on the road: El Segundo, CA

YES, who can resist sunny Southern California! We are specifically spending some time in the tiny 'hamlet' of El Segundo, California, surfing and checking out the west coast for a spell...! Actually, my husband was offered an artist-in-residence and teaching stint at the privately owned ESMoA (www.esmoa.org) - a fantastic new addition to the area. My husband calls the collection here 'the Mini Getty' which he argues is not an exaggeration! So here we are since we always have to do everything together! At least it seemed a good opportunity to latch onto his good fortune to have to be here. I would LOVE to have told you that we were able to come out here for the entire 3 month duration of his residency, but as 'reality' would have it, we are only able to come out for the tail end of it and spend a couple of lazy Summer weeks here. Still, who's going to complain about that? So, while he paints in the studio, or teaches in the museum, the kids and I take advantage of the location to go off exploring. And, it only takes a day or two to realize that there is way to much to see in such a short time! So, using that limitation as an excuse, we've mostly hooked up with family here to catch up and go surfing! Our preferred location are some 'secret' spots near Huntington Beach - there seems to be a long history of my husband's family using that area, so we just tag along! So far, the locals haven't noticed that we are outsiders! 

the 'studio'

We love El Segundo! It's not difficult when the couple who own the museum have been nothing short of generous - and if you've ever needed an excuse to visit El Segundo then this would be the little museum to give you that nudge. It's an incredible and interesting collection of works on display, and the upcoming exhibitions (including the one my husband is part of right now) are just eccentric enough to make them worth seeing!  El Segundo is an odd arrangement in an otherwise bustling LA. It's managed to maintain an almost small town feel. The neighbors attribute that to a bit of good and 'bad' fortune. The good fortune is that nearby places like Manhattan Beach and Venice take all the attention (and visitors). The 'bad' fortune (if you can say that) is that El Segundo is sandwiched in between the LAX Airport and the historically huge Chevron plant (who knows what takes place in there!). It sounds like a bit of a nightmare scenario, but actually it makes sense when you get here. It has managed, over the years, to shape El Segundo into this 'small town' atmosphere - just one visit to the Main Street will prove that. We've already managed to find some great little places for food and drink - including a little place off the main street that devotes its entire ambiance to the 'Tiki Lounge' of the 1950's. As well, we've also discovered an antique lovers shop (truthfully a treasure junk shop) tucked into a quiet tree lined street - a place that looks just like the cluttered antique shops of a small town in England, which is the point I think, considering the owner is from England originally. The other great thing about El Segundo is its proximity to other more popular places perhaps, without being as crowded or trendy. It provides a perfect place to make your home base. I'm still infatuated with the nearby Abbot Kinney in Venice, so being in El Segundo, I'm only minutes from there and take FULL advantage of it! When we leave our quiet little bubble in El Segundo, we are easily in reach of many of the places we want to visit around here. We can get down to the beaches all along the coast from Huntington to Santa Monica (the kids LOVE the pier) and each one manages to have it's own little flavor. We can also reach inland to downtown LA (which is worth the exploration for many reasons, old and new) and Hollywood. To help with our daily journeys the locals (including family) have kindly given us several expert tips in avoiding the famous traffic congestion so that we feel like old pros. But, it's hard not to feel like you are in the Southern California of the 1960's when you are in El Segundo, which is just the ticket when you want to really relax. Who would have thought that there would be some great benefits (travel excuses) to having a husband who is a starving artist!