Views on pop culture through my eyes

Weekend Getaways

There’s something nice about getting away for the weekend. Being away from home, in a different environment, is good for your soul and your sanity. Whether you drive, take the train, or fly to your destination, it is important to let loose and have some fun.

When I was growing up, our family had a few regular vacation spots: San Diego, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach and Lake Arrowhead. These are all within 2 hours of Los Angeles area and can be easily reached by car. San Diego is a great place to see animals — they have 3 great parks to do so: Sea World, San Diego Zoo and San Diego Safari Park (formerly the Wild Animal Park). I have so many happy memories of going to Sea World, it is still one of favorite places to go. Other sites to see in San Diego include Old Town, Balboa Park and Belmont Park (featuring a nice wooden roller coaster). As an adult, we have enjoyed going to Black’s Beach, a clothing-optional beach at the north end of San Diego. Quite a trek to get there as far as the walk down the steep hill, but definitely something to see even if you choose to keep your clothes on.

Palm Springs is in the desert east of Los Angeles, quite a contrast to the beach setting of San Diego. We used to have a regular hotel here that we liked called “The Sands.” It had a nice pool with a slide for the kids. It was close to restaurants and shopping too. At the entrance to the city, you will find the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. You will travel almost 6000 feet up the mountain in a rotating tram car. It can be burning up down in the city, but at the top it will be nice and mild. In the winter time, they get snow up there. There are a few nice hiking trails up there, not to mention spectacular views too. Again as an adult, we have gone there a number of times and enjoyed the gay resorts there, for a day or a weekend. These are places where you can lounge by the pool naked all day. Definitely can’t do that in the apartment building we live in now!

Santa Barbara is a sleepy beach town, north of Los Angeles. It has some of the most expensive real estate in the country. We had a regular hotel we liked here too, I remember they had a nice pool too plus a shuffleboard court. Also fun to do here is go to the beach and rent bicycles or roller blades and go up and down the beach bike path. They also have a nice shopping area on the main street.

For Newport Beach, our family used to rent a beach house for the week. So it would be my Mom, Dad, siblings, plus assorted neighbors and friends popping in too. We would enjoy the beach, plus ride our bikes a lot too on the bike path. This was the spot of one of my favorite memories of guys in Speedos (see “Real Men Wear Speedos”). I remember one time I got it in my head that I was going to ride my bike to Knott’s Beach Farm (an amusement park in Buena Park). I was going to ride there, go in, go on 1 ride, and then ride my bike back to Newport Beach. I got pretty far… but I never got to Knott’s.

Lake Arrowhead is in the San Bernardino Mountains. They used to have this nice hotel, that was made up of small individual cottages. I heard that it burned down years later. Haven’t been back to that area in a long time…

When Rasheed and I started to travel together, we loved going to San Francisco for weekend getaways. We would go all over the city, by car, cable car or bus and do a lot of sight seeing. We loved Golden Gate Park, Ghiradelli Square, Pier 39, Chinatown and the Castro/Folsom Districts. One time, we even met Robin Williams in Golden Gate Park. He was very nice and even posed for a picture with us. That day we rented a tandem bike and had fun seeing the city that way. Gay Pride and the Folsom Street Fair are definitely fun events to go to in that city. Sure, there is pride in LA, but it is nothing compared to there, where is seems to take over the whole city.

These are some of my favorite weekend getaways. I hope you take some time off and get away for the weekend, you will be glad you did. I’d love to hear about weekend getaways in your area.

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