Pasadena Weekend, Part One

Thirty-five years in southern California and I’d never been to Pasadena.  I’ve also never been to an international book fair.

We killed two birds (not chickens, of course!) with one stone and accomplished both last weekend.

We arrived late morning on Friday and pulled into a parking spot on Colorado Blvd. (of Rose Bowl fame) in Pasadena’s Old Town. The plan was to do a bit of window-shopping before lunch. Since we just happened to park in front of a hat shop, in we went, and a few minutes later we both emerged with new chapeaux.

Goorin Brothers has been selling hats since 1895

Thus nattily be-hatted, we drove a few blocks to our new favorite restaurant, the Parkway Grill. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior – when you step inside, the place is warm and bustling and both the food and service are outstanding. Their Split Pea Soup is the best I’ve ever tasted. You know how pea soup is usually either baby-food textured or treacly gruel with hunks of ham tossed in to make it look like they cared? This was neither. The broth was stand-alone good and there were plenty of identifiable vegetables and split peas with just the right crunch to them. Yum!

Inside the Parkway Grill (image from

Sans hat, the CE enjoys a burger at the Parkway Grill

After lunch, we visited the delightful Huntington Library, although we were so enthralled with the gardens and the American Wing that we never actually made it into the Library building. Mid-winter is probably not the best time to go, as not much is in bloom, but it was still amazing. I’ll stop talking for a moment and share some pix:

They were having a camellia sale at the Huntington. We wanted them all!

Mad Hatter?

Lovely, but lethal. I've never seen such an extensive cactus garden.

How pretty is this?

The CE in his new hat

A guide at the gardens pointed out a noisy flock of parrots that have taken the area over as their playground. They flitted from tree to tree and it was hard to get a good look at them. I have a super zoom lens on my point-and-shoot camera so with a very steady hand and an obligingly still bird I was able to get this photo – I think it looks more like a parrotlet or a conyer than a parrot.

Pretty bird!

We decided to save the remainder of the Huntington’s treasures for a future visit, and headed over to check into our hotel. The Langham Huntington is a celebrated and stately Pasadena landmark, built in 1907 and painstakingly updated. I would hope to look that good at 105 years old.

The Langham Huntington Hotel (image from

I must confess, however, that the moment I set foot in an older hotel, my amygdala pulses Danger! Danger! signals to every synapse of my being and I can think of nothing but that image from The Shining. You know exactly what I mean, right?

Yes, this one! (image from

It’s not as if I sleep at night anyway, so not a big deal that I lay awake in wait for the haunting to begin. Other than a few bumps in the night, all was well, of course. And really, the hotel is lovely. I’m just bringing the Ghostbusters team with me next time we visit.

Pay no attention to me. The rooms are beautiful. (image from

All this and I haven’t even gotten to the Book Fair. Looks like a two-post for today. More to come…

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in Animal/Vegetable/Mineral, Gastronomy, Music/Art/Literature/Culture, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Pasadena Weekend, Part One

  1. CE says:

    What a fun weekend it was, with great food, a very nice old hotel and new hats. What else could a person want from a road trip?

  2. Katherine says:

    Hats! Books! Flora & fauna! You’re describing my heaven. And if heaven has rooms that nice (with maid and room service) then I’d best start cleaning up my act.

  3. vdubbs says:

    totally printing that photo of steven with the hat! so cute!! miss you both! xoxo

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