Staycation at Residence Inn LAX – Part 2 of 3: C&O Trattoria


In August my son and I set out to experience an overnight stay at Residence Inn LAX, which is walking distance to the airport, some other hotels, a vacant lot, and a parking garage. We used the pool for a bit, and checked out the property, but that didn’t take very long and at around 5pm my son settled in to play video games on his handheld player.

That wasn’t what I had in mind!

I asked the concierge for some dinner recommendations and he gave me a little card with a few local restaurants on it, but nothing that really seemed right for both me and my picky eater.

I considered the advantages of our location. Here we were on the west side, which we never come to anymore because of the prohibitive traffic between it and The Bubble. I thought about finding some local friends to hang out with…on zero notice. Then I remembered the Venice canals.

Yes, the Residence Inn is still a 15-minute drive from the canals because of local traffic, but that’s still at least an hour closer than where we live. And why not? My son has shown interest in using my DSLR camera lately, so I thought maybe he’d enjoy taking pictures there.

IMG_2329He took this photo all by himself!

But it was dinner time, and the solution was upon me.

“You know what’s close to the Venice canals?” I asked my thoroughly disinterested son.

“Mmm?” he mumbled while still playing his game.

“C&O’s!” I exclaimed. “Get your stuff together, we’re going.”

He protested but followed anyway, only complaining a few times when we were stuck at a light on Lincoln and had trouble finding close parking (naturally) because that day Ciclavia had gone by this area. But before long we were sitting at a table on the patio section annexed to the main restaurant. I was excited because I was about to blow his mind with garlic knots and fresh pasta.


I had first visited C&O as a young, single woman in the 90’s with my friends. We roller bladed from Santa Monica, down the boardwalk, and ate dinner on this very same spot…roller blades and all. At some point during dinner, wait staff came out and led a sing-along of That’s Amore. I went back many times, but this was the first time I would be bringing my own child.



In the end, yes he loved the garlic knots, but of course he ate too many and so wasn’t really blown away by the cheese ravioli. I savored my chicken marsala and my nice cold wine, but my son’s favorite part of the whole experience was following the little painted footprints on the sidewalk to the restrooms. That was okay – we both enjoyed our visit, in our own special ways.

C&O Trattoria
31 Washington Blvd.
Marina del Rey, CA 90292

As we left, we began an impromptu photo walk in the colorful surroundings of Venice Beach, which, in our next episode, will take us among the Venice canals.





Staycation in Oxnard

IMG_2490For a short trip to a nice, affordable beachside town, consider Oxnard.

I know. It was a surprise to me too. But when Aunt Kathy and Aunt “Zoo” came from out of town and booked a suite at the Residence Inn there, I shrugged my shoulders and said “Why not?”

There really isn’t a reason why not. But there are plenty of reasons why.

The Beach – the beaches in Oxnard are rimmed with miles of white sand. The waves crash big and cold. There are two harbors to stroll along – Channel Islands and Ventura. On this trip with the kids, the evenings and days were a bit windy, so we favored Oxnard Beach Park with its imaginative play structures, vast stretches of grass, tumbling dunes, and endless beach.

mom and kyle on teeter totter

brady at oxnard beach park

sue and kathy at oxnard beach

boys at oxnard beach sunset

The Residence Inn is on the edge of the River Ridge golf course (which is not at all the same property so if you are tempted to take a shortcut by walking on the golf course, don’t). Arranged in a condo village pattern, this property has tennis courts, several pools, and a vast ballroom for conferences and events. One penthouse suite was enough to house three adults and two kids. There is a loft with a double bed, a bedroom with a king bed, a sofa with a pullout double bed, and two bathrooms. There is a sitting area for a “living room” and a kitchenette. Our room was pretty close to a small hot tub, but there were also several pools with more hot tubs just short walks away.

residence inn oxnard

It’s pretty tough to get a room there in the summertime, though, because the Dallas Cowboys take over the entire property for summer training. The sales rep who walked around with me dropped this casually into our conversation, but I kept stopping her to get more information about this. I mean, what?! A professional football team takes over…a Residence Inn, in Oxnard? Apparently it’s true, and also I am one of the last people on Earth to learn about it.

Points of interest, aside from the beach, include every major street around there because of all the fruit stands because of all the farms. We bought the last flat of strawberries off a truck by the side of the road that tasted like they jumped right off the plants. We also found a historic old Woolworth Building that now houses a little museum and a cafe right at Woolworth’s old lunch counter called Fresh and Fabulous.

woolworth building

This is a good spot if you are a golfer, (and if you like football and golf, try footgolf) but I also enjoyed it as a person who likes to walk. The days we spent there were balmy and gorgeous, and I strolled to a local park that was deserted except for one old lady who was doing laps around me.

green spaces near oxnard residence innBetween the hotel pool, the beach, and some driving around, we were tired enough each night to go to bed early, rising again early the next day eager to plunder the complimentary buffet breakfast.

Oxnard, everybody. Now you know!