Stopping in at Descanso Gardens anyday of the week is a treat for any age. I took my 2 year old and we hopped on the enchanted railroad ($2 per ride), we watched the beautiful koi, which you can find throughtout the garden, and ran around chasing butterflies. The duck, geese, and turtles were a great attraction for the entire family! This Garden is large, but if you stay in the bottom portion of the garden, which is where most of the fun is, you can visit, stroll, eat lunch, let your kid be a kid and leave -- all within 1-2 hours. If I could, I would visit everday. The day I came with my child, it was summer and the flower displays were amazing, the roses were bright and beautiful (5-acre rose garden!). Its located at 1418 Descanso Drive, just 10 minutes from Old Town Pasadena -- its off the 210 FWY off of Angeles Crest HWY. Call them at (818) 949-4290 for better directions. The best thing is that its open 7 days a week! OH... and the pictures we took are all going to be framed. There's a photo op in every corner of the place. (Its free parking, but $7 per adult to enter)
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens was established in 1919 by Henry and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington was a key figure in the development of Southern California in the early 20th century. In addition to being ridiculously rich, he was also an active collector of rare books, art, and plants. The library’s rare books and manuscripts constitute one of the world’s largest outside of the Library of Congress.
But for the everyday person, who isn’t interested in pouring through rare books, the true attraction is the gardens. There are over 120 acres of botanical gardens that are separated into specific regions, like jungle, rainforest, Japanese, desert, etc. The rose garden is amazing during the spring and summer. Lots of animals make this place their home. Great place to picnic, sketch, read, sleep ... anyting! There is also a little tea house in the Garden that is great for lunch. Just make sure you make reservations at least two weeks in advance.
The Gamble House was built in 1908 for the Gamble family (the Gamble in Procter & Gamble). The Gambles were from Cincinnati Ohio, this was to be their retirement home in the warmer California climate.
The architects of the Gamble House were Charles and Henry Greene, the style of the house is a Craftsman-style bungalow. I'm not overly wild about the exterior of this house but I couldn't help but be impressed by the thought of the hand placement of 37,000 wood shakes (according to the docent). I loved the interior of the house with it's arts and crafts influences, the hand made woodwork and the attention paid to detail-the clever furniture that had drawers that opened from both sides, the matching of design elements in the room to center on a particular vase or piece of furniture.
There are docent led tours every 20 minutes or so which if you are going to visit the interior of the house you have to join.
If you like the Craftsman (no relation to Sears, these are not houses that came in a box) style, I believe you can get a map of other similar houses in the area in the bookstore.
I've put a few more exterior pictures in my travelogue, they do not let you photograph inside, at least partially to avoid having people copy the design styles for commercial resale.
William Wrigley, the chewing gum guy, had this beautiful Italian Renaissance Mansion built between 1908 and 1914. It was one of his five homes in the US, his primary residence was in Chicago and he also had homes in Lake Geneva WI, Phoenix AZ, and Santa Catalina Island.
I didn't go inside but I understand that it is sometimes open for tours and I didn't know to look for the gardens, but I've read that they are open year round and feature roses, camellias and annuals.
Today, the mansion is the headquarters for the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, you can identify the mansion by the sign out front.
Pay attention to the details of the buildings on Colorado Ave. It's the old town of Pasadena, and some of the friezes, ironwork and tiles on these buildings are very beautiful. The buildings are done in art deco, beaux arts and manueline
Designed in 1908 by the architectural firm of Greene & Greene, the Japanese inspired Gamble House is the finest preserved example of the American Arts & Crafts movement. Impeccable design and craftsmanship make this house a "must see" in Pasadena. Exotic woods, unique carvings, and rare art glass throughout this house make it a memorable experience. The enitre home is a work of art. The house is filled with the original furnishings designed by the Greenes. The house is on the National Historic Register. The house offers a fantastic bookstore set up in the lovely garage. Fabulous books and gifts for anyone who loves art, style, or architecture.
Docent tours of the Gamble house are available from noon - 3pm
Wednesday through Sunday.
One of Pasadena's most unique buildings, the Castle Green was built in 1898 as the annex for the famous Hotel Green. The Castle Green is an imposing seven story Moorish Colonial and Spanish style building sitting next to Central Park in Old Pasadena at Raymond and Green Street. The apartments are now condominiums and for sale. The building is open ot the public once a year in December. Take a walk around the structure, it is truly an amazing building.
The Huntington is an oasis of art and culture set amidst 150 acres of breathtaking gardens. The Library features works from British and American history and literature, including an original Gutenberg Bible and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Three art galleries showcase 18th and 19th Century British and French masterpieces, including the "Blue Boy" and "Pinkie." Fifteen gardens feature 14,000 species of plants. Drive around the neighborhood of San Marino for a nice look at some lovely old mansions.
Tuesday - Friday, noon -
Saturday - Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-
Summer Hours: Tuesday -
Sunday, 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Founded in 1919 Henry and Arabella Huntington transferred their property and collections to a non-profit educational trust. This trust is The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens.
Arabella was responsible for a major portion of the art collection. Her collection can be seen in the west wing of the library. Her tastes ran to 18th century French sculpture, tapestries and porcelain.
The Huntington gallery (once the residence of the Huntingtons) houses the British and French art of the 18th and 19th centuries. I always enjoy seeing Lawrence's Pinky and Gainsborough's Blue Boy
Admission: Free to members, Non-members: $12.50 adults, $10.00 seniors, $8.50 children 12-18 or to those with a valid full time student ID, $5.00 ages 5-11, and under 5 Free
The Huntington is wheelchair accessible
The Huntington is a private, non-profit cultural and educational center. Founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington whose devotion to books, art and the cultivation of gardens left a legacy for countless numbers to enjoy.
The library is phenomenal. There are about four million rare books and manuscripts.
There is a Gutenberg Bible printed on vellum, early editions of William Shakespeare's works, the wonderfully illustrated over-sized edition of Audubon's Birds of America.
It is one of the largest research libraries in the United States.
Picture taking is allowed but no flash photography.
The Huntington Library is wheelchair accessible.
Admission: Free to members Non-members: $12.50 adults, $10.00 seniors, $8.50 children 12-18 or with a full time student ID, $5.00 children 5-11
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