October 27, 2021

Photo Essay: A Mountaintop Religious Enclave Founded By Hindu-Born Christian Yogi, Prince Mozumdar

I'd been wanting to visit the Pillars of God (below) and Mozumdar Temple for years now—but I'd been wary of just driving up there, as I'd heard that it's fiercely guarded by its private owner and that I'd need a 4WD to get to it. 


October 25, 2021

An Alpaca Sleepover

I almost didn't go to the Central Coast Railroad Festival this year. 

My trip had been bumped by one year because of pandemic cancellations—and I wasn't sure whether the COVID-era festival would be worth attending, or if I should wait. 

But it was my birthday weekend, and I thought at least my overnight accommodations would be worth the trip. 

After all, I was booked to stay two nights on an alpaca ranch. 

October 24, 2021

A Surprise Sneak Preview of the Not-Yet-Completed Norgrove Gardens Railway, A Private Narrow Gauge Through A Central Coast Vineyard

Early on in 2020, I'd booked a trip to attend the Central Coast Railroad Festival in October of that year. I was hoping for a chance to ride the Bitter Creek Western Railroad in Arroyo Grande and the Pacific Coast Railroad on Santa Margarita Ranch

But the festival, like nearly everything else last year, was cancelled for COVID-19

Fortunately, the festival resumed on the first weekend of October 2021, and I was able to bump my overnight stay by a year. 
But as the festival approached, it seemed as though I wouldn't be able to ride any of those trains—or any trains for that matter. 
I considered canceling my trip many times—but I'm glad I didn't. 

October 19, 2021

Icons of Darkness Descends onto Hollywood Boulevard With Horror-ible Movie Memorabilia

The latest addition to Hollywood’s horror-themed attractions is Icons of Darkness... exhibition of a privately-owned collection of movie artifacts, just in time for Halloween. 

October 18, 2021

Photo Essay: A Last Oktoberfest at The Phoenix Club's Current Anaheim Home (Since 1992)

In 1960, a group of 15 German immigrant families formed The Phoenix Club in Anaheim to help promote interest in German-American culture and built its original clubhouse along the Santa Ana River near Katella Avenue. 
That was over 100 years after the first 50 pioneering German families had relocated from San Francisco and formed the Los Angeles Vineyard Society—but clearly, the Deutsch presence was still strong in their home by the Santa Ana River ("Ana" "heim").

October 13, 2021

I'd Like to Thank the Academy For Finally Opening Its Long-Awaited Museum on L.A.'s Miracle Mile

The long-anticipated Academy Museum—in the works at least since 2012—opened to the public on my birthday this year, after about a decade of waiting. Not having any other plans, I figured that was a good way to spend the day.

October 11, 2021

Photo Essay: Barris Kustoms Prepares to Depart Its Home of 60+ Years (And Take the Batmobile With It)

By the time I first got to visiting Barris Kustoms in North Hollywood, California, its founder and namesake George Barris had already passed nearly three years before.

I think I had a sense back then that his car customizing shop—long known as "Barris Kustom City," long before Pimp My Ride—might not be long for this world once he was gone.

October 10, 2021

Photo Essay: Ascending to the Ancient and Honorable Order of Squirrels at Strawberry Peak

While in Lake Arrowhead in August, I had a little bit of extra time before heading home—and my top priority was to visit the Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout. 


September 27, 2021

A Hawaiian Village Hideaway in the San Fernando Valley Holds Its Annual Luau, 2556 Miles from Honolulu

In the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Sherman Oaks, there's a 10-acre community of resort-style residential living that captures the mid-20th century perception of Hawaii and living in island style—though it's—a whopping 2556 miles from Honolulu. 

circa 1963 (Joan Huntington on left, Heidt on right) via LAPL

What began as a horse ranch had begun to transform into the hidden oasis it is today—Horace Heidt's Magnolia Estate Apartments—when 1930s big band leader Horace Heidt started building in 1955. 

September 26, 2021

Photo Essay: Pinecrest, Once the San Bernardino Mountains' Largest Resort

I'm a new member of the Rim of the World Historical Society, headquartered in Lake Arrowhead but covering many of the towns nestled in the San Bernardino National Forest—and it's making me feel new-to-California again. 

Like when I received the announcement of a tour of the old Pinecrest Mountain Resort, located in the "Crest Forest" town of Twin Peaks (formerly known as Alpine and, before that, Strawberry after a local strawberry farm).

postcard image via CardCow