Discovering hidden gems while walking Irvine neighborhoods

Irvine Standard writer Tom Berg and his wife spent their weekends walking through the Villages of Irvine.

Last year, my wife and I spent our weekends walking through the Villages of Irvine.

Our journey took us to secluded spots where you couldn’t see a home. And public places where every shrub and flower was so beautifully cared for that it left us feeling like we were in a resort.

As we moved throughout the city, it was fascinating to watch how the landscaping changes from south to north. In south Irvine, pine and cypress trees accentuate the coastal Mediterranean climate.

In the northern foothills, we hiked beneath canopies of heritage oaks and parks shaded with massive sycamores.

Our yearlong experiment left us thankful for the Master Plan that provides so many opportunities to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and nature all around us.

We discovered hidden gems in every village, but one that stands out is atop a Turtle Ridge hill known as Sepulveda Vista Point. Talk about views: We gazed over the ocean to Catalina Island, up the coast to Palos Verdes, and then over the entire city of Irvine to the San Gabriel Mountains capped with snow. And because this is a spot you wouldn’t come across unless looking for it, we had the whole hilltop to ourselves.

Just another gem among the Villages of Irvine.