Noguchi Garden in Costa Mesa

Noguchi California

Googling “hidden Orange County” reveals a pocket park (not unlike some in downtown San Francisco) just across the way from Segerstrom Hall and the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Isamu Noguchi’s California Scenario represents forests, deserts, water, and even the lima bean. Yes, the lima bean. Read more about that and see more pictures here.




Mission San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano plantSan Juan Capistrano is a good half-way point to meet up with friends who now live in San Diego. On a Sunday in good traffic, it takes about an hour to drive there from Claremont. The train from San Diego takes about 90 minutes.

Without much of an agenda except to catch up, we wandered the Mission, cameras in hand and enjoyed the photogenic gardens, ruins, and reconstructed buildings.

March 19 is the traditional day that the swallows return, so all we saw in the skies were clouds.



Views from LA City Hall

LA City HallAfter our LA Art Tour, and a little lunch at the Wurstküche (recommended!), we weren’t quite ready to leave DTLA. I’m not sure how it is that we have lived in So Cal for over 30 years and have never been inside the iconic LA City Hall. Our day had come. The only trick to getting through security was that H had to remove his small Swiss Army Knife from his keychain and “hide” it somewhere outside (next to another, larger Swiss Army Knife).

A list of instructions in about 10 languages explained that   to get to the observation deck, one must take the elevator to the 22nd floor, then find the next set of elevators to get to the 26th floor, and from there, walk up a flight of steps. A kind security guard suggested we stop first at the third floor to look at the rotunda. Very nice.

One can walk all the way around the viewing platform for some great views of the city and the mountains.

Grand Park and Disney Concert Hall are not hard to spot.

The big art piece, that looks like a spaceship, in the lower part of the photo is the Triforum.

LA Triforium

Building reflections and patterns

And, a bell.

LA City Hall Bell

And, yes, we remembered to pick up the hidden Swiss Army Knife on the way out.

Entrance to City Hall is free. Parking is not.


LA Street Art Tour

As far as I can tell, Claremont may have lots of art, but no graffiti street art. Maybe because that’s when someone even covers a tree trunk with yarn it gets removed. However, the Art District in Downtown LA (DTLA) has so much that it is well worth a tour to see it with LA Art Tours. There’s parking at the tour starting point, but we chose to take the Gold Line from downtown Azusa and walk from the Little Tokyo stop.

Our guide was Galo, and I think this is probably his wikipedia page. He has a special fondness for fonts.


Everywhere you look you can find LA in the shape of the Dodgers logo.

I didn’t even think to look at the utility poles, which is why it’s good to take a tour so the guide can point out things.

There are so many large murals.

Street Art LA

Street Art LA 2LA Street Art Bloom

Street Art LA Bubbles

LA Street Art MuralLA Street Art Disney

You can be thankful I did not post all of my photos….

Claremonters in England: Day Tripping

England is about the size of Louisiana, so distances are short, and we took several day trips from London. High on my list of sights was Stonehenge (I really like old rocks, which will become more apparent, if it isn’t already). I knew that unless one makes special arrangements ahead of time for off-hours visiting, one cannot go right up to the stones these days, but I was happily surprised to see that at least part of the rope was fairly close to the ancient site, and it was easy to get some good photos. The sky was blue with puffy clouds, and I have chosen just three of my photos for this post.

As long as we were going to sit on a bus for 2 hours one way, we might as well buy the tour that included Bath, as well and make a day out of it. We did not opt for a tour that included more stops, though, as this day was plenty long, though not rushed.

Throughout our travels we have seen various remains of Roman baths, most just bare hints of their former glory. The museum in Bath showcases the most complete ruin anywhere, and it has done a great job of presenting the site to modern visitors.

The city, with its ubiquitous sandstone Georgian architecture and large cathedral made for pleasant strolling with a stop for lunch at a Nepalese restaurant called Yak Yeti Yak.

For our other day trip, we chose Cambridge over Oxford, for no particular reason. We’d heard that either one makes a good outing.

We watched as people punted on the Cam.

We peeked into colleges, but chose not to pay $10 for each one to wander around. I can understand why they do that as students and faculty would not get anything done with plagues of tourists tromping about. We did find the free way into the Wren Library at Trinity College where we saw an original copy of Winnie-The-Pooh and other fine literature.

The tree on the left is a descendent of the Apple Tree of Newton fame.


Highland Springs Resort and Einstein

For your reading pleasure, here is the next IMG_2562post in the series “Following in Einstein’s Footsteps”. Years ago I saw his house in Princeton, NJ. Last year we saw an apartment in Zürich where Einstein lived as a student at the ETH, H worked at said ETH, then there was a coffee shop in Prague where the mathematician hung out, and then we looked at his apartment in Bern, Switzerland where he devised his theory of relativity.

But. Who knew, who knew? that Einstein occasionally vacationed at Highland Springs Resort outside of Beaumont, California? Maybe you did, and maybe I knew it when I was at the resort two years ago, and then forgot about it. Now we all know.

Our church women’s retreat spent our third weekend at this historic resort, known in the 1800s as the San Gorgonio Ranch, an outpost for the San Gabriel Mission. Now it is known for its lavender festival in early June, and people also come out for steak dinners, weddings, and, like our retreat, for group events.

The main lodge

The views

The lavender fields

The 1100-year-old tree


p.s. For a period of time, Einstein’s brain was kept in a cider box under a beer cooler in Wichita, Kansas, my hometown.