A sign outside a store in Riviera Village reads:
“To live in Manhattan Beach, you have to be rich.
“To live in Hermosa Beach, you have to be young.
“To live in Redondo Beach, you have to be lucky.”
Who can argue on a day like this, sunny and 69 degrees in November? This beachside neighborhood, which boasts more than 300 boutiques, restaurants, galleries and businesses tucked into several blocks in Redondo Beach, is the perfect place to rejuvenate your soul.
3 p.m. Relax and release stress with a massage at Eli’s Stay in Touch at 1820 S. Elena Ave., Suite B. There are more upscale places here for residents to park their Porsches and get pampered; Eli is here for the rest of us. She’s been helping clients from 11 to 95 feel comfortable in their own skin for more than 15 years. Her sessions last from 30 minutes ($35) to three hours, and she’s not stingy with her time. Make an appointment and be prepared to tip.
3:40 p.m. Muscles massaged, satisfy your thirst with an organic shake at the Punchbowl, 1811 S. Catalina Ave., a second location of the Los Feliz juice bar that opened here in September. How about a sweet Greeña Colada: kale, pineapple, avocado, lime and the water, nectar and meat of coconuts. The founders wrote on their Tumblr page: “Los Angeles is such a stressful city … we wanted to create … a peaceful little enclave where people could … fill their bodies with delicious, nutrient-rich juices.” They aren’t cheap ($9 to $11), but they’re 100% organic with no ice or filler and they’re served in eco-friendly packaging. I feel better already.
4 p.m. Score some good karma shopping at Ten Thousand Villages at 1907 S. Catalina Ave., a nonprofit fair trade store (one of more than 100 in the U.S. and Canada) that showcases the handcrafted works of artisans around the world. Instead of buying that designer sweatshirt made in a sweatshop, consider a hooded poncho from Ecuador ($99.99). Or splurge on a gorgeous piece of Haitian metal wall art ($350).
“Ten Thousand Villages is so much more than a store. We are a maker-to-market movement that’s almost entirely run by volunteers,” store manager Brittany Costa says. “We work in 30 developing countries with over 20,000 artisans to break the cycle of poverty by bringing their products and stories to our market through long-term, fair trading relationships.”
4:30 p.m. New Age healing is the art of Sacred Stone Gallery, 1832 S. Elena Ave. Part gallery, part gift shop and 100% “renowned energy field,” this space shimmers with crystals, stones and jewelry. The healing powers of each type of stone, which cost from a few dollars to much more, are advertised on cards. The local wisdom is to allow yourself to gravitate to the one that speaks to you. My wife chooses mangano calcite (“Heals the inner child”) and asks me which one I’m attracted to; I tell her I already married my Krystle.
The gallery holds almost daily events — sound baths, in which instruments produce sound and vibration for relaxation, are among the most popular — in a small meditation garden behind the store, where you can write down a prayer and leave it before a statue of Buddha. “The religion here is love, not anything else. Divine love, expanding love, unconditional love,” the gallery’s founder, Gustav Schindler, once said. Amen to that.
5 p.m. Your body is your temple, so give it a healthful offering at the Green Temple. This vegetarian restaurant, like Eli and Sacred Stone a staple of the neighborhood for two decades, is open and airy with inside and outside patios. We sit side by side at a small mosaic table in a private nook, surrounded by colorful pillows, plants and Eastern designs that transport us, and the feathery sounds of Sting’s “Shape of my Heart” feel right here. We share a plate of enchiladas ($15) filled with soft, stewed veggies and organic white cheddar cheese, and wash it down with an organic lemon fizz ($4). My mind is clear and not troubled by thoughts of the location of the closest In-N-Out. Maybe this inner peace stuff really works.
The ocean breeze plays with wind chimes, reminding us we’re just two blocks from the beach.
6:20 p.m. The soothing sounds of the water and the church of crashing waves are the perfect way to end our day as we share a sidewalk bench atop the bluff that looks out at the vast Pacific.