civil war days + the donuttery / huntington beach, ca

This was our third year attending the Civil War Reenactment in Huntington Beach. It’s held every year over Labor Day weekend and is sponsored by the City of Huntington Beach. It’s one of the free reenactments you can attend. You can learn so much about our country’s history by watching the battle and talking with many of the living historians attending the event. Here’s my recap of this year’s reenactment (plus, donuts at the end).


I have never really thought about becoming a volunteer. I don’t think I’d enjoy doing it in the summers… maybe in winter with that full wool outfit…



There’s tons of people in period dress, including many ladies wearing the full fledged dresses. It brings a really authentic feel to the whole event. There are two camps set up – the Confederate camp and the Union camp – and each has their own sets of “women folk” that you can see doing various duties. These ladies were in the main part for an information booth.



Our favorite place to visit is still the Iron Pear Tree Inn. We always go to see Adam England (who works over at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center) who is a wonderful historical storyteller. He really helps bring the history to life and it’s always fun to hear his stories.


This year we were smart and sat in the shade. I’m happy to report I did NOT get heat sickness this year (hooray).


Here is a gentleman in gray with a Signal Corps flag. He was way out in the field and his counterpart was down near us with another flag. We sat near where the Union troops would soon come out (we could hear rifle fire and drums before the battle moved out into the field) and saw another gentleman with the same flag. They used the flags to signal back and forth to each other to communicate troop movements.

This visual communication system was first proposed by Albert James Myer in 1856. The system was tested in combat in 1861 to direct the fire of a harbor battery against Confederate positions. The system was limited to only line of sight communications but was the flags were the first step to more of the modern technology and communications that is used today. The Signal Corps also had the initial responsibility for lots of areas, such as military intelligence, weather forecasting and aviation. My favorite tidbit is that the Signal Corps established the congressionally mandated National Weather Service and it’s first name (given by Myers) was The Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce.


The gentlemen in the white hat with the white beard totally looks like General Robert E. Lee to me.


This is after the battle had begun and you can see the smoke from the rifles and cannons drifting through the air. The Union and Confederate troops do not stand very far apart from one another. The smoke from the rifles obscures the field and the rifles’ accuracy made the battles more difficult.



It does seem kind of silly in retrospect that the troops would stand in lines like this. Many officers of the Civil War were taught the “old ways” of war and that was all they were familiar with by the time the Civil War came around.


The reenactors sure are good sports to dress up all in wool and “die” on the field in the hot, hot sun.


When the battle was over, this gentleman played Taps and there was a moment of silence.


We didn’t get to see him this year, but every year after the battle there is a historian and President Lincoln presenter named William Peck who gives the Gettysburg Address. Mr. Peck is retiring this year after being diagnosed with ALS. They gave him a serenade and a ceremony and honored him as a wonderful living historian. Mr. Peck is a San Macros resident who has presented the Gettysburg Address to many children in North County. There was an article about Mr. Peck in the Union Tribute earlier this year. He will be missed at the Civil War events!

Huntington Beach Civil War Days

After the reenactment, we made a quick stop for a beloved treat: donuts.


We visited the Donuttery last year, too. They have so many flavors and different types of donuts that revisits are highly in order! They have all kinds of donuts, such as: peanut butter & jelly, whip cream, devil’s food, three kinds of blueberry (glazed, lemon frosted, vanilla frosted),  strawberry, creme brulee, crumb donuts, buttermilk bars, cinnamon rolls, bear claws, butterfly….



And GOSH, that’s not it! They also have Vegan donuts (you can see them on the bottom shelves here), cinnamon twists, croissants, turnovers…


and of course they have their own version of the “cronut” which they call they simply call the “croissantdonuts” (one word). At the top left is one lonely looking maple bacon bar.


Did you spy these HUGE raised donuts on the bottom shelf? I couldn’t believe how big these suckers were.


SO MANY CHOICES. We ended up limited ourselves to seven donuts. Tough, I know.


We repeated our carrot cake donut trio because I don’t know of any other place that has carrot cake donuts!

They have three kinds: one with cream cheese frosting (in the foreground), glazed (top, middle) and vanilla glazed (with the orange sprinkles). I liked the cream cheese frosted one a bit more this year but I still really liked all three of them. The donuts all tasted super fresh like they had just been made recently. The carrot flavor is outstanding. It’s kind of like eating fried carrot cake!


We also opted for two of their four red velvet donut options. We got one cream cheese frosted and one glazed. They also have one topped with chocolate fudge frosting and one with vanilla frosting. The cream cheese frosted one was really good – it had that light chocolate flavor reminiscent of red velvet cake. The donut still had that outer “crunch” that a fresh cake donut has and the cream cheese frosting was lightly sweet and delicious. The plain glazed one was good, too, but the cream cheese one is just that much better.


Crumb donuts are a weakness of mine so I opted to try this vanilla crumb cake donut. The best part was that the crumb didn’t fall off at all (which happens with most other crumb donuts) since it stuck to the vanilla frosting. The crumb coating gave it extra texture and had a lovely cinnamon flavor.


The last donut… that I decided to get at the last minute… was the Strawberry & Nutella donut.

I mean… come on! A donut frosted with NUTELLA. Of course I had to try it!


This was the only raised donut we tried which had a very healthy amount of strawberry jelly in the middle. The donut was perfectly light, airy and chewy and the hefty amount of strawberry filling paired so well with the Nutella as the frosting. One of my favorites of the day!

Next time I’ll have to try the blueberry donuts, and those butterfly ones, and maybe a creme brulee… the peanut butter and jelly sounds good as well…

The Donuttery
17420 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
(714) 847-7000

14 thoughts on “civil war days + the donuttery / huntington beach, ca

  1. Nothing beats learning about American history while indulging in a pastry or 2. That last one with the strawberry filling is too much for me to handle right now. I want it!
    The only problem is, I’m a major klutz and every time I eat something with a “filling”, it turns into a gravity experiment with whatever top I’m wearing that day (usually white).

    1. Hi Kimberlee – Trust me, I know so so much about um, “gravity”, haha! I have this problem on a daily basis. Partially why I just don’t wear white anymore… 🙂 The strawberry nutella donut might have been my favorite that day!

      1. Mary, you have no idea! Although I’m a huge foodie (not in the literal sense), I’m not very coordinated about getting it from my plate to my mouth. My mother put a bib on me until the age of 12 and now I’m wondering why I ever stopped wearing one. Maybe teenage rebellion or perhaps the Daisy Duck characters didn’t match my outfits very well? Either way, I wish I still had that Daisy Duck bib again.

          1. OMG, You’re my new hero! I totally love this and I’m ordering probably 3 of these right away. I will definitely wear one every time I eat. I’m sure the folks over at Tide and Clorox won’t be too happy about it but I sure will. You rock. BTW, I love the photos in your review.

  2. Ooh how cool. I bet wearing one of those dresses would be fun…for a couple hours and then it’d be nice to go back to jeans and a t-shirt haha.

    I looove cake donuts! I would have definitely gotten the carrot cake donut too. And the sheer amount of Nutella on top of the strawberry nutella donut…YES.

    1. Hi J.S. – Yeah, I think a couple of hours max would be fun and that after that… no more!

      I tend to always get cake donuts, they always look more exciting to me than the raised donuts, but a good, freshly made raised donut melts in your mouth. The nutella on top of that one is sheer genius to me. Nutella frosting = perfect.

  3. That’s a donut place on our list of ‘must visits’. Great selection, especially the strawberry nutella. I loved seeing the Civil War reenactment photos! What a cool trip this was!

    1. Hi CC – Yes if you get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it! We went in the middle of the afternoon and the donuts still tasted freshly made. I suspect they make donuts throughout the day and there is so much to choose from! Yay, I’m glad someone else enjoys my civil war photos haha.

  4. DONUTS! I haven’t physically been to the Donuttery but my best friend brought donuts from here a long time ago and that is when I fell in love with the blueberry donut. SIGH. Anyway… what, carrot cake donut??! It’s a must to visit now! Thanks for sharing, Mary! Glad you had a fun day trip! 🙂

    1. Hi Janice – There’s so much to try and sample here that I totally overlooked the blueberry. We’ll have to try it next time. I was impressed they offer variations on the frosting for many of their donuts. The carrot cake donuts are so good! Hope you get to try some more samples from them!

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