History, Architecture and Nature: A little bit of everything in Central California
Last week I took a vacation to central California where my sister lives with her family. Over the week we visited three National Historic Landmarks, two beautiful houses of worship, three bucket list destinations, a National Monument, and a world-class aquarium all with my extremely adorable niece. I’ll share more detail about many of these adventures in further posts, but here is a brief introduction and a one small adventure from the trip.
Since before I began working at Taliesin West for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings has been on my bucket list. So, I decided to visit a few while in California. Two of which are National Historic Landmarks and very important buildings in Mr. Wright’s long career—the Hanna House in Stanford and Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael. I had plans to visit a fourth of his buildings, but plans sometimes change meaning I’ll have to visit the Morris Gift Shop in San Francisco another time. The third of Wright’s buildings I saw on this trip is in Carmel.
This house was built for the Walker family in 1948. It is right on the beach like a natural extension of the rocky promontory onto the beach. You could even say it looks like a ship on the beach. It fits seamlessly into the landscape. As a private residence, you can’t go inside or onto the private property, but you do get a good view from both sides. I’m sure the main room inside grants the inhabitants with spectacular panoramic views since there are windows around three sides of the house overlooking the ocean and beaches.
On Memorial Day we explored San Juan Bautista Mission and State Park. This is one of 21 Spanish missions in California that lined El Camino Real. The other religious building I experienced, Stanford’s Memorial Church, quickly became one of my favorite churches in the United States. The architecture and decoration rank it as one of my top three favorite pieces of religious architecture in the U.S. that I’ve visited besides LDS temples.
While north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, I revisited the grandeur of Muir Woods National Monument. Then back in Monterey, I re-investigated the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row. Just as before, I wasn’t disappointed.
Good food was had and great company enjoyed. California has so much to offer in every area of interest. I’m sure to return many times in my life to experience and revisit many amazing and beautiful things. For now, I hope you enjoy my photos and descriptions of these fantastic adventures.