Los Angeles, for me, is a constellation of remarkable places, separated by a spider web of terrible, soul-killing traffic. The Huntington Library is an oasis well worth the drive. Gardens? Check. Art? Check. Books? Check. I loved it.
We began with the gardens. There are 12 of them. My favorite (in, admittedly, dull, uneventful March) was the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, a recreation of scholar gardens in Suzhou and one of the largest Chinese-style gardens outside of China. Even off-season this space was–stimulating. The tea house, called the “Hall of the Jade Camellia,” is a delicious stop along the way (one of several dining options on the grounds).
But the centerpiece of The Huntington for me was the library, home to over 420,000 rare books and one of the world’s most expansive collections of manuscripts, photographs, prints, maps, and other materials on the history of science and technology and British and American art, literature, and history. Qualifying scholars can become Huntington readers. For the rest of us, the highlights of this treasury are displayed in the Library Exhibition Hall. These are breathtaking.
I could spend hours at the library: the Ellesmere Chaucer and the Gutenberg Bible; The First Folio and maps, objects, and volumes that conjure Shakespeare’s times; writings by Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein; the Declaration of Independence and letters by Lincoln and Susan B. Anthony; my favorite authors and drafts of their work–an exciting, exciting journey through time. Our day here flew by, and I can’t wait for the next visit.
- An L.A. Sunset: Griffith Observatory
- Holding Hands with Gregory Peck: Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
- Other posts from California
In the area: