Several years ago I took a day trip to Riverside with the West LA group of the Sierra Club. We learned about the history of oranges in southern California, visited a museum and a mansion. The highlight of the day was the tour of the Mission Inn Hotel designed in the Mission Revival style.
Originally built in 1876 as a two-story adobe guest house (which no longer stands) the hotel now offers 238 guest rooms. In 1952 Ronald and Nancy Reagan spent their honeymoon night at the hotel. And before that Richard Nixon married Pat at one of the wedding chapels in 1940.
But you can read all about that elsewhere.
During the holiday season the Mission Inn Hotel lights up like Disneyland with 3.5 million lights. The Festival of Lights runs from November 25, 2011 through January 8, 2012.
The ITMI (International Tour Management Institute) So Cal Network chose the venue for our annual holiday dinner. First we were given a comprehensive tour of the hotel by one of our members, Carol Williams, who is also a Mission Inn docent. I remembered some of the information from my previous tour, but there is always something new to learn.
We had a little free time before dinner was served so I walked around gawking at the lights. The hotel takes on a totally different and magical ambience at this time of year. One of the reasons I love the holiday season is because of the decorations and light displays. I revert to my six-year-old self.
I was especially delighted to see the horse-drawn Cinderella carriages transporting people around the streets. What an amazing way to view all the decorations in the area.
I recently read an article in the London Telegraph about an Englishman who decorates his house with 40,000 lights and makes three or four trips to the US every year to procure them. Now that is a man after my own heart!
I was so enamored with the lights and festive decorations I was late for the buffet. A feast for the eyes versus a feast for the stomach. Hard for me to choose!
(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)