Photo Girl Travels

Taking the Road Less Traveled

The Beach House, Exquisite Waterfront Hotel in Hermosa Beach, CA

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I have a special love for this hotel where I’ve stayed many times. I actually never knew there was a beach front hotel in the Manhattan / Hermosa Beach area until my Mom and I happened upon it about 20 years ago. We were out for a walk along the Strand and there it was.

Since then, it’s my go-to place when I want to escape since it’s a 5-6 hour drive along the coast from where I live in Northern California. About two weeks ago, I was heading to Long Beach to meet my Mom and sister to visit Catalina Island. On my way home I pulled over and stayed the night at the Beach House Hotel in Hermosa Beach. Let me tell you a little bit about this special hotel and the area that surrounds it.

I lived in Manhattan Beach years ago and loved it. There are a bunch of small ocean-front towns that string along the cost…Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Long Beach and on and on. The coolest part of a lot of these beaches is that they have a walkway that allows you to easily walk or ride your bike – listening to the waves, dodging the seagulls, viewing elegant yards of the massive homes and of course stopping at top notch restaurants and bar. Voyeurism at it’s greatest! Before we get to the strand, let’s visit the hotel, The Beach House in Hermosa Beach.

This is a view from my room so you can see that you are right on the water. There are no roads with crazy traffic that you have to look over to see the ocean. No, you’re just there with only The Strand to cross before you can put your feet in the sand. When you enter the hotel you’ll find a beautiful lobby. I can remember my sister waiting on one of the couches on one visit and that was so special. And my Mom and even my childhood friend Anne. At night you’ll find the fireplace burning which is always nice on chilly coastal evenings.

The rooms are wonderful and are actually small suites with kitchenettes, a fireplace (gas now, but I can remember when you could burn a duraflame log!) Not all rooms face the ocean but some have partial views. If you’re in a full ocean front you can open the sliding doors, pour yourself a glass of champagne and watch the volleyball players, bike riders and people strolling along the strand while relaxing on your deck.

Here are some of the images of the hotel room. I always ask for a corner room if possible so you get a window in the bathroom. They can’t guarantee it but they always try.

Once you’ve dropped your luggage off and put on your walking shoes, you’re ready to explore! Let’s take a walk along The Strand…

Manhattan Beach Home along The Strand

If you go, make sure to take good walking shoes. Once you park you can get everywhere on foot or by bike. Let me know if you go! If you’d like to see more of my blogs on that area they are listed below. Cheers! Photogirl

Taking Flight: Manhattan/Hermosa BeachΒ CA: https://photogirltravels.com/category/california/manhattanhermosa-beach-ca/

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Taking Flight: Manhattan/Hermosa Beach CA

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You’re looking out over a beach and see a gathering of sea gulls nestled, deep in meditation. Suddenly, you have this urge to run through them, wild and free, feeling their wings flap around you as they take flight.

This morning I was in that exact situation and before I knew it I was sprinting toward those gulls, zero to 1mph in less than 5 seconds. Legs flying around like extra-long egg beaters, I scrambled across the sand. (In my mind I was moving fast – but running in sand is a lot like running in water. I’m sure I wasn’t setting any records.)

Regardless of the speed, those poor birds scattered. Think of the calories they shed not only from being forced into a frantic take-off. But through the shear stress of seeing me coming toward them. How about you? Have you ever scared a few ounces off a bunch of gulls? If not, then maybe it’s time to be a little spontaneous. Let your hair down and “take flight“.

So where do you find that perfect spot where the ocean breeze ruffles your hair and the sand is dotted with sea gulls? There are a lot of places but the one that I’m going to recommend is Hermosa / Manhattan Beach in Southern California. I actually lived in Manhattan Beach for about 5 years so this part of the country is special to me. The energy is palpable and everywhere you look you see healthy people. Granted, everyone looks better with a tan but how can you not be ripped pounding a volleyball around all day in your favorite kini. A trip to Hermosa / Manhattan Beach isn’t just for the summer. If you are looking for a trip in December this is one to consider. The towns drape the shops with holiday lights. Even the palm trees don a little lighted bling. And this year the city of Manhattan Beach has not only strung holiday lights along the pier, they have lined Christmas trees in bright red containers along the entire pier.

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A trip to Hermosa / Manhattan Beach isn’t just for the summer. If you are looking for a trip in December this is one to consider. The towns drape the shops with holiday lights. Even the palm trees don a little lighted bling. And this year the city of Manhattan Beach has not only strung holiday lights along the pier, they have lined Christmas trees in bright red containers along the entire pier.

Things to Do: First, my favorite. Take a walk on The Strand. This is a path that hugs the beach and takes you from town to town. The houses are beautiful, everyone unique. In Hermosa Beach you share The Strand with the bikers, skateboarders and joggers. In Manhattan Beach The Strand splits and the bikers coast along the sand and the walkers are up high, looking over the beach. (Make sure you walk under the Manhattan Beach pier and out to the water’s edge. It is spectacular standing under the huge pillars, watching the wave crash.)

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Look for the green flash! When I was here I saw multiple green flashes each night. Green flashes are an optical phenomena that occur during sunset, just as the sun disappears behind the water. As the sun sets, keep your eye on it and as it dips and disappears in the water you may be lucky enough to see the flash. If you do, make a wish, I’m sure it will come true…

You can rent a bike and ride from Hermosa to Venice beach if you want. Or, get a beach chair and book and just chill.

Shop – Both towns have a quaint downtown with tons of shops. I absolutely love Tabula Rasa in downtown Manhattan Beach. www.tabularasaessentials.com/ If you need a new kini – Manhattan Beach is your town. Also, Riley Arts has some lovely local artwork. www.rileyartsgallery.com

Eat in one of the fabulous restaurants. I had breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. You can sit outside with a view of the water. www.unclebillspancakehouse.com (photo of eggs and bacon was taken there) When I lived here we’d go to the Local Yolk, another placed were the locals hang out. www.localyolk.com. There is a new place that looked really cool when I walked by – Main Street Cafe www.marinestreetcafe.com. Finally, there is El Tarasco where you can get inexpensive Mexican food. I’ve been eating here for years. (Every local in town has eaten here at least once.) I looked for their website but didn’t find one. Their address is 316 Rosecrans Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA. If you have any other places you’d recommend let me know! I’ll pass them on. PS – the Starbucks in downtown Manhattan Beach by the water has the nicest people who work there! And, they open at 4:30am which is great if you want a joe for your beach walk.

What should you pack? Sneakers, flip-flops and at least a sweater. Although the days can be warm, the nights do cool off. You can bring something sassy too; there are some great bars in both towns. Did I miss anything?

Best way to get there? Get a flight into LAX or drive. I drove down from Los Gatos and took highway 101 along the coast. If you’re not a driver then it’s an easy flight in.

Where to stay? I’ve listed a few below that I would recommend. If you go in December it’s off season so easier to find a room. I love the Beach House, it is the only hotel that is right on the water. The rooms have fireplaces and are absolutely lovely. www.beach-house.com Another place you may try is the Sea View Inn. They have beautiful rooms, some with fireplaces and full ocean views. www.seaview-inn.com) Any other places you’d recommend?

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I hope you take flight soon! As my Dad says, “Life if not a dress rehearsal.”

If you’d like to purchase a print to remind you of this beautiful area, please click on “Contact”. My photography is printed on aluminum. Utilizing an advanced process which infuses dyes directly into the metal, the colors and saturation are really amazing. In addition, your print will be displayed using mount blocks which float the image Β½ inch off the wall.

Β©2012 Shelley D Spray – No content on this site (including all photography) may be reused in any fashion without written permission from the author.

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