Monday, January 21, 2008

Huntington Gardens

One of my favorite places to visit in all of Southern California is The Huntington Library and Gardens. I have been at least 100 times over the years, if not more, and am amazed every time.

Driving down Allen Ave from the 210 you enter the grounds through a massive black, elaborate gate, greeted by a friendly security guard and with a wave of his hand granted entrance to the massive 600-acre estate full of every kind of flower, climate, tree, and herb. It is a true urban escape. You forget that you're 30 minutes from LA. You can pretend you're an honored guest of the Huntington's as you wander over their expansive lawn, read in a secluded cluster of trees on a hidden bench or let your kids run free.

Incredibly beautiful, peaceful and serene this former estate of Henry and Isabella Huntington was built to focus on their massive art, books and landscaping passions. Gardens include: Rose, Japanese, Chinese, Camellia, Shakespeare, Childrens, Jungle and Palm. Click here to see what's in bloom.

There are continual exhibits, rotating collections and perennial favorites on display in one of the several on-site galleries including the Huntington Art Gallery, Virginia Steele Scott Gallery, and Boone Gallery. Favorite events every year is the Shakespeare Festival, Plant Sales, Flower Shows, and countless lectures to enrich your historical, horticultural brain.

One of my most favorite things is having tea in this beautiful setting. A buffet approach, this is a great way to start or cap off your trip to the gardens. It's a bit pricey, $24.95 plus the cost of admission. It is worth the treat! The tea is competitively price for tea in the Pasadena area.

You can visit the gardens for free on the first Thursday of the month, with prior reservation. Otherwise, as of 2010, it costs $15 M-Th and $20 on weekends. Members always get in for free. It is so worth it!

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