Travel In Southern California
The Wayfarer's Chapel, Rancho Palos Verdes
Wright Ranch and Wayfarer’s Chapel in the Santa Monica Mountains
Many Internet blurbs confuse these two places, but they are separate site that are on the West Coast and create the opportunity for refreshing day trip experiences in California.
The most famous architect's son, Frank Lloyd Wright Jr (known as Lloyd), and grandson, Eric Lloyd Wright, created the landscaping and buildings at these nearby sites in and around the Santa Monica Mountains.
Wright Ranch includes a large home, a prayer wheel, a fountain and many other features, but is not open to the public. Rather expensive, it is for rental for large events. On the other hand, Wayfarer's Chapel by Eric Wright is open for weddings and to the public.
The chapel with a roof of glass is called the Tree Church, because it is located among a forest of redwoods, olive trees, fruit trees, and Italian Stone Pines. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and commemoriates the first Swedenborgian churches in London UK in 1787 and Baltimore MD in 1792. Known for its connectedness with all life and nature as well as man and God, the denomination was favored by Johnny Appleseed as well.
The many gardens at this location include a garden of Biblical plants, a rose garden, and a garden of native California species. A reflecting pool adds much to the landscaping. Of course, the installation sits right on the Pacific Ocean.
5755 Palos Verdes Dr S.;Rancho Palos Verdes CA 90275
Phone: (310) 377-1650. Call before visiting to check that the chapel is cleared of weddings.
Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. is known as as Lloyd. He and his son Eric Lloyd Wright, both outstanding architects, created the landscaping and stunning buildings seen at popular sites in and around the Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr. operates his offices from Malibu, where he constructed Wright Ranch.
South of the Santa Monica Mountains, this is the location of he Wayfarer's Chapel, gardens, and forests.
Zuma Beach In Malibu
This beach’s name is interesting, because it is also the name of the major dog reporter (of four dogs who report) for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race annually in Alaska. Perhaps that’s a good omen for your next visit to this beach!
Zuma Beach is at Malibu along Highway 1 on the Pacific Coastline, where Wright Ranch is located. It makes a nice stop off when you visit the sights along the Santa Monica Mountain pinned on the map featured above.
Locals say that the beach is far enough from the most frequented Los Angeles beaches to afford them more relaxation and more space. for safety, lifeguards are on hand during daylight hours. It is an alcohol-free beach maintained immaculately by Los Angeles County. In fact, the sand is cleaned of any debris and raked every day, while the water is always free from trash and debris.
Visitors can feel comfortable knowing that showers and restrooms are clean and available, along with activities like fishing, surfing, kite-surfing, diving, beach volleyball, and just relaxing. Special surfing events are held often. Concessions are available the the beach is ADA accessible.
Zuma Beach: 30000 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu CA
J. Paul Getty Museum
This is one place that not everyone knows, but it houses some of the largest collections of photographs in the world for visitors to examine. With two locations, Getty is a famous name in newspaper photos and is now associated with the image websites, Flickr, Sxc.hu and others.
The menu of offerings at the Getty sites is astounding in its variety and scope. The Museum at the Villa near Malibu provides lectures, discussion evenings, performances, films, tours, exhibits, kid-friendly activities, a list of courses, and even celebrations of foods and cuisines. A parking fee is reasonable and covers the cost of parking lots at both the Museum and the Center on the same day (the LA Metro bus goes to both as well).
A full day spent enjoying these two sites is an exquisite way to make memories and to do and see things for an entire day that are refreshing to the mind and spirit. Many exhibits and demonstrations at the Museum are about ideas and tasks you may not consider otherwise - a demo on artistic metal working is intriguing. The focus of the Museum overall is ancient civilizations, especially Greek and Roman.
One particular course teaches art techniques and media in painting from the 15th Century - and its free, including the materials. Another free program involves marble carving. Architecture and gourmet cooking are some of the other workshops given. Exhibits on ancient civilizations are entertaining as well as engaging. Surprisingly, tickets to the Museum at the Villa are free. Schedule free tickets online for either site, Museum or Center, at TICKETS.
Both sites have restaurants and serve adult beverages, offer cafes, and maintain coffee kiosks.
The research library at the Center may be used by anyone and gardens are open to the public at both sites. One photo collection contains two million shots all by itself, and there are others. In addition to all the offerings, viewing the architecture of both sites might be an adventure all on its own. The exhibits and displays at the Center are more contemporary in timeline, pre-20th Century and 20th - 21st Century.
Getty Museum Sites
- Getty Villa: 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles CA 90272. Near Malibu and between LA and Malibu.
- Getty Center: 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles CA 90049
The Inn on Mt. Ada
This grand place is located on Santa Catalina Island, so you’ll need to take a ferry or a plane to enjoy this site, and autos are very limited. This all makes an adventure and a relaxing segue on your journeys in Southern California.
Passenger ferries (no cars) leave Orange County at ports in Newport Beach and Dana Point and in Los Angeles County at Long Beach, San Pedro, and Marina del Rey. The voyage to the island takes about 60 minutes. Catalina Airport is also available and helicopters as well as seaplanes bring in tourists. Some cruise-liners also dock at the island. Golf carts and bikes are the usual transportation on land, along with taxis.
The Avalon Underwater Dive Park (scuba, snorkeling) is unique and the first nonprofit underwater park in America. Parasailing and fishing are also popular sports and visitors enjoy glass-bottom boat tours.
Some theorists state that Catalina Island never had any of its own plants and animals, because it was never connected to the mainland of California. Regardless, over 400 species of native plants thrive here and a number of birds, mammals, sea life, and other such creatures love the place. Even the American Bison lives here.
William Wrigley Jr., the chewing gum king, owned most of the island at one time. He commissioned a residence that became the Inn on Mt. Ada on a hill overlooking the south end of Avalon Bay. it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The Inn picks up their guests by private van upon arrival, from the heliport, boat terminal or other nearby locations.
Rates start at about $390 per night, which can be expensive for trying to stay within a budget, but a golf cart, meals, and wine are included in the price. There is an alternative that some of these great places, like Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel – a lower-ticket price to come in for a meal and enjoy the hotel. At the Inn on Mt. Ada, the cost is $30 and requires a reservation. The public rooms are all comfortable and offer a view of the ocean.
The Inn's address: 398 Wrigley Road, Avalon, California 90704
Grunion Runs of Santa Barbara
Watching the grunion runs occurs as a nighttime activity at Coronado Beach, like a midnight birding hike, but with fish. Ocean Avenue is about 100 yards away from a grand hotel with plenty of food and entertainment and leads to the grunion, a small blue-green-silver fish around Santa Barbara and one that runs only at night at high tide, two night to six nights after each new and full moon that occurs from March through September.
Similar to Pacific Northwest salmon runs, the grunions lay their eggs here. Then the eggs wash out to sea in just a few weeks and hatch in the Pacific Ocean. You can fish for the grunions, with a special fishing license, and you must catch them with your hands - they will literally litter the beach at night.
Silver Strand State Park is four miles south of this destination and is a good site to visit. Several other parks and protected areas are thriving along this region of the coast as well.
Little Petroglyph Canyon, China Lake
Little Petroglyph Canyon is accessible only through the Maturango Museum tours in Ridgecrest or through the US Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake in the spring and fall seasons. The petroglyphs are probably 10,000 years old and painted by the Chumash or related Native Americans at the time of their original settlements in Southern California. The stylized images include bighorn sheep, men using hunting bows, and other scenes of life.
Traveling to the trail that leads to the paintings is an adventure in itself, requiring a 40-mile drive. After that, it’s hiking with a trail guide or two. Tours through the naval base are likely less expensive or free and require more paperwork than museum tours. Both permit only US Citizens to tour the on-base historic site.
Maturango Museum: 100 E Las Flores Ave, Ridgecrest CA ; Phone (760) 375-6900
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake: PH (760) 939-1683
The Coso Range Canyons contain the highest concentration of rock art in the Northern Hemisphere.
Hidden Valley and Fan Palm Oases
Enjoy Joshua Tree National Park by day or by night, but while you are in the park, make sure to visit Hidden Valley - if just to watch the rock climbers. If you are adventurous, try climbing one of the shorter boulders along those that surround Hidden Valley in this desert park. Rock climbers from around the globe visit these boulder fields with their spires, pillars. and other formations. Other recreation includes hiking, overnight camping, bird watching, stargazing and other hobbies.
Among over one-half million acres of wilderness lands in the park, five fan palm oases thrive. Visitors can see giant palm beetles eating older trees as younger ones grow, looking like wide grass blades at first. The larvae of the giant beetles chew very loudly, attracting predator birds that eat them as well. The western yellow bat lives in the treat and swoops out with friends at night.
Many visitors purchase the seven-day vehicle permit for $15 and stay at the convenient Hidden Valley Campground.
Joshua Tree National Park: 74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms CA
Los Angeles Underground
The subway stations each hosts fine art works from local artists, all of which help to explain the specific culture and political events of history in the LA neighborhoods. This is a popular trend in subway stations globally, probably starting in Moscow many decades ago with its fine art paintings hung in ornate subways stations like museums. Baker Street Station in London UK and its surrounding businesses are decorated to feature Sherlock Homes and Doctor Watson. The People Mover monorail in Detroit, Michigan features large works of fine art at each stop as well.
Wherever you enter the LA Underground, enjoy the art and history, but be sure to disembark at Union Station. Like Cincinnati and its own Union Station, LA maintains an astounding Art Deco period train station. Walk a short distance to Olvera Street and visit El Pueblo de Los Angeles complex and dedicated monument, where the city was first settled.
This is economy touring at its best and most interesting, a way to experience Los Angeles and its early history, including some intriguing authentic Mexican cuisine with music to match.
The Historic District runs in the center of Spring, Macy, Alameda and Arcadia Streets. with the monument located at 125 Paseo de la Plaza. Las Angelitas, the docent organization.
Free tours Tuesday through Saturday at 10:00am, 11:00am and 12:00pm. Phone: (213)628-1274.
LA Underground - Clean and Fast
Idyllwild, a Mile-High Alpine Idyll
If you want to see some real snow after riding on the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride at Disney, try Idyllwild, north of Los Angeles on Route 243. The snow is not only real, but also maintained all year and one mile above sea level. The nearness of the Santa Rosa Mountains and Mount San Jacinto add to the Alpine atmosphere of the town. It is an invigorating and relaxing getaway.
Be careful if you take teenagers with you, because they may want to stay. That is because the small town supports an artist’s boarding school for teens called Idyllwild Arts. If that does not lure them in, then the annual Celebrity Film Festival will surely do so, if you visit in October. In September, you can catch the Banjo-Fiddle Contest held annually on the third weekend. In August, there is a Jazz Festival.
This area is reminiscent of Bavaria and includes log cabins, various inns, and high quality bed-and-breakfast accommodations. In the business district, you’ll find more of a commercial civilization, although the merchants may be friendlier overall than in hectic larger cities.
Dining options includes meals that come with inn and B&B packages, fine dining restaurants, and a number of good coffeehouses. In between the culinary locations, bookstores are enjoying an increasing number of customers. If you want to relax, this is the place to do it, with good food and good books in a bit of isolation. Art shows and galleries add to the interest.
Taking to the outdoors, visitors will go hiking, do some rock climbing, ride horseback, use mountain bikes, and walk on a long web of 275 miles of well-maintained trails. Start out slowly, because this is considered high altitude exercise.
Call the Chamber of Commerce for more information: (951) 659-3259.
Orange Empire Railway Museum
From 1900 to the Roaring Twenties, Los Angeles operated an early world-class public transportation system. This developed just a few decades after the American Railroad Industry connected California with the rest of the country via the Golden Spike. Undoubtedly, some of my ancestors worked on those railroad lines, constructing the first tracks and working their way from the East Coast to the West. Once in California, they stayed.
The Orange Empire Railway Museum does justice to what my ancestors and thousands of other hardworking people accomplished on the American Railroad from 1870 (when my grandfather was born) to today. It bills itself as the largest collection of railroad and related carriages in the American West, plus buildings and treasured artifacts from the past.
On weekends, reasonably-priced all-day passes and tickets provide visitors with rides into the past on streetcars, electric inter-urbans, trolleys, and trains - one train on the Mainline route even has a caboose for passengers to enjoy. This is fantastic fun! --- One of our residents in Columbus OH purchased a red caboose for the backyard and when she goes on vacation, she arranges to hook it up to a train and takes off! During weekdays at Orange Empire, guided tours are given at a minimal charge and admission to the vast grounds is always free. Maybe you will want to purchase a caboose one day!
The historic 1892 Perris Depot train station that was restored and is the new extended end point on 4th Street to streetcar rides at the Museum Railway. This is great, because the modern LA Metrolink and Transit Center will be added to this area - the historic vehicles will run right along with today's actual public transportation. I wish my railroading ancestors could see that.
The Pacific Electric Interurban and its Red Line in 1900s LA transported passengers quickly around Los Angeles County, from the Pacific Coast beaches through town and even to the desert areas. Unlike the Columbus, Ohio Interurban, the Red Line cars did not travel through anyone’s front yards. However, in similarity, both the Red Line and the Columbus carriages were obsolete by the 1950s.
Numerous other carriages of specialized colors and histories are on display for your edification at the Orange Empire - and you can learn about the restaurants that the railroad started just to serve their passengers good food at fair prices along the routes. Without the railroads, America would not have progressed as quickly or as well.
Don't the dozens of special collections in the library at the Orange Empire museum when you visit.
Museum address: 2201 S. A Street, Perris CA 92570; Phone: (951) 943-3020.
1914 Training Film, WWI Era.
© 2013 Patty Inglish MS