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Palos Verdes Peninsula

December 20, 2007|Pauline O'Connor

Residents of the Palos Verdes Peninsula are notoriously protective of their views, as Donald Trump recently learned when he planted a 10-foot hedge of ficus trees at his Trump National Golf Club. And rightfully so: The posh enclave -- which consists of Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills Estates and the gated Rolling Hills -- boasts some of the last unspoiled coastline in the state, making it a paradise for hikers, bikers and horseback riders. It's also blessed with vigilant police, so when you visit, don't forget to savor the scenery at the appropriate leisurely pace.

Getting around the peninsula (a.k.a. "the Hill") is easy -- just follow Palos Verdes Drive, which encircles all four communities. A good starting point for a tour is Malaga Cove Plaza, near Palos Verdes Drive West and Via Corta. Built in the late 1920s, the Spanish Renaissance-style plaza's centerpiece is its Neptune fountain, pictured, a replica of a fountain in Bologna, Italy -- except for the addition of a strategically placed fig leaf.

Winding south, past surf spot Lunada Bay, you'll find the Point Vicente lighthouse (31550 Palos Verdes Drive West, [310] 541-0334). Built in 1926, it offers free tours the second Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Next door is the Point Vicente Interpretive Center (31501 Palos Verdes Drive West, [310] 377-5370), one of the state's most popular sites for whale watching. Amateur Jacques Cousteaus, take note: According to the American Cetacean Society's calculations, Jan. 18 should be a prime day for spotting Baja-bound gray whales, not to mention dolphins, seals and sea lions. But if it's too foggy, don't despair -- you can still check out tide pools in nearby Abalone Cove. Here, you can also pick up a healthful snack from Annie's Stand, a produce place that's operated above the cove seemingly forever.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, December 21, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 40 words Type of Material: Correction
Palos Verdes Peninsula: An article about the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Thursday's edition of The Guide said that while visiting Abalone Cove, snacks could be obtained at a produce venue called Annie's Stand. Annie's Stand is no longer in operation.

Outside

NEPTUNE CASTS HIS GAZE UPON IT

ALONG THE COAST

GOING TO THE CHAPEL

If gazing at the natural splendor doesn't bring out your spiritual side, a stop at the Wayfarers Chapel just might. Perched on a knoll overlooking Abalone Cove, this redwood, glass and stone chapel, pictured, was designed by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, as a memorial to philosopher and religious reformer Emanuel Swedenborg, but it welcomes members of all faiths. (5755 Palos Verdes Drive South, wayfarerschapel.org)

Inside

COMMERCE AND ART

Because of longtime community resistance to developers, Palos Verdes has relatively few major shopping options besides the Avenue of the Peninsula center (550 Deep Valley Drive, www.shopattheavenue.com). This indoor/outdoor mall has a modest ice skating rink, as well as an antiques store, Delany's ([310] 375-6950), with a mind-blowing selection of Faberge eggs. As for culture, there's the Norris Center for the Performing Arts (27570 Crossfield Drive, norriscenter.com), a 450-seat theater that hosts jazz concerts and plays, as well as the Palos Verdes Art Center (5504 W. Crestridge Road, pvartcenter.org), where the exhibit "The Circus Comes to Town" will be on display until Feb. 3.

JUST LIKE OLD TIMES

More in keeping with the area's Norman Rockwell vibe is the General Store (26947 Rolling Hills Road, [310] 541-3668), pictured. Built in the early 1930s, this wooden ranch-style building houses an excellent sandwich shop (Kelly's Korner, [310] 541-2234), an equestrian supply store and a one-man post office.

Tableside

THE ADMIRAL AND THE DONALD

Featuring carved-beach-wood beams shaped like whales, intricate seashell chandeliers and, naturally, a breathtaking view of the Pacific, surf 'n' turf spot the Admiral Risty (31250 Palos Verdes Drive West, [310] 377-0050) has been hooking locals for 40 years. And though Donald Trump's ficuses were deemed subpar, the restaurants at Trump National Golf Club (1 Ocean Trails Drive, [310] 265-5000) have garnered mostly raves. The Sunday Champagne brunch is popular, so call ahead.

-- Pauline.OConnor@latimes.com

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