by Zoe Schrader
Some may refer to Southern California as a giant bubble, closed off from the rest of the world, and on some days this may feel very real. Although if you go searching you can find some destinations off the beaten path, or even very close to home that break you out of this bubble, and take you somewhere completely new.
The Korean Bell of Friendship
The Korean Bell of Friendship is located in San Pedro, a 50-minute drive from Chapman. The bell was donated in 1976 by the Republic of Korea to celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of the United States independence, honor veterans of the Korean War and honor the traditional friendship between the United States and Korea. The bell itself and the site of the bell are both beautiful, overlooking Los Angeles harbor and the Catalina Channel. The bell is rung four times a year on the Fourth of July, Korean Independence Day (Aug 15), New Year’s Eve, and every September to celebrate Constitution week.
Sunken City, also in San Pedro, is just a short two-minute drive away from the Korean Bell of Friendship, and together they make a great day trip. Sunken City is exactly what it sounds like. In 1929 a landslide caused a neighborhood to literally crumble into the ocean. The ruins of the once-was city are now a home to graffiti art. The ruins are technically considered off-limits. You must crawl through a dug out hole underneath the surrounding fence to access them, but what is on the other side of this gate is worth the 30 seconds of discomfort.
Hsi Lai Temple
The His Lai Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Hacienda Heights, a short 35-minute drive from Chapman. While visiting, the temple’s traditional architecture, gardens, and statues will let you escape from Southern California and bring you to China. The temple was finished in 1988, and named Hsi Lai which actually means "coming to the West" and represents the spread of Buddhist teachings to those in the West. Whether you practice Buddhism or not, a trip the temple can be a wonderful cultural lesson, as well as an escape from the Southern California bubble.
Crystal Cove National Park
Crystal Cove National Park covers 3.2 miles of the Pacific coastline in Newport, a 30-minute drive from Chapman. The park is home to 17 miles of hiking trails, a historic district filled with cottages built in the 1920’s, tide pools, and most importantly, the beach. Whether you feel like hiking through the canyons, checking out some old architecture or studying up on marine life, Crystal Cove can be the perfect escape from school or work, without having to go very far at all.