“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” ― Lewis Carroll.
That certainly sums up my life. Although, who wants to sit around on their thumbs complaining about being bored? That will never be me!
So on Sunday a friend and I drove the 27 miles from Culver City out to King Gillette Ranch in Malibu. A mutual friend was exhibiting her artwork at the Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains & Seashore art show on the property. As I have wanted to visit the King Gillette Ranch for eons (well, for at least a year since I first heard of it) this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
If you are interested in the history of the ranch, you can go to the website. But very briefly, the 588-acre ranch opened to the public in 2007. It was owned by the razor magnate King C. Gillette (yes, that Gillette) in the 1920s who hired the famous architect of the day, Wallace Neff, to design some of the buildings.
This is the courtyard of the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center where the art was displayed. What could be a better setting for art of the Santa Monicas?
From the brochure: “The broad meadows and low ridgelines serve as a wildlife corridor in the geographic center of the Santa Monica Mountains range. Several sensitive species are present. Raptors and other birds forage and nest among the plant communities of valley and coast live oak savannah, grassland, costal sage scrub, chaparral, riparian woodland, and southern willow riparian vegetation.”
Some of the neighbors hanging out in the hood.
The leafless Sycamores competing with the artwork for attention. I guess the trees won!
And a parrot poking his beak in too!
Sycamore trees seem even more beautiful without their leaves.
After viewing some lovely plein aire and landscape paintings in the exhibit, it was time for lunch. We found a quiet, shady spot among some oak trees.
I had brought El Pollo Loco and it never tasted so good. Why does food always taste so much better at a picnic? Even a lowly hard-boiled egg turns into a sumptuous feast.
My friend noted that she was completely at peace in this setting.
If you can’t get enough privacy in this tree, you can check into the bird motel.
Taking time to stop and look at the details is part of the wonder of being out in nature.
I liked the shadows thrown by the bare branches. And people think we don’t have seasons in southern California. The trees tell us otherwise.
A dry creek reminds us we are living in the arid climate of southern California.
This is the reservoir built next to that dry creek. Love that sparkly light on the water.
Shady road winding past the picnic area.
This is the seminary built by the Claretian religious order in 1955 including dormitories, classrooms and a chapel. A prime example of what I call “southern California eclectic” architecture. A mixture of Moorish arches, Corinthian capped columns, Mexican tile roof and a very traditional front door.
The back side of the seminary building.
A hazy, sunny southern California March day. The ranch is splat in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Lest we forget we live in Hollywood, “The Biggest Loser” sign over the door of this building reminds us of that fact. The show is filmed here.
The 25-room Gillette Mansion built in 1928 by Gillette was purchased by the movie director Clarence Brown in 1935. He added a pool, tennis courts and an airplane landing strip. A nice little retreat away from the bright lights of Hollywood.
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.” John, I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Returning home and browsing through the brochure (printed, by the way, on 100% post-consumer waster recycled paper with soy ink) I realized we had missed the Botanical Center… rats. Well, only an excuse to visit another day.
We also missed the Trail to Inspiration Point. But that was my fault as I had stupidly not changed into my trail shoes which were sitting in my car. When I saw the first part of the trail I realized I could not take a chance walking up there in my running shoes. I have too many injuries to my ankles, knees, hips, etc. to risk doing any more damage. Next time I am putting on those shoes and making the trek as apparently there is a not-to-be-missed 360 degree view of the surrounding Las Virgenes Valley.
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