Archive for June, 2014
Our First Private Tour to the Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain
We happily research and locate any destination our guests have in mind no matter where it is or how long it might take to get there. As we keep repeating here, a custom Los Angeles tour means we go where our guests want to go. This family toured with us throughout the Los Angeles area over four days and day four was a doozy. The Salton Sea. In June. In the middle of the Colorado Desert. A major point of interest there – Salvation Mountain. Leonard Knight began this grand art installation more than 30 years ago and continued to develop it up until his recent death. Lauded by statesmen and art connoisseurs, it takes volunteers at this time to continue to maintain this large structure made of adobe and straw and paint. You have to see it to believe it. The whole area around the sea conjures up images of an apocalypse. The sea itself was a water engineering accident and now hovers in a state between life and death, a real ecological enigma today. Will the sea survive? Will Salvation Mountain continue to stand? (click any of the images for larger views)
Avoiding the Crowd for a Private Tour Photo
Summer is here and so are the crowds of visitors to Los Angeles. Everyone wants to see the historic Hollywood sights and the sea of people ebbs and flows through the area all day long and into the night. Our private Los Angeles tour guides have all learned how to get great photos of our guests at even the most populated destinations. We can make it seem like the location was closed to all but our luxury tour guests. Here we are just part of the milling crowd at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, now known as TCL Chinese Theatres. The historic movie palace built by Sid Grauman (with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) back in 1928 has been updated recently to accommodate the IMAX projection system. The really big screen in the old movie house is even bigger. What was always the best theater to see a movie is now even better. What would Sid, Doug and Mary say if they could experience a movie like Godzilla or Transformers: Age of Extinction at their beloved movie house? We are sure they would be very impressed if not scared sh*tless.
Here Is Something for Our Private Tour Guests to Do
We like to stay abreast of things to do in and around Los Angeles and Hollywood and this Saturday (June 28th) is something very special. Benefiting the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles is the 5th Annual TwentyWonder party. From six to midnight at the Doll Factory in Echo Park there will be musicians, artists, wrestlers, circus performers, magicians, comedians, chefs, performers and roller skaters to thrill, amaze, amuse and entertain the guests – everyone there for a good time and a good cause. Click the links in this blog, buy a ticket in advance, get there early so you do not miss anything, look for our private Los Angeles tour guests and show them around, look for us snapping photographs and most of all have a good time!
A Private Tour to a Malibu Winery then Bel Air
Some of our private Los Angeles tour guests are wine connoisseurs and come to us with lists of varietals and vintages acclaimed in southern California they are eager to discover and try. Others of our guests just like wine and mark even a day of sightseeing in and around Los Angeles with some sampling from one of our favorite local wineries, Malibu Family Wines. Our guests either in a hurry or wishing a dedicated wine tasting tour might select our Urban Escape Tour which means flying up to the Malibu mountainside estate for a private session with one of their sommeliers along with a gourmet picnic lunch and tour of the estate. We can also drive to the winery along the Pacific Coast Highway for some excellent surf and beach views and join the hoi polloi out front for a good time with our lovely full wine glasses. And then more sightseeing. Our guests this day were adamant about a stop they wanted to make in Bel Air. We were happy to oblige.
Our Private Tour Guests Want to See More of Marilyn Monroe
There is much of Marilyn Monroe to explore when sightseeing around Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Westwood. Our young Los Angeles tour guests learned much about her early career as we visited the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel right in the heart of Tinseltown. Marilyn was a frequent guest at this historic hotel across the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater and had her first modeling photo shoot by the hotel pool (recently remodeled). We spent some time in the Grauman’s forecourt where a poster hung commemorating the handprint ceremony for Marilyn and Jayne Russell (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). On the way to Beverly Hills and Westwood to see her homes, favorite places and then her crypt, we passed by what was once the Gillmore Field, a professional sports stadium where this photo of Marilyn was taken when she arrived to throw out the first pitch.
Our Private Tour Guests Enjoyed a Thrilling Helicopter Ride on the Way to Magic Mountain
A day spent at Six Flags Magic Mountain, north of Los Angeles, is certainly full of thrills. Eighteen roller coasters on 262 acres make this the world record holder for coasters in an amusement park. And, my oh my, these coasters are marvels of engineering. All the modern tricks, and then some, are built into these exhilarating rides. Backwards, upside down, looping while sitting, prone, above, below and beside the track – riders are tossed and turned in every imaginable way for seconds at a time. And don’t forget Colossus, the twin-track wooden coaster that adds shaking and rattling to all the other speeding gyrations of a roller coaster. The warning signs posted throughout the park are enough to deter even those with strong stomachs. But if you want to travel backwards at 100+ mph then Magic Mountain is a place for you. And how to get there? Our private Los Angeles tour guests often add to the thrilling rides of the amusement park by having us fly them to Valencia in a helicopter and land right in the park. That’s like being Superman as we soar over the local mountains, through the passes, and into the Santa Clarita Valley to Valencia. No traffic and no waiting in line at the park. Our luxury aircraft is faster than a speeding roller coaster, too!
A Special Private Tour Rendezvous Location
We often arrange for a private Los Angeles tour with guests driving into Los Angeles so we like to have rendezvous destinations in mind that suit their needs. Our most frequently requested meeting spot is at the Farmers Market and Grove. Easy to find, central location for most of our tour routes, lots of parking and, well, all the attractions and fun offered by this gigantic shopping, eating and entertainment complex so close to Hollywood and Beverly Hills. While we don’t utter the age old refrain “Meet me at Third and Fairfax” to our visitors we do say look for the tall Farmers Market clock tower, a familiar sight to Los Angelenos since 1948. If we meet at the clock tower then the tour can begin in the historic market where snacks and souvenirs are available as well as the sight of Price is Right contestants (from CBS Television City next door to the market) with their funny hats and signs. The sweet smells of fresh produce is so enticing as well as the wafting aromas from the many foodstands. Summer means free live music Thursdays through Saturdays at the market and makes this a perfect place to say goodbye to our guests after a tour that finishes late in the afternoon or early in the evening.
Sharp-eyed Los Angeles Tour Guests Spot Young Filmmakers
Ordinarily it is quite easy to spot a film crew on location with all their trucks and film vehicles and police chaperones. Film production is generally a big production around Los Angeles and always exciting for the locals (they complain but really do enjoy the attention) and especially for visitors to Los Angeles. As it turns out, location “shoots” range in all sizes from the huge major Hollywood studios with their 18-wheelers, dressing room trailers, costume and office production vehicles, to smaller independent shoots with only a handful of panel trucks all the way down to film students who pack equipment, actors and costumes into a single Japanese coupe and then in true guerrilla film fashion “steal” their shots without benefit of permits or notifications to neighbors. These little shoots are more difficult to notice. On a recent private Hollywood tour we saw this young film crew out on Hollywood Boulevard paying homage to the Little Tramp. Los Angeles is still a filmmaking capital in a way today that would put a smile on Charlie Chaplin‘s face.
We Often Sing On Our Private Tour
The Los Angeles Music Center continues its well-loved tradition of Friday Night Sing-Alongs beginning this week. The theme – The Detroit Sound. Diana Ross wannabes are more than welcome. The Music Center provides the band and printed lyrics so all you have to do is get there on the anointed Friday nights before 6pm (much before, really, to guarantee yourself a seat in the smallish rooftop amphitheater). It really is fun. Our private Los Angeles tour guests, if they sing along with us the Beverly Hillbillies theme or Gilligan’s Island or any of a number of tunes that come to mind as we sightsee along Sunset Boulevard (77 Sunset Strip), Hollywood and Beverly Hills receive strong recommendations from their guides about this opportunity to sing their hearts out amidst the folds of the Disney Concert Hall. Best of all, it’s free! What a great reason to spend a summer evening in downtown Los Angeles. The Music Center also offers dancing, drumming and even ukelele-along events on assorted summer nights. Check out the Music Center calendar and plan some fun and entertaining musical evenings.
Enjoy an Entire Weekend Tour of Santa Barbara Wine Country
We have so many wine lovers contact us for Los Angeles tour information centered around their interest. Well, we love wine, too, and know great wine areas to explore in and around Los Angeles and southern California. Some we even fly to by helicopter. For our wine-loving guests interested in a day trip up to the Santa Ynez Valley we offer a full day of sightseeing, dining and wine tasting in some of the most popular and critically-acclaimed wineries in California. One in particular, the Fess Parker Vineyards, comes to mind. In fact, if our guests wish to spend an entire weekend in our local wine country we like to suggest overnighting at the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn and Spa. With its fabulous restaurant, Petros, excellent spa and luxurious boutique accommodations our guests can really relax after a day of travel through the wine estates close to Santa Barbara and be refreshed and ready to visit some more the following day. Like our Sideways tour, we stop at as many wineries as our guests want and we have plenty of room in the van for cartons of wine to take back with them. If you love wine and the winemaking process then you deserve a custom luxury tour to the Santa Ynez Valley to enjoy all the great wines originating from this notable winemaking region.