Best Way to See Palos Verdes Real Estate:
The best way to see Palos Verdes Real Estate is to drive along beautiful Palos Verdes Drive. This is one of the finest drives in the United States and tops the list of things to do. Palos Verdes Drive West and South are the highlights, a seaside “yellow brick road” that traces the cliffs, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. Palos Verdes Drive(s) (north, west, east, and south) encircle the Peninsula. The “center” of Palos Verdes Real Estate consists of several upscale residential neighborhoods (only a few of which are gated), and while beautiful, are not exactly a tourist destination.
The best place to start a tour of Palos Verdes is on Palos Verdes Drive West travelling southbound from the intersection with Palos Verdes Drive North. Your first stop: Malaga Cove Plaza.
- Malaga Cove (on Palos Verdes Drive West) is home to a charming shopping plaza and library that feature beautiful Spanish Renaissance architecture. The plaza, library, and original homes were built starting in the late 1920s. Park in the Plaza. The fountain statue of Neptune is a copy of a famous statue in Bologna, Italy. The library is one block uphill behind the plaza’s south side. Resume your trip by turning left (south) on Palos Verdes Drive West. The road takes you through beautiful Mediterranean style homes that cling to steep cliffs.
- The Neighborhood Church – Make sure while you are in the Malaga Cove area that you stop by and see the stunning Neighborhood Church. It has a fascinating history and the grounds are stunning. It was built by J. J. Haggarty, a wealthy merchant businessman, in 1927 to be his summer home. Built on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the house was built by one of the finest Italian architects. The cost to built his summer home was $750,000. The completed home had the finest marbles, frescos, fireplaces, and gardens. Eventually J. J. Haggarty’s business started to fall apart and the house exchanged hands multiple times. In 1949, it went on the real estate market initially for $250,000. The current church congregation placed a bid for the grounds for $60,000. The bid was accepted and the Neighborhood Church was born. Many of the frescos are still viewable and the actual church sanctuary is stunning with open beamed ceilings still showing the initials of JJH. It’s a lovely place to get married with many picturesque backdrops and is right around the corner from the center of this quaint village.
- Lunada Bay is the next village (not a formal city) in Palos Verdes Estates. Lunada Bay also boasts a lovely fountain and a tiny, charming commercial district. The next attraction is the famous Point Vicente Lighthouse.
- Point Vicente Lighthouse (on PV Drive South) is perched on spectacular cliffs that face Catalina Island. The grounds and lighthouse are normally closed to the public. However, the tower and a small museum are open the second Saturday of month between the hours of 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Admission is free. For recorded information, call (310) 541-0334. There are well-kept trails near the lighthouse that offer great views. These trails are accessed by turning right (go south) at the intersection of Palos Verdes Drive West and Hawthorne. You will drive through a large tract of recently built $3-$6 million dollar homes. Drive down to the cliffs and park. This area has good public access and parking, which the city provided as part of the plan to develop this area. The trails are wide and easy to walk, offering great views of the lighthouse. You can hike a steep trail down to tidepools from an unmarked spot near the parking lot. The visitor center next to the light house has information about grey whales which migrate off shore on their annual reproductive voyage from the Arctic Circle to Baja California. Next turn right on Palos Verdes Drive South and continue your journey.
- Terranea Resort on your right opened in June 2009 on the former site of Marineland of the Pacific. The 400-room hotel has an oceanfront spa, challenging 9-hole, par 3 golf and 7 restaurants and lounges. The trails around and through the resort are open to the public and there are even doggie resting stations near several of the restaurants. The site has been used for filming many movies and television shows, including Sea Hunt which launched Lloyd Bridges’ career and popularized diving and environmentalism. One of Terranea’s restaurants is named Nelson’s for the Mike Nelson character Bridges played on Sea Hunt.
- Abalone Cove on your right is a lovely, remote, uncrowded beach. Trails lead from the beach to Portuguese Bend to the left and Inspiration Point, which is further to the left (south). Parking is $5. Portuguese Bend is named after shore whalers whose station was in this cove in from 1874 to 1877. Abalone cove is named after the Abalone shells, once found along the beach, that were a mainstay of the whalers’ diet.
- Wayfarer’s Chapel  (on the left hand side of Palos Verdes Drive South) is the jewel of the tour– a stunningly beautiful little chapel – unique in all of the world. The chapel is virtually all glass, surrounded by beautiful trees, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The gardens are also impeccable. A lot of people are married here. Located on a knoll overlooking Portuguese Bend, the “glass church” was designed by Lloyd Wright, architect and son of Frank Lloyd Wright. Built as a memorial to philosopher and religious reformer Emanuel Swedenborg, it was designed to serve as a chapel for meditation and prayer for wayfarers. Like his father, Lloyd Wright practiced an organic architecture and he said the inspiration for the church came from his spiritual feelings visiting a Redwood Forest, surrounded by the majesty of the giant trees. The chapel is constructed of redwood, glass and local stone. Note the use of the triangle throughout the chapel. Words or photos can not do the chapel justice. Continue southward on Palos Verdes Drive West.
- Portuguese Bend has been suffering massive land slippage. You will notice the bumpy road which is repaved every few weeks. The land in this area has moved more than 400 feet seaward, and continues to creep toward the ocean. A building moratorium exists in many areas. Several homes in the worst landslide areas continue to be occupied, with the homeowners leveling their homes by the use of hydraulic jacks. A great blessing from the land movement has been the preservation of more than 1,000 acre as as open space. This area is one of the largest natural spaces along the Ocean in Southern California and offers fabulous hiking and biking trails with spectacular Ocean Views. The Palos Verdes Land Conservancy , a volunteer group of local residents, has worked tirelessly to fund raise and make arrangements to acquire much of this acreage.
- Ocean Trails/Trump Golf Course is next on your right. Before Donald Trump bought the course, the 18th hole fell into the ocean. “The Donald” reportedly spent $27 million to buy the Ocean Trails property in 2002 and then plowed an additional $61 million into the tricky and complicated engineering work required to re-stabilize the land under the 18th hole. In spite of all this some local geologists still predict a repeat. With his typical and comical grandiosity, the self-promoter declares the course even better than Pebble Beach. Nonetheless, the course is lovely, has hosted an LPGA tournament, has an ocean view from every hole, and offers a great Sunday brunch. It also holds the distinction of being the only US club in the Trump chain that’s open to the public.
- Hiking and Equestrian Trails – there are many great nature trails around PV. The geology and plants are similar to the Channel Islands.
Palos Verdes Education System:
The Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District has one of the highest rated API scores in California and has one of the highest average SAT scores and one of the highest percentage of students successfully completing the Advanced Placement exams in the county. There are three high schools, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (formerly called Rolling Hills High School), Palos Verdes High School (the latter located just a half block from the Pacific Ocean), and Rancho Del Mar High School (located in Rolling Hills). Marymount College, a co-ed Roman Catholic two-year college is located in Rancho Palos Verdes. A private K-12 school, Chadwick School, is also located there. Rolling Hills Preparatory School, a private 6-12 school is also located on the peninsula. Rolling Hills Country Day School, adjacent to the Botanic Garden, offers a private K-8 education.
Parks and Recreation:
The area is frequented by runners, hikers, horseback riders, bird watchers, surfers, scuba divers, and bicyclists. The area is home to several golf courses and country clubs. In addition, nude sunbathers formerly frequented Sacreds Cove (or “Smugglers Cove”) until the city of Rancho Palos Verdes enacted a 1994 ordinance that ended such use of that beach.
The infamous Palos Verdes surf spots have been in the spotlight many times over issues of “localism“. The most notorious surf spot for localism in Palos Verdes is Lunada Bay, which can hold any winter swell and has been known to rival Sunset Beach, Hawaii on a big day. Localism in Palos Verdes reached a turning point in 2001 when a civil rights lawsuit was filed after a particularly violent confrontation with Hermosa Beach surfers.  Surveillance cameras were placed in the surfing area but were later removed.
The Trump National is a Donald Trump venture with a golf course on the Ocean Trails cliffs. The 18th hole of the prior golf course fell victim to a landslide caused by a leak in the sanitary pipes underneath it. Trump has been heavily criticized for poorly managing the property, including dismissing employees en masse, failing to keep it in business, and upsetting locals with unnecessary and/or unapproved construction. In the summer of 2006, the Trump Organization illegally erected a 70 foot flagpole but was allowed to retain it after a City Council vote .
The Marineland of the Pacific site near Portuguese Bend is currently home of Terranea, a luxury oceanfront resort.
Notable Places in Palos Verdes:
Shipwrecks off the Palos Verdes Peninsula
- The wreck of the Dominator, a freighter that ran aground in 1961, was for years, a rather bizarre attraction for those willing to hike down the cliffs to the shoreline. Very little is left of the ship today.
- In 2006, the 45 foot cabin cruiser Lady Hawk sank 2 miles from the Palos Verdes coast due to an engine fire .
- Marineland of the Pacific is the location of the former aquatic theme park on the coast.
The area where Marineland once stood subsequently served as an outdoor set for commercials, film productions, and, in 1996, the MTV Beach House. Fox filmed some scenes of its teen drama, The OC, at locations in and around Palos Verdes
Some Cultural Palos Verdes Trivia:
The novels The Tribes of Palos Verdes by author Joy Nicholson, and The Mark of Conte by Sonia Levitin, describe life from a teenager’s perspective in Palos Verdes.
Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean films were partly photographed on and off the coast of Palos Verdes Peninsula. A tent city for production was constructed in the Redondo Beach Marina. The Black Pearl and several production vessels were seen on the waters daily as were helicopters filming for overhead shots.
Overhead shots were used for the fictional town of Costa Verde in Heroes, in the episode I Am Become Death
In a recent episode of South Park, the character of Towelie went to a Rehab center in Rancho Palos Verdes that seemed to vaguely resemble the Terranea Resort.
Our agents and realtors at PV Brokers are a qualified hard working team that bring many years of local experience and knowledge. We have successfully represented both homebuyers and sellers in all areas of the Palos Verdes Luxury Homes Market. You will benefit from our extensive knowledge of Palos Verdes and Rolling Hills real estate, its neighborhoods, market conditions and financing. With the experienced team of fulltime dedicated, professional palos verdes real estate agents, we will keep you up-to-date with the total inventory of unlisted and listed Palos Verdes Real Estate Listings in all four cities on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
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