Things To Do In The South Bay

From its award-winning schools to its quaint and beautiful neighborhoods, the South Bay prides itself in being a family-oriented area.  Whether you choose to enjoy the natural side of the South Bay or support one of its many bustling businesses, there is truly something for everyone in the family to enjoy.  If you are looking for homes in Palos Verdes, or homes in the South Bay, here is a great list of suggestions for fun family outings.
First and foremost, the greatest draw to the South Bay area is the ocean.  For those who long to do more than just spend a day at the beach, the area offers multiple free aquariums, such as the Cabrillo Aquarium and the Sea Lab, where families can go together to learn about ocean wildlife.  On an adventurous day, the family can go out fishing on one of the many boats in both the San Pedro and Redondo Marinas.
If you want to take your family on a local getaway, Catalina Island is the place to go.  Just hop on the Catalina Express boat and spend the day swimming and snorkeling in the beautiful city of Avalon.
Beautiful Avalon Harbor in Catalina
Beautiful Avalon Harbor in Catalina
In the Palos Verdes area, there are hiking trails that present a great opportunity to interact with nature.  Many of these trails have splendid views that overlook the entire South Bay, and some of them, such as the Abalone Cove hiking path, go straight down to the ocean.  In Abalone cove as well as other South Bay locations, families have the opportunity to interact with sea life in tide pools.
Sunset At Abalone Cove
Sunset At Abalone Cove
For the indoor type of family, both the Del Amo Mall and the Promenade on the Peninsula are great places to catch a movie, go ice-skating, or pick up some new clothes.   Another wonderful place to take the family is Sky Zone Torrance, a gym where both kids and adults alike can bounce across an entire room filled with trampolines.
There are many great activities that don’t happen all year round, but are worth noting.  In the wintertime, families can visit Candy Cane lane, a Torrance neighborhood that takes Christmas decorating to the extreme.  In the summertime, families can attend one of the many fairs in the area, from the Fiesta Hermosa to the San Pedro Lobster Festival.   Also during this time, the South Bay area offers multiple day camps for children.  Junior Lifeguards, Surf Camp, Beach Camp, Art Camp, Pony Camp and Sports Camps are just some of the many summertime programs offered to children.
A House on Candy Cane Lane
A House on Candy Cane Lane
 The possibilities for a family fun day are limitless in the South Bay no matter what your idea of fun is! All you can be sure of is that your children will cherish these little outings and activities for the rest of their lives.


Private Schools On The Palos Verdes Peninsula

Although the Palos Verdes Unified School District provides some of the best education in the country, not every child fits perfectly into the public school curriculum.  Fortunately, the Palos Verdes area is home to multiple extremely prestigious private schools.  Certain schools, such as Chadwick, provide a complete K-12 education, while others, such as Peninsula Heritage School, only provide an elementary education from grades K-5. If you are looking for homes in Palos Verdes or homes in the South Bay, you will most likely need to do research on the different types of education.

Chadwick School, the oldest and most well known private school in the area, provides non-religious education to children from Kindergarten to High School.  Originally a boarding school, Chadwick has grown to include multiple competitive sports teams and an international campus based in South Korea, as well as a rigorous academic program

Rolling Hills Preparatory School offers only High School education, and focuses upon providing superior college education whilst having fun along the way.  Their mission statement is to keep kids from “burning out” on academics, and they are constantly seeking innovative education methods.

For younger students, Rolling Hills Country Day School provides excellent education for children in grades K-8.  A surefire way to prepare for either public or private high school curriculum, RHCDS has impressive facilities with an excess of computers and a Junior Olympic sized swimming pool.

For those looking for a religious environment, St. John Fisher School provides a K-8 Catholic education, integrating faith into the academic setting.

Peninsula Heritage is a small and established elementary school providing education for children in years K-5.  At Peninsula Heritage, learning is individualized for each child, and the education is just as focused on academic learning as well as character building.

Last but not least,  Peninsula Montessori School provides education in grades K-6, and focuses upon highlighting the individual strengths of each child.

It is up to parents to decide which type of education is right for their child, and it is perfectly acceptable and even common for residents of Palos Verdes to blend both Private and Public Education.  For instance, you might decide that private elementary school is a good way for children to better prepare for public high school.  Conversely, you may want your child in public school for their early years until it is time to buckle down and do college preparatory work.  Regardless of your decision to go public or private, living on the Palos Verdes Peninsula will guarantee that your child will receive a superior education.


Which Beach City School Suits Your Teen?

 Sun, sand, and surf are some of the many perks of moving to the Beach Cities.  But when the summer ends, a major priority for homeowners in the South Bay is finding the right school for their children.  If you are looking for homes in the South Bay or homes in the Beach Cities, you have most likely heard of Mira Costa High School (“Costa”) and Redondo Union High School.

 Redondo Union High School is rich with history and culture, and is the oldest high school in the South Bay.  Home to the Seahawks, Redondo Union boasts the largest high school campus in the state of California.  The campus allows for an extensive range of facilities, including two gyms, a swimming pool and a practice golf course.  The area surrounding the school is right in the heart of Redondo Beach, spanning across both a suburban neighborhood area and backing up right against the iconic PCH.  With the diversity of the students as a main priority, Redondo Union truly has something for everyone.

Redondo Union High School's lush football field
Redondo Union High School’s lush football field


Mira Costa High School, home to the Mustangs, is nestled inside of a suburban Manhattan Beach neighborhood.  Famous for its aggressive sports and academics, the fast paced environment of “Costa” High School creates a challenging but rewarding atmosphere.  Like Redondo Union, Costa offers an abundance of sports and extra curricular activities, ranging from the standard Football, Volleyball and Cross-Country to the not-so-common Robotics department and Baton twirling.  Mira Costa is the place for a student who is seeking a well-rounded and accelerated high school career.

Mira Costa's Spacious Auditorium
Mira Costa’s Spacious Auditorium

Naturally, schools in such close proximity to one another tend to be rivals, and there is heated debate as to which school is superior.  Many locals agree that the schools are equally excellent, as they both offer many Advanced Placement Courses and have extensive sports programs.  More concrete academic data can be found here. 

Understanding the zoning for these high schools can be tricky, and not every area of the beach cities allows students to choose between the two.  If you choose to purchase a home in South Redondo, or the 90277 zip code, your children will attend Redondo Union High School.  If you choose to purchase a home in Manhattan Beach, your children will attend Mira Costa.  By purchasing a home in Hermosa Beach, your children will have the option of choosing between the two high schools.  Whether your child ends up a Seahawk or a Mustang, you can have confidence that they will not only receive a superior education, but have privileged and memorable high school experience as a resident of the beach cities.


Horse Property in Palos Verdes

When you think about your happy place, do you think of horses galloping among green hills with a picturesque ocean in the background?  Well, if you do and are thinking about buying a home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, you are in luck.  Only minutes away from the cliffs of Southern California, the Palos Verdes Peninsula offers a chance to have your happy place in your backyard.

Not only is there horse property for sale on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, there is a very active horse community as well.  From activities from pony camp and trail riding to high end show barns, the Palos Verdes Peninsula equestrian life has an equestrian solution for anyone who smiles at the thought of a horse.

For developmentally and/or physically challenged adults and children, the Palos Verdes Peninsula also offers an amazing nonprofit equestrian facility called Ride to Fly which uses equestrian therapy  for those with special needs.

In addition, the Palos Verdes Peninsula offers many different pony camps for children ages 3-12. From Palos Verdes stables, to Seahorse, to Peter Weber Equestrian center; each camp offers a slightly different enrichment program to teach kids more about horses and the equine environment.

If this doesn’t quite suit your fancy or if you already have your own horse, there are lots of different trainers of both English and Western discipline.  There is also a youth jr. drill team and adult drill team called The Happy Hoofers.  These drill teams get to show off their moves at local gymkhana’s and city events.

Hay Ride at the City Celebration Gymkhana If that alone hasn’t already convinced you how great the hidden gem of the Palos Verdes Peninsula equestrian world is, we also have local English and Western horse shows at  one of the local public parks, Ernie Howlett Park. Great for riders and spectators.

 One of the best parts about the equestrian side of Palos Verdes is that since it is such a small area, it becomes a community.  Children who grow up and stay in touch with the equestrian roots tend to have the ‘raised by a village’ mentality since they are riding and interacting with people of all ages.  People greet everyone they see on the trail and it truly is just a positive atmosphere all the time.  Ask any horseback rider who rides around there if they like it and the answer will tend to be the same, every day riding in Palos Verdes is just one more day in paradise.

Which Palos Verdes High School Fits Your Teen Better?

We are all aware of the views that envelope the suburbs of Palos Verdes, but what about some of the other aspects? High school education as we all know is very important and a necessity for a great beginning for the rest of our children’s life.  If you are looking for homes for sale in Palos Verdes or homes for sale in the South Bay, you have probably heard of or looked at both Palos Verdes High School and Palos Verdes Peninsula High School.  Known around Palos Verdes as P.V. High and Pen, both schools are equally academically exceptional yet both have a unique environment.

Aerial view of Palos Verdes High School

Pen and P.V. fight for the title of the ‘better school’.  You can find all of the data driven comparisons for Peninsula here and for PV here. Academically both schools are considered about equal but there are a couple differences between the two.

Palos Verdes High has the ‘block schedule’ which means that instead of 6-7 classes a day at 50 minutes per class, each day is alternated between an A day and a B day.  Each day has 3 classes at 80 minutes per class, and the classes are alternated every other day.  For a child who takes longer to absorb the information and enjoys having teachers help, this might be a better choice.  The longer class periods give the student time to take notes, understand the concepts being taught and then, if so desired, explained a second time.

View of the amphitheater located in the heart of Peninsula’s campus.

For some kids however, sitting in a classroom longer than a 50 minute lecture seems like a form of cruel and unusual punishment.  Peninsula offers the more common schedule, with 6 classes daily (7 if you want to take a zero period) at 50 minute increments.  This gives students enough time to write down the information, absorb it and do the work at home or wherever they please.

The area surrounding each school is also different.  Peninsula is walking distance from The Peninsula Center, The Avenue, and the Palos Verdes Library.  This means a quick walk to get food or anything you need.  The football stadium also offers a breathtaking view of the South Bay and greater Los Angeles area.

P.V. High is a little bit more secluded which means not as much cross traffic, but not as many options either.  P.V. High’s ‘side of the hill’ boasts its own spectacular view of the ocean, along with cliffs and tide pools a short walk away.  Although the options are not as diverse, there is a Fresh and Easy located right up the street and a mom and pop deli within a 5-minute drive.

As the saying goes “You could be the sweetest peach in the bunch, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches.” Thankfully both these schools are equally as sweet, but just different types of fruit.  All you have to do is chose your favorite.  Best part? You can’t lose 🙂



Manhattan vs Manhattan Beach CA

Polliwog Park_ Maggie GillespieWell, I’ve recently returned from a quick trip to the OTHER Manhattan, the Big Apple, NYC.  As I was there, I found myself comparing things between the two “Manhattans”.  Although I loved NYC, I think overall MY Manhattan, Manhattan Beach, has it “all going on” over its larger sister city.

Take parks, for example.  Central Park is obviously awesome, providing an urban oasis for city dwellers, giving them a place to relax in the outdoors, walk among beautiful tree lined paths, and have a picnic!  Well, in Manhattan Beach, we have the same type of resource, just smaller scaled for our much smaller Manhattan.  Pollywog Park is a wonderful place, with picnic spots, a path (including a small walk through a natural plants garden), exercise places, kids play equipment, etc.

Our restaurant scene is of course smaller than the Big Apple’s, but no less interesting.  With many styles of restaurant to choose from, including old favorites such as “El BJ’s” (El Burrito Jr), the Kettle, and Mama D’s to the latest hip and trendy restaurants such as MB Post, Rock’n’Fish, and Mangia, Manhattan Beach has something for every price point and every cuisine.  And there is of course the nearby restaurants in El Segundo and Hermosa Beach too … no need to starve here!

Manhattan may have more famous buildings, but who doesn’t like walking along The Strand and thinking what it would be like to live in those fabulous homes?  Our weather is much better too — damn near perfect, I think!

All in all, I came home thoroughly enjoying my stay, but glad I live in MY Manhattan, Manhattan Beach.  What do you think are some of the comparisons of these two that should be made?

Manhattan Beach Millionaire Matchmaker?


Perhaps the Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger should come to Manhattan Beach to find her folks true love — according to CNN Money, Manhattan Beach has a median income of $154,860 and has 30.2 percent of adults single and available — they’ve rated it as the number 1 location to find wealthy singles.

Everyone I know in town is buzzing about this news — we Realtors like it because hopefully it will mean even more people who want to buy a home in Manhattan Beach!  After all, money can’t buy happiness, but it sure isn’t bad to have.

Third on the list is Beverly Hills, with a median family income of $142,180, fourth is Hermosa Beach, with median income of $134,033 and 47.5% singles, thirteenth is Marina Del Rey, with almost 40 percent singles and median income of $110,327,

I think it is amazing that all of these wonderful areas are here in or near our beautiful South Bay.  RE/MAX execs has offices in Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach, and Marina Del Rey too!  And of course, Hermosa is located smack between our Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach offices.

Palos Verdes Horseshow Raises Money for Orthopaedic Hospital

jumping horse las amigas de las lomas show
This past weekend, the 54th annual Las Amigas de las Lomas horse show was held at Ernie Howlett Park in Rolling Hills Estates.  This wonderful organization, for which I am honored to be this year’s President, is an auxilliary of the Charitable Children’s Guild to support Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital.  Although we don’t have final figures in yet, it appears that we helped to raise at least another $20,000 for the hospital’s wonderful programs.

The all English horse show is held each year in mid-July and is sanctioned by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).  The show includes hunters, jumpers, and equitation classes, with fence heights from 1 foot 6 to a Grand Prix style “mini-Prix” with fence heights of 4 to 4.5 feet.  This year’s Grand Prix was won by a local teenager, Brooke Dulce Erickson, who graduated this year from the wonderful Palos Verdes High School and was a part of that school’s Sea Kings Equestrian Team.

This show is just an example of the many great equestrian events held on “the Hill” every year.  If you like horses and horse property but still want a mostly urban life style, then the Palos Verdes area may be just the place for you.  Great shopping, restaurants, and museums are within an easy drive yet many residents, especially in Rolling Hills Estates, have horses in their back yards.

So let’s finish this post with some questions — would you have the guts to jump 4.5 feet on twelve hundred pounds of muscle and power?  Do you think that the horses enjoy this just as much as the competitors and spectators do?

Crime and Safety in the South Bay

Many times I get asked about crime rates in the beach cities. Now, there is a new tool from Trulia that shows exactly just how safe our area is! As you can see from the map below, the South Bay, from El Segundo all the way down to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, is a very safe place to live. Our biggest problem here is probably thefts from unlocked cars and identity theft. The worst thing I’ve ever personally had happen to me is that a Christmas decoration put too close to the curb was mistakenly taken by the trash guys!

Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach all have excellent Police and Fire Departments, although they are talking about merging all the Fire Departments into one. On the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the city of Palos Verdes Estates has its own Police Department, while the other cities of Rolling Hills, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills Estates, and the unincorporated area of Palos Verdes Peninsula all use the Lomita station of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Fire services for all of the cities as well as the island of Catalina are provided by the Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion 14.