Sometimes it’s the crazy things we do with our kids that I know they will remember.
Last summer, our amazing nanny Meg moved to LA. She has been with us since as far back as the twins can remember, and even after my kids went to school full time, and Meg got a full-time job at our pre-school, she still came for dinner almost every Tuesday and would help out on trips. We love her like part of our family, and I just couldn’t stand that we wouldn’t see her for almost a year.
At age 8 and 10, kids are so wrapped up in their own worlds and what happens in front of them, I feel like I have to be the one to make a special effort to keep up old friendships for them, because I know from experience it will be be worth it when they are older. Getting the time to take 3 kids to L.A. is difficult when you only have every other weekend, sports and birthday parties, and can’t miss school! (Our schools are serious about attendance, and we are already missing a day for a trip this year, so we couldn’t take another). This last weekend is the only one and the last for a while we had together with nothing to do — So, when common sense and several parent friends of mine told me it was crazy to pack up 3 children, go to JFK on a Friday afternoon, arrive at 9pm Los Angeles time, spend one and a half days and leave on Sunday night arriving at midnight on a school night, I decided that once in a while we all just have to do something totally fun and out of the ordinary because that is what makes life fun!!
I cannot tell you how much they loved it! They were buzzing about it so late last night after we got home- asking me about all the names of the places we went, that I thought they’d never get to sleep.
The itinerary Meg planned for us was perfect. If you have a weekend in L.A., I highly recommend hitting a variety of these places!
Friday night, we arrived at the Hotel Bel-Air which the children loved- it has a beautiful pool and the signature swans are fun to watch. They are so great with kids and even have a 2 for 1 deal with rooms if you come with your family and children. The restaurant is yummy so we settled in and ate there.
Saturday morning, we were up early! (time change!) and after a delicious breakfast at the Bel-Air we headed to the Hollywood hills. After a little research, the Hollyridge Trail (a 3-mile out-and-back) seemed like the best option for children.
It was a perfect hike- we went up right to the base of the famous Hollywood sign which the children loved. If you are feeling ambitious, you can continue the ridge to right above the back of the sign and loop back around. It was a beautiful day and we were so glad to be in the warm sun from chilly November in NYC.
After a quick shower and change, we headed to West Hollywood to The Ivy for lunch, which was all it’s supposed to be. It was low key, super chic and delicious- and we even had two fun celebrity sightings! (including Kim Kardashian at the table in the back room!)
We headed to Rodeo Drive to walk up and down and show the children Beverly Hills. They loved seeing all the fancy cars and the beautiful Christmas lights were up which came on as the sun started to set- it was so pretty!
After a swim in the dark (it gets dark by 5:30 in Cali too this time of year) We ordered room service and watched a fun movie. I met two wonderful old friends from right after college who now live in LA for a quick glass of champagne in the super-chic Bel-Air bar. The hotel is great because it works for children and grown-ups too.
Sunday, we packed up and headed to Santa Monica for brunch and to hang out until the airport. We had brunch at Shutters, which was delicious and so friendly to the kids.
We rented bikes there after brunch and biked (our first complete family ride! My younger son has just finally learned to ride) and biked to Venice Beach where we parked the bikes and walked along the boardwalk. We had fun picking up trinkets- my son got these etched wooden pictures of Hollywood and my daughter made one of the decal sweatshirts that says “LA”.
The children absolutely loved this part of the trip – it is so different from where we live, they were enthralled!
We stopped on the way to the airport on Abbot Kinney - the fun road with lots of shops and restaurants in Venice.
The ice cream store Salt and Straw was a huge hit! They have seasonal flavors like caramelized Turkey skin which the kids had fun tasting
(but stuck with Chocolate :)