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What’s Happening in Hollywood and Beyond?

I am absolutely sure that if you are coming to Southern California, you are probably going to ask yourself – what’s happening in Hollywood?

Well, the very first thing you will want to see is the Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. If you are driving from south to north on Beachwood Dr, you will catch a glimpse of that world-famous Hollywood Sign that you have seen in so many movies.

We have three suggestions of not-to-be-missed tourist attractions.

  1. Chinese Theatre for hand and footprints of as many as 200 Hollywood Stars.
  2. Hollywood Forever Memorial Park to see graves of Stars of the past.
  3. Griffith Park Observatory for a great view of the vast City of L.A. and you go see a laser show of the stars at night. And we’re talking about stars in the sky, not on Hollywood Blvd.

Along the sidewalks of Hollywood Blvd from La Brea to Vine and along Vine Street as well, you will find the “Walk of Fame” featuring celebrity plaques that you’ve only seen on TV.

Here’s another great idea: if you decide to visit the “Hollywood Forever” cemetery, from the front gates you can actually see the Hollywood Sign.

Keep in mind when you are planning your trip that Hollywood is just a very small part of everything you may want to see while you are in Los Angeles. It’s cool to see the Capitol Records Building or visit Madame Tussauds, but not far to the south is the “Miracle Mile” with the L.A. County Museum of Art, Petersen Automotive Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits.

As you make your way from the Fairfax area, going west, you will pass through Beverly Hills. Many of L.A.s best restaurants are in Beverly Hills such as Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. Speaking of hotels, don’t miss the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Beverly Wilshire which is where “Pretty Woman” was filmed and the world-class Peninsula Hotel.

There is a lot of fun shopping in Beverly Hills including Rodeo Drive.

That’s the buzz on Hollywood through Beverly Hills. Please make sure you find your way with our detailed Hollywood Street Map, which gives you a great start in knowing where to start and where you want to go.

Happy travels!

Maxine at Global Graphics

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Map of California’s Historic Mission Trail: the El Camino Real and Spanish Missions

El Camino Real and the Spanish Missions in California

Look at the beautiful experience you are missing! From their humble, thatch-roofed beginnings to the stately adobes we see today, the missions represent a dynamic chapter of California’s past. We personally think there ‘s nothing more exciting than history, up close and personal.

By the time the last mission was built in 1823, the Golden State had grown from an untamed wilderness to a thriving agricultural frontier on the verge of American statehood.

Now that you have a little bit of background, let’s talk about the missions themselves.

Spanish Missions in California

The 21 missions that comprise California’s historic mission trail. All are located on or near Highway 101, which roughly traces El Camino Real or  The Royal Road. Apply named in honor of the Spanish monarchy which financed the expeditions into California in the quest for empire.

From San Diego to Los Angeles, the historic highway is now known as Interstate 5. Then from Santa Clarita to San Francisco, the road is called State Highway 82. Continuing on north of San Francisco, Highway 101 again picks up the trail to the Mission at San Rafael. From there, State Highway 37 leads to the last Mission at Sonoma.

Historic El Camino Real

Need help planning your trip to visit the California Missions? Get your California Missions map to visit all 21 historic missions. The first leg of El Camino Real was forged by General Gaspar de Portola on his journey from San Diego to find Monterey Bay. Tracing his path, missionaries, colonists, and soldiers all traveled its dusty stretches. It was the only road between the few civilized outposts.

The road was later identified with the missions because the Padres maintained the roadway and offered hospitable lodging to all. It served as the north-south stagecoach route after California became a state in 1850. In the 1920s, bronze mission bells were placed along the highway to let motorists know they were traveling the historic El Camino Real.

Largely reconstructed after the ravages of time, weather, earthquakes, and neglect, most of the missions still operate as active Catholic parishes, with regularly scheduled services, hours of operation and fees may vary.



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Wilderness in Your Pocket: Southwest Indian Country [Part 4]

Wilderness in Your Pocket_ Southwest Indian Country-Part 4

Hopi occupied several mesa villages in N.E. Arizona. In 1540, they were visited by some of Francisco Coronado’s men under Pedro de Tovar. However, because of their geographical isolation, they remained more independent of European influence than other Pueblo groups. Pueblos in the foothills were abandoned.  New villages were built on the mesas for defense against possible attack by the Spanish.

During the 18th and 19th century the Hopi were subjected to frequent raids by the neighboring Navaho. The region was pacified by the U.S. Army in the late 19th century. Consequently, a Hopi reservation was established in 1882. The ambiguous status of much of the reservation enabled Navaho populations to encroach on traditional Hopi lands. The Hopi are sedentary farmers, mainly dependent on corn, beans, and squash. However, they also raise wheat, cotton, and tobacco, and herd sheep. Political and religious duties revolved around the clans.

Navaho History of the Early Southwest Region

Navaho settled among the Pueblo. They also assimilated with the Shoshone and the Yuma both physically and culturally while keeping a distinct social group. They are a composite group with over 50 separate clans.

In the 17th century, they occupied the region between the San Juan and Little Colorado rivers in N.E. Arizona. Additionally, they ranged far outside that territory. The Navaho were a predatory tribe. They constantly raided the Pueblo and later the Spanish and Mexican settlements of New Mexico.

When the Americans occupied New Mexico (c.1846), the Navaho pillaged their settlements. Kit Carson subdued them in 1863-64 by destroying the Navaho’s sheep. A majority were imprisoned for four years at Fort Sumner in New Mexico. In 1868 they were released from prison. They were given a reservation of 3.5 million acres (1,41,000 hectares) in N.E. Arizona, N.W. New Mexico, and S.E. Utah. By the early 1970s, they constituted the largest Native American group in the United States. Their reservation has grown to over 16 million acres (6,475,000 hectares).

Take your own adventure through the Southwest Native American area. Here’s our Southwest Indian Country Map.



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Wilderness in Your Pocket: Southwest Indian Country [Part 3]

Wilderness in Your Pocket Southwest Indian Country-Part 3

The still occupied Hopi, Zuni, and Acoma Pueblos date back 700 years. The Europeans who settled in the Southwest adopted the adobe structures and compact village plans of the Pueblos. The Pueblos adopted many domestic animals and various crafts from the Old World, including blacksmithing and woodworking.

Early Tribe Culture of Southwest Region Peoples

The Western Pueblos, including the Hano, Zuni, Acoma, Laguna, and the Hopis have houses and gardens owned by women. The kachina cult emphasizes weather control, and the Pueblos who follow this cult are governed by a council of clan representatives. The Kachina and other secret societies dealing with war, agriculture, and healing still carry out their complicated rituals and dances.For some occasions, the public is invited. The reservation population in Arizona and New Mexico was just over 380,000 in 2013.

The kachinas (katchina), or kachinam, are impersonated by elaborately costumed masked male members of the tribes who visit Pueblo villages the first half of the year. In various ceremonies, they dance, sing, bring gifts to the children. As well as, sometimes administer public scoldings. Originally intended to instruct the children about the hundreds of kachina spirits, the finer carvings have become collector’s items.

Native Americans of the Anasazi culture were builders of cliff dwellings found principally on the tributaries of the Rio Grande and Colorado Rivers in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. Established between 11th-14th century by the ancestors of the Pueblo, dwellings featured large communal habitations built on ledges in the canyon walls and on the flat tops of the mesas. Access to the cliffs was very difficult and thus highly defensible against nomadic predatory tribes such as the Navaho. In addition, Kivas show that their religious ceremonies were like those of the Pueblo today. Examples of these dwelling can be seen in Colorado at Mesa Verde National Park and Yucca House National Monument. Additionally, in Utah at Hovenweep National Monument. Finally, in Casa Grande, Montezuma Castle, and Wupatki.

Take your own adventure through the Southwest Native American area. Here’s our Southwest Indian Country Map.


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Wilderness in Your Pocket: Southwest Indian Country [Part 2]

Wilderness in Your Pocket_ Southwest Indian Country [Part 2]

Basket Makers were predecessors of the Pueblo, they are jointly referred to by archaeologists as the Anasazi culture. One system of dating places their arrival in the area as early as 1500 BCE. They lived chiefly in houses with adobe floors and learned to grow corn and squash, probably from southern neighbors in Mexico.

History and Culture of Southwest Indians

The name “Pueblo” was given by the Spanish to the sedentary Native Americans. Their prehistoric settlements are known as the Anasazi and Mogollon cultures. These settlements extended southward from S. Utah and S. Colorado into Arizona. As well as, into New Mexico into adjacent territory in Mexico. Pottery manufacture began about 400 CE and was used primarily for cooking and water storage. Clothing was woven from cotton, grown in warmer areas, and yucca fiber. Early houses of the Anasazi and Mogollon were structures called pit houses.

The Pueblo villages were variable in size and architectural content. However, most included circular, often subterranean structures known as kivas. Large Pueblo settlements were found at Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde, dating back to the 11th and early 12th century. Changing climatic conditions forced the abandonment of much of the region by the early 14th century. These populations migrated to their present-day locations in the Rio Grande valley and other isolated areas including the Hopi mesas.

In 1540, when the Spaniards led by Coronado entered the Rio Grande area, the seven Zuni towns there were thought to be the fabulous Seven Cities of Cibola. In 1598, missionary work increased and Spanish colonial government reigned from Santa Fe. By 1630, 60,000 Pueblos had converted to Christianity. Determined to put an end to the suffering caused by their Spanish oppressors, the Pueblos staged a successful revolt in 1680. In 1692 De Vargas, with the cooperation of some Pueblo leaders, reconquered the Pueblos in New Mexico. The Western Pueblos, however, including the Hopi, remained independent.

Take your own adventure through the Southwest Native American area. Here’s our Southwest Indian Country Map.