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Showing posts from April, 2024

O is for Olvera Street: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  A stuffed burro stands in front of a Olvera Street sign I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the fifteen post in the series.  Before Los Angeles was a sprawling metropolis, it was a simple town of 11 families. Olvera Street is a pedestrian street that honors that humble beginning. The day I chose to visit happened to be a rainy day, but also (unbeknownst to me ahead of time) the day of the Blessing of the Animals. Even without a special event, Olvera Street is worth a visit to learn more about the history and culture of the early area. It is free to visit, and many of the museums are also free. Local shopkeepers and restaurateurs would be more than happy for your business, however, and I can vouch for the food!  Many of the little shops were closed due to rain  A colorful likeness

N is for Nethercutt Museum: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  The tan rectangular Nethercutt Museum shows no indication of what is inside I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the fourteenth  post in the series.  If you have an automotive enthusiast in your traveling party, have I got a museum for you! The Nethercutt Museum in Sylmar, California has an impressive collection of cars, along with a few musical instruments scattered here and there and a couple of train cars out back. (Sadly, I forgot to go out and see the trains.) The Nethercutt Museum is free to tour; the Nethercutt Collection, which is just across the street, does have a fee to enter so I will not be reviewing that today. Parking is ample and free.  The museum is self-guided, with informative signs at each vehicle and display, but I did have a docent approach me and share more

M is for Musical Road: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  Sign on side of road reads, "Musical Road Ahead" I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the thirteenth post in the series.  In the Antelope Valley, there are two musical roads. One is in Palmdale, on R. Lee Ermey Avenue (Ave. N), and the other is in Lancaster on Avenue G. The William Tell Overture plays in Lancaster, and makes me laugh every time due to off-key rendition and particularly its sustained flat note at the end. The Marine Corps Hymn plays in Palmdale, and if you drive the road at 45 mph, it sounds pretty good. I would suggest combining the musical roads with another attraction in the area, such as Blackbird Airpark.  Here are two videos, the one from Lancaster taken almost 10 years ago, and the one from Palmdale taken a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy!

Ten Things of Thankful: Leaping Lizards! and Other Thankfuls

  A western (blue belly) lizard performs push-ups on a fence railing I love to read Ten Things of Thankful lists other bloggers contribute each week. Some items are big, life-changing thankfuls, but often, it's the small, everyday things that contribute to the sense of gratitude. Much of my list this week is of the seemingly insignificant variety, but nonetheless, I'm thankful for the small things that make me smile.  1. I'm thankful for lizards. Granted, sometimes their scurrying startles me, but they aren't going to hurt me. I have seen SO MANY lizards this spring. I don't know if their abundance is a result of a rainy winter, but I'm going to assume so. In any case, their posturing displays amuse me. (Can you imagine the female lizards saying, "Wow! Look at how strong he is! And he has such a cute blue belly!") 2. I'm thankful for hummingbirds. They are keeping me busy refilling their feeders, but they are so fun to watch. Just as I've seen

L is for La Brea Tar Pits: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  Statues of two mammoths watching another one stuck in the tar pit I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the twelfth post in the series.  Though the museum at La Brea Tar Pits typically charges an admission fee (there are some free days, so check their website if you are planning a visit), the outside area is free to visit and, depending on the age and interests of your children, the outside areas might be the favorite parts anyway. I recently went to La Brea Tar Pits (and Museum) with my grandchildren on a free admission day, and we ending up spending more time outside than in, and since the outside area is the only always-free area, that is what this post will focus on. La Brea Tar Pits fascinates me. It's smack dab in Los Angeles, with high rise buildings all around. The tar

K is for Korean Friendship Bell: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  A pagoda houses a huge bell in Angel's Gate Park in San Pedro, California I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the eleventh post in the series. The Korean Friendship Bell sits atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Whether you are looking out to the ocean from the pagoda, or at the pagoda with your back to the ocean, the view is spectacular! The ball and pagoda were gifts from the Republic of Korea to the United States of American on the bicentennial of the USA. A sign at the Korean Friendship Bell explains the history of the bell There are some totems beside the path leading up to the pagoda and bell. I didn't know their significance, but a Korean co-worker of my husband's was able to help. He translated the writing and explained the cultural tradition as follows:

J is for Japanese Garden: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  A fountain at the Japanese Garden with the water reclamation plant behind it I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the tenth post in the series. SuihoEn (The Japanese Garden) in Van Nuys is a peaceful gem--and peace is what I needed after trying to follow my phone's navigation to find the place. If you exit the 405 freeway at Victory Blvd, turn south on Woodley Ave and keep driving until you see a big white sign in the median. Then turn left into the parking lot. You will need to stop at the guard gate, as the parking lot is shared with the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant. Parking and admission is free.  The day I visited, some of the garden was under renovation, so not all of the paths were open. Even at that, I enjoyed strolling through the grounds. Though there wer

I is for Indian Canyon Trail: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  A sign reads: Indian Canyon Trailhead Angeles National Forest I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the ninth post in the series. Springtime is a wonderful time to hike in southern California. After winter rains, the vegetation is green and the wildflowers are blooming. I recently joined my husband for a hike on the Indian Canyon Trail. Parking in the lot at the trailhead does require a pass. (National Parks pass is valid, for example.) The sign at the parking lot gives specifics, including the nearest place to purchase a pass. The hike itself is free.  Another sign near the parking lot informed us that this trail was also part of the Pacific Crest Trail. We went about a mile before turning around and heading back, as we started the hike late in the day and wanted to return to the

H is for Hollywood Bowl Museum: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  "Hollywood Bowl Music for Everyone" is written on the wall at the entrance to the museum I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the eighth post in the series.  The Hollywood Bowl is a cultural icon, and there is something almost magical about gathering in that open-air venue to hear world-class musicians. Did you realize, though, that you can visit the Hollywood Bowl--and the Hollywood Bowl Museum--for free when performances are not going on? The museum offers a look back at the history of the Hollywood Bowl, which is over 100 years old. I learned that the shell over the stage is not the original shell, but has had several different designs over the years.  A display in the museum shows the different shells the Hollywood Bowl has had in its history Other displays feature t

G is for Getty Villa: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post

  The inner peristyle at the Getty Villa surrounds a formal garden I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the seventh post in the series.  I was happy to have an excuse to visit the Getty Villa; a place I had wanted to see for years, but just had never made it to. I visited on the same day I hiked to Escondido Falls. While the Getty Villa was free to visit, reservations were required, and parking was a hefty $25. However, it's more affordable than a trip to Italy, and the Getty Villa Museum describes itself as "Greek and Roman antiquities housed in a recreated Roman country home."  On the path between the parking garage and the museum's entrance, I passed a sign that explained that the villa was a recreation of Herculaneum. The sign had a quote by J. Paul Getty: &quo