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Los Angeles Walks: Alhambra: The San Gabriel Valley Gateway Tour

Saturday, January 9, 2016, my friend Lori and I joined Los Angeles Walks for a walking tour of Alhambra, “Gateway of the San Gabriel Valley” (SGV). 
Los Angeles Walks is a pedestrian advocacy non-profit that “makes walking safe, accessible and fun for all Angelenos”.
The meetup location was the home of our tour guide and urban planner, James Rojas. He lives with his mother in her amazing 1913 (?) craftsman home, which she purchased in the 1970s. They were kind enough to let us go inside and  drool over all the gorgeous wood in both the built-ins and in the art deco furniture.
Alhambra / San Gabriel were easy to get to back in the good ol’ Red Car days, but now it’s rather tricky and not convenient at all via public transportation, so I drove us. Since I didn’t have time to print out directions we had to rely completely on the navigation of my Google Maps app. At one point The Map Lady was silent for so long I started getting worried that she’d stopped working so I pulled over on a side street to check the status of the app. That, of course, annoyed The Map Lady because she had to recalculate the route. Sorry!
The description of the walk promised our sights would include the San Gabriel Mission (check!), the Garfield Area Redevelopment (check!), Fosselman’s Old Ice Cream Parlor (um…), the old Sears headquarters (uh…) and more. It also said “tour participants may opt to join James for lunch on Main Street after the walk”.
Well, we never saw Fosselman’s or the old Sears headquarters and James never mentioned lunch so Lori and I ended up walking back to San Gabriel to a cute Italian place we had noted earlier in the day.

One thing we did see was the San Gabriel Mission so I get to check another one off my list. Yay! And after our delicious lunch, Lori and I toured the Ramona museum.

Now, as for Main Street Alhambra, that just made me mad! So many historic buildings demolished to build ugly mixed use monstrosities. Kind of a half-assed attempt at being like South Pasadena. 

Some famous people have lived in Alhambra, like Hillary Clinton’s mother, Dorothy, who lived at 320 E. Park Street, fashion model Cheryl Tiegs, musician Kenny Loggins, and I’m not sure if James said Cheryl Tiegs or Chrissy Teigen.

Lori & I want to see a show at the beautiful San Gabriel Playhouse and I still need to get my ice cream from Fosselmans so we will be back!

  Mission San Gabriel Arcángel

 The six-bell campanario (“bell wall”) that was built after the original bell structure toppled during the 1812 Wrightwood earthquake.

  1927 San Gabriel Mission Playhouse 
   Those rolls though!!! They were so soft & had Parmesan cheese on top. We plowed through two baskets of them!

  Chicken ravioli with wild mushroom cream sauce was delicious. Definitely check this place out if you go there. Pizza Place, CA