Aside from fake hobnobbing with Rihanna and chumming up with my girls from back home, another highlight of my 4th of July weekend was hitting the beach. I’m on a mission to play in as many waves as possible amidst all of Southern California’s best beaches while I’ll be living here (gotta live up to the blog’s name, right?). Saturday, Manhattan Beach was our shore of choice.
If we would have known that earlier that morning a swimmer had gotten attacked by a shark, I’m sure we would have thought twice about getting in the water.
Luckily it was all clear of any great white sightings by the time we got there. I don’t like to go out too far in the ocean anyway, but I do want to try surfing and paddleboarding, which will have me a bit further out than I’d normally go for a casual swim -- I’ll have to stay away from Manhattan Beach for these activities.
An afternoon spent laying out on the sand, sunbathing with a brew, and hanging with friends is always a day well spent. I love that Manhattan Beach is less crowded and certainly cleaner than Venice and Santa Monica’s beaches, although on the flip side, all the rocks in the shallow part of the water tend to hurt your feet while wallowing in the ocean’s swells. But the water feels amazing, and the view is magnificently captivating, beautiful enough to gaze all day.
I had no idea that the residential area surrounding Manhattan Beach would be so charming! Riding through definitely served up some inspiration for the type of vacation home I aspire to own one day. Dreamy beach house properties galore sit atop tree-lined hills in cozy neighborhood streets, with all types of cute boutiques and restaurants just a few blocks away. As much as I need to keep money in my account, passing by all those shops had my inner shopaholic awakened and ready to pounce. I shall be back for you!
Opting for free, we had nabbed a parking spot on one of the residential streets instead of at a meter or in a paid lot. As we made our way back to the car after a couple of hours at the beach, music and a festive-looking block party a few houses away caught our attention. It looked like it could have been a neighborhood free-for-all, so we delayed our exit and invited ourselves right on in with the Manhattan Beach residents.
We discovered an entire blocked off alleyway (think broad, clean, beach house kinda alley) with picnic tables, playful kids running around in bathing suits, 4th of July party favors, Real Housewives of Orange County-esque couples, and FOOD (jackpot).
It wasn’t my idea to crash this thing, but I sure wasn’t opposed to it. Awaiting us was a whole Lemonade-catered buffet; tons of desserts -- cupcakes, cake, Rice Krispie snacks, brownies; and an open margarita bar. We couldn't not take advantage.
“Don’t mind if we do!” We truly headed straight for the food and began fixing plates as if we belonged there.
There we were, four black kids who undoubtedly stood out among a neighborhood in which 99% of its citizens are white. I was just waiting for someone to call us out and shout, “you don’t even live here!” but the few people who did speak to us were nothing but friendly! They had to know they’d never seen us around those parts, but they didn’t seem to mind us politely crashing their block party. We even stuck around for the adult piñata session and snagged some of the prizes that fell on the ground when it got cracked open. Manhattan Beachers: thanks for letting us party with you guys (can we come back next time??).
Happy "birthday" ‘Murica...cheers!
more photos around the beach:
Have you ever thought about owning a beach house one day? Where would yours be?