Thursday, October 21, 2010

California pt. 5 - Santa Monica and Malibu

Sunday was warm and sunny with warmer temperatures predicted in Los Angeles. It is noticeably cooler, however, along the coast and Santa Monica was pleasantly comfortable. Our first stop was the Santa Monica Pier.

The 1600 ft. long pier was first built in 1909 for the city's sanitation needs but it was so popular with local fisherman as well as tourists that it soon became a popular destination. An amusement park was added a few years later as well as arcades, cafes, gift shops and even a grand ballroom.

In 1983, a hurricane destroyed one third of the pier and the town rallied to form a task force to rebuild. By 1990, the pier had been restored. Today, the pier attracts over 4 million visitors annually.

Artists (both performance and artistic) dot the pier offering to sketch your portrait or just entertain you. Several cafes offer hamburgers and corn dogs. The amusement park was closed for a Special Olympics group.

We had so much fun on the Hollywood homes tour that we scheduled another tour for the Malibu Stars Homes. We almost missed our bus, but they waited for us (it could be because there were only two other people on the bus). We left the pier and drove along the Santa Monica coast toward the Pacific Coast highway. Our tour guide said that many stars like in Santa Monica.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has a penthouse overlooking the pier and boulevard-

This is the home of Jamie Lee Curtis-

Robert Downey Jr. lives on the top floor and Stevie Nicks lives a few apartments behind his -

Shortly after swinging onto the Pacific Coast Highway, the "Malibu" sign welcomes us-

I have to confess that Malibu was not as pretty as I expected it to be. The traffic was horrendous (so glad we did not drive ourselves) and the area was very congested. On one side was a long stretch of beach homes and this is where the majority of the stars home were (that we saw). On the other side was an ugly hillside dotted with mansions as well as businesses. There wasn't enough foliage for me!

As for the star homes we saw, basically we were seeing the backs of them, so it wasn't really that spectacular. Some of the ones we saw:

Ryan O'Neal (Farrah Fawcett left him this house) -

Jennifer Aniston (yes again, doesn't this woman have enough houses?) -

Courtney Cox and David Arquette -

Paris Hilton -

Adam Sandler -

And WHAT in tarnation is this?? Believe it or not, scattered among the mega-million homes were places like this. This looks like redneck Alabama! The tour guide said that homes like this actually rent for thousands per week just because of the location. Now this is just crazy!

We stopped and took a stroll down to the beach. Now, Alabama has California beat here - the beaches are must prettier on the Gulf Coast. We have all that white san. It was a muddy color in Malibu.

The beach was also very narrow. There is just a few feet between the waves and the houses -

This is Cher's former Malibu home. I've seen it in Architectural Digest and it is spectacular. Finally, some landscaping! It is currently for sale. The tour guide said it was 18 million -

Another stop for more views of the Pacific -

The Malibu Pier -

On the way back, I had a better view of the fine homes on the cliff side -

I loved this house -

Back in Santa Monica, we did some shopping and sight seeing in the Promenade and had dinner at a wonderful seafood restaurant in Malibu -

I hope you enjoyed my recount and photos of the trip!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

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