Archive for October, 2012

Brewery Art Walk – 10-20-12

I blogged about my first visit to the Brewery Art Walk here. That was back on March 31st and my friends and I definitely wanted to go again in October so that we could go inside the buildings we had missed.

It’s fun to meet the artists, admire their art, and see how they decorate their lofts. There’s a restaurant on site, Barbara’s, that has good food and a lot of the artists provide snacks. Extra points to the ones serving slices of salami with the cheese and crackers and high five to the new tenants with the popcorn cart!

Here are some random pictures from yesterday. I didn’t take any pictures of the actual art this time. You need to go check that out for yourself.  🙂

Helpful Hint: Parking is free in the UPS lot and on the street. Bring cash because you’ll probably want to buy stuff and you’ll need it for the restaurant. Here’s their website.


Sierra Club Hike: Monrovia Canyon Park

How lovely is Canyon Park in Monrovia?

The Sierra Club Activities Guide said this very easy hike to a waterfall was suitable for families, and it definitely was. We had one child with us and several senior citizens. No one had any trouble walking along the mostly flat trail.

From the upper parking lot it was less than a mile each way to the waterfall. For a longer hike and to avoid the $5.00 parking fee, you can park at the lower lot.

After the hike and picnic lunch, my friends and I thanked our Sierra Club guides and continued on a hike of our own up to the Ben Overturff trail head.

As we were out of time when we got there and one person in our group was out of energy, we could only look longingly at this enticing trail and make plans to hike it another day.

Helpful Hint: When you visit Canyon Park, make sure to stop at the Nature Center first and pick up the Trails Map or you can look at it online here. Definitely bring your kids and a picnic lunch. Dogs are allowed on a leash.

Sierra Club Stair Walk: Walk #12, Echo Park Lake Victorians

My friends and I went on a Sierra Club outing. Leaders Delphine Trowbridge and Carol Henning lead our group of nine on Walk #12, Echo Park Lake Victorians, from Charles Fleming’s Secret Stairs book. I appreciated that they took the time to read to us from the book so that we knew to look for specific houses and other points of interest along the route.

Due to the rehabilitation work being done to the lake, our route had to be tweaked a bit, making our starting point the Rec Center which has unrestricted street parking in front and the cleanest, most fully-stocked bathrooms that I’ve ever seen in a Los Angeles park!

In his book, Charles rates this walk a 2.5. I would agree with that as there are only a total of 428 steps on the easy 3-mile route.

This walk is all about the architectural eye-candy: The Victorian  homes of Angelino Heights! Especially the Eastlake and Queen Anne style homes on Carroll Avenue, which  has been a popular location for filming over the years.

Many of the houses are beautifully restored and the street has interesting period features such as lamp posts, wrought-iron hitching posts, and stone steps one would’ve used to climb in and out of one’s carriage.

One house had us sighing sadly as we wondered if it had been in a fire or was a victim of wood rot. As it turns out, it’s the haunted house from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video so perhaps its forlornness may actually be a bit of movie studio cosmetics.

We finished our outing with lunch at Taix (actually pronounced “Tex” not “Tay”), an L.A. landmark established in 1927 and at its present location (1911 W. Sunset Blvd.) since 1962. They serve really good French food at reasonable prices. I had the grilled chicken breast on dill and potato bread with Emmenthal cheese, basil mayo, and pommes frites. It came with soup de jour, which was yellow split pea. Deeeeeeeeeeelicious!

All in all I had a great time being out and about with good friends, and, once again, I will remind you that the Sierra Club is not just about hiking around in the wilderness. They have lots of fun activities, including easy urban get-to-know-your-neighborhood type outings. I urge you to go here and check out your local chapter!

Hollenbeck Park and CicLAvia

My friends and I took the subway downtown to participate in two walks: A stair walk lead by Secret Stairs of Los Angeles author, Charles Fleming and a walk with  Los Angeles Walks as part of CicLAvia. CicLAvia is an event where the streets of Downtown Los Angeles are closed to cars so that people can walk, bike, skateboard, etc.

The Charles Fleming stair walk started at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. Mariachi Plaza is a gathering spot for mariachis looking for work performing at restaurants and parties. Across the street is Boyle Hotel (aka “Mariachi Hotel”) built in 1889 where, until recently, over 100 mariachi lived at any given time starting in the 1930s. (A recent renovation of the hotel raised the rent and pushed the mariachis out).

We walked up Boyle Avenue to Hollenbeck Park, (established in 1892). As we are a group of stair walkers, Charles took us up and down the various stairs within the park as he told us about the history of the park and of the neighborhood.

Hollenbeck park was once filled with families from nearby stately homes. Other than our group, the only ones enjoying the park that morning were a handful of homeless men and a father and his two little children who were fishing in the park’s stinky lake water. One sleeping man was guarded by a gaggle of watch geese who stood up and honked in alarm as we approached.

Hopefully, some day a community group will restore the park to its former glory…although I’m not sure what can be done about the pylons supporting the 10 freeway that are jutting out of the lake. All I ask is that they not cut down the magnificent trees that fill the park. There’s been enough of that going on lately in Los Angeles.Back at Mariachi Plaza, we thanked Charles for another great walk and headed over to Un Solo Sol Kitchen for papusas (handmade tortillas stuffed with your choice of filling –pork for me—and served with curtido, which is pickled cabbage, onions, carrots, and oregano—topped with hot sauce). Yummy and only $2.50!

After lunch, one of my friends looked at her watch. We had 35 minutes to take the train to Little Tokyo and walk to 8th and Figueroa. Could we do it? No! Not even at the fast pace we were walking. Looking at a map now, I see the distance was 2 miles. Oh well. We knew the group would go straight down Figueroa to Expo Park so we decided to walk that 5-mile stretch on our own and maybe catch up with them. We enjoyed watching all the bicycles and skateboards going by. Everyone was having so much fun that I really wished I had a bike!

Councilmember Eric Garcetti tweeted that he will make CicLAvia a monthly event if he’s elected Mayor, so dig that bicycle out of the garage and sign up here to be notified of the next CicLAvia.

CicLAvia is a really cool event and I do have one note for single women and fraidy cats. There were masses of people and a strong police presence so, no worries if you don’t have any bike-riding friends to go with you. Oh and there are food and merchandise booths everywhere so bring cash.

Some of the highlights we experienced along the route were:

The Last Bookstore at 5th & Spring – two floors of books in a historic bank building.

Bob Hope Patriotic Hall – currently being restored.

Stimson House, aka the Red Castle – built out of Arizona sandstone in 1891

In November, Charles Fleming is taking us on a tour of Downtown L.A.’s newest park, Grand Park, along with someone who is knowledgeable about the planning and design of this 12-acre park that stretches from The Music Center to City Hall. If you’re interested in walking with us you need to get on Charles’ email list or keep an eye on his Facebook page. He’ll send out the details later this month.