Friday, May 23, 2014

The Huntington

A couple of weeks ago, my husband came home from work gushing about some place that a co-worker had told him about, a place that he proactively deemed my "Mecca." He was giddy. He couldn't wait to take me there. "There," however, was a top secret location that he refused to divulge.

We went last weekend.

"There" turned out to be The Huntington, a "private nonprofit collections-based research and educational institution founded in 1919 by Henry E. Huntington" (quote taken from The Huntington's official brochure). In case you're wondering, Huntington made all his money as a railroad baron. His legacy is located at 1151 Oxford Road in San Marino. For adults, the cost to get in is $20 during the week and $23 on weekends. It's open every day of the week besides Tuesday (and major holidays, of course). You'll be spending a lot of time outside, so go prepared.

My hubby was right. I loved this place. It's a library, art collections, and botanical gardens all rolled up into one totally awesome place. The only problem? It's huge. We were there for three hours (it was hot and I'd been on a hike earlier in the day so I was beat) and saw a lot but there was so much more to see. We'll have to go back, but I don't consider that a hardship.

One of the nice things about The Huntington is all the beautiful statues. They're located in several places throughout the grounds. The two below can be found on the North Vista Lawn:

Don't know if this is supposed to be anyone
in particular.

I assume this is Poseidon/Neptune.

The only art collection we saw was in the Huntington Art Gallery, which also featured this lovely library:

The bookcases were all locked. I suspect the books are original
to Mr. Huntington's collection.

It also had a small chapel in a tucked away corner of the building, which featured this stunning stained glass window:

I'm particularly fond of stained glass art.

This gallery features the Huntington's European art. A lot of it was Rococo, with a smattering of Baroque, both styles that I'm not big on. Below are a couple of paintings that I did really like. I was stupid and didn't write down the names of either of these paintings but Google is semi-awesome and helped me find the name of this one:

"Vesuvius from Portici" by Joseph Wright.

However, my Google-fu was too weak to find this one:

Love, love, love the colors in this.

There are a lot of gardens to see at the Huntington. We saw the sweet little Shakespeare Garden and part of the Subtropical Garden. I didn't take pictures in either of those. I did take a couple of pictures in the Rose Garden. The roses were on the way out but it was still very pretty:

Wish I could remember the name of this.
Strawberry cheesecake, I think.

This was called Lemons and Oranges.

My favorite garden was the Desert Garden, and we only saw part of it. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of cacti in the world.

I see at least four different kinds in this pic.

Love the orange flowers on this one.

Funny shape. Check out the furry palm
in the background.

We rounded out our visit at the Library Exhibition Hall, which has the largest collection of old books I've ever seen in my life. It was so cool! They had originals from many famous authors, including a copy of "Hamlet" from Shakespeare's time, and two rooms full of science books from throughout the ages. I didn't take any pictures because 1. I wasn't sure it was okay to do so and 2. I don't think the awesomeness of it can be conveyed in a picture. You really have to see it for yourself.

We missed out on: the Japanese Garden; the Chinese Garden; the Australian Garden (An Australian Garden! I wonder what's in it?); the Jungle Garden; the Herb Garden; the Lily Ponds; the Scott & Erburu Galleries, where they house the American art; and the Boone Gallery.

Honestly, I didn't realize that we had missed so much. Now I'm really looking forward to going back. This place is great! It's a definite must-see if you're in the LA area.


Patricia said...

Wow! That does look fantastic. I sense there will be a membership purchased in your future.

My favorite cacti was the one with the orange flowers!

balyien said...

I didn't even think of getting a membership! Dan sarcastically says he appreciates the suggestion, haha.