“Beauty is invigorating; it’s essential to the human spirit.”
Recently I had the satisfaction of taking my son to college for the very first time. I chose to stay in Pasadena, not too far from the university, just in case I found myself with a little free time for exploring. I was more than pleased with this choice as I looked out my hotel room window, gazing at the lights of the evening sky and the majestic view of the Capital building.
The view from my hotel was beckoning me to come and explore the history and architecture.
Luckily for me I did have time to venture into historic Old Pasadena, known for it's shops galore and fine dining, but it's the incredible architecture and galleries that was the real draw for me.
The true delight of this endeavor really was the walk back to the hotel. Deciding not to call the shuttle I meandered through City Hall noting every architectural facade... every garden sculpture...
every elaborately carved ceiling...
every soaring tower... every arched hallway...
...past Anglican churches with towering stain glass windows and surprising mosaic walls and fountains with playful frogs sitting on atop turtles.
What a delight, a short walk and I found myself in the picturesque backyard of my hotel.
Since my son was busy meeting new friends, I had the next morning to myself. I enjoyed breakfast at Mi Place in Old Pasadena. From here I headed over to the Norton Simon Museum for a leisurely tour. It was the the quiet and quaintness of the Norton Simon that drew me in. Here, I was able to linger and enjoy each painting without having to angle for position with other spectators.
I was able to breathe in the golden tones of Van Gogh's "Mulberry Tree" 1889.
And the gracefulness of Degas's "Dancers in the Rotunda at the Paris Opera" 1895.
And the dramatic Pablo Picasso's "Women with a Book" 1932.
This little museum captivated me with its large lily pond and serene sculptural garden. The outdoor Garden Cafe was the perfect spot to drink-in the warmth of the sun and relax, while watching heavenly yellow butterflies fluttering here and there and playing games in the air.
I didn't get to see everything that Pasadena has to offer. But, as long as my son stays in college, I will have plenty of time to visit and explore...and will take you with me again!