New Year’s Resolutions

Click on book covers throughout this post for more information about our current favorite travel books.


Travel is definitely in the air here at the bookstore.  Customer after customer mentions travel plans — Capri, Buenos Aires, a cruise to Alaska, hiking in Big Bend in Texas, Turkey… and those are just the ones mentioned on this particular morning.  I have to admit I’m getting itchy feet and yearning to head out to parts unknown. There is a list in my head of places I still want to see, but those are big trips and this year that won’t happen for me.  In the meantime it can be fun to concentrate on “day” destinations. One of the beauties of a metropolitan area like Los Angeles is that there are so many unusual and beautiful places just an hour or two away, so it’s fairly easy to have a “day” vacation without breaking a budget.  Some of my favorite recent little getaways have included:

Laguna Beach, l hr.20 minutes from Studio City.  Besides the obvious, beach and shops,  there is an interesting outdoor-under-the-trees cafe called Madison Square Garden located right on PCH just before the main part of Laguna, which reminds me a bit of our own Aroma Cafe.  The shops and older buildings are quite charming and the art galleries are abundant. I went mid-week.  Weekends in summer are probably difficult.

Another beach destination about 1hr, 10 minutes away is Balboa Island. My favorite thing to do there is to drive my car onto the small ferry which goes from Balboa to the mainland and back again. It takes about 10 minutes but is a simple pleasure and I love the novelty of it.  The little village of Balboa is full of quaint small houses (priced in the millions,) and good restaurants.  I think it’s a bit less commercial than most of the beach towns, probably because it’s a little harder to reach.  I assure you, it’s well worth the drive.

Closer to L.A.(1 hr.) is  Seal Beach, a quiet little hamlet with no pretension and just a two-block main street with cafes and shops.   It has a peaceful, sparse beach and an environment reminiscient of the 1970’s.

And, for a fun adventure,  if you haven’t ridden much on the metro, try jumping on and traveling  to Pasadena or Long Beach — you’ll feel like you’ve had a real mini-vacation in just one day of exploring either destination.  You’ll have the benefit of discovering places and routes you’ve never seen before, without the hassle of traffic.

Every New Year, instead of a list of resolutions I make a list of places I have not been to yet and wish to visit.  I’m slowly working through this year’s list and already thinking about next year’s.  Let me know if you have other great day destinations that I should know about.

And, of course, you can travel anywhere you like without moving anything more than your eye muscles.


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