Getting there: Air Canada, hotwire car rental (sorry, but you pretty much need a car in LA)
Where we stayed: We decided to stay in one place for the whole week – we found a sweet little cottage in Venice Beach at a more than reasonable price – and we lucked out with the hosts (a filmmaker -Allan Moyle and a writer – Chiyoko Tanaka) who were real gems, and he’s Canadian to boot! We also had access to bikes here, which was a total bonus. We were a 10 minute walk to the beach, 5 mins to Abbott Kinney, 5 mins to the original Gold’s Gym, and close to the freeway.
Fun: There’s a ton to do in LA and it pretty much depends on what you feel like doing. There’s great food if you feel like heading out (we always start an LA trip with a trip to Randy’s Donuts near LAX – world’s. best. long john.) and the cottage we rented had a full kitchen for when we didn’t. Check out Lemonade for my all time favourite red velvet cake.
Tips: 1. It’s a lot cooler in Venice Beach than in LA and the Hollywood Hills, if the heat is a bit much for you. 2. There are a lot of condos/cottage rentals in Venice that are a lot more affordable than hotels. 3. Take lots of change for the parking meters in LA. 4. Head to the boardwalk to people watch and don’t forget Muscle Beach. 5. Bike (~30 min) or run (~1 hr) north to the end of the sidewalk that runs along the Pacific – you’ll have your own private beach just because people can’t be bothered to leave Santa Monica or Venice Beach.
October 18, 2012: The Venice Beach Diaries #1
So you haven’t heard from me since we got here because we’ve been super busy having an amazing time….and eating and sleeping and all the usual stuff.
We are staying at a little apartment in Venice Beach that we rented for the week – it’s part of a compound of a few cottages and it has some resident dogs, cats, and even a chicken (see picture of her this morning!). It’s about a 5 minute walk to the beach, Golds Gym (yes, Arnie’s gym), and a spin gym that I found and actually went to today. As soon as we arrived we headed straight for the important stuff: Randy’s Donuts – that’s me diving in to my favourite long john there about 1 hour after we landed. We’ve also sampled our favourite red velvet cake in the world and went back to Baby Blues BBQ for ribs and bottomless Koolaid on Sunday night. We’ve done a ridiculous amount of shopping – the sales! the prices! the down-filled winter jacket I bought for 70% off! (….yes, it’s true, I bought a winter coat yesterday in California when it was +30). The weather is crazy – sunny every day and between 25 – 30. I think I might even be a shade above ‘ghostly winter white’ at the moment (but don’t worry – that should fade on the 5 hour plane ride home).
We rode our bikes along the beach and through Santa Monica, drove up the Pacific Coast Highway yesterday, and today we went for a hike in the Hollywood Hills to behind the famous HOLLYWOOD sign. You can’t get up too close to it, but it was pretty cool. We also went on a house tour of the Stahl House in the Hills – it is beyond words really, and even the pics don’t do it complete justice.
Tomorrow is a beach day! We’re going to ride our bikes up the coast, find a nice spot to sun in, and relax for a few hours. I’ll send you some more pics before we leave on Saturday.
hope you are all good at home.
dpr and d2
October 21, 2012: Venice Beach Diaries #2
Even though we’re home, I thought I’d send a few more pics from the rest of our vacation.
Our last couple of days of vacation became overcast, but was still warm, so we spent a lot of time on our bikes cruising the beach, having catnaps on the beach (which we had all to ourselves – so surreal), and of course eating – with lovely close up shots to emphasize the tastiness of our food :o). We even went to the Hills hangout called Don Antonio’s for dinner on Thursday night (don’t hate me because I watched The Hills faithfully – I can’t help that I’m drawn to totally mind-numbing tv). We had a few celeb sightings too – yesterday Tim Robbins rode by us on his bike, the other day when I went for my morning coffee, Paul Giamatti was in line after me, d2 saw the Ace of Cakes, Duff, twice in one day, and the compound where we stayed is owned by Allan Moyle who wrote and directed Pump up the Volume and Empire Records. We had a drink with him and his wife and friend on Friday night and they’ve got some GOOD stories about film and tv.
And that pretty much sums up our trip – we had a great time and managed to haul all of our loot back without any issue lastnight. Thankfully it’s not too cold in TO yet, and the sun’s out today, so it’s easier to be back.
Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday-
dpr and d2