If, I am remembering the Top Gun scene correctly, Tom Cruise motorcycles his way up a steep hill and lands on a side street to the home of his love interest, played by Kelly McGinnis.
She supposedly lived in a cute little Victorian cottage dressed in blue and white, with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean from the patio.
He was already late and she was clearly waiting for him. Then what does he do? He asks her if he can take a shower…really? Seems rude to me, but oh well, it is Hollywood. They soon settled on the porch and enjoyed a nice evening until it was time for him to scurry off, riding on the now famous motorcycle.
So, in 1986, Hollywood came to the quirky little town of Oceanside, some 30 miles north of San Diego. I say quirky, because it has been that way at times until lately where it has turned into a coastal gentrification. Out with the old, in with the new.
The movie gave us a chance to gawk at the tiny home while watching the movie, with screams of, “Hey, I know that house, I know that street!”
It soon became the ‘Top Gun’ house to residents and visitors alike.
It sat by itself on a corner for many years, even after its claim to fame in that blockbuster movie.
Originally, it was the Graves house on North Pacific Street and it really did have those awesome coastline views. It was built in 1887 and was Dr, Henry Graves vacation home. It was subsequently sold to others and in 1986 as mentioned; it was rented out to Paramount Pictures for two weeks to film.
With or without the movie notoriety, the home still has architectural value as one of few oceanfront Victorians in San Diego County. Note the decorative wood work and gabled roof.
So what and where is it today?
The city moved it from that lonely corner, and it now sits a few blocks away to become part of the new ‘look’ of Oceanside.
Gone are the empty corners and bye-bye to the sleepy town feel. Nowadays, it is all grown up and fancy. Just like the infamous and touristy Huntington Beach.
The Top Gun house is now a pie shop right smack in the middle of all of the action. On the weekends, lines are 30 deep to get inside. The menu is sparse, but I hear the pies are actually good, but small. I was happy to hear that they are made with strawberries from local fields and apples from nearby, Julian.
Red brick and bright blue umbrellas welcome you to a seating area to enjoy the pies, views, or just to people watch.
Up front, there is a replica of the motorcycle that Mr. Cruise rode and now serves as a fun photo opportunity for kids or adults.
At first, I thought that it didn’t fit the décor of the two new resorts with their modern or Cape Cod facades. However, I am getting used to it and I actually think what they made it into is a good idea. It is better than falling prey to the local termites like it was when it was down the street.
Now, it has a fresh new coat of paint and is all dressed up to meet the tourists.
It is funny how a few minutes in a movie made this such an iconic symbol for Oceanside.
Tom Cruise and Kelly McGinnis walked around this cottage many years ago.
But for Oceanside, it is so much more, it is nostalgia.
In ending, I still can’t get over that infamous scene, and can’t imagine going to someone’s home for dinner, walking in late, then asking if I can take a shower. I know, I know, I need to get over it. It was only a movie.
Ignore me,… instead, come on down to Oceanside and head to the pier once there, look east and there it will be…The Top Gun House.
Stories and photos: Debbie Colwell