Inspiring Lives Magazine Spring 2017: Issue 4 - Page 58

RIVAL • AR AR RIVAL • AR AR VENICE BEACH, CALIFORNIA By Kim Adley • Photography by Kim Adley While on a recent trip to Los Angeles, I decided to flee the hustle, bustle, and traffic of LA for an over- night escape to the beach. I headed to a charming lit- tle beach town that engulfed me with sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences. The diversity and energy there is so palpable that anyone and everyone can find a “happy place” in Venice Beach, California. After checking in at my hip and chic boutique hotel, The Hotel Erwin, I was directed by a most helpful concierge to the expansive 2 ½ mile cement Venice Beach boardwalk just one block away that runs paral- lel to a wide and beautiful beach on the Pacific Ocean. It was there I sipped a mimosa garnished with a Cali- fornia orange slice at The Sidewalk Café and watched the greatest show on earth unfold before my eyes… PEOPLE. I saw the rich and the famous, the poor and the homeless, moms pushing strollers, seniors with canes, surfers in wet suits, skateboarders, bikers, joggers and tourists, musicians and artists, and me all co-mingling on the sun-bathed boardwalk of Venice Beach. It was totally energizing and entertaining. After breakfast, I started my stroll along the board- walk to Muscle Beach, the famous oceanfront gym just oozing testosterone. Here suntanned bodybuilders lifted weights while onlookers observed with both amusement and admiration. Nearby were basketball courts, tennis and pickleball courts, a skateboard course, and bike rental stands. The temperate Califor- nia climate and active lifestyle are the perfect com- bination for outdoor activity, and Venice Beach is no exception. The colorful Boardwalk shops cried out to me with their showy souvenir displays ranging from the tradi- 58 INSPIRING LIVES SPRING 2017 tional to the outrageous. Alongside the touristy t-shirt shops were high-end leather goods and fine jewelry stores. The most intriguing storefront was The Green Doctors, offering “medical marijuana evaluations” for $40. The “doctors” were out on the sidewalk busking for business in bright green scrubs. If you walked a lit- tle further, you could get your fortune told, tarot cards read, and astrology chart plotted. You could have your name tattooed on your arm, airbrushed on a shirt, or written on a grain of rice, all while listening to diverse local street musicians serenade you. While strolling along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, you could literally eat yourself around the world. There were gyros, churros, wontons, sushi, curry, and hot- dogs. It was a fried food heaven with fried Oreos, fish nuggets, French fries, and corndogs. Want healthier choices? There were fresh pressed organic juices, fresh caught organic fish or fresh steeped organic green tea, fresh picked organic fruit, and of course, when all else seemed exhausted, there was a creative cocktail offer- ing almost every ten feet. The place exudes the feeling that happy hour is every hour. But, once I took an easterly turn and left the beach area, another persona of Venice Beach emerged as a sleepy little residential beach town. I walked to the Venice Canal Historic District, which is on the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places. It is here that real estate developer Albert Kinney built the canals in 1905 to create his plan for a “Venice of the West.” The canals encompass just a few square blocks and are truly beautiful with wooden bridges and sidewalks lining them. The homes along the canals are an eclec- tic collection of real estate, ranging from tiny vintage