Los Angeles scares me. As a New Yorker, that may seem weird to you, but it’s an East Coast/West Coast thing. and I know there is plenty to recommend it. But recently, when KidzVuz (my website for kids) was a media sponsor of the Engage Digital Kids Conference in Pasadena, California, I went – and discovered I actually liked Southern CA.
Pasadena is best known for the Tournament of Roses. Also, for being the anti-LA – low-key, non celebrity infused, not exactly hip. But lately, that’s changed. Stars like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner and Drew Pinsky have bought homes in Pasadena. And it is easy to see why – filled with Arts and Crafts Home, dotted (newly, I’m told) with cute cafes and restaurants, it’s sleepy, and beautiful – and within throwing distance of the hustle and bustle of LA.
My trip to The Digital Kids Conference didn’t start off well: the Sheraton Hotel messed up my reservation (actually, about 100 reservations) and bumped me. Oy. To their credit – well, stuff happens, and at least they offered to pay for one of my nights in Burbank (…ummmm, no thanks) Or both nights if I was willing to stay in a bed and breakfast.
I chose the B&B. Good choice.
The Arroyo Vista Inn is on an unassuming stretch of what’s basically a highway in South Pasadena. But once you drive up the incredibly steep and windy driveway, you’re in another world.
Built in 1910, and designed by noted architect Lester Moore, the craftsman home has endless views of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Arroyo. With only ten rooms, it has a homey feel. That is if your home happened to be a Craftsman masterpiece, decorated with period antiques, nestled in lovely gardens.
My room (#5) had a lovely four poster bed, an updated but charmingly unique original bathroom (no pre-fab shower stalls here) and lush, 500 thread count sheets. As the result of a two-year green restoration, the hotel also uses solar power, energy saving lamps, environmentally sensitive body care products, and “permeable paving in (the) parking lot, which returns rain and runoff water to the table, fruit trees for fresh squeezed orange juice, and herb and vegetables gardens.” With internet access (an additional fee) available, and updated baths, it’s modern meets history in a great way.
Breakfast was served by Pat Wright, the friendly, warm Inn owner (is there any other kind?), in the dining room, where you are seated at one of two large tables with your fellow guests. And both afternoons of my all too brief stay, there was wine, cheese, and cookies in the parlor.
All in all, it made it me not be so afraid of Los Angeles.