Sunday, July 13, 2008

Walking L.A. #20 - Lower Beachwood Canyon

Again, Erin Mahoney, the author of our guide book, took us back to Hollywood. This time we visited Lower Beachwood Canyon which is just a little bit east of the last walk in Whitley Heights. Again there were many steep roads, but I enjoyed this walk a little more than last week's because we went earlier in the morning to avoid the heat, and I saw an area I've never seen before, even though I've lived in LA for over 15 years.

We began at the bottom of Vista del Mar Ave where it meets Franklin Ave. We stopped for coffee at the 101 Coffee Shop which was a 70's-looking diner with some character. I'd return there sometime to try the food, but never again for a cup of coffee which was pretty lousy even for a diner.

Again this week we saw beautiful houses, many with enviable views of Hollywood and Downtown LA. Many parts of the neighborhood were quiet with narrow, curvy streets, which reminded me of hillside towns in Europe. Other parts were extremely noisy from the roaring cars on the adjacent 101 Freeway.

One of the noisiest areas, ironically, was home to the Vedanta Society of Southern California. We stopped in to admire their white temple which looked like a mini Taj Mahal. We also browsed through their bookstore where we almost bought our son a Peaceful Piggy Meditation book.

The next walk is Upper Beachwood Canyon.

Walking L.A.: 36 Walking Tours Exploring Stairways, Streets and Buildings You Never Knew Existed

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Walking L.A. #19 - Whitley Heights and Hollywood Boulevard

This walk was just on the other side of Highland Ave from the last walk. You can tell that Whitley Heights was once a very prestigious neighborhood by the many fancy Mediterranean style homes. Unfortunately the 101 Freeway was built right through it and now the residents have to put up with the noise.

It was really hot today and the many steep roads on this walk contributed to a lot of sweating. After walking through Whitley Heights we descended down Whitley Ave to Hollywood Blvd where we walked west to the Hollywood and Highland complex. The boulevard was full of the usual tourists. We had been here many times before so instead of sightseeing, we headed into a Build-a-Bear store to cool off. Yes, there is actually a store that is like a Subway Restaurant for teddy bears. You start with a naked bear and then pick its name, clothes, and accessories.

After the bear store, we stopped to watch some dancers rehearsing their moves at the Hollywood Pop Academy while we fed our baby. Finally, we grabbed some coffee at Starbucks and then headed back to Whitley Heights to end our walk.

The next walk is Lower Beachwood Canyon.

Walking L.A.: 36 Walking Tours Exploring Stairways, Streets and Buildings You Never Knew Existed