last August. With more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector—19 of which were spent working for Santa Monica’s Heal the Bay organization—she was the logical pick to care for Crystal Cove State Park.
“As the president and CEO, I oversee the nonprofit Crystal Cove Alliance as well as our for-profit city area, Crystal Cove Beach Cottages,” Hobbs says of her role. “My job is to oversee the nonprofit and our mission focuses on three areas: preservation, conservation and education.”
These three focus points became critically important this year as the nonprofit worked to get approval from the California Coastal Commission to restore the remaining 17 cottages located on the north part of the beach. The commission gave the green light in March, the alliance anticipates construction estimates to be complete by year’s end and restoration could begin as early as 2018. The renovated spaces will mainly be used as more low-cost beachside accommodation for vacationing families, but one is set to be converted into a dorm-style lodge that will host a new overnight engineering educational program, which will utilize an outdoor classroom and allow students to examine the coastal dynamics that happen in the area due to sea level rise and climate change. “We’re really excited about this program. … Our hope is that we excite students about choosing either marine biology, environmental science or engineering as a career choice, because we will all need … to be thinking about the next generation as we all leave our legacies behind,” Hobbs explains.
In between working diligently to ensure that Crystal Cove State Park continues to be a picturesque location for all to enjoy, Hobbs—who moved here from Los Angeles, but is originally from New York—has also begun to explore her new home. “I had done day trips down to Newport and Laguna, but when I found out about the position and I came down here to look at the park through a different set of sunglasses, … I honestly have to say, I fell in love. This is a truly magical place.” Below, Hobbs shares a few of her new favorite hangouts.
“If you get to know me and I ask you for lunch at Modo Mio [Rustic Italian Kitchen], I’m probably going to ask you to become a member of Crystal Cove Alliance. It’s a great place to go for a business lunch.”
Happy Hour Hot Spot
Hobbs recommends The Bungalow for an after-work drink, but notes, “You have to get there early. … If you go for happy hour, frequently sliders will come out of the kitchen and they’ll just sort of pass them around and that’s always a nice thing to have at the end of the day.”
Dinner and a Show
“I’m originally from New York and I do like the people-watching aspect of eating out. … At all of the Hillstone [Restaurant] Group’s [venues]—R&D Kitchen, Bandera, Gulfstream—people-watching there is always great.”
On the Water
“Newport Landing has a great whale watch program, so that’s fun to get out on the water. … I really enjoyed the crew at Newport Landing and … [it] is a great thing for anyone from any age.”
“I tend to go to the Crystal Cove [Interpretive] Store here when I need presents and such because we’ve got such adorable things. … I’ve been able to send some cute Crystal Cove clothing back to the family back East.”