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Trip Report Huntington Library, Museum, and Gardens, San Marino; A Short Report

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Huntington Library, Museum and Botanical Gardens are a short drive from LA, in San Marino, an affluent suburb. The neoclassical house was built in 1919 by the business man Huntington.

The botanical gardens are extensive and include desert gardens, Australian plants, a beautiful Japanese garden and tea house and a relatively new Chinese garden among many others as well.

Our intent was to stroll the gardens, have tea in the Tea room and perhaps visit an exhibition or two.

We are about 40 minutes away by car; unfortunately for us, we were too busy talking and missed the frwy turn off even though the GPS warned us. It cost us about 15 minutes, however we still arrived a bit early. I take full responsibility, I misread the website, and we arrived 55 minutes before opening time (winter hours) of noon.

We planned on strolling about, having lunch at 12:30 and then wandering around a bit more. Our plans were altered. We wandered into the exhibit "Taxing Vision" (until May 2011) of late 19th century art. Per HL's website: it is " Tax. rent, and economic depression and financial inequity are the subject matter. . ." It's a wonderful exhibit,: I was unfamiliar with the artists, and the Dickinsonian subject is a bit sobering, and though only one room, very well- put together.

We were right on time for our reservation at the tea room. I must admit, I expected a bit more for the $28. per person. The room was not very elegant; it was small and crowded and the hordes of people around the buffet table reminded me of Vegas with a coffee shop atmosphere. The main fare were small tea sandwiches (mediocre) and some salads and small desserts. Each table comes with scones and tea. It was pleasant, but not worth the $. I was hoping for a prettier room, less noise, and less crowds. (My favorite tea room experience has to be Bath at the Pump Room; and it was far less expensive and there was music, too.)

However, the gardens redeemed the day, especially the new Chinese Gardens with the lovely small white bridges overlooking ponds with schools of Koi. it was delightful. I imagine the Chinese gardens are not completely finished, since there were several areas with no planting. The Japanese gardens were lovely as usual, especially colorful after all our spring rains.

Did I say, this was an anniversary celebration? We had hoped for a bit more, but the gardens never disappoint, nor do the museum's exhibits, so though I don't recommend the Tea room for lunch, do visit the gardens and museum. It will be a wonderful day. Have an inexpensive lunch at their cafe instead.

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