Long Beach: More to Explore

March 20, 2023

One thing I’ve really loved in the last five or six years or so, is getting to know Long Beach. When mom was still alive, my trips to Southern California were largely limited to Palos Verdes. Especially in later years, she was reluctant to venture too far from home and really, truth be told, wanted me to herself. So we pretty much hung out, just the two of us.. maybe an occasional brother. And of course Betsy was always on the approved guest list. Lol.

Now that mom’s off to new adventures, I still come down here — twice a year’s been the pattern — and my radius is still small… never venture beyond the South Bay and Long Beach. Mostly, it’s to see the M&Ms and Chris (and now Pam). I am never able to complete my rounds. John, Alexis and kiddos are a must if all schedules align, and Betsy’s still on the visit list.. and an inconsistent smattering of other family. I got some great time with Aunt Ellie before she died (and after mom’s passing), which was pretty great. Truth is, a week is never enough and I ALWAYS drive home thinking I must return sooner, or stay longer next time.

But back to Long Beach. I am developing a pretty good sense of what’s where and how the neighborhoods lay out. I like Long Beach a lot. Very multi-cultural, lots of economic diversity, a ton of culture and restaurants. I spend a lot of time eating out and driving to and from one neighborhood or another.

Today was one of those. Started early this morning with a two-hour visit with John in his new abode, which is right on the traffic circle — a Long Beach landmark, FWIW — close to his mom, new girlfriend, work, and main arterial to Torrance where his kids are during the week. I love my nephew so much and am always so impressed with his work ethic, devotion to his family, and his boundless capacity for juggling life. He’s been working hard to create a home out of his (rather large) apartment and a place in which his kids can feel comfortable and loved.

I felt a little invasive taking pictures of his place, but got a few.. this one is John standing in the kids’ room (which is large and has a triple bunk bed and lots of activity areas):

Here are some other pictures from today..

Drove to Betsy’s (where she’s starting the daunting process of sorting through her mom’s stuff), then we headed over to Anne’s to pick her up to go to lunch. This is Anne, Chris and Betsy in front of Anne’s place — a massive renovation in process:

After a great lunch at, where else, Joe Jost’s (pickled egg, hot-dog-embedded-with-pickle-on-rye, pretzels, beer), Betsy and I drove to the top of Signal Hill.. shockingly, a landmark I’d always seen but never ascended!

Completely surprising to me, Signal Hill is an incorporated city with a very upscale neighborhood on top. You can walk a lovely promenade and get fantastic views of the entire LA Basin (this is looking north). Especially gorgeous on a day like today.

You can see the skyline of downtown LA, with the San Gabriel Mountains behind.. maybe some bit of the Santa Monica Mountains to the left (west).

Signal Hill was (is?) one of the richest oil fields in North America.. so you see a lot of oil rigs. Everywhere. It’s so interesting. Here’s a monument to the oil drillers, and an explanation.

At the tippy top, there is a park with views to the east, west and south. This is Palos Verdes (the hill) to the west.

The top is where you’ll also see the structures for which the hill is named:

Betsy and me at the top, wandering around reading all the directional plaques and history markers…

We ended the evening having dinner with Matt at Captain Jack’s (est 1965) a traditional fish and steakhouse on PCH in Sunset Beach. Had an exceptional dinner, made more so by the fact I ate my first (yep) escargot. Never need to repeat that. It was garlicky and buttery and extremely tasty, but it was a snail, so, you know. Not doing it again.

Also on our dinner table (at one point or another): artichokes, great bread, sushi, swordfish, crab legs, filet mignon, cocktails and vino. Skipped dessert, if you can believe it.

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