Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Year's Eve in and around Playa del Rey

New Year’s Eve Celebration Fireworks

Burton Chace Park   13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey

  • 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Guests are invited to watch a live outdoor broadcast on a jumbo screen of CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live from Times Square in New York City. At 8:59 p.m., join in on the 60-second countdown and view the Times Square ball drop. Then at 9:00 p.m., watch the night sky light up with an amazing ten-minute fireworks show, which will be shot from the Marina’s south jetty. Parking is available for $8 in County lots #77 and #4, located at 13650 and 13500 Mindanao Way respectively.

Where to eat?
Within Walking Distance of the Inn at Playa del Rey:
1.       The Tripel (Gourmet Gastropub – regular menu – first come, first seated) 
(310) 821-0333

*Save your dinner receipt from the Tripel and you will receive a complimentary wristband to join the New Year’s Eve party at their sister restaurant, Playa Provisions.

2.       Cantalini’s (delicious, casual, family style Italian – regular menu)  Reservations Required
(310) 821-0018

3.       Playa Provisions/ Dockside (fresh seafood- regular menu)  Reservations Required
(310) 683-5019

*Save your dinner receipt and you will receive a complimentary wristband to join their New Year’s Eve party at 10:00 p.m. (or pay $20 cover charge if you simply want to join in the late night party!)

4.       Café Pinguini (upscale Northern Italian – select menu - TBD) Reservations Required
(310) 306-0117

To the north of us and a short drive from the Inn are three of our favorites in Marina del Rey:
1.       Café del Rey (upscale $95 prix fix menu)   Reservations Required
(310) 823-6395

2.       Tony P’s (casual dockside bar & grill – regular menu)  Reservations Required
(310) 823-4534
* Please note, specific to New Year’s Eve, Tony P’s is taking reservations.

3.       Hornblower Cruise (Dinner Cruise and Champagne/ Dessert Cruises) Reservations Required
(310) 907-5192

And in the south bay ~ 15 – 20 minutes from the Inn is:
1.       The Comedy & Magic Club (New Year’s Eve Show starring Jay Leno!)  Reservations Required

Saturday, December 12, 2015

20th Anniversary Contest Winners

Thank you to everyone who contributed stories, pictures, poems and shared your memories with us for out 20th Anniversary Contest.  We laughed, we cried,  and we reminisced as we received each and every one.  We would not be here after 20 years withouth all of you choosing to share your time with us.  It was extremely hard to choose one winner so we chose 10!  And even that was a difficult task. 

Congratulations to the following entries:

It was hard to choose my favorite moment/photo of the Inn, but this has to be it. The moment my parents helped put my veil on before heading to my wedding last October! 
The Inn was the perfect setting to get ready for our wedding, from the delicious breakfast and cookies to the beautiful setting for all the photos to the extra friendly staff! The Inn at Playa Del Rey will always be a special place for me and my family!
What a wonderful visit we had. My Husband and I enjoyed the location with nearby restaurants and a beautiful view. The Inn was charming with wonderful accommodations. We look forward to returning soon.

Our fondest memory of being at the Inn at Playa del Rey was when our daughter, Strahlia, met Santa for the first time! (This was at the Inn's holiday tea party, hosted as a fundraiser for AMCS. (Airport Marina Counseling Service)
Here's my photo. It shows Danny and Julianne enjoying life in a brief lovely moment here at our LA home.

In February 2015, the Inn at Playa del Rey became a respite for the recovery of my daughter after a spinal injury. They made room for us for 3 weeks and provided all the support, comfort, warmth and friendship anyone could ever ask for 3000 miles from home at such a scary time. I loved this inn before Mairead's accident having stayed there on business several times, but can never extend enough thanks and gratitude for their kindness during such a difficult time. Everywhere we looked we found peace and rest - from the sweet breakfast room each morning to the wine, cheese and inspiring sunsets each night. We met wonderful people from around the country and world who encouraged us with prayers and love. The Inn at Playa del Rey will forever hold a special place in our hearts as our LA home away from home. Their staff is extraordinary and the inn truly is the little gem of the region.  Thank you again for all the love, support and cookies when we left! You are the best and we hope to be back soon!

We arrived at the inn after a long cross country flight. As we started to unpack the front desk called to report that something had arrived  for us  . I went downstairs to the desk and was told that it was left on the deck off the living room . Upon opening the French doors I found our grinning 4 year old grandson and our son waiting to surprise us... the ballona wetlands in the background.It was a great surprise.

We were visiting our daughter, who lives in a small apartment just 5 minutes inland from the Inn.  We invited our newlywed niece and her husband to come and "hang" with us at the Inn while we were waiting for our daughter to get off work and come meet us.  The staff brought us a carafe of crisp, cold California Chardonnay and a beautiful plate of cheese and fruit.   What a glorious afternoon we had, watching the sun set over the bird sanctuary and sharing funny stories and poignant moments from 40 years of marriage with this bright young couple so new to the marriage game.  One of many lovely memories from our stays at the Inn at Playa del Rey!

Our family has been staying here several times a year for the past seven years.
It really is our "home away from home".

My favorite tradition is my visit every Halloween to trick or treat with my grand sons.  I get ready at the Inn before leaving for the festivities.  I love that the staff dresses up too!
This year we took a quick photo in the breakfast room.
For the last few years I have celebrated my wife's birthday, in October, by hosting a small weekend beach party with four of our friends at your lovely inn (or should I say Lovely Inn?) 

( It's always easy to decide what to give Bonnie for her birthday, I should add,  because she tells me, explicitly, what she wants. "I want the boys, I want the Inn . . ", she'll say, big surprise. "Also, you need to buy yourself some new underwear".  Always thinking of me, she is.)

So: we take three rooms, one for Steve and Jon, one for Bruce and Kevin, one for me and the missus.  While I pick up the inn tab (or should I say the Inn Tab), the boys are expected to stand for dinners.  In point of fact my wife invariably nabs the dinner check, too, usually by distracting everybody when the the bill lands on the table.  "OMG! Is that CHER? Who's that she's with?!", she'll say, as she surreptitiously slips our bemused waiter her Visa.   I see the credit card statement a month later,  and I'm always surprised . . . really it's a pricey weekend, all told . . . you can omit this part if you want to . . . ).  

We usually arrive on Friday afternoon and meet in the lobby for complimentary wine and cheese.  By then I've eaten either one or both of the chocolate chip cookies found in our room (depending on whether my wife has foolishly asked me to set hers aside for later:  just because it's her birthday doesn't mean I'm going to start spoiling her).    Kevin can't eat his cookie, because he's diabetic, and Bruce is a Vegan, so he can't eat his cookie, either, and so I ask for 'em, but the boys usually end up giving them to homeless people we meet on our peregrinations, and how can I bitch about that?     (What Steve and Jon do with their cookies has always been a mystery to me, they won't speak of it . . .  )

So: we pass an hour or so on the premises.  I will pretend to see interesting birds, like the Flabchested  Smokewarbler,  through your telescope;  Kevin and Bruce will make fun of Steve and Jon for their ridiculous beach attire;  Bonnie will pretty much take care of a case of chardonnay and a wheel of brie.    Then we will head off to dinner (it's Steve's job to make the reservations, and we wander as far afield as Manhattan Beach to the South, or Malibu to the North, or Culver City to the East.  All super convenient, as you know).  The only stipulation is that we go to a restaurant that has a bar with a tv,  'cuz  - this being October - the baseball playoffs are in full swing, and Steve and I like to jump up from our meal, every 7 or 8 minutes or so, to see precisely how the Dodgers are going to break our hearts this year . . . If the game isn't over by the time we're through eating then we will race home, i.e, back to the Inn (never breaking any of the posted rules of the road, of course . . lest the constabulary be reading this . . . ),  and we'll pile into Steve and Jon's room (it's the neatest: Bonnie and I like to mess things up right away, so as to feel more at home, and Kevin's just a slob, there's no nice way to say it),  and finish the ball game, and sip bourbon (thank you, Bruce) and maybe eat more cookies.  

Oh, and Bruce always makes a Red Velvet Cake.  Which I'm too full to eat, but am forced to, so as to not hurt Bruce's feelings.  God, I hope he never reads this.  

Then we'll play a game of some kind.  Once we played The Magic Colander, which is a version of Botticelli that incorporates mime and funny noises, and Bonnie guessed "U-wore-a Delty" instead of "Eudora Welty" and we laughed for a good quarter of an hour, which might have been the bourbon talking, but represents my 'favorite inn memory', if I'm only allowed to have one 'favorite inn'  memory, whoops I mean 'Favorite Inn Memory', of course.    

 This is Bonnie's least favorite part of the trip, and my favorite part of the trip. She hates games, because she was brought up by a hyper competitive father who'd overturn the Chutes and Ladders board if he lost, but alas, Bonnie, you must be punished for making us all believe you spotted Cher on the arm of some young stud.

 Then Bonnie opens presents.  Last year Kevin gave her a book called Farts: A Spotter's Guide, which allows you to push a variety of buttons and hear a different kind of fart, i.e, The Seismic Blast, The Sleeping Dog, etc. 

 Again, much laughter.

We probably don't sound like the kind of people you really want at your inn (Inn), do we?   But, really, nobody has ever complained about us - I'm pretty sure - and Jon has to be up by 5 to run on the beach (RIDICULOUS!) so we actually make a pretty early night of it . . .

In the morning, I have a leisurely breakfast, always a highlight.  (In spite of my annual vow not to have three helpings of that delicious eggy-thing you make, I always have three helpings, anyway).  I get to read the paper without having to share it with my wife, cuz  Bonnie, in spite of her sleepy 7AM promise to make  it downstairs before breakfast is over,  never makes it downstairs before breakfast is over.  (All she really wants to do is eat cookies all weekend, and catch up on the sleep that she is denied by our cranky 21 year old cat with the preposterous basso meow.  And your beds are so comfy. . . .)  

The boys do their athletic morning things - they are made to  promise not to speak of it  -  and then we gather, at around noon, for "THE DAY'S ACTIVITIES".   This could, theoretically, consist of a number of things . . .  

If there's an afternoon ball game - depending on how the baseball schedule has laid itself out - Steve and I have to watch it, at least until the Dodgers start losing badly, which doesn't usually take too long . . . .(do I sound bitter?)   There'll be some novel reading, some napping on the verandah, maybe a little Bloody Mary-imbibing at one of your many friendly neighborhood taverns; occasionally we'll have a little Mexican lunch at the nice joint down the street; we've been known to stroll around the Venice canals, or go kayaking (well, paddling: kayaking sounds a little grand for what we do) . . .  The deal is that anybody can do anything they're interested in: we don't have to stick together, cuz we're going to see each other for dinner anyway and besides (!!) ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER.  Or so my wife tells me.  

We rendezvous, again, for wine and cheese, and we mingle with the other guests, unless they've already been mingled with by us, and are now avoiding us by hiding out on the back porch - eventually they must come in for cheese. . .  -  and then we head off to dinner again.  Steve and I jump up from the table too much, perhaps,  to try and catch the Dodger's invariable meltdown (ARGGHHHH!  WHY CAN'T WE FIND A DECENT LATE INNING RELIEVER?);   Bonnie has to be more inventive with her ruse tonight (Super-Ugly Baby! Giant Hairy Insect on somebody's back!  Whoops: an 'inadvertently' spilled glass of champagne on her husband's lap! . . . There are no lengths this woman won't go to . . . );  Kevin and Bruce make up rococo, and not infrequently obscene,  birthday songs for Bonnie; we try to come up with new nicknames for Jon (who's never been nicknamed by us as well as he needs to be, although I liked "Moose", also "Ethel Mormon", cuz he's a lapsed Mormon), and depending on the year,  we decry the current crop of political candidates but then admit we'd all suck at running anything, too, if put to it  . . . then home for more bourbon and a different game (Wise and Otherwise!  Check it out . . . !)  Finally, and all too soon,  bed time. 

On Sunday there's A.M. lounging and then, at ll or so, we realize we're all desperately sick of each other - just in time for CHECKOUT.  Miraculous how these things work out.   

Occasionally I'll splurge and make Bonnie stay behind, with me, for one more quiet Sunday night, just the two of us, so we can do canoodle-y type things that I should probably just gloss over here . . . . 

Anyway, not sure if there's a 'memory', per se, to be extracted from all of this, but I know we all treasure the times we've been to your wonderful Inn and we can't wait for Bonnie to get older (uh, that didn't come out right) so we can return --- how 'bout this,  if I win the contest we'll take photos this next go round (Delicious Eggy Thing!  Flabchested Smokewarbler!) and you can post them on Snapchat or OpCit or BricBrac or whatever  . .  or maybe I'll make Bonnie bring a sketch pad and she can spend the whole weekend drawing that damnable smoke warbler: that'll teach to her to be so obstreperous . . .