Empty Pico

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The historic Pico House sits on the Los Angeles Plaza Park, just south of the also historic Olvera Street. The Pico House was built in 1869 and claims to be LA’s first three-story building. When it was constructed, this beautiful building operated as a luxury hotel with over 30 rooms. Now, the building is a state and national historic monument but sadly sits vacant, used mainly for film shoots and special events. Oh, it’s also said to be haunted as well. During my visit I didn’t have any super-natural encounters, but at night may be a whole different story!

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The Los Feliz neighborhood is full of Walt Disney’s past including many landmarks from the early day of his career. Walt and Roy Disney rented a room in this small office building, now a copy shop. This first business was called Disney Bros. Studio. It makes me happy to see that even today the current owners are proud of this buildings part in history!

“LOOK! First Walt Disney Studio 1923″

Silicon Valley

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One of my favorite shows on TV right that has me consistently laughing and yelling at the screen (at the bad guys) week after week is HBO’s Silicon Valley. Although the show takes place in Northern California, in the heart of the real life Silicon Valley, much of the show is shot right here in LA. To keep the show realistic, several scenes have San Francisco establishing shots at the beginning, usually when they are visiting another tech company’s offices. Even so, the home used for Pied Piper’s headquarters, as well as living quarters for almost every character, is on a quiet street in Woodland Hills. One difference, there’s not actually a garage to house Gilfoyle’s machinery. It appears that was built specifically for that episode!

Shawshank Redemption

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Working my way through the AFI Top 100 Greatest Films of All-Time!

#72 — The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Alaskan Architecture

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While some people may think Alaska is nothing but log cabins and forrest lodges, there’s actually some great architecture in the Last Frontier including the modern glass and steel Anchorage Museum in downtown Anchorage.

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Tucked beside a small park on the west side of town is this cute little structure, also known as the Oscar Anderson House Museum. Built in 1915, this was the first wood-frame house in Anchorage and was owned by the 18th person to set foot on what is now Anchorage (Oscar Anderson himself).

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For those of you familiar with your mid-century modern architects, you can even find a fantastic structure built by LA’s own John Lautner! The Willis Harpel house was built in 1966 and sits on Lake Otis, a small lake near the city’s center. The park on the opposite side of the lake has a great view of the house from behind, but for an even better look, check out this LIFE Magazine photo published back in 1967!

Seward’s Highway

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The drive south from Anchorage to Seward takes you down some absolutely beautiful stretches of Seward Highway as it curves around Turnagain Arm and Chugach State Park.

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Along the way you’ll pass Alyeska Resort which is complete with ski slopes in the winter and this awesome tram in the summer. For a small fee the tram rides the cables straight to the top of the mountain!

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There’s plenty of serene lakes and rivers that offer world-renowned fishing!

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If you take the time to follow some of the turn-offs, you’ll be surprised at what you may find. This beautiful lake has aqua colored water due to the constant glacial runoff from above. It’s views like this that make Alaska so enticing to visit and hard to leave!

Man v. Food, AK

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No out-of-state trip would be complete without visiting the local favorite restaurants as visited by Adam Richman in Travel Channel’s amazing television show Man v. Food!

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First up… the Talkeetna Roadhouse located at 13550 East Main Street, Talkeetna AK 99676,

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followed by West Rib Pub and Grill located at 100 Main Street, Talkeetna, AK 99676,

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and ended with Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse located at 610 West 6th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501.

Hatcher Pass

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While visiting the gorgeous Last Frontier, we took a couple road trips to small towns surrounding Anchorage. First stop was Palmer which had a old-fashioned water tower and epic views of the mountains!

Palmer, Alaska

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Almost any direction you turn in Palmer, this is what you’ll find.

Hatcher Pass, Willow, Alaska

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About twenty miles outside of Palmer is the Independence Mine and amazing Hatcher Pass. The small buildings on the hillside make up Hatcher Pass Lodge and there’s a small dirt road leading to summit lake and it’s awesome waterfall.

Talkeetna, Alaska

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Another quaint town north of Anchorage is Talkeetna with its gushing river and view of Mount McKinley. The downtown area has great restaurants and shops lining Main Street, too!

Prince William Sound 2

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The beautiful glacier cruise in Prince William Sound near the small town of Whittier, Alaska had much more than just epic glaciers. We saw tons of wildlife in several species of whales, eagles, and other critters that call this area home!

Whittier, Alaska

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A bunch of majestic bald eagles were flying over us all day long.

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These adorable sea otters were swimming around without a care in the world.

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Large chunks of ice were floating all around us offering great sun bathing spots for seals. One little fellow in particular was pretty curious about the annoying boat floating by his home.

Prince William Sound 1

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During my recent visit to the Last Frontier, we booked a five-hour glacier cruise that took us all around the incredibly beautiful waterways of Prince William Sound, near the tiny town of Whittier, Alaska. The captain took us by 26 individual glaciers as well as countless waterfalls.

Whittier, Alaska

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We also saw a gorgeous ice river and a few small avalanches!

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Avalanche!!

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Anchorage, Alaska

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To get away from the hustle and bustle of LA for a bit, I headed north to the Last Frontier, also known as Alaska. Although we were spending most of our time in Anchorage, we had plenty of time to explore outside the city limits and take a peak at this state’s beautiful landscape!

Anchorage, AK

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With the numerous reality television shows using Alaska as their backdrop, one thing has become instantly recognizable from this great state — the yellow and blue Alaska Railroad!

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With less mileage of roads than Rhode Island, one way people choose to travel around is by personal plane. There’s small airports scattered around that can be anything from paved runways with control towers to this stretch of freshly mowed lawn!

The Big Fight

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It’s finally here, the day of the big fight! We’ve all been waiting in anticipation of tonight’s Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight on Pay Per View. It’s said to be one of the biggest (in terms of viewers and income) fights in history and the entire city of Las Vegas is buzzing. Wild Card Boxing Club, a small boxing gym in Hollywood, is owned by hall-of-fame trainer Freddie Roach and is the LA home base training facility to none other than Pacquiao himself. I speak for us all when I say Go Manny!!

Hidden Statues

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Westminster, located in northern Orange County, is home to countless Asian eateries and markets and there’s a good amount of Asian-inspired architecture along Bolsa Avenue. A Dong Market, one of the largest in the area, is in a long and narrow shopping center. If the market is particularly busy you’ll have to park in the back around this small courtyard with Asian statues and palm trees!

Deep in the Desert

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Sometimes the nonstop hustle and bustle of LA can get a bit tiresome, but luckily we have plenty of not-so-far-away destinations to get away from it all, even if just for a few hours. The desert surrounding Palmdale is only a short drive away and is littered with gorgeous Joshua Trees and has distant views of the mountains.