A Place of Beauty and Peace in Unsettling Times

December 3, 2020 Updated: December 3, 2020

During troubled times, what we often long for is nature, and that’s doubly true after several months of being confined in our homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, with the promise of a vaccine in the near future, one of my best recommendations for anyone visiting the Los Angeles area is the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. We discovered this refuge just before the lockdowns began, which at least gave us the comfort of our memories.

When people are no longer isolating, this will be the place to go for long walks on easy pathways through vast, spectacular gardens that go on for 120 acres and cover six continents. Most of the species are named, so this is the perfect place for gardeners and anyone interested in learning botany. However, the most fun is just to stroll. You’ll see myriad colorful plants at any time of year and enjoy the birdsongs from the trees and shrubs around you.

Some of our favorites were the Palm Garden, the Desert Garden filled with cacti and succulents, the Jungle Garden, and the Subtropical Garden. The Japanese Garden includes a traditional teahouse and moon bridge, and the Chinese Garden of Flowering Fragrance is situated on a small lake. Because it’s all outside, you can still distance yourself from others and find solace in a safe and comforting environment.

cacti
The Cactus Garden at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., features many varieties of cacti and succulents. (Courtesy of Bill Neely)

Henry Huntington’s uncle, Collis, and a few other investors created the nation’s transcontinental railroad empire. Henry moved to California at age 42, when Los Angeles County had only 170,000 people. In 1903, he paid $240,000 for his 600-acre ranch, but by 1910, his fortune had grown by $25 million. He also owned the Southern Pacific Electric Railroad in downtown Los Angeles and several other entities. Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey designed the home that he shared with his wife, Arabella, who had been an art collector when he married her.

Situated among the gardens, the house was completed in 1911 and ultimately became the library and art museum.

Epoch Times Photo
One of Frederic Remington’s “Bronco Buster” sculptures resides at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif. (Courtesy of Bill Neely)

The library houses rotating exhibits of priceless historical documents and books, and the museum’s permanent collection includes such treasures as Mary Cassatt’s “Breakfast in Bed,” Edward Hopper’s “The Long Leg,” and “Blue Boy” by Thomas Gainsborough. Special exhibits are often on display here and in the nearby Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art.

Anyone lucky enough to visit often can consider an annual membership since it allows two adults from the same household to enjoy the facilities anytime free of charge. Children under 18 are always free with accompanying adult, and day tickets for seniors are significantly reduced.

When You Go

For more information: Huntington.org

Bonnie and Bill Neely are freelance writers. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at Creators.com. Copyright 2020 Creators.com