October 26, 2018

A “Deliberately” Enriching Day at the Huntington Library & Gardens

“I wished to live deliberately.” That’s what Henry David Thoreau wrote in 1846 in Walden, a valuable autographed manuscript which is on display in the Huntington Library.  A similar sentiment could also be applied to the 51 DayTripper Tours passengers who decided to spend an unforgettable day deliberately enriching their lives exploring the Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens.  It was a day very well spent.

It began in the fog.  Driver Reuben masterfully negotiated the Wednesday rush hour traffic out of San Diego and before you knew it, we were in the sun gliding through the extremely expensive neighborhood of San Marino, near Pasadena. Designed by its founders to be uniquely residential with expansive properties surrounded by beautiful gardens and wide streets, San Marino’s median home price in 2018 is $2,172,000.  So fitting then, that the Huntington is located here. What is the Huntington? It has been described as a “crown jewel and an intellectual crossroads.” It is most definitely one of this country’s great cultural and educational centers.

There is something for everyone here depending on your passion, so after we arrived in the late morning, everyone went their own way to explore that which pulled them the most. Over 750,000 visitors a year come to The Huntington.  Although I have been several times, I had never walked to the mausoleum on the hill where both Henry and his wife Arabella Huntington are buried. It looks like a miniature Jefferson Memorial and in fact was designed by the architect who later designed that famous monument in Washington, D.C.  After paying my respects, I wandered over to the Chinese Garden where I found several Daytrippers marveling at the beauty.

A solo musician played a Chinese flute in the Love for the Lotus Pavilion, the haunting strains of music floating over the koi-filled pond. Balance and harmony are key elements everywhere you look, from the water symbolizing the ever-changing, to the rocks symbolizing the eternal. You can’t help but feel your spirit deliberately elevated just being here… Following a wooded path along bubbling stream brought me to the equally scenic Japanese Garden with its photographic moon bridge. There were many couples in my group and I was happy to take photos of them together whenever I could.  The flowing branches of a weeping willow tree framed one couple perfectly there. I hope they enlarge their portrait and have it framed. It, and they, were beautiful. I spied another couple in seventh heaven in the Rose Garden.  Yes, I took their picture too.  Time was quickly passing, so I had to do a faster-than-I-would-have-liked walk through the mansion which was the original residence of the Henry and Arabella.  Today, it is one of three art galleries on the property and contains one of the most comprehensive collections in the country of 18th and 19th century British and French art. I couldn’t leave without popping in the Library building and resting my eyes on one of the original Gutenberg Bibles dating to 1455.  (Only 12 are known to exist in the world!) As we boarded the motor coach to head south to San Diego, we indeed felt we had lived this day deliberately in the beauty of The Huntington.

– Pat Brown
DayTripper Tour Manager
Tour: Huntington Library & Gardens
October 24, 2018


Categories: Blog