A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. Like Butchart Gardens in Canada, the Huntington offers a unique garden experience for visitors of all ages.
The large Beaux-Arts mansion was originally the residence of Henry and Arabella Huntington. Both had a keen interest in European art, and the building now houses one of the finest collections in the country. Of special interest are the famed Pinkie and The Blue Boy, by Sir Thomas Lawrence and Thomas Gainsborough, respectively. In addition to huge original paintings, there are beautiful sculptures and exquisite decorative arts. I especially love the china and porcelain pieces on display.
The architecture of the building is magnificent. Designed by Myron Hunt, the house features a spacious outdoor living room complete with a tile floor, while the back terrace provides views of the Jungle Garden, waterfall and Lily Ponds.
Back toward the mansion, we pass by a lovely French sculpture standing sentry at the edge of the Rose Garden. Alas, as it is winter, not many roses are in bloom, but there are a few bright spots of color here and there amongst the barren stems.
Adjacent to the Rose Garden and at the end of the arbor, is the Tea Room. Since it was my birthday on the day of my visit, I stopped in for afternoon tea. The Huntington offers a particularly delightful tea experience. The Tea Room enjoys views of both the Rose Garden and the Herb Garden.
Featuring a savory assortment of sandwiches, salads, fruit, pastries, and scones, there is something delicious for every preference. I indulged in a little bit of mostly everything-one, because it was my birthday, and two, because I wanted a good picture for this post!
Since you all couldn’t be there in person, I unselfishly tried a bit of everything for you! Now, wasn’t that tasty, and don’t you feel full? Yes, I thought so…. Well after tea, I had just enough time to zip over to the gift shop, where I ran into this gorgeous little bed of snapdragons. Just lovely.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to visit all of the museums, which together house a stunning collection including an early manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and a Gutenberg Bible on vellum. A few of the garden areas were off-limits due to damage from the recent wind storm, and the Japanese Garden is undergoing refurbishment, so I missed those as well. As the Huntington is really at its finest in the spring, I hope to make another visit soon, and share some additional pictures of areas you didn’t get to see on this visit. Until then, I trust you will enjoy taking a turn in whichever garden you find yourself blessed to be in!
On the journey toward Home,