With thousands of tourists flocking to Cove Palisades State Park every summer, you never know who might turn up. You may even run into a celebrity, as three Culver girls discovered last week.
Late Sunday evening, July 20, 20-year-old Jessica McWilliams was working behind the counter at Cove Palisades Marina and Restaurant, when who should walk in the door but movie star Alec Baldwin.
"He came in by himself and I knew who he was right away," she said.
After Baldwin purchased a bag of ice and a Pepsi, McWilliams politely asked, "I know you probably get this a lot, but can I have your autograph?"
She was alone in the store, and the only piece of paper she had handy was a sandwich slip, which he obligingly autographed.
"He was really cool about it," she said, adding, "He said he was just vacationing. He likes it out here and said it's beautiful."
Baldwin wasn't traveling incognito, she said, noting, "He had sunglasses on but took them off when he came in. He was wearing shorts and a T-shirt and looked like any other vacationer."
A co-worker was miffed that she missed him, but may have passed him on the sidewalk without recognizing him.
"I had just sent Kelli down to clean a houseboat and she missed him by two minutes max," Jessica said.
That was the same story the previous day at the Cove Corner Store on the bluff above the park, even though a limousine pulling in to the parking lot should have been a dead giveaway.
The clerk, 15-year-old Nikki Lytle, and her friend, Sue Kent, and a lady customer were in the store when the limo drove up.
"He and his group of guys came in and bought some pop and food, but neither of us recognized him. Then some girls came in (after seeing the limo) and asked if anybody famous was in the store and we said no," Lytle related, saying she doesn't think Baldwin himself came up to the counter.
The lady customer did recognize Baldwin it turned out, but didn't say anything, waiting to see if the girls would figure it out.
"The next day she asked us if we had recognized Alec Baldwin and we said no and practically kicked ourselves!" Nikki admitted.