Last September, Joseph and I took a vacation to Southern California. The draws? Disneyland (of course) and visiting my friend Genevieve.

As lovely as all that was, we were really pleased with some of the last-minute additions to our trip: a day at Huntington Library and a few days in San Diego.

The Huntington isn’t just a library, although its library is impressive enough to be a draw on its own. It also hosts several art galleries, all situated among beautiful botanical gardens. The above photo was taken in the rose garden.

We spent our morning with Genevieve’s family at California Science Center and headed to The Huntington around lunchtime. It was a longggg drive. Because everything in the LA area is a longgggggg drive.

We ate (it was actually pretty good food), and then we started walkin’.

The Desert Garden

From the Huntington website: One of the largest outdoor collections of cacti and succulents in the world, the Desert Garden includes more than 5,000 species of desert plants in sixty landscaped beds.

The Japanese Garden

Since our visit, I’ve noticed this garden featured in several tv shows. I think I spotted it in the season 2 premier of The Good Life.

The Library

This was absolutely the highlight of the trip for me. I had no idea this was here until I walked in. Don’t you love when you stumble upon something that’s perfectly in line with all of your interests?

Can’t contain my excitement outside the library!

This is from the natural history section of one of their permanent collections: Beautiful Science.
See to the left the word “observation?” I love the way this exhibit broke down the process of scientific discovery and dissemination.

Fangirl-ing. You know how we all have those things that are really important to us but that you know other people wouldn’t be able to understand? This is one of those things for me. I know you don’t care, I don’t expect you to care, but I have to tell you anyway.
Left: Me with a copy of Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands!!!!!!!!!!! Catesby was my introduction to one of my new passions – natural history publications – when I wrote a review of his biography for my workplace’s peer-reviewed journal.
Right: When I saw this one I said to Joseph, “Oh my god. It’s Gessner! It’s Gessner!!!!” This is a page from Conrad Gessner’s Historia animalium, which was published in the 16th Century and is considered the first modern scientific treatment of the natural world. This book set the stage for the way scientists and naturalists looked at and described the natural world for centuries.

Maria Sibylla Merian. I’ve never seen any of her works in person either, so this was super exciting! If you want to read about her, Stuff You Missed in History Class recently did a great episode on her: link here.

The exhibit about light was fascinating! As were the other scientific exhibits – on astronomy and medicine – although I for some reason didn’t take any photos of those.

Outside the library. Can you tell we were happy? That’s nearly as big a smile as Joseph has ever made for a camera!

San Diego

I have visited Genevieve in LA three times, twice by myself, and they’ve all been great trips. But that’s partly because she and her husband do all the driving and thinking for me! When Joseph and I are left to our own devices in LA? It’s not nearly as fun. We did really love San Diego, though!

We stayed at The Pearl. It is super cute, obviously, but it also had a lot of other things we enjoyed:
– great cocktails
– great food
– great happy hour, daily!
– salt water pool & a succulent wall
– outdoor movie screen playing classic films

Joseph enjoying himself despite his commitment to scowling at the camera.

The food was SO good. Almost too good. It was hard to get us to actually leave the hotel! We also ended up trying every single cocktail on their menu. Lotsa fun!

And our room came with a fish named Moby!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Because California was really hot (even to us Texans), we decided to nix the hiking plans I’d made and instead go to Torrey Pines. The ocean-side walk was beautiful, and there was a nice breeze!

Other Things in San Diego

You can’t go to San Diego without going to the zoo. It definitely lived up to the hype!

Balboa Park, which we walked to after our morning at the zoo.

I was realllly into this coffee. It’s called Best Drink Ever. And that’s a good description. Joseph has tried to replicate it at home for me, but it just can’t be done.

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