Day 2 - Restoration and Revitalization
After a full breakfast buffet at Crowne Plaza, we take in a short time to ourselves. I decide to explore the underworld, and sign up for SSV Looking Glass’ 30 minute tour around the harbour. We are first treated to an up close scene of a harem of sea lions basking in the hot summer sun. Soon after, we’re asked to head below, where you sit down, look out the windows, and wait. Our captain is experienced, and easily maintains the vessel alongside the breakwall. In no time, I see large kelp, the trees of the sea, followed by schools of smelt, opal eye, and the occasional garibaldi. For those who are averse to fast or bumpy sailing, you’ll have no problem on this relatively mellow ride.
It’s after midday. We regroup at Tony’s On The Pier for a light lunch, and their ever popular Tony’s Mai Tai. The pier fixture has been around since 1952, and has a second story seating area. As you walk up the staircase, you’ll see it’s lined with numerous autographed photos of famous patrons, both past and present. Once you reach the top, you might feel as if you’re in a tree house with views spanning nearly 360 degrees.
From Tony’s, we are guided through the already renovated portion of the pier, and gain a better understanding of what can be expected. It’s a blending of new with the old in terms of design. At the time we were there, the artist commissioned to paint the “Redondo Beach” signage, was at work painting on letters in a retro font. These are grand plans. Some completed. Some underway. The rest to come. When it’s fait accompli, Redondo hopes to be the proud owners of one of the best piers in the country.
Time for activity! We’re off on a short 40 min nature cruise from Voyager Excursions that will take us into the Pacific Ocean. As we board, I hear that Blue Whales have been sighted recently, and wishfully hope, I might have a once in a “blue” moon chance to witness these peaceful enormous creatures. No such luck. However, there was a consolation prize. We spotted a pod of dolphins, and in the nearby distance, a few minky whales.
So it’s that time again to wet the whistle, and satisfy the appetite. We gather for a lovely patio reception at Kincaid’s restaurant. I’m sipping a cool pink lemonade made with grapefruit vodka, limoncello, grenadine, and fresh lemon sour, while noshing on a mixed seafood ceviche, lightly coated, delicately fried calamari with artichoke hearts, and mustard-garlic aioli sauce. For a full restaurant review, please visit my Kincaid’s article.
Come evening, there a many forms of entertainment to choose from, including free live performances on the boardwalk, and an indoor concert performance at the popular pier nightclub BriXton. This town loves live music. After taking in a performance, followed by late night dining at Bluewater Grill, I decide to work off the pounds, and walk back to the hotel. I detour for a quick stroll through King Harbor, along Portofino Way. Wow. I’m surprised at the number of people who are out at leisure, riding bicycles, taking walks, etc. when it’s almost 11pm. A live band can be heard, and I want to know where it’s coming from. It seems to be a private outdoor event at the yacht club. Guests are having a grand time dancing. I’m very tempted to crash it, but I don’t. Instead, I continue on my promenade, feeling reasonably safe and comfortable on my own in these surroundings at this late hour. The people watching, and warm nighttime air is relaxing.
Day 3 - The End
Final day. Breakfast at Polly’s. Then a stop at the Sunday pop up Sea Side Art Walk to view arts and crafts from local artists. I have a chat with cloissoné artist, Robert Mackie. Bob, whose works comprises of other mediums as well, is a vibrant character. He was Born in England, settled down for a while in Trinidad, and now calls Redondo home. Bob, like the other participants, is at the Art Walk each Sunday to showcase is handcrafted original works, and engage with resident and visiting art enthusiasts. Only a few footsteps away, Captain Kidd’s calls out to me. Deliciously huge, fresh Alaskan King Crab legs dipped in melted butter for a late brunch caps off my staycation. Mmmm, tasty. I just might find myself back here in September for Lobster Festival...
Redondo reminds me of the tropics as life seems to move at a slower pace, allowing time to enjoy and smell the roses, or birds of paradise. Folks are neighbourly, unpretentious, and down to earth. Perhaps the clocks forgot to move forward here, imbuing a warmth of nostalgia, a slice of the past, and a lifestyle worth living. It’s hard to imagine a place like this exists just a jaunt from LA, instead of some rural remote part of the U.S. Redondo Beach is different, as a result, from other coastal towns in SoCal. It’s a get away without getting away.
For more information on Redondo Beach, and to learn about upcoming events, please visit their website www.VisitRedondo.com
Please click on the links below for information on the following:
Crown Plaza Hotel Redondo Beach
Polly’s On The Pier
SSV Looking Glass
Tony’s On The Pier
South Bay Galleria