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The Queen Mary is pleased to welcome back the annual ScotsFestival and International Highland Games XXII. Experience the rich culture and history of Scotland first hand through an array of authentic activities, athletics, dancing, entertainment, and cuisine in ode to the Queen Mary’s Scottish legacy.

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ScotsFestival weekend kicks off on February 13 with Rock Yer Kilt, highlighting the best Scottish Rock bands this side of the pond. Official ScotsFestival Opening Ceremonies begin on February 14 featuring the traditional Grand Parade of Clans & Bands with an Address to the Haggis. Daily festivities include Border Collie sheep-herding, firing demonstrations, performances by the Scots Greys Calvary, Royal Scottish Country Dance Society, Celtic Harp & Wren Iniquity Ensemble and historic re-enactments.

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Eighty-four years ago, in the quaint seaside town of Clydebank, Scotland, construction began on the Queen Mary. Exemplifying the finest craftsmanship of the country, the Queen Mary’s legacy is undeniable and today the ship’s heritage is celebrated through the two-day ScotsFestival honoring Scottish culture.

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WHAT: The Queen Mary ScotsFestival
WHEN: February 14 – 15, 2015 | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
WHERE: 1126 Queens Highway | Long Beach, CA 90802

CONTACT INFO: (877) 342-0738

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter | Yelp

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The Watts Towers

January 19, 2015 — Leave a comment

The Watts Towers, Towers of Simon Rodia, or Nuestro Pueblo (“our town”), are within the Simon Rodia State Historic Park, in the Watts community of Los Angeles. They are a collection of 17 interconnected sculptural structures, the tallest reaching a height of over 99 feet.

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The towers and walls were designed and built by Italian immigrant construction worker and tile mason Sabato (“Simon”) Rodia (1879-1965), over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954. The work is an example of outsider art, vernacular architecture and Italian-American naïve art.

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The towers were designated a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark in 1990. They are also a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, and on the National Register of Historic Places in Los Angeles.

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WHAT: The Watts Towers
WHEN: Open daily – except closed to the public Monday and Tuesday, but Towers Structure can still be viewed as the structure is outdoors.
WHERE: 1727 East 107th Street | Los Angeles, CA 90002

DETAILS: 

  • Tours: Thursday, Friday, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm, Saturday 10:30 am – 3:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
  • Admission: Adult $7, Seniors and Children 13 – 17 $3, Children 12 and under Free

CONTACT INFO: (213) 847-4646

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | YouTube | Yelp

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This imposing Colonial Revival on South Harvard Boulevard was built in either 1905 or 1910 for Dr. Wesley Beckett, a chairman of the trustees of the Los Angeles County Medical Association and member of the board of trustees at USC.

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The once-grand, six-bedroom, four-bath home is currently being used as a ‘standing set’ for filming as it is uninhabitable.

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In addition to its film jobs, the unoccupied residence has successfully filled the role of “haunted mansion” in an “interactive horror play” called Delusion: The Blood Rite.

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WHAT: The Historic Beckett Mansion
WHEN: Day viewing
WHERE: South Harvard Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA

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The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is the presidential library and final resting place of Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th President of the United States. Located in Yorba Linda, California, the library is one of 13 administered by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). From its original dedication in 1990 until becoming a federal facility on July 11, 2007, the library and museum was operated by the private Richard Nixon Foundation and was known as the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace. The 9-acre (3.6 ha) campus incorporates the Richard Nixon Birthplace, a National Historic Landmark where Nixon was born in 1913 and spent his childhood.

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The museum, housed in a 52,000-square-foot (4,800 m2) building, offers a narrative of Nixon’s life and career. Behind the museum is the birthplace, which was constructed by Nixon’s father using a homebuilding kit, and restored to appear as it was in the 1910s.

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President Nixon and Pat Nixon are buried on the grounds, just a few feet from the birthplace.

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There is an extensive collection of memorabilia, artifacts, formal clothing, and photographs of the Nixons and their children. This collection includes an assortment of bronze figures of world leaders who had important relations with Nixon as president or during his service as vice president under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1961. The President’s VH-3A “Sea King”helicopter is on permanent display.

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The archives, which opened in March 1994, house approximately 46 million pages of official White House records from the Nixon Administration. The Nixon Library now holds all of President Nixon’s presidential as well as his pre- and post-presidential papers.

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WHAT: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library And Museum
WHEN: Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm | Saturday – Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
WHERE: 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard | Yorba Linda, CA 92886

DETAILS: 

  • Tickets: Free – $11.95

CONTACT INFO: (714) 993-5075 | nixon@nara.gov

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | YouTubeYelp

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Stimson House

January 7, 2015 — 2 Comments

Stimson House is a Richardsonian Romanesque mansion near downtown Los Angeles, on Figueroa Street north of West Adams. Built in 1891, it was the home of lumber and banking millionaire Thomas Douglas Stimson. During Stimson’s lifetime, the house survived a dynamite attack by a blackmailer in 1896. After Stimson’s death, the house has been occupied by a brewer who reportedly stored wines and other spirits in the basement, a fraternity house that conducted noisy parties (causing consternation among occupants of neighboring mansions), as student housing for Mount St. Mary’s College, and as a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

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When Stimson House was built in the 1890s, the Los Angeles Times described it as “the costliest and most beautiful private residence in Los Angeles,” a building “admired by all who see it.”

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More than a hundred years later, the Times said: “From the front, the 312-story house resembles a medieval castle, with brick chimneys standing guard like sentries along the roof and an ornate four-storycrenelated tower on the northeast corner, a noble rook from a massive chess board.” With its $150,000 cost, it was the most expensive house that had been built in Los Angeles at the time.

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From the day it was built, the 30-room house was a Los Angeles landmark. Neighbors and occupants have referred to it over the years as “the Castle” or the “Red Castle” due to its turret-top walls, four-story tower, and red-stone exterior.

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The Stimson House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and has also been named a Historic-Cultural Monument (# 212) by the City of Los Angeles. Material prepared for the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission’s review of the Stimson house in 1977 called it “architecturally unique in Los Angeles,” “the best example of this period of American architecture in Los Angeles” and “one of the most significant structures in the Los Angeles area.”

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WHAT: Stimson House
WHEN: Day time
WHERE: 2421 South Figueroa Street | Los Angeles, CA

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The Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery located in North Hollywood has a special section called the Portal of the Folded Wings Shrine to Aviation that is the final resting place for a number of aviation pioneers — barnstormers, daredevils, and sundry architects of aviation. There is a memorial to Amelia Earhart and others, honoring their accomplishments.

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Valhalla was founded in 1923 by two Los Angeles financiers, John R. Osborne and C. C. Fitzpatrick. The Spanish Mission Revival entrance structure was designed by architect Kenneth McDonald Jr. For the decorative stone castings, McDonald hired Italian-born sculptor Federico A. Giorgi, who had created 30-foot-tall statues of elephants and lions for the 1917 epic film Intolerance and crafted the exterior of downtown’s Million Dollar Theater. The gateway to the new cemetery cost $140,000.

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The shrine, with a colorful tile dome and female figures stretching their arms to the heavens, originally was built as an impressive entrance to Valhalla Memorial Park cemetery. It was named for the palace of Odin, the Norse god of slain heroes.

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There are only a handful of celebrities buried here at ValhallaThe most notable is Oliver Hardy, half of the famous comedy team “Laurel & Hardy.” But you can also find Bea Benaderet (1906-1966) here, the actress who played the mother on TV’s “Petticoat Junction.” Cousin Pearl on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” and did the voice of Betty Rubble on “The Flintstones.” Her wall crypt is in the Mausoleum of Hope, on the west side of the park. But if you look for her as Bea Benaderet, you probably won’t find her. Her marker reads “Twombly” in large letters at the top, with her name in smaller letters on the left side.

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WHAT: The Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery
WHEN: Open year round during the day 
WHERE: 10621 Victory Boulevard | North Hollywood, CA 91606

CONTACT: (818) 763-9121

SOCIAL MEDIA: FacebookYelp

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Angels Flight Railway

December 31, 2014 — Leave a comment

For just 50 cents (or 25 cents for holders of valid Metro Passes) you can board one of the two orange and black incline Angels Flight Railway cars and ride “The Shortest Railway in the World.”

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This funicular dates back to 1901, when Bunker Hill was one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in Los Angeles and the cars, Olivet and Sinai, ferried prominent citizens up and down the steep slope between Hill and Olive streets.

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The beloved landmark was dismantled for “urban renewal” of the area in 1969. In the early 1990s, the Railway was refurbished and relocated a half-block south, reopening adjacent to California Plaza in 1996. As short as it is (298 feet), Angels Flight is an essential Los Angeles experience.

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WHAT: Angels Flight Railway
WHEN: Check website
WHERE: 351 S Hill Street | Los Angeles, CA 90013

CONTACT INFO: (213) 626-1901

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Twitter | Yelp

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