Griffith Observatory – Los Angeles

Star Trekking Griffith Observatory – Los Angeles Visited: December 2017 If you want to see some real stars when you visit the Hollywood area, forget Hollywood… this place is it!  The Griffith Observatory is one of Southern California’s most famous landmarks, and millions of visitors have gotten spaced out here out since it opened in 1935.  It’s a short drive from Hollywood, and is a fun, yet educational, spot to take in at day or night, especially when a celestial event is taking place. The land where Griffith Observatory sits was once a part of a Spanish settlement known as Rancho Los Felis. The property remained in the Felis family for more than a century and was subdivided through generations … Read more…

Thien Hau Temple – Los Angeles

The Tao of Tom Thien Hau Temple – Los Angeles Visited: November 2017 Entering Chinatown in Los Angeles, Thien Hau Temple beckoned me on a unique journey, where, unbeknownst to me at the time, I would eventually experience the “Tao of Tom.”  Once again, this was a Southern California landmark chosen entirely at random with me not knowing exactly what would transpire.  As so often is the case, it was the “unexpected” that highlighted my visit…or should I say, “visits.”                                               As it turned out, I would make two trips during the same week to find out as much as I could about this colorful Taoist temple operated … Read more…

Church of the Angels – Pasadena

England Comes To Pasadena Church of the Angels – Pasadena Visited: October 2017 It’s not often I mistake Southern California for the English countryside, but a few days ago while driving in the Pasadena, South Pasadena, Highland Park Triangle, for a brief moment I felt like I’d been transported to England.  The beautiful Church of the Angels stands on a small hill on Avenue 64, and it is truly reminiscent of the gorgeous little churches you see dotting the back roads of Great Britain. There’s a reason the church, set on three acres, reminded me of England since its looks are quite similar to Holmbury St Mary’s Church, near Dorking, Surrey, England (below).  Church of the Angels is said to … Read more…

Lincoln Memorial Shrine, Redlands Bowl & A.K. Smiley Public Library – Redlands

California’s Lincoln Memorial…and more! Lincoln Memorial Shrine, Redlands Bowl & A.K. Smiley Public Library – Redlands No score and three days ago, and dedicated to the proposition that all museums are created equal, I donned my stovepipe hat and traveled out to Redlands to check out the only museum west of the Mississippi River devoted to Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War; The Lincoln Memorial Shrine.  Honestly!  While there, I discovered two additional architectural points of interest located within walking distance of the museum that also piqued my curiosity.  My kind of day! First the Lincoln Memorial Shrine.  Why Redlands?  I’m glad you asked, because it’s a rather fascinating story. Robert Watchorn grew up very poor in England, so poor that … Read more…

San Secondo d’Asti Catholic Church – Ontario & Madonna of the Trail – Upland

Accidental Treasures San Secondo d’Asti Catholic Church – Ontario & Madonna of the Trail – Upland Visited: August 2017 It all started innocently enough a few weeks ago while I was researching our 2018 trip to the Piemente region in Italy.  Specifically, I was looking at the town of Asti and one of its main attractions, the 13th century Saint Secondo Catholic Church, which is the oldest church in Asti. However, when I googled that Italian church, the town of Ontario, California, popped up. Of course, this piqued my curiosity. I immediately decided to delve deeper into this mystery that would eventually take me to a story that included the largest vineyard in California, a deadly train accident, a gorgeous … Read more…

Arlington Garden – Pasadena

Pasadena’s Dedicated Public Garden Arlington Garden – Pasadena Last Visited: April 2017 On a beautiful Sunday morning in Pasadena (and aren’t they all), our corgis were feeling a bit restless. Luckily, we live very near to one of Pasadena’s beautiful hidden secrets, Arlington Garden, a three-acre site that also happens to be Pasadena’s only dedicated public garden. With thoughts of birds, bees and butterflies dancing in their heads, we packed the “kids” in the car and we were off on our Sunday morning corgi adventure. In 2005, Arlington Garden founders Betty and Charles McKenney, along with its designer, Mayita Dinos, received inspiration for this garden after reading Jan Smithen’s book Sun-Drenched Gardens: The Mediterranean Style. The garden is located between … Read more…

The Bunny Museum – Altadena

Hoppy Days Are Here Again! The Bunny Museum – Altadena Thanks to their adoration of everything bunny, Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski have taken hare raising to a new level. What started as a gesture of love by two people exchanging bunny gifts has turned into the largest collection of bunny paraphernalia in the world. The couple recently re-located from their home in Pasadena and reopened The Bunny Museum on North Lake Avenue in Altadena.  The museum houses 34,000+ bunny items.  Yes, you read that number correctly (well, you know how rabbits multiply).                                                                It all started innocently enough when the two were dating. In 1993, Steve gave Candace a large, stuffed white rabbit for Valentine’s Day. I wondered if … Read more…

Greystone Mansion & Gardens – Beverly Hills

Intrigue, Scandal, Ghosts & Deaths In The Mansion Greystone Mansion & Gardens – Beverly Hills Visited:  April 2017 Lights!  Camera!  Murder!  The historic Greystone Mansion & Gardens, nestled above Beverly Hills, which is now primarily used for private events, weddings and filming, has a history that includes scandals, at least six deaths and is even rumored to be haunted.  In addition, it’s also been the venue for dozens of movies and television shows. My kind of place!  (Two photos below are courtesy of the City of Beverly Hills.)                                        Tracy and I visited on April Fools Day and took the Ranger Tour.  Throughout the years, I have … Read more…

Los Angeles Police Museum – Los Angeles (Highland Park)

An Arresting Museum Los Angeles Police Museum – Los Angeles (Highland Park) This is the city…Los Angeles, California. The story you are about to read is true.  None of the names have been changed to protect the innocent (or guilty).  It was Wednesday, March 1…another warm, winter day in the City of the Angels.  I was working the day watch out of unusual museums.  I found one that was open…the Los Angeles Police Museum.  My name is Mai Tai Tom…I carry a camera (“dum-da-dum dum”). Yes, I was a Dragnet fan.  “Just the facts ma’am.” Tracy and I had paid a quick visit to the Los Angeles Police Museum about six years ago (so a couple of photos like the … Read more…

All Saints Episcopal Church – Pasadena

“Pasadena’s Stained Glass Marvel” All Saints Episcopal Church – Pasadena Last Visited: February 2017 For those who have never read anything I’ve written about (you have lots of company), although not a religious person per se, I am very fascinated with places of worship.  It’s been nearly a year since I visited any of our area’s iconic churches.  In the past, I’ve featured an historic Roman Catholic Church in L.A. (St. Vincent de Paul); a gorgeous Greek Orthodox cathedral on the edge of L.A.’s Koreatown (Saint Sophia Cathedral); and Pasadena’s venerable Catholic church, St. Andrew.  Today, it’s another historic Pasadena church, All Saints Episcopal Church, that I will describe (to the best of my ability). To find the origin of … Read more…