Hello and happy new year, beautiful readers!
Here's where I spent the first week of 2014.... Venice Beach, California, with Ian and our Lil Dude.
It was one of those delightfully random trips... We wanted to go someplace warm and by the ocean, and we wanted CHEAP plane tickets. The place that fit this criteria perfectly was Venice Beach... but we didn't know much about it till after we bought the tickets. We loved it!
There's an amazing bike path along the beach that we followed all the way to Santa Monica Pier, a few miles away. Along the way were fun playgrounds, every half mile or so. Lil Dude (above) made sure we stopped at them all.
I hadn't known about Traveling Rings until we stopped our bikes and played on them on the way to Santa Monica. Ian was incredibly good at them (and incredibly sore for days afterward...)
Lil Dude is seriously hot-blooded, and happily splashed around in the freezing cold water for hours on end. He paused to make sand sculptures... Santa's belly poking through the sand (see above) and a giant hobbit foot (below). (Lil Dude and Ian, although genetically unrelated, have the SAME HOBBIT FEET!)
The rides at Santa Monica pier were wonderful-- just fifteen bucks for an all-you-can-ride pass for Lil Dude... and there were no lines at all (at least at this time of year on a weekday.) He was in heaven, and I kept thinking that he was probably having as much fun as he would in a super-expensive, long-lined place like Disney World, but this day was only costing us fifteen bucks and zero stress.
Okay, plus about ten more bucks (for the three of us) for entry to this cute little aquarium under the pier. It was small and cozy and easy for kids to navigate-- more manageable than those gigantic dark aquariums that can feel overwhelming for little kids.
We stayed in an adorable old Craftsman cottage right on a walk street. I didn't know anything about these walk streets till we got there, but man, am I glad we picked a house right on one. They're sweet little pedestrian paths that run between gorgeously landscaped yards.
We rode our bikes up and down these walk streets several times a day, and I always felt like I was breezing by botanical gardens. The trees were all adorned with ornaments and lanterns and wind chimes, like works of art.
I loved the little courtyard of the cottage we rented (Jhana Cottage of Zen Cottages, through either Air B n b or VRBO.) There was a cool, giant neon sign as garden art, and a gurgling fountain. I sipped tea and read and wrote in a lounge chair out there every morning.
One morning we walked around the famous Venice canals, and it reminded me and Ian of a majorly upscale version of the modest canals in our grandparents' trailer park in Fenwick Island (near Ocean City Maryland). Our grandparents lived across the street from each other when we were kids... they were once good friends... but that's a story for another day.
*Wishing you a year of oceanic joy,