A Museum and Shopping- doesn't get much better!!
Pasadena Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
July 19th, 2008 – by: dansgirl1978
The weekend began in a leisurely way. I arrived at my co-worker (who Iâ€™ll call â€śRAâ€ť because she likes to be anonymous and would freak if she knew she was in my blog!) RAâ€™s house right around ten to begin our weekend adventure! We were so excited as we had been planning this trip to the the Broadway musical Wicked for about 3 months. RA got an amazing deal on our room at the Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena/San Marino (see review below).
We decided to set a slow pace because after-all, we had no where we absolutely had to be until Sunday so why rush?!
On todayâ€™s plate: the Norton Simon Museum and shopping (!!) in Pasadena in Old Town.
First we had to actually get there! Fortunately the drive South on the 101 is pretty- at least until Santa Barbara/Ventura. We jetted over Hwy. 154 instead of staying on the 101 because it cuts a half an hour off of your journey- which most non-locals donâ€™t know (so now you do!). Fortunately for us it wasnâ€™t blazing hot and we didnâ€™t get behind any recreational vehicles so we really did breeze through there. By taking the 154 we didnâ€™t get to see where the Gap fire was, which was a shame as Iâ€™d like to see where it was burning- just to have an idea. For those of you that donâ€™t know the Gap fire is one of the large fires currently burning in the state of California.
Since I wasnâ€™t the driver I donâ€™t know all of roads that we took, but I know at some point we left the 101 and headed East. In the town of Santa Paula- which I was so not impressed with (apologies to the residents)- we stopped and ate at a Subway in a gas station which was an interesting experience- they were out of olives!! Anyway we ate really fast ( we are two hairstylists after-all and eating fast is a must!!) and got back on the road, eager to be away from what I was beginning to think of as the armpit of California (which Iâ€™ve previously linked with the Central Valley but now Iâ€™m reconsidering).
We eventually arrived in Pasadena via La CaĂ±ada (RAâ€™s hometown).
Afternoon: The Norton Simon
The parking lot of the Norton Simon Museum is mercifully close to the entrance so we didnâ€™t have to labor up any hills or fight the oppressive heat walking block after block.
Walking up to the entrance of the Norton Simon were amazing bronze statues on either side of the walkway- one (if not all actually) were made by the same artist that did â€śThe Thinkerâ€ť although Iâ€™m ashamed to say I donâ€™t know his name and I wouldnâ€™t have known that if RA hadnâ€™t pointed that out to me when I was taking pictures.
Once inside there is a large and very impressive Buddha statue. (*see my review of the Norton Simon below for full description).
Our first decision of the day was where to begin! The museum is separated into centuries and cultures, so we decided to start to the left with the 19th and 20th centuries making our way backward through the centuries eventually ending with the South Asia wing downstairs.
I have to say before I breeze passed the 19th and 20th centuries the main exhibit â€śReduxâ€ť by Marcel Duchamp (at the Norton Simon until Dec. 8, 2008), was great to see. Mr. Duchamp has a wicked sense of humor! Heâ€™s one cheeky fellow! His pieces are funny and a great break from some of the more serious stuff preceding it. A personal favorite is his â€śL.H.O.O.Q. or La Joconde, 1964â€ť which is a reproduction of the â€śMona Lisaâ€ť where heâ€™s drawn a mustache and goatee beard on her.
Some of my personal favorites from the Norton Simon were the gold leaf iconography style paintings from the 14th century. They were so rich in detail. I took photographs but the gold was so reflective it didnâ€™t do them justice so I didnâ€™t include them. Another favorite was a huge painting by an Italian artist by the name of: Guido Cagnacci. The painting is titled, â€śMartha Rebuking Mary for her Vanity.â€ť Itâ€™s a gorgeous, detailed, oil painting is in the style that I adore. I took 2 photos of it, a detail of Martha and Mary Magdalene and then a close up of the detail because it was just so beautiful! The skin and hair in particular is masterfully done!
The South Asia exhibit is wonderful too! Itâ€™s filled with lots of stone and bronze statues and heads.
All in all this was a must see little museum because it has a lot packed into it but just the right amount!
Late Afternoon: Shopping and Dinner
After the Norton Simon we got back in the car for shopping!! We made our way to Old Town Pasadena for some first rate shopping. We deposited the car in a lot and made our way to the main street. Unfortunately I didnâ€™t get any photos of this area because I had forgotten my real camera at home so Iâ€™d been taking photos on my phone- which was quickly running low on battery power- and I wanted to save some power for photos of the Langham but also a goodnight conversation with my fiance.
Our first stop was J Crew!!!!! A personal favorite of mine and they were having a sale!!! Unfortunately I couldnâ€™t find anything I couldnâ€™t live without so I left J Crew empty handed.
After H&M we worked up an appetite (or at least I did! RA was just plain hungry!)! We simply had to go to The Cheesecake Factory!!! There really wasnâ€™t any other choice!! Our closest one (to my knowledge) is in Thousand Oaks (which is around 3 hours away) so I go to one any chance I can get.
I have to admit that I was a bit scattered brained when it came to packing for this little out of town trip.
Late Afternoon/Evening: The Langham!!!! (whoa!)
I was totally unprepared for The Langham!! It is in the middle of a residential area so I really didnâ€™t expect it! I was looking out for signs and the next thing you know boom! there it is!!! Itâ€™s huge, majestic, and gorgeous! Iâ€™ve never stayed in a hotel like this before- valets and a porter, which we shook off to be honest because we were both feeling too cheap to tip, so we carried our own luggage. The front desk was nice and everything was personalized- it was Ms. R this and Ms. R that!!! It seemed like they were expecting us at that very moment- they were good!
The hotel is a bit like a maze when you first arrive so it took us a few minutes to find the elevator that would take us to our floor.
We had two plush double beds, two oversized chairs, a writing desk, tv, mini bar and a fabulous marble bathroom with BULGARI products!!!!! Amazing!!!!! I slathered myself in that Bulgari body lotion and just couldnâ€™t stop smelling myself! I felt like the Beverly Hillbillyâ€™s because I was a little out of my element and just donâ€™t normally splurge on luxuries like that so this was my only opportunity to try it all out!
We put all of our stuff down, stuffed the cheesecake in the mini fridge and decided to explore the grounds of the hotel.
Back on the grounds of the hotel we saw the terrace connected to the bar and spied a man who looked a lot like the lead singer of Motley Crue, Vince Neil- and weâ€™re completely convinced it was him and if it was- oh boy he doesnâ€™t look so hot in person. He had damaged bleached out long blonde hair and a ridiculous red bandana across his forehead and tied at the back of his head. He looked like he was being schmoozed by a record exec. or something. It looked totally silly and very Hollywood!! There was also speed dating happening inside the bar!!! I couldnâ€™t believe it- there was a sign announcing it and everything! RA suggested we head in and join the fun but Iâ€™m very much spoken for and about to get married so I told her to do it since sheâ€™s single- but she balked and we went back up to our room for magazines and cheesecake!!!!!!
Other than being woken up at 1 am by a wedding party noisily heading back to their rooms I had a great night sleep in the very cosy bed (oh, except for the pillows which were too flat)!!!
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