by Haley Grigaitis
Salty breeze, crashing waves, seagulls, eclectic beach houses… it was this desert girls dream come true. I had just graduated high school and gifted myself a loosely planned two-week road trip up the California coast. I was going to meet some of my virtual “pen pals” that I’d bonded with on MySpace over our mutual love for reggae music, namely the band Sublime.
The plan was to visit Bakersfield, Ventura, and San Diego, leaving space for exploring new towns and venturing farther north. Spoiler alert! I only made it to one destination: Ventura. I still have the notebook with directions to my friend’s house on Pierpont Blvd scribbled in the back cover and remember the excitement of discovering how close it was to the ocean. Upon arriving I was immediately invited to walk to the beach; it was mid-afternoon on a weekday and empty save for a handful of locals. The next couple days were full of surfing (attempts) at Surfers Point, Corrales, and being a bonafide beach bum.
I’d planned to head inland to Bakersfield, but on my third night in Ventura I met the reason I would end up staying there the extent of my two-week trip and later, packing up and moving to California. Your first love is always magical, but there’s just something extra special about falling in love by the ocean. My boyfriend lived in a house way up on a hill, somewhere off Poli Street, and I won’t forget watching the sun rise over the whole town from the edge of his backyard- or watching him bomb the terrifyingly steep neighborhood streets on his longboard. Fast forward to a year later (including a 6-month stint in Santa Barbara) and I found myself renting a room in a house off of the 33.
I worked at Hearts Delight Too and the seasonal Halloween store, living on Lalo’s rolled tacos and occasionally enjoying some boxed wine on the beach under the stars. Setting out as an 18-year-old with no money and no plan finally caught up to me, and I ended up back in Arizona about 7 months later. My then long-distance relationship eventually ended and music had begun taking over my life. It had been about two years since I had moved back to Arizona when I was on another road trip that led me back to Ventura to pick up an art piece I had left with my ex-boyfriend. Talk about memories flooding back! I wrote some of the first lyrics to “Pierpont” that night in my hotel room.
The song is all about reminiscing about my all-too-brief but intensely impactful time spent in Ventura, especially those first two weeks. Remembering falling in love by the ocean, being immersed in the gorgeous natural scenery and small-town vibes, and my personal journey of growing up. I’m so grateful to be able to share a piece of my Ventura experience through music and hope that the song inspires you to visit Ventura, whether you’re feeling the sand for the first time or coming home.