Sunday, April 11, 2010

Getty Villa - Poppy Reserve

For an amazing April adventure - try this day trip! It mixes a sprig of nature, 3000 years of history and fabulous food. From Edwards, head to the California Poppy Reserve (49 miles). Check the hotline at 661-724-1180 or their website to ensure the flowers are in bloom. The fastest route is Rt 14S to Ave D west, but take Rt 14S to Ave G west to run over the Musical Road (see past post) en route. The cost of the reserve is $8 per carload but if you don't plan on spending the day there, stop just short in the many fields and get your poppy kick satiated without paying admittance!

Afterwards, continue West on Ave D (Rt 138) to I-5S and on to Malibu (95 miles). There you'll find the Getty Villa. You'll need the free tickets you can get on their website and parking costs $15 per car. But it's worth $15! The Villa is unlike the Getty Center along I-405 in that it holds some of the antiquities J. Paul Getty collected throughout his years. So you won't find paintings - just statues, pottery, coins, jewelry and beautiful gardens. Plan 2-4 hours here. For lunch, try the cafe. It has a handful of great options but carries a Malibu pricetag (entrees: $13-16). To get oriented with the Getty Villa, we took the 40 minute overview guided tour. The 12 minute overview film was actually better. Other tours and night programs abound. In fact, they have an outdoor theater where plays are performed during the warmer months. No parking fee for evening programs.

Post Getty, take the scenic Hwy 1 back south to Venice Beach. Park just south of S. Venice Blvd, 2 blocks inland from the ocean. You'll find the Venice canals there. I've been to Venice CA a handful of times and had no idea they existed. We saw the movie Valentine's Day recently and the canals were featured - so we tried this. And they were excellent. The canals had fantastic walkways and bridges to meander about.

You can then walk the couple of blocks to Venice beach and visit the boardwalk or many merchants along the walkway. Dinner places abound! But our favorite is C&O Trattoria (31 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Ray). Across the street is a sandwich and coffee shop called Cow's End. Both are walkable from the canals or beach.

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