In my life, three neighborhoods have immediately felt like home each time I've set foot in them: my current (and likely forever) neighborhood of Ocean Beach, here in San Diego, Hermosa Beach in Los Angeles, and Venice Beach, also in LA.
I love, love, love Venice Beach. So when I had the chance to spend a day up there last week for a work conference, I took advantage of it and spent the night. And since it was a few days after Valentine's Day, I decided to turn it into a romantic Valentine's Day date with myself, complete with a walk on the beach at sunset, a fancy meal and... turtle racing.
As it turns out? Venice loves me right back.
A local artist hung this heart on the famous Venice sign for Valentine's Day
After the conference ended, I rushed down to the beach for sunset, then walked around the canals, checked out the Venice sign and finally headed for my much anticipated dinner on Abbott Kinney.
I had made reservations a week in advance for Gjelina, one of Venice's more famous restaurants, and was excited to splurge on a nice meal. And splurge I did! Five courses and two glasses of wine later, it was off to my last stop of the night, Turtle Racing at Brennan's Pub, a $6 Uber ride away.
Because I didn't get back from Brennan's until almost midnight, I barely noticed how adorable my AirBnB rental was until I woke up the next morning. I mean, seriously, how cute is this place?
I woke up early to head back to San Diego for work on Friday, but not before taking one last walk over to Abbott Kinney and getting some famous Intelligentsia coffee and a churro croissant for the road.
The best part of my short stay? Everywhere I looked there were secret messages from Venice: hearts and "I love you"s hidden around every corner.
So thanks for being such a romantic Valentine, Venice... I love you too!