Thursday, July 29, 2010

Los Angeles Weekend Events

Beach Volleyball has been around since the 1920's and was originally designed to give bored surfers something to do when the surf was down, the game quickly developed into more organized six-man matches, and gained it's popularity on the beaches of Southern Califorina.

This weekend is a great opportunity to see beach volleyball at it's wildest with the Charlie Saikley 6-Man Beach Volleyball Tournament. What makes this tournament so unique is not the world class volleyball players, AVP professionals and top college stars playing great volleyball, it's that everyone is disguised in costume. Halloween in the middle of summer!

The Charlie Saikley 6-Man Beach Volleyball Tournament is part of the International Surf Festival that runs from Friday, July 30 through Sunday, August 1st.

The festival also includes lifeguard championship competitions, surfing championships, bodysurfing championships, a two-mile beach run, fishing derby, a health fair, pier-to-pier paddleboard championship, sand castle design contest, pier-to-pier swim, dory races, youth swim and paddle competitions and information booths featuring marine animals and arts & crafts, all jam packed into 3 days.

If your calendar is already full this weekend, then choose another weekend to head down to the beaches of Southern California and see what Beach Volleyball is all about. Stay at our Los Angeles Bed and Brekfast, Inn at Playa del Rey, and wake up to a home cooked breakfast, borrow our bikes for the day and head down to the beach for one of these upcoming volleyball tournaments.

AVP Nivea Tour Manhattan Beach Open August 19-22, 2010
US Open of Beach Volleyball, Manhattan Beach September 24-26, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

One Day Itinerary - Los Angeles

Los Angeles City Tour
Have a delicious breakfast here at the Inn at Playa del Rey (435 Culver Blvd. Playa del Rey 310-574-1920), and start an exciting adventure exploring a little bit of the City of Angels.

Turn LEFT out of the driveway onto Culver Blvd.
Veer RIGHT onto Jefferson Blvd.
Turn LEFT onto Lincoln Blvd.
Turn LEFT onto Venice Blvd.
, and keep going all the way down into the pay parking lot, or look for street parking on Venice Blvd. or Pacific.
Walk north on the beach path and enjoy the sights and sounds of the famous Venice Beach “boardwalk”. You can shop, get a tattoo, check out some cool local musicians and artists and stop into the Sidewalk Café (1401 Ocean Front Walk, 310-399-5547) for a little people watching, a cup of joe or a mid-morning snack. Try to sit next to the railing so you can get a good look at the passers-by. If you’re feeling frisky, rent a bike and cruise up to the Santa Monica Pier.

Now you’re off to do some intense shopping and paparazzi dodging!
Go East on Venice Blvd.
Turn LEFT on Robertson (and a quick right to stay on Robertson).

You can shop with the stars at Kitson (115 S. Robertson Blvd., 310-859-2652) and the other trendy shops on Robertson. Are you hungry yet? Do lunch at the fabulous and star-studded Ivy (113 N. Robertson Blvd., 310-274-8303 – reservations are recommended). Maybe if you slip the maitre’d a $20 he’ll give you a seat on the patio.
Now you’re off to do more shopping that you (probably) can’t afford! Hooray!
Go North on Robertson Blvd.
Turn RIGHT on Melrose Ave.

The stretch between Fairfax and La Brea is where the L.A. trend-setters shop. Skipped lunch at the ivy? Stop in at the world famous Pink’s (709 N. La Brea, 323-931-4223) for a juicy chili dog. Prepare to wait in line and stock up on some Tums.

Here we go to Hollywood to see the sights!
Continue East on Melrose Ave.
Turn LEFT onto Highland Ave.
, and park in the Hollywood and Highland parking structure. Look for the sign (on the left) that says $2 parking.
Shop at Hollywood & Highland, look at the stars on the Walk of Fame and put your hands in the handprints in front of the Mann’s (formerly Graumann’s) Chinese Theater (6925 Hollywood Blvd., 323-464-6266). You can pick up a tour of Hollywood in front of the theater or see a movie inside. The décor of the Chinese Theater is magnificent! Want to see where they do the Oscars? Take a tour of the Kodak Theater (6801 Hollywood Blvd., 323-308-6300).
(For a view of the Hollywood sign, drive East on Hollywood blvd., turn LEFT on Gower street and look up. There she is!)

It’s time to head to Beverly Hills to see some stars!
Go South to Sunset Blvd.
Turn RIGHT on Sunset Blvd.

As you head out to Beverly Hills, you’ll drive along the Sunset Strip. All the famous stuff is between Crescent Heights and Doheny – so many famous hotels, clubs and nightspots.
Once you pass through the Strip and into the more residential section of Sunset, you can turn down some of the side streets to catch a glimpse of some movie star’s hedges. Buy a Star Map from one of the street vendors to learn more.
The Beverly Hills Hotel (9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills 310-276-2251) is on your right, just before Rodeo Dr.
Continue West on Sunset Blvd.
Turn LEFT on Rodeo Dr.

If you want to look at the fancy baubles, park in one of the surprisingly inexpensive parking lots between Santa Monica Blvd. and Wilshire Blvd. and poke around. If you wear your sunglasses and talk on your cell phone, you’ll fit right in!
Go South on Rodeo Dr.
Turn RIGHT onto Wilshire Blvd.

Cruise the high rises of the Wilshire corridor and head back towards the beach.

Oh you beautiful Beach, you great big beautiful Beach!
Continue West on Wilshire Blvd. into Santa Monica
Turn LEFT onto 4th St.
, and park in one of the inexpensive lots on the right hand side of the street. The Third Street Promenade is on, you guessed it, Third Street, one block west of 4th St. Bars, restaurants and shopping abound in the neighborhood. Have a beautiful dinner with a view at The Lobster (1602 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica 310-458-9294) atop the Santa Monica Pier. Then ride the Ferris wheel and stroll back to your car.
Drive South on 4th St.
Turn RIGHT on Pico Blvd.
Turn LEFT onto Main St.

I know, I know, more shopping and restaurants. There’s nightlife, too!
Turn LEFT onto Abbot Kinney
Turn LEFT onto Venice Blvd.
Turn RIGHT onto Lincoln Blvd.
Turn RIGHT on Jefferson Blvd.
Turn LEFT onto Culver Blvd and go back to the Inn at Playa del Rey.

Are you in time for wine and cheese? If not, grab a cookie from the kitchen and walk down the street to the local hangout Prince O’ Whales (335 Culver Blvd. 310-823-9826) for a cocktail. You deserve it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Best Birding Site in Los Angeles

A blog what is a blog?
For a 64 year old woman – a new thing – To produce a blog in my mind necessitates both the ability to write well and have some area of knowledge about which to write. I have neither. But lack of talent never kept me from attempting tasks or projects before.


The Inn at Playa del Rey overlooks hundreds of acres of protected wetlands and is home to over 80 species of California birds; or so I am told.
After we opened in 1995, I used to joke with guests that I could identify the pigeon, crow, and sea gull but beyond those three kinds of birds, I could not help the guests identify that big white bird in our back yard. But my flippant comments were not truthful. I could identify more species of birds and was learning the names of ones I did not already recognize. But what interested me as much as learning more types of birds was why birds? Why did people like to become birders or study birds or simply enjoy watching them? Why not squirrels, plants? What was there about birds?

I think it was or is the fact that you can watch birds and that there are so many different kinds; each individually and distinctively marked, each a different shape, each with a different or song, or flight movement. One can watch them do many things: build nests, warm eggs, feed their young, fly, catch a fish, pull a worm, scratch for a seed, take a bath or sit and sing on a wire. I am certain other animals are interesting but you cannot watch them from the comfort of your own kitchen window or ours at the Inn.

Over the years at the Inn, we have even had our own bird favorites: a colony of blue heron that built a condominium like nest collection in our only backyard tree, a great egret who came every morning up to the breakfast room seemingly to “people watch”, a young female hawk who to the delight or horror of guests made a viewing stand for herself on #307’s balcony. And perhaps my favorite was a kite, black shouldered to be exact, that hovered over the marsh, dove for whatever it was watching, and suddenly flew up with his captured prey in his beak.

Finally our bird watching here at the Inn has allowed us to witness a growing resilience of nature in a partnership with man. The wetlands behind us have been part of a 30 year restoration plan that seems from our viewpoint to be working. You can become part of this by volunteering to help on restoration volunteer days sponsored by the Friends of Ballona Wetlands. The next project day will be August 28.

So why bird watching?

Someone once said that bird watching is a life time ticket to nature. I like that concept. It is a ticket for a play that changes as the seasons do because our birds come and stay for awhile and then move on north or south as their migratory habits prevail. And with the ability to watch an ecosystem return, bird watching from the balconies at the Inn becomes a play where the good guys are winning.

Coming Events held by Los Angeles Audubon Society:
Their field trips delve more deeply into identification and interaction.
Sunday August 8, 2010 “Lower LA River Shorebird Migration”.
Sunday August 29, Huntington Central Park and Bolsa Chica Wetlands.
The Bolsa Chica Wetlands are located 35 miles south of our Los Angeles Bed and Breakfast and present some of the nation’s best birding.

*Photo was taken by Suzanne Campbell

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

BBQ? Beach Day? Fireworks? Parade? Still deciding what to do this holiday weekend? Our friends at Where Magazine have put together a list of what's going on in Los Angeles. We've picked out a few that have caught our attention.

Marina del Rey 4th of July Fireworks July 4.
Enjoy spectacular fireworks over the Marina del Rey's main channel. Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey) and Fisherman's Village (13755 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey) are great viewing spots, but any waterview seat is a good one. 9 p.m. Make sure to arrive early as streets do shut down.

The Bowl’s explosive Independence Day tradition continues. Country singer Vince Gill, the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West and resident orchestra the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by conductor John Morris Russell, provide the evening’s soundtrack. 7:30 pm nightly. $12–$156. 2301 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood, 323.850.2000

AMERICAFEST July 4. Live music, food vendors, pyrotechnics. 2 p.m., fireworks at 9 pm. $13, under 8 free. Rose Bowl Stadium, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, 800.745.3000

For a complete list from WhereLA checkout the link below