A day in the gardens is just a drive away

IDYLLIC: Paths connect tall trees, vibrant roses, manuscripts by Chaucer and even an outdoor restaurant at the Huntington Museum and Botanical Gardens.

BP Photo By Rose Lipner

IDYLLIC: Paths connect tall trees, vibrant roses, manuscripts by Chaucer and even an outdoor restaurant at the Huntington Museum and Botanical Gardens.

By Rose Lipner, Arts & Culture Editor

A sunny spring Sunday is the perfect time to catch up on your Netflix shows, right? Wrong. Instead, take the drive up to Huntington Museum and Botanical Garden to soak up the sun and experience culture.

Located in San Marino, the Huntington Museum and Botanical Garden is a vibrant place to discover nature, history and art for the price of $13 with a student I.D.

Relaxed people of all ages sporting flip-flops, sundresses and hats make their way in to the entrance.

A road just outside the entrance can take you in two directions – to the library or the various gardens.

On the library route, a fountain with statues announces the small building with a beautifully old-fashioned feel.

Once inside, it takes a few moments for your eyes to adjust to the darker lighting. On the first floor are manuscripts and famous letters displayed in glass cases. Geoffrey Chaucer’s manuscript of Canterbury Tales is there, along with one of the 52 copies of the Gutenberg Bible and letters between Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among other historical documents.

The second floor is not open to the public, but hundreds of worn books on bookshelves are visible from below.

In the opposite direction from the library, tall trees shading a wide path will lead you to a vibrant garden filled with dozens of different types of roses. Bright reds, smooth whites, and light pinks and yellows make up the fragrant garden. Right now it is spring and the flowers are towards the height of their season.

Around the garden men and women sit on the benches talking to one another, others smell the roses and some snap pictures of the flowers.

A path leads from the rose arbor to a simple and serene Japanese garden. The soft swish of bamboo trees that surround the entrance adds a gentle vibe to the area.

At the center of the Japanese display stands a short steep overpass known as a drum bridge. There are benches that overlook the bridge and the small pond it is set upon.

Just a short walk uphill is a Zen garden filled with stones and Japanese trees, including the Gingko tree, one of the most ancient trees living today. Near the gardens, you will find a small open “house” displaying traditional Japanese architecture — a gently curved roof and minimal decorations.

Almost unnoticeably, the Japanese garden merges into the Chinese Garden. A small waterfall stands next to a quatrefoil, or a four-leaf clover figure, presenting as the garden’s entrance. Throughout the garden there are many carvings and geometric patterns on soft wood.

At the center of the garden, there is a Chinese restaurant hopping with people getting wontons, soup and rice. They can take their dishes outside to tables or benches and overlook the glimmering lake.

Most people take pictures, draw the scenery or just take in the serenity.

There are also separate displays of Australian and Desert plants and flowers as examples of other discrete parts of the Huntington. Each area exemplifies a different climate and region of the world.

At the Huntington you can relax and escape from all your troubles; kind of like Netflix but with more sun, impressive pictures and many memories to share.