Secret Stair Walk #12: Echo Park Lake Victorians

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

Finally it’s time to share a Secret Stair walk that I’ve been waiting a long time to do: walk #13 Echo Park Lake Victorians. Echo Park Lake has been through a lengthy renovation and in June it finally reopened all clean, shiny and new. It was the perfect time to complete that walk from my book.

Echo1

Ooh a fancy head. I can’t remember who this was… but now you should come check it out for yourself.

Echo2

When they cleaned out the lake they kept this flowers which are symbolic to the history of the lake. On we walk…

Echo3

Stair time! I’ll admit, there aren’t a whole lot of stairs in this walk, but it was hilly and that should count for something.

Echo4

We did pass some homeless people packing up and starting their day, and I would recommend only doing this walk during daylight hours. The trash residue tells you what happens here at night.

Echo5

But the view from the walk way if awesome.

Echo6

We looped back down by the lake.

Echo7

It’s so clean and pretty now!

Echo8

See, we climbed some stairs.

Echo9

These stairs lead us into the Victorian neighborhood which is nestled in Echo Park in the shadow of downtown.

Echo10

There was a cute dog running around proudly in front of one of the Victorians.

Echo11

This section of LA is often seen in movies and tv. For example, these tourists are taking their picture in front of the old Charmed house on Carroll Ave. Also on this street is the house recently seen on Mad Men (Don Drapers childhood home). It’s a beautiful block and I highly recommend exploring this area.

Happy Secret Stair Walking!

Secret Stair Walk #17: Fellowship Park

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

A couple weeks ago I ventured out on Secret Stair walk #17: Fellowship Park, up in Echo Park’s hills. I really enjoyed this walk, as it really felt like I stumbled on a hidden gem in Los Angeles.

Fellowship1

Plants!

Fellowship2

Fellowship3

Echo Park feels so quiet up in the hills, it’s easy to forget how close to downtown it is. But occasionally you’ll reach a hilltop and catch a glimpse (like above) of city life.

Fellowship4

This was a fun diagonal set of stairs connecting two residential streets.

Fellowship5

Fellowship6

Hills and hills and hills…

Felowship7

Fellowship8

Fellowship9

Such a beautiful day for a secret stair climb. The flowers are blooming and spring is coming!

Fellowship10

The above photo shows you my favorite part of this walk. That staircase to the right of the garage seems like it’s private and leading to someones residence, but really it’s a little hidden pathway. Like the wardrobe that leads to Narnia, these steps lead to Fellowship Park.

Fellowship11

This seemingly private staircase changes from rough steps to a well manicured pathway, with it’s own babling brooks following alongside.

Fellowship12

This land was formally a religious compound but now is shared land with several little homes along it’s path. There are also several gates you have to pass through, making it feel like you’re trespassing but it’s technically public land. Isn’t the cute house perched on this land adorable? The hammock is right along the path and allows for excellent views of downtown.

Fellowship13

The path topography keeps changing! See the mailboxes? There are signs of life along this secret path.

Fellowship14

It’s a two seater at the perfect sunset spot.
Fellowship15

I liked this area so much that mid-walk I had to give it a thumbs up! Notice the path change again. On to dirt!

Fellowship16

Eventually, the path ends at a gate leading to a main road. The signs say “no trespassing” but that must have been put up by neighbors hoping to hide their LA gem. And I was back on the road hunting for more secret stairs.

Fellowship17

Fellowship18

You know how I love doors, and here are some gates! I just love the texture and colors (which were more vibrant in person).

And that concludes another Echo Park Secret Stair weekend expedition.

Secret Stair Walk #15: Avon Baxter Loop

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

It’s always a delight to take a Sunday morning Secret Stair walk in Echo Park, and even more fun when a few friends join in. We met up at Chango to explore walk #15: Avon Baxter Loop.

Baxter1

Haha the photo above still makes me laugh. People in this town are so creative. This Missing/Wanted poster is an ad for the play Terminator Too Judgement Play at the Dragonfly in Hollywood. It stars the original cast of Point Break Live (for those who got to check that out). Anywho.. the walk continues..

Baxter2

Graffiti fun!

Baxter3

Up, up up!

Baxter4

The above photo is to illustrate the steepness.

Baxter5

We walk down the hill to catch these massive stairs, up we go!

Baxter6

The views make it all worth it and distract from the stair climbing pain.

Baxter7

Baxter8

Toward the end of the loop, we made a friend!

Baxter9

Color fun.

Baxter10

Windows, doors and texture. I love it all.

Baxter11

We stopped into this shop, The Dog Show, to try on some clothes. It really felt like a Portlandia skit. One wall was completely covered in wig hair. I just couldn’t resist stopping in here.

Secret Stair Walk #14: Magic Gas

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

Magic1

This walk begins by one of my favorite Echo Park spots, Chango Coffee. That strip of shops are very independent, local, hipstery spots. It’s adorable and a fun location that also feels like a set from Portlandia. The name of the walk, “Magic Gas”, comes from the gas station on the corner of Echo Park Ave and Morton Ave.

Magic2

The stickers and graffiti in this neighborhood are a lot of fun. It makes me feel like I should be slapping Life Absorbed stickers on all the posts.

MAgic3

Door and texture fun.

Magic4

Up, up up!

Magic5

Magic6

I feel like such an old person, as I have no clue what the above square barcode thing is called, nor do I know how to use it. Frankly, I’m okay being left in the dark on this.

Magic7

I think I’m being watched.

Magic8

Sculpture graveyard? Or sculpture maternity ward?

Magic9

Knock at your own risk.

Magic10

Magic11

Sometimes public roads start to look like driveways…

Magic12

… and then become steep dirt paths.

Magic13

I love the Echo Park hills and the views that accompany them.

Magic14

Graffiti fun by the recycling center.

MAgic15

Another great day of getting out there, getting exercise + vitamin D, getting to know the neighborhood, and getting to do it for the big price of zero dollars. Sometimes frugal activities can be awesome.

Secret Stair Walk #4: Glassell Park South- Taylor Yard

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

It’s time for more Secret Stairs! Are you ready? This time I made my way to walk #4: Glassell Park South (near the Mt. Washington hills). That is such a up and coming area with some great properties and even better, secret stairs.

SS4Glassel1

SS4glassel2

You can see I picked a great day for a walk. The sky is blue and we had a rainfall the day before so the sky was very clear.

SS4glassel3

I love when secret stairs have their own street marker.

SS4glassel4

Such a cutie. This dog was super sweet.

SS4glassel5

Higher I go!! This was a beautiful set of stairs. The ivy creeps out on to the path, and sunlight marks the top tier of steps.

SS4glassel6

SS4glassel7

What a fancy scarecrow.

SS4glassel8

Steps become roads, which become paths.

SS4glassel9

LA architecture can be awesome. You would never see a house like this in CT.

SS4glassel10

SS4glassel11

Mural/graffiti fun.

SS4glassel12

Pretty colors and flowers as a reach the “down” portion of the climb.

SS4glassel14

The shadows get long as I get closer to the end.

SS4glessel13

But it doesn’t finish without stumbling upon a pasture of cows. Mooooo.

Secret Stair Walk #41: Pacific Palisades- Castellammare

It’s about time I shared another Secret Stair Walk with you! This time I ventured over to the west side of town, specifically Pacific Palisades- Castellammare. The great thing about this neighborhood is its steep slope which gives you amazing views of the ocean the entire walk. It also means you get a workout. Get ready to sweat!

—  In 2012 my goal is to do all 42 walks from the book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy! UPDATE: Due to unforeseen issues, I’ll be completing the last handful of walks I have left in 2013. —

Pacific1

Get ready for a beautiful walk. I’m so jealous of the people who live in these homes, and look out at this all day. If I lived here, I’d be a shut-in.

Pacific2

These homes are beautiful and obviously very expensive, but it’s refreshing to see they aren’t cookie-cutter and there was a lot of creativity on display in this neighborhood. You know how I love doors…

Pacific3

A good tip to this neighborhood: there’s a walking path that takes you over the PCH and down to the beach, so if you are having a tough time dealing with parking drive up into the neighborhood where it’s not restricted and just walk across the bridge to get to the beach.

Pacific4

I love texture.

Pacific5

The beach!

Pacific6

There’s a very colorful giant garden along this walk that you can’t miss.

Pacific7

Up the stairs, down the stairs.

Pacific8

I said hello to a nice older man making this beauty (above) out in his driveway.

Pacific9 Pacific10

Every view on this walk is breathtaking. This is the only way to exercise. Doesn’t this make the gym seem like a prison? You can even see Catalina!

Pacific11

One of the best parts of this walk was when it took us by Villa de Leon. This Italianate mansion overlooking the Pacific is like something out of a movie. Such beautiful architecture, still being renovated (see photo below) and grounds covered in statues. The sad thing was that the only person we saw walking the grounds was a home nurse on her break. It made me sad to think whoever has the money to afford this home is probably very old and has ailing health. But if I needed to pick a place to be bed ridden, it would be here.

Pacific12 Pacific13 Pacific14 Pacific15

Pacific16

Above is a photo of Thema Todd’s garage (her home is higher up on the hillside). This is where she lived when she died of asphyxiation (suspiciously).

PAcific17

Keep a good watch on this walk and not only will you see a cow, but you’ll see a giraffe!

*** UPDATE ***

I recently received a sweet email from the owners of “Giardino di Stretto” (aka the beautiful, colorful garden in the photos above). They’ve been working on their garden and wanted to share some photos of its updated look. I had high hopes of going out there myself and snapping some shots, but my weekends have been too packed to make it over there. Below are the garden-owners photos. Very impressive!

UpdatedGarden

 

Secret Stair Walk#27: Silver Lake Court

Since I’m lacking Comedy Wednesday material, I thought I would share a Secret Stair walk with you. I know I haven’t shared many walks with you recently, but there are more coming. There’s nothing more calming than pushing stressful thoughts from my head, grabbing my camera and hopping in the car off to a clear-your-head walk. I find these walks force me to live in the moment and focus on what’s around me. You should try it, if you haven’t already. This time around I explored walk #27: Silver Lake Court.

—  In 2012 I have to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

This was a lovely quiet walk, which took me along the familiar Silver Lake Court, which is a dirt patch where the Pacific Electric Red Car trolley used to run.

Only this time we didn’t take my typical route up the stairs, but instead turned to the left, and headed in a new direction. Excitement!

I passed an adorable bunny guarding the gate to the Rose Sharlin Co-op Nursery School, and continued along the brush path.

Eventually I was spit out into another side of the neighborhood, where I noticed this spray painted on a trailer parked on the street.

Stairs, stairs, and more stairs.

Log cabin?? In LA??

Fun with color. I love the creativity in the Silver Lake neighborhood.

“Warning: People Before Profits”

An odd museum.

Architecture fun! I love this home above.

Above: The wide shot

Above: The close-up of the John Lautner’s Silvertop residence.

Assuming I got the address right, the home above is designed by Eric Lloyd Wright for Rupert Pole and where Anais Nin lived and died in 1977.

Secret Stairs Walk #25: Swan’s Way (Silver Lake West)

—  In 2012 I have to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

When I did Secret Stair Walk #24, I decided to lump it together with walk #25, Swan’s Way  in the Silver Lake west hills. It was a beautiful day with clear skies. Nothing like a secret stair walk to put a smile on my face.

It was an excellent workout FILLED with stairs. Up I go.

You know how I love color and doors. This was pretty great.

So many hills..

This was an awesome find! I found a street artists heart stencil. I love finding street art on my walks, so finding he stencil was pretty cool.

Then I turned a corner and found street art (although ironically nothing with the heart from the stencil).

As I neared the end of the walk, I turned to see what I thought was a person watching me… nope, just a dummy. I had to share that. Do you think the person was throwing it away? Or was it’s always there for security? I enjoyed it either way. What an artsy community.

This last photo I included not just for the street art, but also for the volvo station wagon in the back of the shot. I learned to drive in a car that looks just like. Oh how I miss the old volvos. Boxy cars are the best.

Secret Stairs Walk #24: Silver Lake Terraces East

—  In 2012 I have to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

It’s been a while since I shared a Secret Stair walk with you… and it’s been too long. So I bring to you my exploration of Silver Lake Terraces East (walk #24 from the book). I know I’ve been doing a lot of the Silver Lake walks (since I have so much fun in that hood), but there are plenty more from other neighborhoods, which I will tackle in the next few months. And so I begin at Silver Lake Wine. I love the shops all along Silver Lake Blvd. They are so adorable. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop into Yolk. It’s a great shop to find gifts for the person who has it all.

Come explore this outdoor space!

Higher and higher I go! The trade off for the intense stair climbing (and heavy gasping breath) are the incredible views. Can you imagine living up here and getting some sun and exercise in while climbing down to the Silver Lake Coffee Co to grab your morning brew?

The photo above shows the elevator that leads to this persons home. Isn’t that incredible? I love the color too. How fun- and very Silver Lake.

And what goes up, must go down. I actually went down the wrong set of “secret stairs” and ended up in someone’s back yard. Thankfully no police were called and we didn’t give anyone a fright. It was an honest mistake… which probably happens to them constantly. I hope you get out on this beautiful Saturday! Why not explore some secret stairs?

Secret Stairs Walk #38: Universal City- Happy Trails

—  In 2012 I have to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

Today I want to talk about my exploration of the Universal City hills. This walk begins along the busy street of Cahuenga Blvd. Once you walk a few blocks you loop up into the hills, where the sounds of traffic dissipate, the air feels fresher, and it becomes very calm.

I actually made a mistake, took a wrong turn and added a steep detour to my walk. It’s funny how this mistake was very enjoyable (despite the high heat and hill steepness). Spending time walking the hills and secret stairs is so relaxing. All the anxiety of the day just washes away and you feel in the moment. Personally I’m always looking for small details to take photos of and delight in. This means I’m constantly absorbing what I’m seeing, just taking it all in.

For example, if I hadn’t made the mistake of a wrong turn, I would have missed out on this awesome Star Wars windshield cover.

Speaking of secret stairs, how about secret houses? The only marker of this home is the bright red door, a glimpse of a chimney and the trash cans out front. I like to imagine who lives in there and what it looks like. Probably a troll… or some type of Disney character.

Higher and higher I go. The architecture got more unique as I headed up hill.

A friend joined me.

This house is where Kathy Griffith lived (or still lives?) and was featured on her reality show, My Life on the D-List.

The next unique home I came across was of a former wrestler turned designer. I was unable to fit it all the in frame because it was so monstrous and the road was narrow. The entire home is covered in decorative mosaic tile. Also, I think the home owner came home while I was taking photos. It was awkward.

This homes are so interesting and the book said these are where a famous novelist set his superhero’s home. I can’t remember the details, but I love the architecture! I can’t imagine being in one of these during an earthquake. I did enjoy that the glass walls made it so you could see how people decorated these homes (there were several along this hillside).

Per usual, this was another delightful Secret Stair walk.