Best Seaside Passages This Side of Paradise

For us Venetians, weekends mean a crowded boardwalk, a dirtier beach, more congestion and longer lines at our favorite spot to get fresh hot doughnuts. Sometimes we wish you’d all just stay in your own part of town. Lucky for us, there are places, hidden like Legend of Zelda secret passages, where we can stroll, unseen by the gawking public — the walk streets.

Sure, you’ve all peeked down those boardwalk-adjacent walk streets, or maybe you’ve strolled along the canals. But I’m talking about the walk streets of Milwood, a little trapezoid bordered by Lincoln, Abbot Kinney and Venice boulevards and California Avenue. I had the good fortune of finding a home nestled in this area, a place I like to call the Shire of Venice. Out my front door there is no thoroughfare, no alternate-side-of-the-street parking. Instead, a meandering garden path winds its way toward the beach; rows of houses on either side face you. Every 20 feet or so is a huge palm tree in the middle, and the sidewalk forks around it, making a little fairy traffic circle. We even occasionally close off streets and have movie nights under the stars.

I like to stroll along these secluded trails in the morning with coffee mug in hand and dog in tow, or evening with a glass of white wine or bottle of beer, and dream of the lives behind the front doors. At twilight, you’ll find most folks in their yards, sitting on rattan furniture, tiki torches flickering around them, or on settees under trees laden with Moroccan or Asian lamps, buzzing with talk of the day.

The houses range from sprawling master Craftsman homes to modern marvels of glass-and-wood stacked boxes. One of my favorites looks like a colonial dollhouse, white picket fence and flower boxes included. Another one I love resembles a New England lake house. The average lot with a 1,000-square-foot house goes for nearly $2 million, so it’s kind of like walking through an Architectural Digest spread. Fences are low, and fruit trees explode overhead — you have only to lift up your hand to pluck a plum, a lime, a lemon or a banana. Jasmine and passion fruit blossoms scent the air, which you breathe in deeply along with the crisp ocean breeze. Yes, this is where we hide when you all invade our side of town. And when we pass each other on these lonesome passages, we give a wave and share a smile that says, “They’ll never find us here.”

LA Weekly