I spent about 10 years, off and on, in the Greater Los Angeles area. Indeed, I managed to give birth to two of my children there. My son, now 30, still lives in the area, so I flew over from Sweden to hang out with him and trip down memory lane a bit. Hermosa Beach was my main hang out back in those days, so after strolling around the Redondo Beach Pier & Boardwalk, I just kept going until I hit Hermosa Beach. It was a gorgeous day and I had all the time in the world.
I was anxious to see the Flagship, a bar I had spent way too many hours at just hanging around my friends at the time. Alas, they have been replaced now with a surfer bar. I am sure it is just as cool, but I couldn’t bear to go in. See, 30 years ago, Hermosa Beach was a major biker hang out. There was no danger (as some of you I am sure are thinking) – it was a very peaceful place that happened to have chopped Harleys lining the street. No more, I fear. Not one bike to be found, at least not with an engine. Hermosa has become mostly a touristy kind of beach now. That is not a bad thing, but it was disappointing to me.
Hennessey’s Tavern is still there, and has in fact moved a few spaces down to expand. This is where we used to go for events like St Patrick’s day because they had the green beer and Corned Beef & Cabbage in abundance. It was smallish and dark back in the day. Now it is bright, airy, and overlooks the water. My son & I had a wonderful brunch there my first day in California, along with one of his friends. They had omelets, I had a pastrami sandwich. All the food was very, very good… and the view was fantastic.
Another thing that has changed is the number of touristy crap places. Don’t get me wrong here, I adore touristy crap. I thrive on it. I pay outrageous over-weight charges on my luggage because of it if I forget to bring along a second empty suitcase. I quickly availed myself of a too-bright tie-dyed hoodie with Hermosa Beach embroidered on the front for 25USD. I’m wearing it as I type, in fact. There were tons of requisite clothing racks and souvenir stands lining the walks, and I was in heaven in spite of things having changed.
As to the beach itself, it is still just as gorgeous as I had remembered it. This was the beginning of March so not warm enough yet for me to lay in the pristine sand or take a swim, but plenty warm enough to stroll the beach-side walk and watch those much braver than me taking on the waves on their surf boards. Surfing is very big here, as is Beach Volley Ball. In fact, Hermosa is the sight of the annual International Beach Volley Ball Championships.
There are places along Hermosa’s strand to rent pretty much anything you want or need. Roller skate & blades, boogie boards, lounge chairs for the sand, bicycles… you name it, some one here has them for rent or sale. During peak summer days, do be careful walking along the beach-side sidewalk as you may get run over.
All in all, I still love Hermosa Beach. Things may have changed, but then so have I. The core of the place is still intact, which is to say the relaxing feel of just hanging out and people-watching while listening to the roar of the surf and sipping a nice drink has not changed a bit. I do highly recommend a day at Hermosa if you find yourself in Southern California. Don’t forget your sunblock.