Welcome to paradise, please sign our guestbook

Samuel Freeman

Sarah Valverde, Assistant Editor

If you were to Google ‘souvenir shops in Carlsbad CA’, you would come up with about 140 results. Granted, some of those may end up being guitar stores, but there are still quite a few local shops we take for granted. One of those little sundry shops is Paradise Cottage, located at 2906 State Street.

It seems to be your typical Carlsbad gift shop, but there is a reason you never judge a book by its cover. In fact, this store has something that makes it unique—a book. Not just any book (although there is never a bad time for Harry Potter), but a guest book of international signatures.

This corner store rests right in the middle of the local street fairs. The building itself can only be described as a cottage, as the name suggests. The decor centers on the beach, from the little turtles made of shells to the sandal decorated photo albums.

This book itself is full of signatures from international visitors who have been to the store. Originally, it was for anyone from another state; the first few pages are speckled with signatures from Dallas and Seattle. Eventually, the number of internationals began to grow.

“It always amazed us how someone from Russia found our little store,” said Kimberly Mullen, the store owner’s daughter.

Now, the guest book focuses solely on international visitors. The amount of entries are beginning to hit the 600 mark, but not all the entries are just names. They come with messages about California and names written in native languages, all capturing the personality of the signer.

“One guy drew the Sydney Harbor while just standing here,” Mullen said.

While this may appear to be a signature item, this book remains a casual part of the store’s life, meant for the staff’s private enjoyment. Their goal is to make a visitor’s stay memorable, no matter where they’re from.

“[We are looking for] anything that’s off the beaten path…. Places we don’t think of,” Mullen said.

The one-year anniversary of the guest book is approaching quickly. Come down to the Paradise Cottage. Bring your international friends and family. Bring the exchange student staying with your family. Bring your interest in culture and hold the same book that’s been in the hands of so many visitors. Enjoy the ideas that give our community a twist.