WEEK 137: Castellammare

July 08, 2018

Walking L.A. #1, Castellammare: Pacific Palisades' "Castle on the Sea", 2 miles, 422 steps

Several of the hiking books Barbara and I source feature walks through this coastal neighborhood, and Erin Mahoney Harris's version offers a bit of everything fun about hiking at the Pacific on a hot summer weekend: gorgeous ocean views, challenging staircases, windy streets, and imagine-living-THERE homes in a variety of architectural styles. One of the wealthiest communities in the nation, Castellammare's first ocean-view homes were built in the 1930s, the rest filling in the hillsides above PCH north of Sunset through 1969+. We began our hike at John Barrymore's former digs, a stunning yellow Spanish-style house at Castellammare Drive and Stretto, then walked a dirt path to one of my favorite staircases down to the ocean. Raymond Chandler fictionalized the staircase and Thelma Todd's former roadhouse at the base on PCH, in Farewell My Lovely. Barbara and I took the steps down to the overpass to the beach then strolled across the sand to ocean's edge. The sea air, smell of sunscreen, an ocean breeze, and sea gulls under a blue sky with just enough cloud cover to temper the hot morning sun, were downright soul-healing. Back across PCH and back up the steps Philip Marlowe decided were "...a nice walk if you like grunting." But we had hills to climb! Houses to see! We were healed and ready to hike. The map twisted around streets to Castillo Del Mar, Thelma Todd's 3-story Italian Villa and site of her 1935 death of carbon-monoxide poisoning. Suicide? Murder? Unsolved. (The house is for sale if you're into notorious settings.) The 122-step Posetano Rd. staircase took us up to more drop-dead ocean views and pricey CA beach homes—a strenuous hike with a fun daydreaming element. L.A. history and escape dreaming at its coastal best.

You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

Total Pageviews