Thursday mornings in the Marina are smelling (and looking) mighty fine these days thanks to the all new Farmers Market! From 7:30 am – 1:30 pm, Marina Beach is transformed into a waterfront street fair where locals can shop fresh produce and vegetables, sample bites from vendors and admire beautiful floral arrangements. The addition of the Farmers Market rounds out “Tasty Thursdays” in the Marina with the “Beach Eats” food truck event held in the evening (5 pm – 9 pm).
Growing up on a ranch, I’ve always been drawn to Farmers Markets. There’s something special about meeting the person responsible for the fresh broccoli that you’ll cook for dinner that evening or for those gorgeous strawberries that’ll make breakfast that much sweeter. I also love the excitement and pride each vendor takes in their finished product. That enthusiasm is contagious to me (I can feel my taste buds growing with happiness as I type this). It’s just a good feeling to tell someone how much you appreciate and enjoy their labor of love. And let’s not forget the sampling. Ohhhhhhhhhh, the sampling. It’s a meal in itself, and it’s a safe bet that you can almost always find me locked in at the hummus stand.
On this visit to the Farmers Market, I found myself tasting flavored olive oil from Temecula and juicy oranges that hailed from Fresno. I also became BFFs with the hummus extraordinaire (naturally) while my friend Chandra chatted up the coffee vendor who roasted his own beans. But the kicker was that I experienced all of this in a beachside setting. It was as if my two worlds collided (country mouse/city mouse style), and I enjoyed every second – so much that I was gifted with a little Farmers Market beauty for my office. Who says you can’t take a little bit of the farm life with you?
All for now – I’ve got a sweet orange calling my name (and I hate typing with sticky fingers).
It’s no secret that Los Angeles food trucks are the hottest wheels in town. At any given time throughout the city, twitter followers and devoted foodies are flocking to parking lots and street fairs for a sampling of their favorite grub. So it was only a matter of time before a beachside gathering hit the scene and, thanks to “Beach Eats,” urbanites are now satisfying food truck cravings right along the waters of Marina del Rey. I mean, does it get any more “LA Cool”? Nah, didn’t think so.
Last week, I checked out “Beach Eats” with my posse and really enjoyed my street side dining experience. First of all, the location is beautiful (sunset, beachside picnic anyone?) and parking was a breeze (just $1 per hour in the lot). To top it off, the weather was that typical Southern California sunshine and the food trucks brought their A-game. And with lobster rolls, spicy lamb tacos, monster packed sliders and an artisan gelato cool down, our appetites firmly met the challenge.
Take a bite out of “Beach Eats” every Thursday, from 5 pm – 9 pm at Marina Beach (4101 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey CA 90292). Trucks rotate every week, but you can stay up to speed through Facebook and Twitter. Catch ya on the beachside!
When tackling adventurous activities in Marina del Rey, parasailing naturally floats to the top of the list. And why wouldn’t it? It’s daring, thrill-seeking and completely exhilarating. Not to mention, the incredible sights! Where else could you get a bird’s eye view of the Marina harbor, Venice Beach and the Malibu coastline? Enter Marina del Rey Parasailing – home of My Marina Adventure (MMA) #2 and the only place along the Los Angeles shore that offers such an experience.
The fun began the second we arrived (side note: you know you’re in for a wild ride when larger than life grins – spiked with a sense of mischief – greet you). Located in Fisherman’s Village, the blue booth is easy to find (just down the walkway from El Torito). The crew does several daily excursions, and groups can choose between single, double or triple flights, depending on weight and weather. That afternoon, we hopped on board with one hooting and hollering crowd, making it a party of 10 people. It was official – there was no turning back.
I was a little nervous to be lifted 800 feet above the ocean, but as one of the guides said, “In the event something does happen, you have a huge parachute that will glide you to the ocean’s surface, where we’ll already be waiting for you.” Aside from that, the team were total pros and used words like “tranquil” and “peaceful” to describe the in-air experience. Good enough for me.
Before we knew it, our harnesses were locked in, and, within seconds, we were floating in the sky with nothing but the open air between our pedicured toes and the ocean. And you know what? “Peaceful” it was! It was so calming to feel the coastal breeze against my face and to see the glowing sunset shine on the water. Not to mention how remarkably quiet it was with a bustling city as the backdrop. It was also fun to play tourist and spot popular landmarks like the Santa Monica Pier, the downtown skyline, Catalina Island and the Hollywood sign. Ten minutes of drifting along the Los Angeles coast…is there a better way to spend an afternoon?
To my surprise, the most exciting part of this adventure was not the in-air suspension (gasp!), but rather…drumroll please…the boat ride! The party got started the moment we hit the open water and, I’ve gotta admit, I felt like a total rock star as we ripped across the Pacific. How could I not with a sound system that pumped a crowd-pleasing playlist (from Journey to Katy Perry) and my hair blowing in the wind a la Beyonce status? It was also a blast watching people ascend in the air and hearing their screams of excitement when they were dipped in the water. Heck, everyone was so friendly and fun I could’ve stayed on the boat and got my ”need-for-speed” fix there.
So the next time you see a bright, yellow smiley face soaring high above the Pacific, consider yourself “in-the-know” – you know where the party is.
My Marina Adventure #2…check!
***“My Marina Adventure” (MMA) documents new experiences in or around Marina del Rey, California. From on-the-water and land activities to dining and hospitality, MMA showcases what it’s like to take on a MdR related-adventure for the first time. “A Parasailing Joyride” is the second of the series.
MLK weekend was one for the books. Still winding down from the holidays, we decided to stay in town and try something new. With one glance at the forecast (hello 81 degrees) it was a no-brainer that the water was calling our name and being that I had never ridden a jet ski, well, that was an obvious choice. I called Marina del Rey Boat Rentals and, within minutes, a reservation was made. I was completely excited for our little adventure, but at the same time, a tiny bit nervous to hit the open water…with no safety barrier of the Marina to protect me.
That Sunday, we headed to Fisherman’s Village in Marina del Rey. Everything about our rental experience was easy. When I made the reservation, I was advised that a swimsuit or shorts and a tank would be best to wear, and kudos to the friendly staff for explaining the safety guidelines so clearly. After being properly briefed on the dos and don’ts of jet-ski riding, I checked my nerves at the dock, suited up the life jacket and was ready to go.
I had no idea where our joyride would take us, but as soon as we broke from the Marina channel we were hit with the most insane view of Los Angeles I had ever seen. Downtown skyline? Crystal clear. The Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach? Check. Malibu Coastline? Yes, sir. The Hollywood sign? Yup, that made a cameo. A snow-capped Mount Baldy? You better believe it. And wait a minute…was that Catalina Island we saw peaking past the Palos Verdes peninsula? Why yes it was. The view was absolutely incredible and seeing Los Angeles from the water offered a completely different perspective of the city. I couldn’t tear my eyes from it…almost felt like a sin to do so.
Somehow, amidst our “oohhs” and “ahhhs” of the coastline, we found ourselves surrounded by hundreds of dolphins. Everywhere we looked there were gentle splashes in the water followed by a playful fin swimming around us. And it wasn’t just dolphins. Sea lions were jumping so gracefully in and out of the water. Birds were nesting on the ocean’s surface. We were a mere two miles off the coast and the marine wildlife was bursting. I couldn’t get over that fact. It was amazing. Peaceful. An experience I don’t think I could ever forget.
An hour crept up on us faster than we realized and, with a great hesitation, we knew it was time to head back. We zipped through the ocean with wide open views ahead of us and the warmth of the sun on our skin. It was an absolutely perfect day. Who knew getting out on the water could be so easy AND nerve free?
My Marina Adventure #1…conquered!
***“My Marina Adventure” (MMA) documents new experiences in or around Marina del Rey, California. From on-the-water and land activities to dining and hospitality, MMA showcases what it’s like to take on a MdR related-adventure for the first time. “Winter Jet ski” is the first of the series.
2013 is here and with it comes a flood of squealing “yeses!” for every bottle of champagne that was popped over the holidays. Happy couples everywhere are over the moon basking in the glow of their love. Tears of joy and cheers of excitement have filled the air from Christmas Eve ‘till New Years’ Day and now that the festivities are winding down (this can measured by the sudden decline of automated e-mail replies), the real fun begins. Ah, yes…the wedding planning (sans Jennifer Lopez).
Take your nuptials and its sibling celebrations (e.g. rehearsal dinners and engagement parties) to Marina del Rey. Every year, more than 500 couples tie-the-knot amongst the glistening waters of Los Angeles’ seaside community…and with good reason. Luxury yachts elegantly sail off in the sunset for an unforgettable ceremony. Restaurants play host to a merry-go-round of wedding events with private dining rooms, outdoor terraces and customized menus. Hotel ballrooms boast sweeping panoramic city and ocean views while yacht clubs shine with sparkling chandeliers and exclusive event space. Not to mention, the Marina offers a range of affordable waterfront accommodations that would even please Uncle Frank (Home Alone fans rejoice). Oh, and let’s not forget that guests can spend an extra day or two to play on the water or enjoy a scenic stroll amidst a year-round climate of sunshine and blue skies.
But who knows more about special venues in the Marina than the wedding gurus themselves? I decided to ask the experts for important tips and advice about what makes wedding celebrations in the Marina truly unique. And, so, a sampling of the “MdR-Wed-Squad” (a compilation of local event planners & wedding coordinators) sound off…
FantaSea Yachts & Yacht Club
Jasmine Lee, General Manager
“FantaSea Yachts and Yacht Club is the perfect wedding location. We have 3 ultra-luxurious mega-yachts and also offer a “land-and-sea” combination that makes us truly unique. A wedding ceremony cruise with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with a reception to follow in our waterside ballroom overlooking Marina del Rey. Come visit us to make your “FantaSea” come true.” Contact: email@example.com; www.fantaseayachts.com.
Hornblower Cruises & Events
Christina Domino, Wedding Sales Manager
“Envision your wedding on one of Hornblower Cruises’ private yachts, surrounded by the sparkling waters of Marina del Rey. Hornblower combines the finest cuisine with a location so romantic you’ll have to check your feet for glass slippers! As one of the most memorable days of your life, it’s important to make sure your wedding complements your personalities. Which parts of you as a couple can be incorporated into your big day? Highlight your creative, traditional, or fun personality traits. Working with an experienced professional enables you to bring out the best of you as a couple for your wedding day!” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.hornblower.com.
Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey
Ilana Wenger, Meetings & Special Events Manager
“As a special touch to capture a lasting memory, I will walk with the bride, groom and photographer out to the boat docks and let them snap a couple photos with the beautiful backdrop of the marina. I then present them with champagne to toast to their special day.” Contact: email@example.com; http://bit.ly/RitzCarltonMarinadelRey.
So there you have it – a quick guide to matrimonial magic in the Marina.