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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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But the view from the walk way if awesome.

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We looped back down by the lake.

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It’s so clean and pretty now!

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See, we climbed some stairs.

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

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

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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!

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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.

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Plants!

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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.

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

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Hills and hills and hills…

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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 #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!  —

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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.

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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.

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Door and texture fun.

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Up, up up!

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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.

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I think I’m being watched.

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Sculpture graveyard? Or sculpture maternity ward?

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Knock at your own risk.

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Sometimes public roads start to look like driveways…

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… and then become steep dirt paths.

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

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Graffiti fun by the recycling center.

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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.

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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.

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I love when secret stairs have their own street marker.

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Such a cutie. This dog was super sweet.

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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.

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What a fancy scarecrow.

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Steps become roads, which become paths.

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

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Mural/graffiti fun.

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

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

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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. —

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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.

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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…

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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.

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I love texture.

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The beach!

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

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Up the stairs, down the stairs.

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

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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!

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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.

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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).

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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!

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