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Friendships grow in the sunset

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The group of friends and neighbors known as Larkspuria meet up on Friday nights on the bluff above Big Corona to enjoy the sunset.
(Susan Hoffman)

They meet on the grassy area above Big Corona at Ocean and Larkspur avenues on Friday nights to enjoy the sunset as a group.

Calling themselves Larkspuria seemed appropriate as they are either residents or friends of residents of Larkspur Avenue who meet up on Larkspur Bluff.

What was once a private tradition between newlyweds Bret and Mari Hanson has become a tradition among friends.

Two years ago, the Hansons set aside a special time on Friday nights to reflect on their week and kick off their weekend by watching the sunset from the end of their street, which overlooks the ocean. The following summer, the Friday night sunset plan included neighbors and friends — and so it continues.

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Somer Tejwani, who lives next door to the Hansons, said there’s something special about how Corona del Mar residents want to hang out together.

“I think it’s unusual for neighbors to get together,” she said. “It’s something you hear about happening in the past.”

Her husband, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sam Tejwani, who has lived on Larkspur for five years, said, “I don’t need a lot of arm twisting to get down to enjoy the beautiful view.”

Not all Larkspurians, however, actually live in Corona del Mar.

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Mark and Leila Lafontaine, who met the Hansons at church, come from Laguna Niguel to take part in the weekly gathering. Leila said they are drawn to Corona del Mar because this is where they play volleyball.

“We want to live here someday because it has a different character than any other area, and we love the community,” she said. “Every time we’re here we have fun.”

Cheryl Evans, who has lived on Larkspur for two years but planned to move back to Washington state in the spring, agreed that Friday evenings spent with the crew have been some of her best while living in Southern California

“We’ve celebrated birthdays, promotions, pregnancies, met family and friends, shucked oysters, kicked off Fourth of July and collected quite a few sunset pictures,” she said.

The Hansons enjoy planning various themed sunset gatherings, such as “American potluck sunset,” “birthday sandwiches” and “oyster” sunset.

“We continue to invite new acquaintances we meet in the area to join us and enjoy the opportunity to build relationships with others,” Mari said.

This article orginally appeared on Corona del Mar Today.

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