If you've read some of my past adventures in California you'll know
that I like to explore this beautiful state on my weekends during these
cold Canadian months. I mostly get flack from my friends who all can't
get enough of the mountains here, but I prefer sitting next to the
ocean while catching a tan. I've come to enjoy the heat of the sun
while enjoying the perks of California like golfing, tennis, drinking,
boating, boating and drinking and so forth. I've been looking at
Whittier which is not a place I had heard much about prior to doing a
little research, so instead of reading and forgetting I thought I'd put
a little guide out to remind me and inspire others.
I like the smaller towns and cities in California because it allows me to experience the place as a local, and not a tourist. This philosophy might sound a little familiar to those of you out there who are Rick Steves fans. Most people flock to the bigger and more well known areas but during peak tourist times I find after years of traveling that this can become quite tiresome. Whittier at first glance from various photos on Flickr reminded me of the simple beauty of California I've come to know over the years. Whittier is located only 12 miles southeast of LA, and is rich in history and has been witness to amazing times over the last 110 years. The land goes way back to before it was very populated and in the possession of a Spanish soldier named Manuel Nito. He was given the land which is now known as Whittier(also reaching into Brea and Fullerton) as a reward for his military service and to encourage settlement in California.
After some years, during the American/Mexico war, much of Whittier was owned by Pio Pico, a rancher and the last Mexican Governor of California. Pio Pico built a hacienda in Whittier on the San Gabriel River, which today is Pio Pico State Historic Park. After the war a German immigrant by the name of Jacob Gerkins bought the land known as Whittier for roughly $234 USD..not a bad deal. Mr Gerkins went on to become the first Chief of Police for the LAPD, and the town of Whittier kept on thriving under many owners, eventually taken over by a group of Quakers to produce fruit. Before you knew it the area had also become the largest grower of Walnuts in California making it a powerhouse of a town which lead to its incorporation in 1989.
So fast forward one hundred plus years and now we have a striving community that is still making the best of things during this tough economy. One thing that won't go away is California's tourism industry, and I'm sure you've seen the push they've been doing over the past year. So whether you're looking for a new place to move, need a weekend of relaxing in the sun or just want to get away from the usual look no further. I'll go over a few things I'm going to do during my visit, and then also leave some more awesome tidbits of juicy information about the business and happenings in and around Whittier CA.
Real Estate in Whittier:
There are so many different cities to choose from in Southern California but real estate in Whittier has just about everything you'd want when it comes to owning a home. The town has everything from affordable 1 bedroom condos all the way up to million dollar homes that have been owned by celebrities. There is of course the old town area and the new town which attracts the younger generations yet holds its core roots values. I think it's great for families because the crime rates are relatively low, multiple room family homes are abundant and you're close enough to the beaches! Here are some great links to help you in your house hunting;
* Whittier California Real Estate
* Demographics for Whittier CA - Wikipedia
* Crime Rates and Statistics for Whittier CA - Neighborhood Scout
Activities in Whittier:
Of all the things to do in Whittier the best things are outdoors, you just can't beat the SoCal landscape so if you like the outdoors you'll love it here. I'll start out with something important to the community, and that is the Pio Pico State Historic Park(http://www.piopico.org/). This is most likely the biggest attractions in the area and has thus far kept open to the public despite threats to close it because of budget cuts. This is one of the state parks that the Govenator scheduled to be closed, but the local people rallied together to keep it going for now. I chose this place first because I hope to inspire more travelers to make a visit and help keep the park alive and well. PÃƒÂo de Jesus Pico IV was one of California's most remarkable historical figures, and this park is all the remains of his heritage. You can still see the unique 19th century structures that were made from sun dried mud blocks, these are also known as adobe. The tours you can take in this state park will take you back a hundred more or so years, to when life was simpler and the people thrived off the land.
Whittier offers a whole host of lounging activities near the pool, outdoors whether it be on one of the golf courses, tennis courts or bike trails. One of my favorite outdoor activities in California is bike riding mainly because you can see so much of the local nature and scenery. You can use Google or the phone book to find a half dozen bike rental places, some for the casual cruiser, and some for the hardcore mountain biker. I'd even recommend bringing a nice pair of walking shoes because Whittier is lined with some really interesting houses, so if you like architecture you'll enjoy strolling the tree lined neighborhoods.
Some of the upscale neighborhoods have some stunning homes with some very famous residents like Paris Hilton's mother, Andrea Barber from Full House, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, the host of Blind Date and a slough of Playboy models! The town isn't too worried about a celebrity appeal though, they're most likely there because of the relaxed and quiet vibe compared to the bigger cities. But regardless if who you are, if never ceases to amaze people when the meet someone famous.
Dining in Whittier:
Food is the best thing in my world and I can never go without mentioned some of the local dining to just about any city I've been, or that I'm going to. Every city in California that I've been to, big and small, has always had remarkable restaurants that I can still almost taste today. I've been to so many towns where I've come out saying the best thing I did there was the food I ate, so take note to some of these fine dining experiences in Whittier.
The 6740 may have a strange name for a restaurant but it is the place to go to join the locals for some solid grub, and of course some cold and refreshing beer. The atmosphere is casual and the foot consists of easy to eat hand foods like tacos and nachos. Since this is SoCal you can expect a heavy Mexican influence in most of the restaurants which is pretty much heaven to me. I will be making a stop here in the evenings during my trip and I look forward to getting to know some of the folks there.
So since I have Mexican food on the brain, I'll be pleased to tell you that there is this place there called Arturo's Puffy Taco which with a name like that has my stomach rumbling. I've never had a puffy taco before and I'll be the first to admit I have no idea what the hell that means. From the reviews and buzz I've heard about Arturo's, the taco's are different from anything you've ever hard before in the realm of taco's. Sign me up!
If you're in town with the family it can be sometimes hard to find a place that will please the tastebuds of any child. From extensive searching on the web I came across many good reviews for Scott's Family Restaurant, and with a name like that how can you go wrong. This place had tons of great online reviews and the menu consists of all the American classics with a hint of Mexican and Chinese in there. Mom and Dad will also like the atmosphere and the kids will most likely want to come back here night after night.
Other Links of Interest:
City Of Whittier - http://www.cityofwhittier.org/
Whittier Chamber Of Commerce - http://www.whittierchamber.com/
Whittier College - http://www.whittier.edu/