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Venice Beach @ Pacific & Windward: LAblocks

Here’s the second episode of my new travel show, LAblocks!

Smack dab in the middle of the Venice Beach boardwalk is the awesome block Pacific & Windward. It’s a hodge podge of Snapchat employees, struggling artists, and the very rich.  Pacific & Windward and Venice Beach in general is a place where bums and billionaires rub shoulders more than other parts of town in Los Angeles.  Looking at the history of this neighborhood helps you understand why.  Venice was founded by Abbot Kinney at the turn of the 20th century, and he wanted to create the “Coney Island of the west coast.”  He also wanted to make the neighborhood resemble Venice, Italy, and proceeded to build canals out of the marshland that existed.  Due to plumbing problems, the canals began to reek, so the only people who would brave the vile stench were artists looking for cheap rent.  And so the culture of artists living in Venice Beach was born.  Once the automobile came into prominence, almost all of Abbot Kinney’s canals were paved over and turned into streets.  It wasn’t until the 1990s when some canals were restored and the plots of land surrounding them quickly became some of the most expensive pieces of property in Los Angeles.  Hence, the billionaires.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a billionaire to enjoy the Venice Beach block of Pacific & Windward.  If you’re looking for swimwear, a board, or maybe a surf lesson, check out Mollusk Surf Shop.  After catching some waves, refuel by eating at Bank of Venice, a restaurant built inside a former bank.  Might as well peruse the 15,000 items available at the Gotta Have It vintage clothing store, too.  Then why not get a little caffeine fix at Menotti’s, named after the owner of the speakeasy that existed on this block during Prohibition.  Or if caffeine isn’t your thing, Windward Juice offers organic, cold pressed Clover juice in a quaint alley setup.  And round out your day at Pacific & Windward with a stiff drink at Townhouse Venice, a bar that has continuously operated since 1915, even during Prohibition (shh, don’t tell anyone).

If you liked this video, hop on over to our YouTube page and subscribe to our channel!

21
Oct 2015
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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Video

Downtown Los Angeles @ 5th & Spring: LAblocks

Here is the first episode of my new, hip, and–dare I say–awesome travel show, LAblocks.  If you haven’t heard of this show yet, I won’t hold it against you.  The hook of the series is that we explore Los Angeles “one block at a time.”  So, each episode takes you to a different underrated and totally amazing intersection of LA.  And in five minutes or less, we show you all the art, architecture, history, restaurants, stores, and stories on that block.

This first “block” almost has too much stuff to do. Located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, 5th & Spring has gorgeous architecture from the turn of the 20th Century. In that era, this LA neighborhood was considered the “Wall Street of the West,” having several banks right next to one another.  Now those former banks have been converted into modern day stores, and man do they look cool. You can still feel the history of the Downtown Los Angeles buildings when you step into a bank vault to grab a used book at The Last Bookstore or walk through a safe on your way to the bathroom at intermission at the Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC).

And if you’re at 5th & Spring on the second Thursday of the month, you can check out the Downtown LA Art Walk and might even encounter a street musician like Red Violet playing a killer tune on the sidewalk.  When you don’t want the party to end in Downtown Los Angeles, maybe grab a nightcap at BUZZ wine beer shop, where the libations keep flowing until 2am.

If you liked this video, hop on over to the LAblocks YouTube page and subscribe to our channel!  Or check out even more LAblocks videos at LAblocks.com!

22
Jul 2015
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments
Video

LAblocks, my new travel show!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but that’s because I’ve been cooking up a new show.  And I’m excited to say, it’s finally ready to take out of the oven!  The show is called LAblocks.  Tagline: “Exploring LA one block at a time.” I’m really excited about it. LA has so many vastly different neighborhoods to explore, and we’re going to explore them all!

There’s just one little catch to watch our show: we need you to subscribe on YouTube.  Once we have 1,000 subscribers, then we’ll release our first episode, 5th and Spring, which is a block in Downtown LA–and let me tell you, it’s quite a block.  So watch our trailer, subscribe, and tell your friends!

12
Jan 2015
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
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Articles

Does 5 Cent Coffee Still Exist?

Yes it does, Travel Bugger.  It exists at Wall Drug.  What is Wall Drug?  Take a tacky, roadside souvenir shop and then make it the size of a city block.  And then add some creepy animatronic robots singing cowboy songs and a place where you can pan for gold and a “train station water show.”  That’s kind of what it is.

It’s in South Dakota, mere miles outside of Badlands National Park, and very close to Mount Rushmore, so if you map it right, you can hit all three on your road trip.  What really compelled me to visit Wall Drug was their promise of five cent coffee.  All along the drive on Interstate 90, they have signs advertising for the place.

One sign (unfortunately one I was unable to take a picture of while driving) promised five cent coffee.  I like coffee, and I like a good deal, so they had me.

Sure enough, when I got there, there it was.  Five cent coffee.  Though buying it is more of an honor system than I would have liked.  I wanted a receipt that told me I spent five cents for coffee.  It would have been the complete opposite of this receipt.  Instead of paying at the cash register, though, you put a nickel in a little box.

Was it good coffee?  No.  It was pretty bad.  I may have overpaid.  But they didn’t promise good five cent coffee, so it wasn’t false advertising.  I will say, though, when driving through rural Washington, I got a cup of coffee at a gas station, and boy, was that not as good as a cup at a local coffeeshop.  It was a buck or so more expensive than Wall Drug’s, but still.  It was at a gas station.  They know how to brew a Cup o’ Joe in Washington, even next to an aisle of Slim Jim’s.

But it didn’t look like this.  For this, you have to drive into Seattle.

15
Oct 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments
Articles

Geyser Envy

People visit Yellowstone National Park to see Old Faithful.  They see other sights there, too, but that cash cow moneymaker that those park ranger fatcats make those piles of money with is Old Faithful.  They even built a lodge overlooking the thing.

I enjoyed watching Old Faithful erupt, sure.  I would think it difficult to find someone who doesn’t like watching boiling hot water shoot out of the earth hundreds of feet in the air.  That’s pretty cool.  (By the way, if you know someone who hates geysers, don’t be his friend.  He’s got problems).  But what I didn’t enjoy was the fact there was a perfectly good geyser very close to Old Faithful that no stopped to look at: Castle Geyser.

A really solid geyser.  It has character, this geyser.  But no one will ever know, because they’re focused on the established geyser and the well-known tricks that geyser can do.  They don’t want to take a chance with this scrappy, unknown geyser.  But Castle Geyser’s got dreams, darn it!

It’s got a bad location, that’s the problem.  Right next to the most famous geyser in the world!  Sadly, that means it’ll always play second banana to the Big Man.  Always opening, never headlining.  How can anyone live a successful geyser life under the massive shadow of Old Faithful?  It’s flashy, it’s punctual, it’s iconic.  You can’t compete with that.  Well, I’m rooting for you, Castle Geyser.  You’ll get your shot one day, and not your regular, “every 10-12 hours” one.

09
Oct 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments