After a series of columns on local developments gone wrong and on the twisted history of Verdugo Hill Golf Course, it’s time to lighten up with news of some fun outings here in CV that you can take with family, friends, or even alone.
Miniature golf was once a staple our community – a perfect spot to go with friends, with a date, or just to hang out. It was a simple, uncomplicated pleasure, and cheap to boot! La Crescenta hasn’t had a mini-golf course for several decades now, but we can revisit those innocent pleasures at the new Golf ‘N Grill on the far west side of CV, at 6500 Foothill.
This is a classic old-school miniature golf course, fronted by a small restaurant that was just built last year. It’s fresh and new, but echoes of the mini-golf courses we grew up with. A new twist – scattered through the course they have these spinning wheels that you must spin before going to the next tee. They instruct each player on how to tee off at the next hole: “Tee off using the wrong end of the golf club” or “Tee off facing backwards with the club behind you.” It guarantees hilarity! The golf course is below the restaurant, so the smell of cooking food is with you the entire game, and afterwards a lunch, dinner or snack can be enjoyed at outdoor tables overlooking the golf course.
Another fun local entertainment spot that has been with us for 75 years but is just now reopening to the public is the Montrose Bowling Alley. This tiny eight-lane bowling alley was built in 1936, and has changed very little since then. In the 40s and 50s this bowling alley was a social hotspot for CV, and bowling scores and gossip were regularly reported in the newspaper. As time passed and other forms of entertainment became fashionable, the Montrose Bowl slept like Rip Van Winkle, never changing.
It has reawakened in the last couple of decades as a film location, but has been only open for private parties, a mix of hip adult parties at night and kids’ parties during the day. It just recently reopened as a public alley on Monday nights and it’s a treat, both for kids and adults. For kids, its smaller size makes it less intimidating, and for adults it’s like stepping back in time. Don’t expect any flash here. There are no computerized scorekeepers – you have to count your pins and write them with a grease pencil on an overhead projector. The décor is right out of a ‘50s movie, and in fact may seem familiar in that it is often used as a film location for period movies and TV spots. Signed celebrity photos line the walls next to the classic bar and grill that faces the bowling action. A truly fun spot for both kids and adults.
Reading was a big part of my childhood and my favorite haunts were, and are, the library and local bookstores. I’m happy to say our community is still a paradise for life-long readers like myself. The best kid’s bookstore ever, Once Upon A Time, our beautiful libraries, and the Flintridge Bookstore are just magic. But we have a new hotspot for reading locally with the opening of Ocean View Books in Montrose, just a couple doors down from the intersection of Ocean View and Honolulu. This new one is a special breed, however, specializing in used and rare books. It’s absolutely intoxicating to smell that musty smell when you walk in and get lost in the floor to ceiling aisles of forgotten works! A great suggestion – find an old book or magazine you like, and take it next door to the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for a cup of coffee and an outdoor read. It’s a nice way to spend an afternoon in Montrose.
We live in one of the best communities in L.A. Celebrate that fact by enjoying what we have just blocks from where we live. Have fun right here in our own hometown.
Mike Lawler is the president of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.