For my first stairwalk of the spring, I joined author Charles Fleming and about sixty other stair walkers as he took us on stairwalk #3, Glassell Park North, from his book “Secret Stairs—a Walking Guide to the Hidden Staircases of Los Angeles.” Charles said the walk actually encompasses three different areas—Glassell Park, Echo Park, and Mount Washington. There are a lot of trees and great views of the San Gabriel mountains. Charles leads stairwalks on the first Sunday of every month and sometimes he will even take us to stairs that are not included in his book. This walk was one of those times and I was glad for that. The first time I did this walk I did it by myself. I was glad to do it again with my fellow stairwalkers. One of the stairwalkers, who I have gotten to know over the course of several months of stairwalks, told Charles he thought I should get a plaque or award for doing all the stairwalks from the book “secret Stairs.” Charles replied he knows I did all the walks and asked me if I had a Secret Stairs T-shirt. I replied I did not and Charles gave me one for free. It’s a nice shirt and I wore it after I got home. I will be sure to wear it on future stairwalks.
When we started on our walk, it was quite windy. But after awhile, the wind died down and it warmed up quite a bit. The first staircase was wooden and goes back to the time when all public stairs were made from timber. The second staircase is a zigzag design with 132 steps and the landings are painted with murals. I asked Charles if the landings were painted when he published the book, because he doesn’t mention them being painted. He told me that they were, but the paintings were faded and very dull. Apparently they have been painted over. I don’t know who painted over them but they did a nice job.
At the end of the walk, those who wanted to continue for another 20 minutes and see staircases that are not included in the book can follow Charles. My friends and I did the second part and afterwards we went to eat at Auntie Em’s Kitchen. Charles mentions Auntie Em’s in his book, as a place to have breakfast before starting the walk. Auntie Em’s is a retro style eatery with striped wall paper and a market right next door. The first time I did this walk I started at Auntie Em’s but I did not notice the market. The market has cakes, cup cakes, pastries, jams, candy, and an assortment of interesting items. One thing I was glad to see was lavender sugar. I had wanted to make lavender sweet tea for the longest time and now I can. The lavender came from Little Sky Lavender Farm in Boulder California and I am so thankful that I have found a lavender farm where I can get lavender products and recipes. After about a 20 minute wait, we were seated at an outside table. The tables have flowered table clothes and the dishes are all different patterns. My plate was white with red polka dots. The 2-sided menu was also very interesting with pictures of dogs on both the front and back. Apparently the best time to go to Auntie Em’s is for early breakfast because they ran out of a lot of items by the time we arrived, which was a little after one PM. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meal and thanked me for suggesting the restaurant. I told them “don’t thank me, thank Charles for mentioning Auntie Em’s in his book.”