Califournia On My Mind

Califournia On My Mind

    This past week and a half, I had the pleasure of touring some fantastic excursions with my beautiful lady. Over this time, we were able to hit some of the west coast’s finest attractions including national parks, museums, and landmarks of all kinds.

 

 

Denver, Evergreen, & Colorado Springs

    After a beautiful wedding in Evergreen, we had the pleasure of visiting both visiting the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre home to many historic performances by music’s greatest artists from over past eighty plus years. Additionally, we made our way to Garden of the Gods aimlessly driving through landmark rock formations across the area. From there we ventured up Pike’s Peak; As we jet upwards we swung like a pendulum through twenty degrees fahrenheit and an ascension over 15,000 feet in the sky.

    Throughout a long weekend in Colorado, we experienced gut-wrenching and remarkable sights that kicked off the entire rest of the vacation in California.

San Francisco

    

For our first stop, we touched down in the great metropolis of San Francisco. Our primary excursion for the delay entailed a trip to the infamous Alcatraz Island (little did we know it was the same day, time and location of the neighboring aircraft flight show). As we walked the premises of this harrowing prison, our bones chilled with the memories and ghosts of the world’s cruelest criminals like including the infamous Al Capone and endless other serial federal offenders. 

Downtown Napa

In a far lighter outlook, we exited the city over the Golden Gate Bridge and transitioned north towards our next chapter into Downtown Napa. In this exclusively high-class vacation destination, we indulged ourselves throughout block after block of bars, restaurants, and shopping centers galore! With virtually a winery on every corner of Downtown’s radius, Napa had no shortage of entertainment including places of interest we never even planned for including an authentic 9/11 tribunal sculpture comprised of the towers’ remains located just east of Downtown’s center square.

 

    Between the public art, live music, and the overall commerce, there was simply no shortage of things to do in this ‘pocket of paradise’ I call Napa. Leaving wide-eyed with grinns ear to ear, we quickly nominated Downtown Napa as a place where our years of retirement hope to someday reside.

Los Angeles

    In the city of angels, we had the opportunity to spend an entire day at the renowned J. Paul Getty Museum. Between the gargantuan multi-wing complex, the visit entailed endless antiquities, manuscripts, paintings, drawings, sculptures, decorative works, and photographs. The highlight was seeing famous works by the likes of Degas, Cezanne, Courbet, Monet, and Getty’s prized possession; Van Gogh’s, Irises (1889).

    Additionally, we had the pleasure of attending a Lakers preseason game at Staples Center, watching my favorite team play LIVE up close and personal. As we continued our visit, we toured the Warner Brothers studios in Burbank, seeing the sets where Hollywood magic has been made for a near century.

Santa Barbara

    Traveling between Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier, we got to soak up the murals, landmarks, and eye-popping entertainment partaking in kitschy tourist attractions located at both Pacific Park and up throughout the pier.

    Outside the city, we embarked on a pilgrimage to the famous Joshua Tree National Park. Driving through this vast park, the afternoon was filled with endless blue skies, weather-beaten red rocks, and characteresque trees dancing in the sun. Sadly, no wildlife in view on this particular day, but the trip to the desert was immensely fruitful and filled with sensational views all throughout

Pasadena

    We embarked out to the lustrous town of Pasadena to visit Huntington Gardens. In this luscious public park, we spent the entire afternoon dumbfounded by the rich beautiful gardens. Located in the park, they had Rose Gardens filled with fountains and trellises nestled between classical architectural marvels.

While the library was temporarily closed to the public, there were still multiple museums open and on display including both Haaga and Rothenberg Halls, Mapel Gallery, Banta Center, and beyond. Additionally, a major highlight of the tour was visiting the world gardens. Respectively, they had a Japanese, Australian, Chinese, and Desert Garden which were all diversely unique and mesmerizing as they coexist within a collective common climate. The flora & greenery native to these nations took our breath away. From the textures of the prickly cacti to the towering bamboo forest, there wasn’t just something for anybody; there was plenty for everybody capped off by a robust cafe and tasteful gift shop.

San Diego

    From the galleries to the gardens, San Diego was nothing short of a spectacle. There was no better fit than to be staying in the heart of Gaslamp District while in San Diego fully immersed in the nightlife accompanied by authentic Mexican cuisine, gastropub grub, late night treats, and sensational tongue-tying cocktails. Between blocks of Gaslamp, the youthful downtown energy of the streets fueled us!

The Museum for Photographic Arts gripped and compelled us contorting all emotions in a whirlwind across their three current exhibits. On display, mid-century modernist photographer Aaron Siskind showcased his abstract black & white photographs compartmentalized through multiple sequential ‘mini-series’ of work named by cities across the US.

Additionally, we were fortunate in viewing the Beyond The Boundaries exhibit by american photographer, Norman Seeff. This exhibit took us through glimpse of ‘cultural americana’- evoking the intimate moments of America’s artistic heroes from Ray Charles, John Travolta, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones and so much more.

The museum capped off its current exhibits, with Darkest Nights: Brightest Stars an exclusively student-filled exhibit showcasing photography’s rising stars from high schools and elementary schools across the Southern California region.

As we exited Balboa Park, ‘a work of art’ truly was the only way to describe the breathtaking ambience from our time there. From the architecture, public art sculptures, rose gardens, and local vendors, the hours flew by with smiles on our faces as we cemented memories for a lifetime.

Califournia, I am going to miss you...

You were amazing

we love you

Till' next time...