Marina Del Rey

Marina Del Rey is a seaside community in Los Angeles County, California with a pretty sizable harbor and a capacity for about 5,000 boats. It features a

Fisherman’s Village is a super quaint little area with colorful and Cape Cod looking buildings.  It features  shops and restaurants and rental places for boats, kayaks, and SUP’s.   Fishing trips are also available at :http://www.marinadelreysportfishing.com/

I visited in November and it was pretty dead save for the outdoor restaurant at the end and a lively courtyard in the middle.

The courtyard was surrounded by other eating establishments, shops, and was filled with people enjoying an intimate concert of really good funk music.  The band was high caliber and  although it was a super gray ugly day,  people were dancing, drinking wine, and just enjoying the bay side.

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With the bright buildings, cobblestone paths, and the lighthouse, it felt like a stroll through New England, not Southern California.

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I will make a point of coming here is summer where I can pay in the sun, unlike this day which was on the verge of pouring down rain.

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I found it interesting that most of the residences along the harbor were either condos or apartments, no houses.  There are a few hotels along the harbor for any budget. A few are right on the harbor and a few have a beach right out front.

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Only a few miles away, you can visit  the eclectic Venice Beach and close to that is the Venice canals.

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There are also plenty of places to stroll on each side of the harbor and you can take your dogs too!

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All in all a great place to go for the day to take you away for a little while.  Visit this web site for more information.

http://www.visitmarinadelrey.com/

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Naples Canals and Alamitos Bay California

A little known area in the Long Beach area is the Alamitos Bay and Naples Canals.  This happens to be one of my favorite places in Southern California.

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Nestled a couple miles from Long Beach, the Naples canals are unlike the  Venice canals in Los Angeles County, mostly because they are wider and deeper.    This means that more small to medium boats can travel in the canals.

Built on three islands located in Alamitos Bay, most of the streets on the island and around the vicinity, have Italian names. The center of Naples features a large fountain appropriately called La Bella, which serves as a popular meeting spot.

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During the holidays the canals are  ablaze with color as the colored lights reflect on the water.  A good portion of the homes decorate and there are pathways and small bridges to stroll along.

Gondolas float by and if you are lucky you can hear the sweet voice of a Gondolier singing Italian songs. All of this adding to an already beautiful place.

There are only a few places in California where you can take a Gondola ride and this one of the few. Check this link: http://www.gondolagetawayinc.com.

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I looked around for any “For Sale” signs and I saw not a one.   I mean, why would you want to leave!

It is so peaceful and tranquil among the canals.   A few residents were sitting on their porch enjoying a cocktail at sunset and I felt like yelling to them on how lucky there are.  I held back, as my jealousy was oozing a little too much.

Nearby on this early December day,  the channels of Alamitos Bay  had  Christmas Tree barges  lined up every  50 feet or so.  This is a great tradition and made the bay look so magical.

Situated near Long Beach, Alamitos Bay is a great place to visit regardless if it is the holidays or summer.  It is a short hop from Long Beach’s popular attractions like the the Queen Mary, the Long Beach Aquarium, and the Pike.

The locals favorite, Second Street near the Coast Highway provides plenty of shopping and restaurants.

You can also rent  boats, fish, swim, kayak, and all sorts of fun stuff.

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The Christmas trees in the day along the Alamitos Bay.

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The city of Long Beach with its modern and historical buildings is only a few minutes away.

Here is a link for things to do in that area including Long Beach: http://www.doitinlongbeach.com/attractions/naples-island.htm

 

All you have to do is get there!!

Parting shots: More Alamitos Bay:

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Viejas Casino and Outlet Mall for the holidays.

Visited Viejas Casino and outlet mall this past weekend( November 30th)

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After 5:00 they have a water show that is amazing.  Moving to the sound of holiday music, the water program is elaborate and entertaining. It is a great kid attraction with intervals of fake snow coming from above.

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The outlet has all your favorite stores including Nike, The Gap, Tommy H, etc. Plus a food court including my fave Rubios as well as others. To get you further in the spirit and if you have the energy, they have an ice skating rink and a huge Christmas tree in the middle of the outlet.

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The entrance to the casino is right across the street from the outlets, so if you have any money left from spending at the outlets you can gamble all night if you wish.  Or is it the other way around?, if you have any money left from the casino you can spend at the outlet mall.  Or if you are really hungry, eat at their buffet or other fine restaurants.

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Visit for more information and directions. A great place to take the family or to get in the holiday spirit.

http://viejas.com/san-diegos-premier-outlet-mall

 

Venice Canals in Los Angeles

The Venice Canals are man-made canals that recreate the appearance of Venice, Italy.

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Walk along the canal’s peaceful banks and admire the beautiful homes mixed in with quaint cottages. It a mellow setting and perfect for just strolling or walking your dog.

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It is about a mile from the famous and circus like Venice Beach where life is a little more hectic. You can easily do both in a day. Plus visit Marina Del Rey only about a mile from the beach. We will be doing a blog on Marina Del Rey soon. They tell me there are walking tours, I found this link:

http://www.venicebeachwalkingtours.com/venice_canals/
Plus there are many events in the canal and around Venice Beach. Check this link. http://www.venicepaparazzi.com/events/2013-venice-calendar-of-events/

Here are directions to the Venice Canals.
STARTING POINT
Begin at Pacific and 25th Ave.

DIRECTIONS TO THE START
Transit: From the Spring/1st stop in Downtown LA take the 733 Bus towards Santa Monica. Disembark at Main/Grand and walk about 10 minutes south on Pacific Ave. until you reach Ave. 25.

Car: From the 10 Freeway West merge onto the 405 Freeway South toward Long Beach/LAX. Then merge onto the CA-90W for 3 miles and turn right onto Lincoln Blvd. After 0.5 miles turn left onto Washington Blvd. Then after about 1.3 miles turn right onto Pacific Ave. Drive until you reach Ave. 25.

 
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Take a Flying Lesson

A great one day excursion and you might be able to find some discounted prices on Groupon like we did.

 

It is a wonderful experience as you get to sit in the pilot seat and taxi and then actually fly the airplane. He shows you the controls (not a lot to learn) and then it is off to the runway to take off.   With his watchful eye, you get to feel the exhilaration of  take-off as well as landing.

The hour long flight takes you over San Diego county either inland or along the coast. We choose the inland route  this day as  a  thick  coastal marine layer was floating over the coast leaving zero visibility.

Flying high over the country side at the wheel of a four seater airplane has to be experienced.

We had a fun landing with a unexpected bump that came at the end forcing the plane up in the air a little. I looked at the pilot and asked if that was normal and he said, ” not really.”

Always an experience with us.

See my landing video below with the quick bump at the very end.