Visiting Home 3: Touring Wallingford

To catch up to speed, check out Visiting Home: Getting There and Exploration.

After spending the previous day in search of adventure and small town beauty, I decided to spend some time in my own home town (Wallingford, CT) looking for excitement. While I didn’t find excitement, I did enjoy a sunny walk with my camera out. My town has actually made it into some movies, and the 06492 zip code is that of Stars Hallow’s in the TV show Gilmore Girls (which it does look similar to). And the Drew Barrymore film Riding In Cars With Boys is supposedly set in Wallingford, CT (although it was not filmed there).

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I drove to the center of town, Main St., and just set aimlessly on a walk with my camera in hand.

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Wallingford has a lot of small town charm.

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And old homes… lots of old beautiful homes. Given the spring/summer season, the grass was green and the sky was perfectly blue. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

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My town features the private high school Choate Rosemary Hall. Their campus and buildings are meticulously maintained.

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School’s out for summer.

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All the flags are up for the 4th of July, and the little shops and restaurants had some activity as colleges are letting students out for summer.

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The above church is where I spent a lot of time growing up. So pretty.

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Lastly, here’s the Wallingford Town Hall with its clock out front. Oh, Wallingford, you’ll always be home to me.

Cape Cod in the Winter

Over the holiday’s I was on the East Coast visiting with friends and family and doing my best to stay warm. A couple days after Christmas I drove from Connecticut to spend the next week with my family in Cape Cod.

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The above photo was taken mid route between Providence and Cape Cod (at Fall River). Don’t worry, I was in the passenger seat.

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This photo was taken going over the Bourne Bridge at Sunset. The drive out to Cape Cod is very beautiful.

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There’s really nothing like an East Coast Christmas. Cape Cod is such a beautiful place, even in the (extreme) cold.

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The above four photos were taken at Harding Beach in Chatham. It was a very cold and windy beach walk, but it makes for a fun adventure.

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The above four photos were taken at the Chatham Fish Pier, which is a great seal/shark lookout place in the summer and is also next to a tasty fish market. It’s a fun place to go and watch the fishing boats come in with their daily take. The fish attract the seals, and the seals attract the sharks.. circle of life.

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The above two photos are from Chatham Lighthouse and the beach accompanying it.

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The last stop at sunset was Cold Storage Beach in Dennis. If it weren’t so frigid and windy, this is a great walking beach to explore in the summer time. You can see these beach photos have WAY less snow, since this is the bay-side.

Every year people flock to Cape Cod in the summer time, and yet everything shuts down in the winter. I find the quite and stillness mixed with the snowy landscape just so beautiful in winter. If you have the chance to experience Cape Cod in the winter, it’s worth your time.

Secret Stair Walk#18: Music Box Loop

Did you know I love Secret Stair walks? This is Secret Stair Walk #18: Music Box Loop.

—  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 walk is one of my last from the Silver Lake chapter in my book. This was a very colorful walk filled with fun graffiti and the infamous Music Box stairs made famous by the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. This walk starts by a cafe along Sunset.

These are the famous steps (although there are many other staircases along this walk).

Keep climbing! Higher, higher, higher!

You can tell from my photos this was a very colorful walk, a photographers dream.

Textures and colors.

I love this door. They could have bought a boring metal gate and instead they bought this gem. These neighborhoods really respect architecture and I love it!

One house had a fence covered in brick-a-brac. If I were a neighbor, I’d hate it, but as a visitor, I loved it.

Not all the stairs on this walk were as clean and angelic looking as the photo above, but this walk had an excellent mix of nature and architecture.

Myra lives above.

Get outside and explore the Secret Stairs! I had such a fun afternoon getting some vitamin d, exercise and excellent photos all for FREE. What a city we live in.

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.

Cleaning House

Sometimes you gotta clean house. I’m taking my lead from Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project (Chapter 1 goal: Toss, restore, organize) and not just cleaning my house, but more importantly, my computer. I’m getting my GB’s back!

After my cleaning project, I’m going to tackle a few more Secret Stair walks today and then per usual, Doug Benson/ Comedy Bang Bang tonight! Expect a full report tomorrow.

Secret Stair Walk #22: Coffee Table Loop (Silver Lake)

Last I just told you about walk #21 (West Silver Lake) and this next walk picks up from there. Just to recap for newbies:

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!

Secret Stair Walk #22: Coffee Table Loop (Silver Lake)

Walk #21 finishes around Hyperion Ave and walk #22 picks up around Rowena, I figured I would go right from one to the next. This 1 mile stretch of Hyperion is not officially included in the walk, but I enjoyed it so much I included the pictures below. There are so many artistic, well designed shops and restaurants along Hyperion that when you do this walk, I would plan it so you can stop for lunch along here.

All the shops are so original: Barbarella Bar, Pizzeria Lago, Tomboy (kid’s clothing store), Say Cheese (cheese shop),   Broome Street Genral Store (coffee, food, knickknacks)

Rowena Ave is where walk #22 pickup, so right around here in the photos.

You know how I love texture and graphics.

Like walk #21, as soon as I was off the main streets it got very quiet and calm.

It was a beautiful day for a stair walk, so the photos came out so bright and colorful.

The photo below is of the John Lautner designed Silvertop. This home is well known architecturally and iconic to LA. Learn more about the home and architect HERE.

The higher-up I went, the more beautiful the views (and the steeper the climb).

I turned a corner by Landa St. and took a short detour to get this image. I was so nestled walking in the hills I didn’t realize how close I was to downtown. Quite a view, seeing the lake and turning to my right and seeing downtown.

What goes up must come down. I made my way down the hills zig-zagging through the neighborhood until I reached the Silver Lake. At this point it was 5:30p, so all the runners who just got off work were doing their laps around the lake.

One thing Charles Flemming points out, which I didn’t want to miss, was this “V” on the door of not-the-schmanciest house on the block (as you can probably tell from the christmas ornament hanging on the door in June). Under the V is the morse code for that letter, which coincidentally (or not) matches the opening nots of Beethoven’s Fifth. Nice call on making that connection Charles!

As I looped back to Rowena, I made myself a cat friend who I also tried to get out of the street.

That finishes up walk #22! Now get out there, get the book and make your own free (once you own the book) adventures! It’s a gorgeous day, and I’m about to do that myself.

Secret Stairs #21: Silver Lake Terraces West

If you’re new to Life Absorbed (I love newbies!) then you might not know about one of my biggest hobbies: Secret Stair Walks! 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!

Recently I explored walk #21, Silver Lake! What a fun neighborhood. This specific walk was 2.5 miles and 190 steps. I ended up combining it with another Silver Lake walk from the book, but that post will come later. The walk began along Hyperion Ave by the recording-studio building, The Boat. According to Charles Flemming, it is where Beck recorded most of his Guero album. The building is TINY, but very cool looking. How have I never noticed this odd looking building?

This walk almost immediately takes out of the craziness of Hyperion Ave and up into the Silver Lake hills, where I started to notice the details.

It was so quiet up here, high-up out of the wildness of LA.

After the walk, I looked at the album of all my photos and noticed that this walk had a bunch of very cool looking doors. It was a theme of the walk.

I love the details in doors.

This photo below is a home designed by Stephen Alan Siskind. There are many homes in a row here all designed by him.

More fun doors  and gates 🙂

This staircase (below) was toward the end of the loop. I love how the greenery hides this staircase.

Exploring Cape Cod: Paw Wah Pond

So this post is mainly about Paw Wah Pond, which we explored after making a pit stop at an undisclosed location. This first location shall not be named, because, as it turns out, it was on private land. I guess the land is public, but the only way to get there is by trespassing on private property. Since I am not a rule-breaking advocate, I can’t in good conscious promote the walk by giving you the information about it… BUT since I already went, I might as well share my findings.

Thankfully it was another warmer beautiful day with a clear blue sky.

We followed along the public beach until we reached our goal, a cute abandoned island (during high tide)/ peninsula (during low tide) filled with stones. You can see from these pictures how quiet it was. It wasn’t all joyous, as we had to cut across some stinky, might-drop-into-water-at-any-second marsh to reach this beautiful place. Oh yeah, then we had to cut back across it so we could leave.

After the-hike-that-shalt-be-named, we moved on to a fun loop at Paw Wah Pond in Orleans, MA. This hike has a small parking area, with paths leading you through the woods (note picnic tables for a summer time break) and down to the water.

We didn’t reach this area until late in the day, so the sun was already low in the sky. I love the picutre below because you can see there are 2 kayakers brave enough to handle the cold air (and water) and explore. I’m insanely jealous of them and wished I could have done some winter kayaking. Although the prospect of sticking my foot in the water for the initial launch hurts just thinking about it.

My parents enjoyed this walk for all the birding opportunities. Many unique birds were calling out and living in the nests in the tall grass along the water. We followed their steps.

Once the sun officially began setting we had to rush back to the car (you don’t want to cut through the woods in the dark.. not fun).

Sunsets like this are really special.