Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Stretch Out Stress in Redondo Beach Sun and Sand

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Story and Photo by

Cecil Scaglione   

Mature Life Features

 

 

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. – So you’re going to Disneyland.

And Hollywood. And Malibu. And Universal Studios. And Knotts Berry Farm. And Rodeo Drive. And maybe squeeze in a day at the San Diego Zoo. And…

Whew!

Whizzing and whirling through La-La-Land to “do California” can leave you in a tizzy.

But just about a quarter of an hour south of Los Angeles International Airport is Redondo Beach, where you can soak in sun, sand, surf and seafood at a leisurely pace that would make the Beach Boys, who are from this largest of the South Bay beach cities, proud.

Redondo – it means “round” in Spanish – Beach sits just north of the Palo Verdes Peninsula, which wraps itself around both Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, with Catalina Island perched on the horizon. It could mean redolent because it’s a comfortable California corner to hang around and smell the sea.

It’s also known as Surf City. The first surfing outside of Hawaii occurred in Redondo Beach in 1907. Irish-Hawaiian George Freeth was paid to “walk on the water” by Henry Huntington to mark the opening of and attract attention to his railway connecting Redondo Beach with Los Angeles. Soon after, small groups of people began catching the waves that rolled onto Redondo and the practice spread. Freeth, who died of the Spanish flu in 1919 in his mid-30s, also became California’s first official lifeguard.

Walking alongside the forest of sailboat masts crowding the shoreline here, you’re likely to be invited to join in a Frisbee toss by a mixed group of surfers, homeless, locals and whomever are just enjoying the climate and community. This can be before or after you’ve downed a half dozen, or more, oysters at one of the fresh-fish markets lining the horseshoe-shaped pier.

If you think that’s all there is, just look around. Hop onto a whale-watching boat that takes just minutes to get from its berth to the open ocean, pedal a glass-bottomed boat to view marine life in the harbor, paddle a kayak out to the barking seal colony hanging around the buoys, or buy a kite and watch it fly alongside the Pacific. How about taking a chance on improving your fortune by picking out your own oyster at one of the assortment of shops and saloons on The Pier and having the proprietor shuck out its pearl for you.

You can rent a bike and, if your legs hold out, pedal up to the famed Santa Monica pier. If you’re really dedicated, you can keep on going all the way to Malibu. You don’t have to trek that far to bump into a celebrity or two, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, developers dubbed this beach area “The Hollywood Riviera” in the 1920s. There’s a Riviera Village on the city’s southern border offering shopping from a Farmers Market that lets you sample its produce and  fashion and furnishings boutiques packed into a six-block area peppered with exquisite eateries.

Redondo Beach is not only pretty handy for the residents of movieland, it’s also a handy site for cinema shoots. You might recognize segments and scenes from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Baywatch,” “X Files,” “The Cannonball Run,” “90210,” “Star Trek,” “24,”and  “CSI:Miami,” to name a few of the dozens and dozens of movies and television shows shot here.

If you happen to be here on a weekend, check the Hermosa Beach Comedy and Magic Club a few blocks north of the Redondo Beach border to see if late-night television host Jay Leno is on tap. He does a show there about 40 Sundays a year.

At the northwest corner where these two beach cities meet is the imposing AES electric power plant. Many cinematic sequences have been taken inside this cavernous building but its outside bears the life-size depiction of “Gray Whales Migration,” a mural painted in 1991 by marine-life artist Robert Wyland. It’s across the street from the SeaLAB, a see-and-touch attraction for folks of all ages operated by the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to rescue and rehabilitate creatures sucked into the power plant’s turbines.

Mature Life Features, Copyright March 2011

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

December 11, 2012 at 12:05 am

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