Thursday, December 31, 2009

Around Town: The weather outside's delightful

Looking for holiday spirit? There’s never been a better time to visit The Huntington Library in Pasadena. Last Sunday, we headed to The Huntington Library ( with our out-of-town relatives.

The weather was perfect.

We started at the membership renewal window and took advantage of the holiday special membership offers. If you buy four memberships, you get one free. If you are 65 or over, take $30 off a sustaining membership. Discounts in the gift shop. Discounts at the Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa. There’s never been a better time to join, renew or upgrade your membership.

That settled, we walked over to the Huntington Art Gallery, the former home of Henry and Arabella Huntington, which was renovated last year.

It was definitely worth the visit. We admired the portraits of Pinkie and Blue Boy. We were surprised by the Rembrandt etchings, various miniatures and the Diana the Huntress bronze, but we were also enchanted with architectural features of the house, including the main hallway and stairway banisters.

We strolled over to the Japanese Garden. The path went through a grove of bamboo. We saw babies in strollers and families with children. The Bonsai Garden is amazing. There is a little bonsai forest and several California Juniper Bonsai trees, whose white trunks resembled driftwood.

We sat in the Zen Garden and contemplated the raked gravel as well as our appetites. We made our way through fields of roses and herbs to the Rose Garden Tea Room. The mantel was decorated for the holiday and we sipped a mildly spiced holiday black tea blend, munched on caviar and crackers, filled and re-filled our plates with tea sandwiches and strawberries. If you need an injection of Christmas spirit, this is the place.

Inspired by art, we decided to end the day with a shopping excursion to the ChimMaya Boutique and Gallery in East Los Angeles. ( We bought presents for friends and family. ChimMaya sells handbags, fashion jewelry, sterling silver, art, home accessories, furniture, and gift items and there’s apparently nothing like it on the East Coast. We also viewed the current gallery exhibits and chatted with the gallery owners, Steven Acevedo and Daniel Gonzalez, about the latest trends in Chicano art.

The out-of-town relatives were happy. The next day, they would head back to Manhattan and the blizzards, but for now, they were in the midst of the true La Cañada holiday experience, venturing out to savor a multi-toned, patchwork quilt of urban life.


Get in touch: ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. E-mail her at">anitasusan.brenner@

Published Published: Thursday, December 24, 2009 4:11 AM PST
Around Town:
The weather outside’s delightful
By Anita Brenner

La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California

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