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Report 148: Mini trip to Los Angeles - Mini trip report!

By Colleen (Moderator) from CA, Spring 2003

Trip Description: To see the "Sargent in Italy" exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art

Destinations: Countries - North America; Regions/Cities - California

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Art Trip; Foodie Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 2: 25 April

The weekend of April 25, my friend Lisa and I drove from Northern to Southern California to see the John Singer Sargent "Sargent and Italy" exhibit at the LA County Museum of Art. The weather was cool and cloudy - which made for a beautiful drive down Highway 101 as the clouds created and then dispersed shadows on the soft green hills and fields.

As we tooled along, we noticed the historical markers for the California missions along the way. We agreed it would make an enjoyable road trip sometime to follow the 21 'mission trail' and stop to explore each one.

Once I heard that Lisa hadn't seen the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, I knew we had to stop there! We made a pit stop and then bought some coffees to go, and giggled at the outrageous architecture and decor. Imagine working in that environment every day!

We enjoyed the drive through Malibu, and briefly speculated on property values there. "Not in our lifetime" was the phrase that came to mind ...

On Friday and Saturday nights, we stayed at the Ocean Lodge in Santa Monica, which was in the perfect location for our arrival from 101/Pacific Coast Highway. Our "mini-suite" had two separate bedrooms. Lisa's was closest to the street - she said it was noisy Friday night, so she bought earplugs on Saturday!

Robert in Santa Monica (from the SlowTalk message board) had been kind enough to remind me where we'd had such a tasty dinner during the October 2002 SlowTrav GTG: Monsoon on the 3rd Street Promenade. On Friday night we had plenty of time before our 7:30 reservation, so we walked from the Ocean Lodge and stopped along the way at Robert's fascinating Hennessey+Ingalls art and architecture bookstore.

Robert is a peach! He'd set aside copies of both the Sargent exhibit guide and the "Whistler and his Circle in Venice" book from the Corcoran Gallery exhibit. Lisa and I oohed and aahed over the books, and were smart enough to buy them then and there. (It was nice to take a preview peek at the Sargent paintings before seeing the exhibit!)

When I mentioned that Lisa was spending time in Siena for business and looking for things to do over the weekends, Robert offered to show her pictures from his balloon flight over Tuscany last September. What stunning photos! It sounded like an amazing experience. I certainly hope to take part in an adventure like that one day.

On to Monsoon for a delicious dinner! We dithered over the wine list, so our server generously brought us each a tasting glass of our tentative choice. We really liked the delicious and reasonably priced Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, so ordered a bottle. For our meal, we started with the melted cheese and crab toasts, and then side salads. I ordered the California sushi plate (big enough to share!), while Lisa had something I don't remember - although I do recall enjoying the bite she gave me. ;D Too full for dessert, we finished our wine and headed out to join the activity on the promenade. Approximately $80+tip total for dinner and wine.

After some window shopping and more book buying, we started back to the hotel, but the handwritten sign for "Psychic Kitty" caught our eyes. Lisa sat herself down on the little chair, and we watched in amazement as a beautiful Siamese cat selected a fortune from a box! (Poor cats - there were two Siamese dressed up in silly, puffy costumes - I'm sure they were embarrassed!) They seemed well cared for, though, and their 'manager' regularly fed them nibbles of Fancy Feast cat food to keep them performing. A $5 donation seemed a small price to pay for such entertainment.

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