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What is your favorite L.A. hideout? Steve Lopez tells us his

TalkBackLopez_187x105So where do you go in greater Los Angeles to escape the chaos?

I ask because readers seem to be searching for such a place. In response to my Wednesday column about Charles Fleming’s new book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles,” I heard from quite a few people who want to join Fleming for his monthly guided journeys into the city’s past.

Others wanted to know where to buy the book. Try Skylight in Los Feliz or Amazon.com, and you can join a tour by contacting the author at misterfleming@aol.com.

And by the way, in my mention of William Faulkner’s work on “To Have and Have Not” in that column, I should have noted that Faulkner’s contribution was only on the screenplay. Ernest Hemingway, as countless readers eagerly pointed out, wrote the novel.

As for escapes, I lived on the Westside in the 1990s and used to love hiking Topanga State Park. This week, I walked the base of the San Gabriel Mountains near Devil’s Gate on Monday, and on Wednesday morning before work, I was in the water in Santa Monica, where five dolphins kept drifting lazily by, coming within 15 yards or so.

My favorite escape, though, is to Two Harbors, the tiny, wave-splashed village on the quiet side of Catalina. At the risk of spoiling your own sense of tranquillity, do any brave souls out there care to talk about where you go to clear your head?

-- Steve Lopez

Comments () | Archives (18)

Assume you mean "favorite"?

Just be aware that Two Harbors has the largest rattlesnake population in California and that rabid bats have been found there, recently.


Our favorite place to clear the head and heal the body is not in LA...it's about an hour or so past Las Vegas in a beautiful spot called Kayenta...up against the red cliffs of southern Utah...about 20 minutes outside St George.

If we're bound to the city, then on one of the hiking trails in the SM Mountains....maybe a leisurely walk in Sullivan Canyon or up Temescal.

Cycling through the hills of Griffith Park

My fav is Descanso Gardens. In fact I just came from there!

Hmmmm....that's an easy one:

1. Griffith Park night hikes Tues/Wed with the Sierra Club....these are the linchpins of my entire week, an unbeatable way to keep energy level and endurance high (I'm self employed, so physical vitality is a must); basically 2 hours of intense climbing and wandering (I do the hard level 4+ hikes, but there are plenty of easier ones as well) and often incredible views...52 miles of trails...probably one of the best kept open secrets in all of L.A. It's amazing how many people living in Hollywood are clueless about this getaway right on their doorstep.

2. The Frolic Room, Hollywood and Argyle, next to the Pantages....my getaway cheers bar. One of the first times I went there, about 5 years ago, an elderly gentleman with a cute young blonde draped on his arm, gave me a lecture thusly: "Young man, I've been to every major theater in the world, and I'm here to tell you, the best bars are within a block of them....think about it....you get every level of society, from the very lowest, to the very highest." In retrospect, he was dead on.

My favorite recollection is talking to a couple of scientists (he from Caltech, she from JPL) about deep space and all matters cosmological. It was my grand pleasure to inform them I knew where all the missing dark matter in the universe was located: in a large wooden crate, clearly marked 'DARK MATTER', in the back room of the Frolic. Which is why they've never found it, and likely never will.

The place is comfortable, like your living room, but it's high theater as a wide variety of people venture in and out, and it changes rapidly, hour by hour. So for switching channels, it's often quite fun, as well as walking distance in my case.

And now the entire block has been magically transformed by the newly-built $1.3 billion 'W' hotel across the street. So this promises fun times in the coming years I doth think.

I have two favorite places: Lake Arrowhead and Ojai. Each bring different joys.

You must have been surfing between stations 25 and 26. There were a lot of dolphins and great surf.

Best hideout - Pescador beach, north of Zuma.

Wilderness Park in Downey. Though it's nestled next to the 5 Freeway, it's surprisingly calm with its two lakes suitable for fishing. A lot of wildlife, too.

I like the LA strip clubs.

The San Gabriel Mountains are an haven for all seeking to escape the overcrowded city and find solitude. My favorite place is Dawson's Saddle an accessible hike of the Pacific Crest Highway (and trail). High between Mt Islip and Baden Powell this place offers a respite and cool fresh air on the most hot and smoggy days.

Dana Point, I like the isolation and tidepools. Laguna is a close second, but that's when I'm in a gallery hunting mood.

Lake Shrine in Pacific Palisades. Hidden gem!

Favorite Place: 4201 Whittier Boulevard in Los Angeles(Calvary Cemetery).

Show respect and some damn good-karma while visiting, but 420 never felt so good some years...from here to Humboldt Cty; college graduation to now is a god's gift, but we all die, when things seem so Good.

But on days where I need no XOM-bologne and a drink and smoke, and on a great week with friends and spouse, visiting old dead family members never felt so good and peaceful. Sometimes, no flowers are needed.

Ernest Debs park...if you enter through the Monterey Road (between Highland Park/ Hermon, and Lincoln Heights).
Georgeous green grass, plenty of parking...picnic tables and barbecue pits... and absolutely breathtaking views.

Huntington Library

Two hours north of L.A. just west of Rt 14 along Hwy 58 -- my lovely town of Tehachapi. Right now -- today -- we have a plethora of wildflowers buried under several inches of snow. But the snow will be gone by this weekend, and then it's lush and green. Favorite spot in town: the Wine and Cheese Cellar owned by Doug and Mary Amos. 2nd favorite: Don Juan's, which is Central American food, hosted by charming Juan and his lovely wife Yolanda. Tehachapi has a glider port, campgrounds in the mountains at about 6000 feet, an Ostrich farm, and two vineyards with tasting rooms: Souza Family and Triassic Legacy. Third weekend in August we host the Mountain Festival in the downtown park. You'll think you're back in Ohio. Come on up.


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