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Beach town in North County embraces its funkiness

"Keep Leucadia Funky" is a popular bumper seen on cars around here. Leucadia is Greek for "a "sheltered place." Names like Hygeia, Hermes, Eolus, Vulcan, Jupiter and Orpheus reflect an early affinity the neighbohood's founding fathers had for naming streets after the ancient Greeks and Romans. Change seems to happen slowly in this classic little beach town of artists, surfers, musicians, singles and families.

With a population of approximately 11,000, Leucadia is one of four towns in the City of Encinitas, which incorporated in 1986. Nestled along the Pacific Ocean, the boundries of this neighborhood extends east to I-5 between La Costa Avenue in the north and Encinitas Blvd. in the south. The downtown district goes along the west side of Highway 101. Just to the east of the highway are train tracks for the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner and The Coaster that carry passengers on their scenic coast routes.

Real estate in Leucadia is an eclectic housing mix that is a blend of older homes, townhouses, new custom homes and waterfront estates.

Leucadia is probably best known for its outstanding beaches. For nearly three miles, sea bluffs and a narrow strip of sand provide excellent sunbathing and strolling without the usual crowds of other county beaches. The bluffs extend along the entire beaches of Leucadia with stairs providing beach access at Stone Steps, Beacons and Grandview. Beach access is also available from Moonlight beach at the southern end and Ponto Beach at the northern end.

Farmers Market in Leucadia
The Farmers Market at the Paul Ecke School offers a wide assortmen to fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, baskets, exotic orchids, worm castings, cookies and baked goods, salsa and chips, lotion and soap, artisan jewelry, wood crafts, gourmet tamales, natural candy, crepes, fish tacos, tosadas, and more. Sundays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Real estate in Leucadia is an eclectic housing mix. It consists of a blend of older homes, townhouses, custom homes and waterfront estates. The more than 5,000 housing units comprise small cottages (mostly downtown) intertwined with newer custom-built properties and a few apartment and condominium projects. Prices for condominiums start at $490,000 and go up to $2 million+, while single-family homes range from $700,000 to more than $5 million for homes with stunning ocean views. The bulk of Leucadia homes are large in size with even larger lots. Few streets have curbs or sidewalks and flower and tree-lined streets often lead to unpaved roads that lead to hidden homes.

Beaches in Leucadia
LEFT: The path down the bluff to Beacons Beach. RIGHT: The beaches of Leucadia offer fun waves for surfing and swimming.

The downtown district with its unique architecture and natural resources, reveals the past history and development of Leucadia. Once acres of avocado trees, flower and plant nurseries inhabited the area. Today there is more development, however the agricultural heritage continues with abundant tree-lined streets, lush gardens and nurseries including Weidner's, Leucadia Nursery, Gardens by the Sea, The Specimen House and Paul Ecke Ranch.

Along the Highway 101 corridor there are many businesses that give Leucadia it's unique style. Caldwell's Antiques is a family-run business specializing in old radios, advertising, jukeboxes and slot machines since 1963. Nextdoor is ABC Trading Company, selling vintage vinyl records and life-sized statues of icons such as Betty Boop and Marilyn Monroe. A long-time fixture in Leucadia is the Panniken, formerly the Encinitas Train Depot. When the station was to be demolished in 1975, a local resident saved it, turning it into a popular coffee house and art gallery and it remains one of the most significant rail and historical structures in San Diego County.

A long-time fixture in Leucadia is the Panniken, formerly the Encinitas Train Depot. It is now a popular coffee house/art gallery.

Another landmark is Lou's Records. Owner Lou Russell originally started out working at Licorice Pizza, a record store that later went out of business in the late 1980s. After working in the industry for some time, Russell realized he had the potential to start his own store. It has since become a destination for many music aficionados and Lou's Records stickers are on car bumpers all over town.

For such a small town, there is a healthy live music scene. The Bar Leucadian has live rock n' roll every night of the week. Le Papagayo, Robbies Roadhouse and Jamroc 101 are all restaurants that provide a variety of live music that is a little mellower.

Change comes slowly to this community. Trendy restaurants and business are starting to replace some of the older buildings. Slowly but surely, larger luxury homes are replacing some of the older smaller homes. This place is funky - in a very nice way. For the people who call this home, there is no better place to live.

Copyright 2012. www.townblip.com



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