Mike Fager of Temecula planned the trip in secret to surprise his wife and their four children as a way to celebrate their wedding anniversary and two family birthdays. The family was the first group to move their belongings into cottage #37, Fisherman's Perch.
Mackenzie's brother Drake, 17, said the trip was just right for the family.
"We love the beach," he said. "We're always at the beach, camping or hanging out. We figured it'd be cool, and we like it here. It's very rustic."
There are 22 cottages that have been renovated. Thirteen of these are available to guests for short-term stays, and the other nine are shops and buildings for educational and management services. There are 24 more cottages still in need of funding for renovation before they will be suitable for guests.
In the cottages that are renovated and receiving guests, the focus is on details. It's the little things that really bring the cottages to life, said Crystal Cove Alliance president Laura Davick.
"We tried to give each cottage something unique and special," she said. "The Dive Shack has a beautiful big copper dive helmet, the Painter's Cottage has painter's palettes ... the Shell Shack has a huge shell collage that my grandmother made by hand."
Davick, who grew up in Cottage 2, feels that it is important to decorate some of the cottages with her own family's beach heirlooms so that people can better appreciate and understand the history of Crystal Cove and the cottages.
Though the cottages are open, exhibit designer Sandra Farrell says that finishing touches like "period pieces, historic photographs [and] historic anecdotes" have yet to be brought in.
Both Davick and Farrell pointed out that visitors will find a rich coastal history if they just look around. cpt.30-crystalcove-1-dl-CPhotoInfoLL1SEV4920060630j1lg82ncDON LEACH / COASTLINE PILOT(LA)Pam Jones pauses on the deck of the "HI-DE-HO" house above the beach to take in the view.