Drive Time: About 45 minutes to an hour from furthest points in LA or OC.
Weather: Very hot during summer. Temperate the rest of the year, but can get cool at night.
Stay: Hotel Casa 425 – at the corner of Oberlin and First Streets (as far as I can tell it’s the ONLY hotel located inside the Village)
Eat: You can walk to any cuisine you crave. The Back Abbey is a gastropub located right in “back” of the hotel which is a good choice for lunch – simply because it is busier in the evenings. We chose the Hip Kitty Jazz and Supper Club for dinner – a “swanky” spot right across the street from the hotel in the Packing House building. We ate late at around 8pm when the entertainment started, so it was perfect. Oooh! You gotta try I Like Pie Bake Shop. A small continental breakfast bar and coffee is served downstairs in the lobby.
Play: Laemmle Claremont movie theater right outside the hotel. Huell Howser covered the Folk Music Center which is a museum of vintage instruments. Hip Kitty Jazz & Supper Club was enough entertainment for us. Foothill Blvd is the original Route 66. Take a Guided Walking Tour with Claremont Heritage.
Nature: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, lots of bike paths, and opportunities to walk outdoors on tree-lined streets. We also took in the nearby Huntington Library & Gardens — or you could even stop at the LA Arboretum.
Claremont Village is between I-10 and the 210 Freeway a little east of San Dimas and closer to the mountains than Pomona. It’s a college town and the “Village” portion is the perfect place to park and explore on foot. There’s even a Metrolink stop at the Claremont Depot that drops off a few blocks from the hotel – so you don’t even have to drive at all. The furthest spot I’d recommend visiting from the hotel is reachable by bike — which you can check out on a first-come, first-serve basis from the hotel. You can see a map of Claremont Village and directory of businesses on thevillageclaremont.com.
AM: I picked my LA mom friend up in Santa Clarita around 10am. She’s from Nebraska and had been missing her “small town” roots. So I took her on a birthday weekend getaway tour of all the small towns I could think of between LA —> Claremont —> and back. (That’s for another getaway guide!) However, she’d never been to Huntington Library & Gardens in San Marino off the 210. So we stopped there for lunch and a stroll. We are members so the cost of this stop was only lunch. You can have afternoon tea at the Huntington, but we weren’t in a dress-up mood. So we had a lovely Chinese food lunch by the lake. I snapped this pic from our table! It was so peaceful and relaxing.
But if we wanted to head straight to Claremont, we could have had a late lunch at The Back Abbey.
PM: But for our trip, we arrived in Claremont Village right around check-in time and got into our room. Our room was MASSIVE. It’s definitely more of an adult boutique hotel with a fireplace and hip bar in the lobby, but I’ve never been in a hotel room so big! When I made the reservation I could choose between the Premier Queen and the Premier Queen Executive which was only $10-$20 more. So, of course, I upgraded.
My friend was completely exhausted. You know how you get that rush of tired right after leaving home? You’re supposed to go out and enjoy yourself, but all you want to do is sleep! So, guess what? I let her sleep and recharge for a half hour and then she was all rested and ready to enjoy our evening out. There’s a beautiful outside courtyard with fire pits at the hotel and I just put up my feet and read my book. Loved it!
We had a glass of wine and appetizers during Happy Hour in the outside courtyard. And then went out to walk the Village. We made it to the Folk Music Center just before they closed. and then window shopped and checked menus around the rest of the Village. It’s a great atmosphere here and lots of people were out at restaurants. We got our pies at the I Like Pie Bake Shop and kept them in the fridge in the room for later.
We picked the Hip Kitty for a late dinner because my friend is a musician and she wanted to see the show. It was a great band and we had front row seats. Very rich fondue and mac & cheese choices that they make at your table — and a $5 cover on Fridays and Saturdays.
AM: Unfortunately, I ended up with the stomach flu (or maybe it was the pie?), so we weren’t able to finish our trip the way I had wanted. How come it always happens when we finally get a chance for a getaway? But here’s what we would have done in the morning if we had stayed:
- We would have gone back out to walk around town in daylight after our light continental breakfast at the hotel.
- Then maybe we would have taken a bike ride before checkout time?
- Our final stop would have been a trip to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden – where I’m also a member – for walking through the lush California landscapes. It’s beautiful in Spring!
Hotel was somewhat pricey at $200+, but the room was HUGE and breakfast was included. Plus, I never have the opportunity to “get away” with this friend so it was worth it! I treated this time, but it would have been more manageable if we split it. The rest was just the cost of food and there were tons of markets in town, plus space to eat in our room if we wanted to save some $$ along the way.
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